It’s been more than a year since Sony released an A-mount camera—the Alpha 77 II$848.00 at Amazon— and some have speculated that Sony was ignoring A-mount cameras in favor of its mirorrless E-mount system. But a new model announced today, the Alpha 68, provides some evidence to the contrary—as long as you’re shopping for a camera in Europe. It hasn’t yet been announced for sale in North America.
The Alpha 68, which is an update to aged Alpha 65 based on its specifications, features a 24-megapixel APS-C image sensor, a fixed mirror and OLED electronic viewfinder, and a brand new autofocus system.
That’s the most exciting aspect. Sony is calling it 4D Focus, and it promises to deliver accurate tracking at 8fps, thanks in part to a 79-point phase detect autofocus sensor. The fixed-mirror design certainly helps here—light passes through the semitransparent mirror to the sensor, so there’s no mechanical system necessary to raise and lower it with every shot—and because the phase detect sensor is always receiving light it can continue to track subjects as you shoot. A byproduct of this is that focus in Live View mode is just as fast as when peering through the viewfinder, regardless of whether you’re shooting still images or video.
Video is a bit disappointing here. Sony has put 4K into recent models, including the Alpha 7R II$3,198.00 at BUYDIG.com, but the Alpha 68 tops out at 1080p60 capture. It does use XAVC S at 50Mbps, which has proven to deliver excellent video in the past, but without the extreme resolution and fidelity that 4K brings.
The rear LCD is a 2.7-inch panel that can tilt 135 degrees up or 55 degrees down. There’s no selfie mode, but it is a plus for videographers and photographers, especially when grabbing low-angle shots on a tripod.
Alpha SLRs use in-body image stabilization—Sony calls the tech SteadyShot Inside—so any lens attached will benefit from stabilization. That’s a plus for capturing stills at longer shutter speeds, as well as recording handheld video.
The Alpha 68 is priced at €600 as a body only, or at €700 with an 18-55mmlens.
We’ll see if Sony decides to market the Alpha 68 stateside; the last camera that it announced abroad, the Alpha 7 II$1,698.00 at WalMart, came to the U.S. a week after its launch in Japan. But a representative from Sony Electronics US states that they cannot comment about any potential U.S. launch at this time.