Sony's next professional camera could have a fixed translucent mirror and an EVF according to Yasuyuki Nagata, Sony Imaging Division Deputy Senior General Manager. He said that Sony is 'seriously considering a professional-level SLT camera', however, 'the company will listen to what its customers demand' before it can reveal its next step.
Nagata was speaking exclusively to TechRadar's Angela Nicholson at Sony's recent press launch of the Alpha 77, Alpha 65, NEX-5N and NEX-7 in Athens. His comment followed what was later claimed to be a 'lost in translation slip' in which Sony Europe's President, Fujio Nishida, appeared to say that the company was also about to launch a full-frame camera.
For the moment Sony is staying tight-lipped on its plans to replace its only current full-frame DSLR, the Alpha 900, which was launched back in September 2008. However, with Sony now offering APS-C format cameras with 24.3 million pixels, it seems only a matter of time before the 24.6Mp Alpha 900 is updated.
If Sony was to use the same translucent mirror technology in the Sony A900's replacement, it would be the first full-frame camera to feature an electronic viewfinder (EVF). This would be a bold step by Sony, but the company is currently leading the pack in EVF development.
Unlike SLRs, which have a mirror that must be lifted out of the light-path to allow an image to be captured, Sony's SLT (single lens translucent) cameras have a fixed translucent mirror that allows 70% of the light to pass through it to reach the imaging sensor. The other 30% of the light is directed towards the auto focus sensor.
A key advantage of Sony's SLT cameras is that they allow the faster phase detection auto focus system to be used while images are composed on the main screen using live view technology, and during video shooting. Single lens reflex (SLR) cameras can only use contrast detection auto focus in live view and video mode without interrupting the feed.
Another advantage of having a fixed mirror is that faster continuous shooting is possible.