Sony said it would launch a new digital single lens reflex camera for advanced users in November, broadening its product lineup in a move to take on industry leaders Canon and Nikon.
Single lens reflex (SLR) cameras, the fastest-growing segment of the digital camera market, are high-end models with interchangeable lenses, as opposed to point-and-shoot compact cameras.
The new model, called "DSLR-A700," which comes with 12.24 megapixel resolution and is expected to sell for about 180,000 yen ($1,560), is Sony's second digital SLR camera after an entry model (Alpha 100) launched in July 2006.
In addition to the high-resolution images, the camera is also capable of shooting at up to five frames per second in full resolution. The only limit on the number of shots that can be taken at this speed is the space left on the camera's CompactFlash or MemoryStick card.
An unusual feature on the A700 is an HDMI connector.The connector allows the camera to be directly connected to a high-definition television for viewing of images. New model Bravia televisions can automatically detect the A700 when it's connected and switch the TV to a mode tuned for the display of still images.
At the rear of the camera the 230,000 pixel monitor screen of the A100 has been replaced with a display that has four times the resolution. The 920,000 pixel screen also has higher contrast.
The Tokyo-based electronics and entertainment conglomerate is the world's second-largest digital camera maker behind Canon but lags also behind Nikon in the digital SLR camera market.
Sony aims to raise its market share in the digital SLR camera market to 10 percent with the help of the new model from about 7 percent now, said Keiichi Ishizuka, deputy senior general manager at Sony's digital imaging business group.
Sony plans to make 30,000 units of the new SLR camera in September, the first month of production, and 20,000 in each of the following months, Ishizuka said.
Besides the entry model and the mid-range model just unveiled, Sony plans to offer a top-end, flagship model as early as the business year starting next April, covering the full digital SLR camera market.