Sony Malaysia has today announced the arrival of its latest imaging products to Malaysia. These three new devices – the RX100 III, A77 II and the AX100E 4K Handycam – promise serious imaging prowess for different user markets.
Sony RX100 MkIII
A fan favourite of many consumers who demand serious imaging capabilities in a point-and-shoot camera, the first two iterations received critical acclaim the world over, and now Sony has further refined the RX100 series with its latest addition.
The Sony RX100 III‘s tough aluminium exterior makes this highly pocketable camera almost unbelievably light, given what’s under the hood. Featuring an uprated Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70mm F1.8-2.8 lens that is wider and brighter than before, the lens’ large aperture lets you capture amazingly smooth background bokeh effects, while its large sensor size absorbs impressive amounts of light to allow for faster shutter speeds.
The RX100 III also features a new retractable OLED Tru-Finder EVF that offers bright, detailed viewing. The optical surfaces include a Zeiss T* coating which dramatically reduces reflections while delivering exceptional corner to corner clarity. On the other hand, the 7.5cm TFT LCD display at the back adjusts up to 180 degrees via a new two-stage metal hinge.
Inside, the RX100 III’s sensor is complemented by the latest-generation BIONZ X processing engine, which is three times faster than before. In addition, the new engine now supports the efficient XAVC S format, which is based on the professional XAVC standard. With XAVC format, you’ll now be able to record Full HD video at up to 50Mbps with minimal artefacts and noise. Also, HD footage can be recorded at 100fps in this format.
Those who wish to record videos on this point-and-shoot will also be pleased to note that the RX100 III packs an Intelligent Active Mode that minimises the effects of camera shake. For the first time in the RX100 series, frame analysis technology and 5-axis stabilisation are combined to ensure steadier videos even when you’re walking while recording.
Finally, the integrated NFC/WiFi capabilities on the RX100 III means that the PlayMemories Camera Apps makes its debut on the camera – though we’re pretty sure the more serious user would prefer the enhanced manual controls, including the new Custom button or even the fact that the control ring and function button are also user-customizable.
Sony A77 MkII
A prosumer-level DSLR, the A77 II builds upon the much-loved A77 and A700 DSLRs, with a string of exciting enhancements that’s encases in a tough, weather-resistant body.
For the first time ever, the A77 II features no less than 79 phase-detection autofocus detection points, including 15 cross points within most frequently-used central area of the sensor, resulting in super-accurate focusing. The sensor supports apertures up to F2.8, ensuring maximum AF precision when using large-aperture lenses. The AF system is also sensitive enough for use in extremely low-light conditions, accurately locking focus with illumination levels as low as EV-2 (ISO 100).
The sensor on the A77 II is a 24.3MP Exmor CMOS sensor featuring the same gapless on-chip lens structure as used in the A7R and A6000 cameras. It also features 20% greater sensitivity compared to its predecessor, despite sharing the same pixel count. An A77 II-optimized BIONZ X image processing engine rounds off the specs list.
On top of the record-breaking 79 focus points, the A77 II also features a brand new AF algorithm to process the vast amounts of metering data. The algorithm predicts the subject’s next movement, combining AF metering data together with data on the subject’s position. AF precision is further improved when Lock-on AF is used, which recognises the subject from its colour as well as its position in the frame.
To make the most of the new 79-point AF system, the A77 II features a suite of sophisticated new AF functions. The instance, Expanded Flexible spot activates eight surrounding AF points that recognize the subject, allowing the camera to maintain focus even if the selected AF point loses track of the subject. The aforementioned Lock-on AF mode lets users select one of four AF area modes (Wide, Zone, Flexible Spot or Expanded Flexible Spot), and once its target is acquired, the camera keeps tracking as long as the shutter button remains half-pressed. As the subject moves or framing changes, the camera automatically selects the most appropriate AF point from the 79 available. Finally, the Eye AF function precisely detects and focuses on the subject’s eyes when shooting people, the AF Range Control allows AF to be limited to a specified range.
The A77 II also features a new, highly flexible 7.5cm Xtra Fine LCD display. Flip out the display with the first set of hinge that allows the display to tilt a full 180 degrees, a second hinge then allows it to twist in a separate axis, giving users significantly more creative flexibility. Meanwhile, the WhiteMagic technology on the display also improves screen visibility even in direct sunshine. Above the LCD display is a XGA OLED Tru-Finer EVF that offers three times higher contrast and resolving power compared to its predecessor.
This prosumer-grade DSLR also sports dust- and moisture-resistant seals around the main buttons and controls are complemented by double-layered protection around all openings (including media slots and terminals). The A77 II, which has a large and comfortable contoured grip, also has lavish customization options, allowing for a total of 51 functions to be assigned to 11 buttons.
The A77 II – which even sports a Continuous Advance Priority AE mode that can capture up to 60 full-resolution JPEG images at 12fps – also records Full HD at 60fps and 24fps using the AVCHD 2.0 format. As with still shooting, the A77 II sports Translucent Mirror Technology that enables full-time phase-detection AF, ensuring accurate focus tracking with fast-moving subjects.
Finally, the A77 II supports a family of 32 A-mount lenses, to fulfil just about every artistic need. On top of that, the built-in NFC and WiFi connectivity also lets you pair the A77 II to Android smartphones and tablets as well as a VAIO laptop. The Smart Remote Control also links the camera to a smartphone as a remote shutter.
Sony AX100E 4K Handycam
As mentioned during the media event earlier, if you were to place a sticker on the “4K” logo, some might think those using the new AX100E 4K Handycam to be exceptionally behind the times, as the world shifts towards DSLRs or significantly larger professional-level camcorders as the device of choice for video recording. The AX1E 4K camcorder, which was unveiled at last year’s IFA, is 75% larger and 66% heavier than the new AX100E 4K Handycam, a huge step forward in technological evolution from the company.
The Handycam AX100E uses a newly-developed Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens and a 1.0-type Exmor R CMOS sensor with 12x optical zoom that’s fine-tuned for 4K shooting. The BIONZ X processor works in harmony with the sensor and Zeiss lens with 7-bladed aperture, ensuring flawless movies and stills. The Optical SteadyShot stabilisation keeps footage smooth and stable even as you record without a tripod.
In a 4K Handycam first, Dual Video Recording lets you simultaneously record high-quality movie clips and ready-to-share MP4 files. The high-quality videos are captured in XAVC S (at up to 4K/60Mbps or HD/50Mbps) or AVCHD formats, while the more compact lower-res copy is recorded in MP4.
On top of that, video playback on the AX100E is as simple as connecting the supplied HDMI cable to a 4K TV or even a Full HD TV, where the AX100E automatically down-converts the 4K footage into super-sampled Full HD playback. As an extra refinement, touching the camcorder’s display during 4K playback trims the area immediately around the area you’ve touched for playback as a Full HD movie.
Finally, the AX100E also sports built-in NFC and WiFi, letting you wirelessly transfer movie clips and images from the Handycam to your smartphone or tablet via the PlayMemories Mobile app for iOS and Android. Wireless playback is also supported with a networked TV, though it is not compatible with XAVC S format.
Pricing and availability:
- RX100 III: RM2999; available now
- A77 II: RM3999 (body only), RM5999 (with 16-50mm kit lens); available now
- AX100E: RM6999; available now at Sony Store & selected Sony Centre outlets