Sony has promised a new digital SLR this year and another the next, and some believe the first is coming soon.
Sony entered the digital SLR (single-lens reflex) market in 2006 with its Alpha 100 model, but it got a running start by acquiring the SLR assets of Konica Minolta. The company said in March the next Sony SLR would be an advanced amateur model this year, with a professional-grade model in 2008.
David Kilpatrick of Photoclub Alpha said he believes the first likely will be called the Alpha 200 and will feature an APS-C sensor--roughly the same size as that used by lower-end Canon and Nikon SLRs. The high-end model, which he expects will be called the Alpha 300, will have a full-frame sensor the size of a frame of 35mm film--a step so far only taken by market-leader Canon.
Full-frame sensors are more expensive and require larger camera bodies, but they also offer higher light sensitivity and work with older wide-angle lenses. Smaller sensors impose a "crop factor" that means most digital SLRs have a narrower field of view than a film SLR with the same lens. There also are rumors that Nikon may soon offer a full-frame model.
Many new lenses from digital SLR makers support only smaller sensors, but several new lenses from Sony offer full-frame support, Kilpatrick said.
Sony has described only general aspects of the lenses, but according to Kilpatrick, they are all full-frame models. They include the following: 400mm f/4.5 and 600mm f/4 telephoto lenses; a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 zoom and a 80-400mm zoom with apertures likely ranging from f/4.5 to f/6.3; a 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom; a 35mm f/1.8 and 24mm f/1.4 wide-angle lenses; and a 16-35mm f/2.8 wide-angle zoom.