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Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 joins flagship A900 as full-frame Alpha DSLR
by Allison Johnson -  8/26/2009

Sony launches their second full-frame DSLR today, the Alpha DSLR-A850. Like the flagship Alpha A900, the new A850 will feature a 35mm 24.6 megapixel CMOS sensor and a 3.0 inch 921k dot LCD. Sony will offer the A850 starting at $2000, a sweet price for a full-frame system.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A850

Alpha twin
Physically, the Sony Alpha A850 is a dead ringer for the A900. Sony lists the same body dimensions for both cameras at 6 1/8x4 5/8x3 1/4 inches. From the gold Alpha "a" on the front to the 3.0 inch 921k dot LCD on the rear panel, it's an identical twin.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A900
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900

Sony Alpha DSLR-A850
Sony Alpha DSLR-A850

The differences are in the details. The slightly scaled-back Alpha A850 offers an optical viewfinder with 98% coverage, slightly reduced from the A900's 100% viewfinder.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A850

A reduced price tag means a few sacrifices, and the Alpha A850 also takes a small cut back on continuous shooting frame rates. Sony claims a maximum burst rate of 3 fps for the new model, while the A900 boasts up to 5 fps.

The Alpha A850 doesn't skimp in processing power with dual BIONZ engines. It will also feature Sony's SteadyShot in-body image stabilization, gaining an equivalent in shutter speed from 2.5 up to 4 stops. All Sony, Minolta and Konica-Minolta lenses will sync with the image stabilization system.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A850

Rounding out the feature set is HDMI output, dual Compact Flash and Memory Stick Pro Duo card slots, and DRO Dynamic Range Optimizer function. It keeps in step with the A900 by offering the same 9-point TTL phase detection auto focus system with 10 assist focus points.

SAL2875 Zoom Lens
With the introduction of the Alpha A850, Sony also releases a new lens. The SAL2875 28-75mm zoom lens is compact and offers an f/2.8 aperture over the whole focal range.

Sony Alpha

All existing accessories for the Alpha A900 will be compatible with the new camera, and sure enough, Sony's photos released today shows the Alpha A850 all cozy with the Alpha vertical grip.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A850

Pricing and availability
The Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 will become available in September starting around $2000 for a body-only kit. The SAL 2875 lens will retail for about $800 and should be available in November.