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Sony showcases 24MP flagship SLR prototype

updated 04:30 pm EST, Fri February 1, 2008

Sony 24MP Prototype Shown

Sony on Friday removed more of the mystery surrounding its 24.8-megapixel pro digital SLR by showcasing a prototype model that reveals some additional information about the camera. The Japanese firm refers to the new top-end model only as the "flagship" Alpha but notes that the actual camera will shoot at a slightly lower 24.6 effective megapixels due to sensor limits. Like other Sony Alpha cameras, it should still use Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lenses; it will have at least the option of a lens with a minimum f2.8 aperture and a manual focus override toggle built into the lens.

The finished version of the flagship remains on track for release before the end of 2008 and is expected to sell at a price well above the $900 of the Alpha A350 or the $1,300 of the A700 series; battery grips and other accessories common to high-end cameras should be available on launch.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. vasic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Approaching analog

    Now we had reached analogue negative with respect to the image resolution. Studies have determined that a high-quality fine-grain 35mm negative can capture an equivalent of about 20 million dots of colour information (i.e. pixels).

    Next step is to reach the dynamic range. Negative can handle 1000:1 contrast ratio. Digital sensors can resolve 256 levels of gray for each colour. I wonder how many more years until we move from 24-bit colour to something more along the lines of 96 bits?

    Then again, once we print these images on paper, we squeeze them right back to 100:1 anyway (that goes for photo negative printed on photo paper, too). The analogue, film-quality contrast would still be nice for editing, though.

  1. ClevelandAdv

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2004


    Pixels vs grain

    Pixels are actually better a resolving image detail due to the fact that a pixel is a block and grain is more randomly placed. In test performed under studio conditions I have found that anything over 14 MP rivals 35mm film. a 29 MP sensor gives better detail than 6x7 film.

  1. UberFu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2002



    didn't see this one coming at all - when Sony announced the chip last week and folks were speculating on which camera company would be the first to put out a product using Sony's new chip_

    Odd that it was Sony - huh ?

  1. rcfa

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007


    96 bits? 32 bit is plenty

    The idea that because 1000:1 is four times bigger than 256 means the bit depth has to go from 24 to 96 is false.

    First, a negative has an overall contrast ratio (luminance) of 1000:1, and not 1000:1 per color channel.

    But even if the latter were the case, each additional bit in sampling depth doubles the dynamic range. So while 8-bit/channel give you 256 levels of brightness, 10 bits are enough to give 1024 levels.

    The contrast range however only says something about brightness difference between brightest and darkest, but not necessarily about how many different shades between these two extremes can be distinguished. The bit depth talks about that, which means it's a quantity only indirectly related to the contrast.

    Anyway, I think people would be hard pressed to notice more than 1000 distinct levels of brightness in a given picture, so 10-bit/channel is sufficient, which would result in 30-bit RGB images.

    This however assumes a linear mapping. By the time gamma curves are used, the current 8-bit/channel are adequate for final image storage, while 16-bit/channel are great for processing. Given that you can combine multiple exposures into HDR digital pictures, the time when digital outdoes analog has long begun.

    All that's missing is a camera that does HDR images by itself rather than as a post-processing step done by the photographer.

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