Alpha 900 may (not!) have Live View
The prototype ‘Flagship’ Alpha DSLR, with its 24 megapixel sensor, may offer live view – almost certainly off the sensor. Sony prototype (it is still officially in that state) product photographs reveal what looks like an extra button or sliding switch – and at least one rumour states that this is definitely for live view.
This image is a section of the studio shot distorted vertically in Photoshop to show, more accurately, the sliding switch and the icon next to it.
But… this could all be nonsense, as the symbol also looks suspiciously like one for TURNING ON THE TOP LCD LIGHT…
So much for rumours!
Here is the original shot (not to full size, go to Sony’s websites to download one of those).
How about the rest of the good news? The redesign looks good, better shape to the prism. The top plate LCD is not the cramped, crippled travesty of an information display found on most current DSLRs. It uses BIG clear information to show basic settings, not a host of tiny symbols and hard to read info (and that button is for illumination, allowing you to work in dark situations without needing the visible light of the rear screen to give your position away). It’s in real Minolta vintage tradition. And so is that mode dial, featuring the 1-2-3 Memory settings from the 7/7D. Nothing could be more useful to the professional – I use the memory positions on my 7D and they make studio work a cinch. I have memory 1 set to my studio-table average meter readings for flash-lit product shots and it saves any worry at all about getting it wrong.
As for the rest, we must wait and see. SSS is included, and given that the 24-70mm has a 77mm front filter thread, you will realise this is a big mother of a DSLR body despite not being a brick. I don’t like bricks (1D etc) where the grip can not be removed. This big body may be needed because the shutter is oversized to allow true full frame SSS. If the shutter is a proprietary unit (Seikosha, etc) then there is either some ‘vignetting’ likely when using SSS or there is a cropped frame mode down to something like 1.1X, maybe even tighter, to allow SSS with a regular 24 x 36mm ‘gate’. The original Minolta AS claimed 5mm maximum movement off axis in all directions. That would mean having a shutter about the same size as a 6 x 4.5cm rollfilm camera. Such shutters exist (clue: they are already used in rollfilm cameras!) and maybe Sony has sourced an assembly like the Mamiya ZD shutter unit to allow full frame SSS. The Pentax 645 shutter unit is probably smaller overall and better suited to inclusion in a 35mm sized body.
But – it probably looks as if the ‘Alpha 900’ (imaginary name for a very real product which will compete at Canon 5D successor price level) will have the mandatory live view. Or a nice greeny light for that LCD.
– David Kilpatrick