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2007.09.06

Sony Alpha A700Just as predicted, Sony announced their 12 megapixels cropped-sensor DSLR. This is now the second consumer-grade 12 megapixels DSLR, after the recently announced Nikon D300. Note that there are already several professional 12 megapixels DSLRs: the Canon EOS 5D, the Nikon D3, the Nikon D2Xs and the Nikon D2X. All these professional models are significantly more expensive than the not-yet-available Sony A700 and Nikon D300.

Last year we saw five 10 megapixels DSLRs, followed by four additional models earlier this year. Among those, Nikon was first in the race with its D200 and Sony was second with the Alpha A100. Between this year and next, we are likely to see a similar sequence among 12 megapixels DSLR cameras. Nikon already made the first announcement with their D300 and Sony the second with their Alpha A700. In all likelyhood, Pentax will announce a 12 megapixels DSLR before the year’s end. It will probably share the same sensor as the Sony A700 and the Nikon D300, since Pentax usually uses Sony sensors.

Pentax being third would certainly give them an edge compared to last year. Among 10 megapixels DSLR cameras, only Panasonic announced later than Pentax. In fact, Panasonic has yet to ship a 10 megapixels DSLR. That means that Panasonic may be last again. Since Canon just announced a 10 megapixels DSLR, the EOS 40D, it is likely Canon will take the place of Pentax in the race for 12 megapixels. Of course, nothing stops them from announcing a 12 megapixels Rebel soon. Also Canon has the habit of shipping products shortly after announcing them, so they may not be last to ship, even if they announce later.

Although going to 12 megapixels is important for marketing, the most significant advancement this years is continuous drive speed. All recently announced DSLRs shoot continuously at 5 FPS or faster. The 12 megapixels models also sport larger 3″ LCD screens with 922K pixels. Although the Nikon D300 and Sony Alpha A700 have a lot in common, these two cameras are sophisticated in very different ways, thus making choosing between them quite dilemma for those without an existing investment in lenses. Since Pentax is about to bring its own variation into the mix, I predict that we will need a 12 megapixels DSLR comparison article soon!

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