Anyone who has snapped a picture with a DSLR camera knows how it can transform a flat image into a picture that tells a story. My first (and to this day, only) digital SLR was the Canon EOS XT Rebel. Since then, I’ve said goodbye to shooting stills with my point-and-shoot: they just don’t look as interesting anymore.
Several enthusiasts and indie filmmakers have been adopting a new technique, using video-capable DSLR cameras for higher-quality videos than those taken with camcorders. The picture taken with video DSLR provides the film-like narrow depth of field that keeps focus on the subject of the video and blurs the background, and shooting with DSLR is a portable and less expensive solution for budding videographers.
Last week, Sony announced the arrival of the new α SLT-A55V and SLT-A33 cameras, and along with them a newly developed Translucent Mirror Technology they promise will mark a paradigm shift in SLR construction. Kristen Elder, director of the digital imaging business group, said in Sony’s press interview, “Our Translucent Mirror Technology is one of the most significant SLR structural changes in more than a decade.”
In current systems, auto-focus can only occur in the time interval between image captures, so taking shots in rapid succession (like kids at play, or at sporting events) while keeping sharp focus is difficult. In the α SLT-A55V and SLT-A33, a translucent mirror allows incoming light to hit both the autofocus sensor and the image sensor simultaneously. The absence of a moving mirror mechanism not only saves space and creates a compact body for the camera, but also cuts down on time so much that the α55’s 10 fps of high-speed shooting is “the fastest in the world for continuous autofocus in an interchangeable-lens digital camera with APS-C sensor.”
Sony says the α55 and α33 will be available in September and will run you about $750 and $650 for the body only, respectively. You’ll have to shell out and extra hundred bucks to get a 18-55mm zoom lens.