updated 09:25 pm EDT, Mon May 10, 2010
Sony Alpha NEX3 and NEX5 shown in full
Sony's unveiling of its first mirrorless Alpha camera was spoiled early tonight as both a spec sheet from Unwire as well as prematurely revealed first looks (one, two) from Quesabesde have confirmed the existences of the NEX3 and NEX5. Both carry 14.2-megapixel, APS-C sized CMOS sensors and serve as balances between full SLRs and compacts. Either relies on a simplified, articulating touchscreen as the primary interface but still has full manual control over the shot, including RAW.
The two perform above point-and-shoots in most respects. Light sensitivity reaches up to ISO 12,800 with relatively low noise; they can also shoot quickly, at up to 7 frames per second. Either can capture video, though the NEX3 tops out at 720p where the NEX5 can record in 1080i.
Sony has taken an unusual approach to flash and doesn't build the flash into the body, but does bundle an external flash as standard. Other adapters can replace the flash with an electronic viewfinder or a stereo microphone for better sound in video recording. An HDMI output supplies a native resolution preview.
Pricing is only available in euros so far but will start relatively low for the category, as the NEX3 should cost 500 euros ($643) with a 16mm f2.8 pancake lens where the NEX5 will have a minimum price of 600 euros ($772). Sony will have kits available with an 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 zoom lens, an 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 ultrazoom, and two-lens 16mm and 18-55mm bundles for both models in most cases. The pair should go on sale in June and are likely to get American pricing very soon. [via Sony Alpha Rumors]
ISO 12,800 sample