Sony’s new flagship mirrorless ILC α6500 will ship in November.

Sony introduced Thursday new flagship models in both its mirrorless interchangeable lens (ILC) and its fixed-lens Cyber-shot camera categories, each of which is positioned to take advantage of Sony’s expertise in imaging sensor development.

The new Cyber-shot RX100 V (model DSC-RX100M5, shipping this month at a $1,000 estimated retail price) adds a new Fast Hybrid AF system boasting “the world’s fastest AF acquisition at 0.05 seconds” and a record-setting number of AF points on a sensor with 315 covering approximately 65 percent of the frame.  The camera can also shoot continuously at speeds of up to 24 frames per second, at full 20.1 mega-pixel (MP) resolution with AF/AE tracking for up to 150 continuous shots, Sony said.

The new flagship APS-C sensor camera, α6500 (model ILCE-6500, which ships in November at a $1,400 expected retail price), features Sony’s 4D FOCUS system, which was previously introduced in the α6300. It can lock focus on a subject in as little as 0.05 seconds, for a record-setting AF acquisition time, Sony said.  The α6500 also has 425 phase detection AF points that are densely positioned over most of the image area. The new model can shoot images at up to 11 fps with continuous autofocus and exposure tracking and up to 8 fps in a live-view shooting mode for up to 307 frames. The camera features an expanded buffer that makes use of a new front-end LSI chip for rapid archiving.  The front-end LSI also serves to enhance both still and video image quality, Sony said.

Both cameras will record up to 4K Ultra HD video at bit rates of up to 100 Mbps.

Read more on Sony’s new flagship Cyber-shot and APS-C cameras after the jump:

The Cyber-shot RX100 V is equipped with a newly developed 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor with a DRAM chip, a ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70 mm5 F1.8 – 2.8 large aperture lens and an enhanced image processing system with a new front-end LSI chip that maximizes processing speed and memory buffering for optimized image quality.

For video, the camera features 4K recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning, and super slow motion recording at up to 960 fps with extended recording time.

“Featuring a level of power and performance that has never before been achieved in a compact, the new RX100 V redefines what it means to be a ‘pocket camera’,” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics.  “This camera is yet another example of Sony innovating to a level far beyond what exists in the conventional marketplace.”

sonyrx100vThe RX100 V’s Fast Hybrid AF system combines the advantages of focal-plane phase detection AF and contrast detection AF to lock focus in as little as 0.05 seconds. The 315 dedicated AF points cover 65 percent of the sensor to ensure capture of intended moving subjects with high speed and accuracy.

The advanced processing speed leverages the front-end LSI supporting the camera’s BIONZ X image processing engine.  Along with the AF system, this allows the camera to shoot continuously at speeds of up to 24 fps in 20.1 MP resolution for up to 150 shots with AF/AE tracking.

Sony said the viewfinder blackout between shots has also been minimized in the high-speed shooting mode.  Silent shooting is also available in high-speed modes.

An AF-A mode allows the camera to automatically switch between continuous and single-shot AF modes, and shooters can manually select continuous AF or phase detection AF areas to be displayed live on screen while framing a shot.

The RX100 V also has a high-speed Anti-Distortion Shutter (maximum speed of 1/32000 second) that minimizes the “rolling shutter” effect that sometimes occurs when shooting fast moving subjects.  The fast shutter speed also allows the camera to capture sharp, clear images with a wide aperture at brightness levels up to EV199.  Shooting at a wide open aperture with the fast shutter speed allows capturing stills and video with sharp focus on subjects and defocused backgrounds under difficult lighting conditions.

The RX100 V also lets users select the initial magnification ratio when shooting in a mode with Focus Magnifier, and can select between “focus point” and “center of display”.

When shooting video, the Fast Hybrid AF sensor ensures accurate focusing and tracking performance. AF drive speed and AF tracking sensitivity also can be adjusted via the menu system.

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In 4K mode the camera’s full pixel readout without pixel binning captures fine details of 4K video with minimal moire and ‘jaggies’, using the XAVC S compression codec, which records 4K at up to 100 Mbps and Full HD at up to 50 Mbps.

Additional professional level video features include Picture Profile, S-Log2/S-Gamut and 120p Full HD mode.  The camera also provides the ability to manually select a frame from a recorded movie and save it as a still image file of approximately 8 MP during 4K shooting or 2 MP during HD shooting, Sony said.

The RX100 V is able to record super-slow motion video at up to 40x slower than the standard rate, and for twice as long as the previous RX100 IV model.

