Slt-a65_a77_onp_body-224x128Sony has announced several new hybrid still/video cameras, and they've got a number of innovative features to go with impressive specs. The flagship camera, the $1,399 A77, might just be the first significant new camera in the HDSLR market in quite some time -- if it delivers on its numbers. First off, the 24MP camera goes from 1080p/24p all the way up to 1080p/60p (NTSC models; PAL cameras go up to 50p) and is based around the newer AVCHD 2.0 standard (which ranges from 17Mbps up to 28Mbps). The A65 and NEX7 use the same APS-C sized sensor and retain these same specs. Sony's bringing a number of intriguing new features to the table as well.

Sony-a77-front-728-75-224x219The A77 has a number of innovations that will be new to Canon/Nikon shooters: first off, it has a fixed, translucent mirror that enables an electronic viewfinder to be used while shooting video. This viewfinder is an OLED unit at 1024x768 resolution and is apparently incredibly sharp. The translucent mirror also allows phase-detection autofocus that should be several times faster than most other HDSLRs to date. The cam's also got a neat tilt-and-swivel LCD screen, that allows for self-, low-, and side-angle shooting. And there's a built-in GPS.

I know what you're looking for: a video review of the camera in German. Well, I have just the thing for you! It is subtitled in English, though, and in HD:

Is it just me or do many of those shots seem overexposed and washed-out?

The A77 shoots at an incredibly fast 12FPS, which you'll note is half that of 24p video -- it's hard to imagine what a 24MP sensor shooting at 24FPS (with a mechanical shutter) would look like. Here's a look at the A77 and its cheaper cousin, the A65, from Engadget:

So, how's the video look? Hard to tell at this point. Here are a couple of clips from Engadget showing off the autofocus speed, but they inexplicably used the lower-quality 1440x1080i 12Mbit MPEG-4 codec instead of the higher-resolution progressive AVCHD codec. Yes, that's aliasing in the first clip, but would it be there at 1080p? There's also plenty of jellocam:

The video doesn't look particularly cinematic, but... slap some prime lenses on the camera (though there are questions as to which lenses will adapt to the A77), use the better codec, and then let's talk.

Sony A65

2011-08-24-slt-a65flashupwsal1855-1200-224x218The Sony A65 keeps most of the A77's features, dropping the fully-articulating LCD in favor of a more simple tilt-only screen. The A65's has 4 less AF points (15 instead of 19), no secondary text LCD, and no support for a vertical grip. However, it apparently supports all of the video features of the A77, and comes in at a $900 (body only) price. Will it be better for filmmakers than the Canon T3i? Again, it's going to depend on the video quality. We'll know more when it ships in October; actually, we'll probably know more much sooner, as more footage is sure to come out.

Sony NEX-7

Sony-nex-7-224x187As for the more compact NEX-7, it will apparently offer full manual control in video mode along with 24p video, for a $1,200 list price ($1,350 including kit lens). It's got the same 24MP sensor, OLED viewfinder, and 1080p/60p capabilities. Here are a couple of promo videos:

More on the VG20 in a post right after this. The A77 and A65 should be shipping in October and the NEX-7 in November. What do you think?