New accessories for Sony Alpha range
A long-demanded 1.15X eyepiece magnifier – compatible with all APS-C format Sony Alpha DSLRs – is just one of a rollout of new minor accessories for the system. The Magnifying Eyepiece FDA-ME1AM is designed to fit the A700, A380, A330, A230, A350, A300 and A200 and should also be fully compatible with A100, Konica Minolta 7D and 5D.
To date, many Sony users have been using eyepiece magnifiers from other makes. Nikon, Sony and Pentax models can all be made to fit. Most have a higher magnification than the Sony offering (the range is between 1.17X and 1.2X). Olympus’s 1.2X ME-1 is not a perfect fit, while the Pentax O-ME53 allows the eye start sensors to function normally and offers 1.18X.
The new Sony magnifier FDA-ME1AM is equally compact and will offer better compatibility with the A700 as well as a good optical match to the Sony ocular. These magnifiers are NOT the same type of device as the FDA-M1AM which is a macro magnifier for focusing. What they do is enlarge the screen view, especially for non-spectacle-wearers, so the viewfinder appears larger.
For the rear screens of cameras, there are now hard covers for all models. These are clip-in rigid protectors, and are coded PCK-LH. A range of AR-coated adhesive soft protectors is also made coded PCK-LS. It’s very important to order exactly the right model. For the A230, 330 and 380 a brand new LCD Hood is offered.
The SH-L1AM clips on like a rigid cover, and folds down flat to become a further protector. When flipped open, it provides a full size top ‘canopy’ and two partial wings to each side. The attachment method uses a clear hard plastic screen protector built in to the design.
The new A230, 330 and 380 no longer have a remote release socket but they are compatible with the Remote Commander RMT-DSLR1 which is supplied with both the A700 and A900. No commander is thrown in with the new entry level Alpha kits, you must buy it as an accessory. It also functions as a playback controller when the cameras are connected by HDMI to a TV or monitor.
Minor new accessories include the Wrapping Cloth LCS-WR1AM in a choice of three colours. This is simply a microfibre cloth large enough to wrap up any camera or lens inside your bag, with a large elastic ring on one corner to hold the cloth round lenses or other items.
A Lens Cap holder LCS-LC1AM is also made in three colours. This is a not-so-small pouch which can hold lens caps up to 77mm diameter, with an O-ring to slip it on to your camera strap. Sony marketing has failed to spot that it can also be used to hold a filter in its case, and it’s probably of most interest for that function!
There is a new universal Hand Strap STP-HS1AM which is similar to older designs of right-hand strap used mainly with battery packs or vertical grips. This one is compatible with any model, with or without vertical grip, due to the extendible strap section. However, it occupies your tripod thread. The good news is that a second strap lug is provided, so that your neck strap can be attached simultaneously. The older leather ‘Grip Belt’ STP-GB1AM does not allow this.
Sony now has an entire range of shoulder/neck camera straps. We can only recommend one type – the leather soft wide strap STO-SH1AM. Do not confuse this with the hard narrow leather strap STP-SH2AM. The wide one is like the old Minolta Dynax wide leather straps and far more comfortable; it also shoves into camera bags more easily, unlike the SH2 which gets in the way due to its thick, rigid leather section.
A new GPS tracking unit, GPS-CS3KA, replaces the earlier original Sony GPS tracker. It still does not have any connectivity to any DSLR, requires a PC-only program that will only embed data in JPEGs, and overall it’s a crippled and makeshift answer to adding GPS location data to images.
Finally, there is a new AC Adaptor/Charger for the A230, 330 and 380 only – the AC-PW10AM. All earlier Alphas can be run from AC mains using the expensive intelligent twin charger unit, AC-V900AM, which accepts two batteries (NP-FM500H or NP-FM55H). Though the AC adaptor for the new models is labelled Adaptor/Charger, there is no indication that the battery can be charged while in the camera. The Sony website says this adaptor is for ALL Alpha DSLRs and is a universal (use anywhere in the world) AC adaptor. If so, this lower cost option for running ALL Alphas is to be applauded. The Sony leaflet says it is for 230/330/380 only.
The accessories brochure supplied with the new A230-380 models contains more detail. It also shows clearly that there are no vertical grips for these models, or other dedicated accessories.
Ok, just to let you guys know — I went ahead and bought a AC-PW10AM. And, you guessed, it plays nicely with the A900 !
just a quick question — is it confirmed now whether the AC-PW10AM can also be used for the A900 and friends … ?
There is an issue with the eyepiece magnifier. It can block the sensors, under the viewfinder, that detect the user’s face and dim the LCD screen and trigger autofocus. I tried the eyepiece on both my A100 and my A700. When I pushed the eyepiece down that last millimeter to get the faint click as it seats itself on the camera, the eyepiece blocked the sensors. On the A700, there was enough of the sensor exposed that I could trigger it by putting my finger there, but my face didn’t do it. On the A100, the eyepiece itself triggered the sensor.
But the good news is that, sliding the eyepiece down against the final click, but not going through the click, allowed the sensors on both cameras to work fine. The view through the eyepiece was not affected at all. Nor was the look of the eyepiece on the camera, or the apparent security and stability of the eyepiece on the camera – that faint click really doesn’t do anything. I am generally very particular about having these things work right and not jury-rigging them, but I am happily keeping the eyepieces on both cameras.
“The older leather ‘Grip Belt’ STP-GB1AM does not allow this”. – Oh yes it does, though I was not too impressed by the metal piece that they use for threading the shoulder strap through – it looked like it could cut through it in time, so I replaced it with a plastic piece salvaged from another strap, I think it was the free SmugMug neoprene strap I get.
I’ve added the recommendation of the Neoprene strap to the magazine article about to be printed. I tried the Optech type and did not like the springy straps much, I have enough trouble bashing cameras into things. I may try one again, as one problem I have got now is that my eyesight demands I remove my specs and hold my Nikon D5000 around arm’s length for video filming with the live view. I prefer to keep a short neckstrap, but if I do that, I can’t hold the camera that way and have it round my neck, so I have to use the strap at maximum length. The camera then bashes into everything wherever I go.
Corrected the wrap reference, thanks! The A380 etc power socket is identical to the A700/900 etc so I am sure the AC supply adaptor is for all the cameras.
I have just bought the LCS-WR1AM, and it is not a keyring at the end – it’s an elastic band which lets you pull the band over lenses of different sizes.
From SonyStyle US:
The compatability listing only shows the A230, A330 and A380.
“Designed exclusively for use with your compatible α DSLR camera, the AC-PW10AM AC adapter will give you the power you need for your next photo shoot. Additionally, this adapter comes equipped with advanced functions such as automatic charge cut-off and built-in temperature controls to provide optimum safety and performance.
AC-PW10AM AC power adaptor supplies uninterrupted power to camera, but does not charge battery”
Nice that they add the auto charge cut-off to a device that doesn’t charge.
David, regarding your comment that the “only strap to recommend” is the leather one, have you seen “in the neoprene” the STP-SB2AM strap?
I have one and not only is it very comfortable with a wide neck band and neoprene section (even with A900/grip and heavy lens like the 70-200) but the connectors on either side means you can quickly remove the main strap section and join the two loose ends to together to “quick release” the strap without messing around with the strap eyelets.
I highly recommend it, it has adjustments in each side can be made quite long if you happen to be freakishly tall like me, just don’t buy it from Sony at their price! (I bought mine online from dabs.com for £40 – expensive, but worth it).