Prior to shooting, users will have the ability to choose among 960fps, 480fps and 240 fps frame rates and among 60p, 30p and 24p playback formats to find the best setting to fit the speed of the moving subject. Shooters have the option to use the movie record button as a ‘start trigger’ to begin recording once the button is pressed or ‘end trigger’ to record footage up until the button is pressed.

The RX100 V has a pocket-sized design and is equipped with a 2.35 million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder.  Also included is Wi-Fi with NFC compatibility, offering access to Sony’s PlayMemories Camera Applications.

Sony is also offering an optional $350 underwater housing designed to fit the RX100 V. allowing water resistance to a depth of 40m/130ft.

Sony α6500 Flagship Mirrorless ILC

The α6500 is equipped with Sony’s in-camera 5-axis optical image stabilization system, making it the first Sony APS-C sensor camera to offer all of the benefits of advanced in-body stabilization. Sony said this offers a shutter speed advantage of approximately 5 steps.  It also offers touchscreen AF capabilities for focus point selection and adjustment.

The 4D FOCUS Fast Hybrid AF system combines high-speed phase detection AF with highly accurate contrast AF allowing capture and lock-on of moving subjects in as little as 0.05 seconds.  The 425 phase detection AF points and High-density Tracking AF Technology are said to significantly improves subject detection and tracking performance.

The camera’s new faster internal processing capabilities enabled by the front-end LSI provides a maximum buffer for high-speed continuous shooting at up to 307 frames, increasing the ability to capture sharp action shots at precise moments.

The camera’s 425 phase detection AF points, focusing tracking and accuracy are also available when using non-native A-mount lenses with Sony’s LA-EA3 mount adaptor.  The camera also includes silent shooting, Eye AF in AF-C mode, AF in focus magnifier modes, and Expand Flexible Spot AF.

The α6500’s 5-axis image stabilization system fits entirely within the compact body size. The 5-axis system provides a shutter speed advantage of 5 steps, even in challenging lighting.

Sony said the shake compensation provided by the system works with a variety of lenses, including E-mount lenses without Optical SteadyShot stabilization (OSS) and A-mount lenses when used with a compatible mount adapter.

With an E-mount lens with OSS, pitch and yaw are compensated in the lens and horizontal, vertical and roll axes are compensated in the camera body, resulting in optimal 5-axis stabilization.

The new α6500 adds a new touch-screen that enables locking focus on a subject by touching it on the screen. The α6500’s touchpad functionality enables using the screen as a touchpad while using the viewfinder for framing and shooting.  Dragging a finger across the screen shifts the focus point from one area to another.

Other features include an APS-C-sized 24.2 MP Exmor CMOS sensor, BIONZ X processor and front-end LSI.

Together, the systems enabling enough processing power to enable an ISO range of 100-512,009.

For video capture, the α6500 enables internal 4K (3840x2160p) movie recording in Super 35mm format on the full width of the image sensor. When shooting in this format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 6K information – approximately 2.4×10 (20 MP equivalent) and then oversamples the information to produce high-quality 4K footage with greater detail and depth.

The camera’s exceptionally fast focusing ability during movie shooting is enabled by the Fast Hybrid AF system, with touch-focusing capability.

The camera supports the XAVC S codec for video, with up to 100 Mbps bit rate for 4K and 50 Mbps for Fulll HD.

It will record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, which allows footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD (24p) resolution with AF tracking.

A new “Slow and Quick” (S&Q) mode supports both slow motion and quick motion.  Frame rates from 1 fps to 120 fps can be selected in 8 steps for up to 60x quick motion and 5x slow motion recording. Footage shot in this mode can be previewed after shooting without the need for PC-based post processing.

The camera also offers S-Log gamma recording13 for wide dynamic range shooting – approximately 14-stop latitude in S-Log3 gamma setting – and supports S-Gamut for a wider color space.  Both options allow for greater creativity for processing video post-production.

Stills can be selected from movie footage directly on the camera in approximately 8 MP resolution from 4K and 2 MP from Full HD mode.

New hardware features on the α6500 include a magnesium alloy body and a high-durability shutter. It also has a robust lens mount, a recessed grip to improve handling, a larger release button and 10 total custom buttons including ‘C1’, ‘C2’ and ‘C3’.

The camera includes Wi-Fi, QR and NFC support and is compatible with Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile applications for Android and iOS platforms.  The α6500 also offers location data acquisition via a Bluetooth1 connection to a compatible mobile device and an updated menu structure to deliver a smoother navigational experience.

By Greg Tarr


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