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Sony alpha DSLR-A560 launched as successor to A500, A550
by Allison Johnson -  8/23/2010

Sony launches the a560 DSLR today, bringing features like HD video recording and Sweep Panorama to the alpha 500 series for the first time.

Sony alpha A560

The alpha a560 offers some incremental upgrades to the existing a500 and a550 DSLRs. It has a new 14.2 megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor, the same imager used by the NEX series cameras. Though Sony has been slow to bring HD video recording to alpha DSLRs, the a560 will offer 1080 AVCHD 60i video. It also uses a 15-point AF system with 3 cross-type points, an increase from the 9-point AF system on board the A550.

Sony alpha A560

The A560 also introduces some multi-frame shooting modes previously unavailable in the alpha line. Sweep Panorama (and its close cousin 3D Sweep Panorama) are available, as is multi-shot noise reduction. Auto HDR mode, which only recorded two images in the a550, will now record three images (exposed for shadows, midtones and highlights) to be combined into one final image.

An optical viewfinder will offer 80% coverage as an alternative to the tilting 3.0-inch 921,600k-dot LCD. A digital level offers some guidance in composition. Keeping in step with the a550, the a560 will shoot up to 7 fps in continuous shooting and offer the same Quick AF Live View mode. A dual memory card slot will accept Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo cards along with SD, SDHC and SDXC media.

Sony alpha A560

Sony USA also confirms an earlier European announcement of three prime A-mount lenses slated to make an appearance in American markets this year. The lenses include the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm f/2 ZA SSM, a DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM and an 85mm f/2.8 SAM.

Pricing and availability
The Sony alpha DSLR-A560 will be available in October starting at $649.99 for the camera body only and $749.99 for an 18-55mm kit.