Full frame, full-fat 24.6 megapixel sensor and a fully sick blow to your wallet await.
Just when consumers might have thought that DSLRs were heading into the "everyone can afford one" territory, Sony's announced a new model in its Alpha range that, while technically impressive, will leave a substantial dent in your wallet along the way. How much of a crevasse will it create? Well, leaving aside any lens that you might want to stick on the new α900, you'll be looking at getting one dollar's change out of four and a half grand. Quite why companies continue to price things at "99" eludes us once you get this pricey, but that's probably not the point.
So what is the point? Well, the α900's big claim to fame is that it joins the elite club of DSLRs that feature a full frame sensor, exactly equivalent to that of a genuine 35mm film camera. It also boasts the highest megapixel resolution of any full-frame DSLR ever, at a whopping 24.6 megapixels. Just the thing for taking photographs of the moon... and then printing them at a 1:1 ratio.
Sony's also touting the α900 as being particularly sensitive to vibration, with inbuilt anti-shake system in the camera body. Sony, being Sony, dubs it with its own name, "SteadyShot", and claims that the α900 has four levels of anti-shake -- sorry, "SteadyShot" -- correction on board, and it'll even use the same mechanism to shake dust off the sensor every time that the α900 is powered down.
The α900 features not only a full-frame sensor, but also a full frame optical viewfinder, so that (so Sony claims) what you see is exactly what you'll shoot. Autofocus comes with a dual-cross nine point AF system, and a variety of creative shooting modes are available. The α900 is both Memory Stick and CompactFlash compatible, and Sony reckons you'll be able to fire off "approximately" 880 images with a fully charged battery.
One area where the α900 could be seen as a touch limited is in ISO sensitivity, where it tops out at ISO 6400. While competing models go much higher, there's often either a loss in resolution, or a huge jump in noise, making higher models technically capable but functionally useless; it'll be interesting to see how the α900 competes in this area.
You can drool over the α900's full specifications here
, but don't ask us how you're going to afford one. There are some things even APCMag.com can't help you with.