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Making entry-level more appealing is Sony's Alpha a68 DSLR Camera which offers many features found in bigger, pricier options, but in a compact and well-designed format. Key improvements to image quality come from the implementation of a 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor and the BIONZ X processor, which combine their energies to produce highly detailed images at sensitivities up to ISO 25600 and at continuous rates up to 8 fps. Also, thanks to the use of Sony's Translucent Mirror Technology, continuous AF can be maintained during shooting and now with the 4D FOCUS system integrated into this model. This system is speedy and accurate, utilizing a wide array of 79 phase-detect AF points with 15 cross-type points that work at down to -2 EV.
Benefitting image quality is SteadyShot INSIDE, which offers a sensor-shift type image stabilization to limit the effects of camera shake. This in-body system also has the advantage of being compatible with all A-mount lenses as it doesn't have to rely on lens designs providing the IS. In addition to stills, the a68 offers Full HD 1080p video at 30 fps using the efficient XAVC S format at 50 Mbps for high quality filmmaking needs. Additionally, video has accurate and fast constant tracking AF through the use of the Translucent Mirror Technology.
The body design has received a major upgrade with the addition of a top display panel and a rear control wheel that make viewing and changing settings a much more intuitive process. Composing images has multiple options, including a 0.39" 1,440k-dot OLED Tru-Finder for real-time imaging with rich color and contrast. For a larger viewing area, the 2.7" 460.8k-dot rear LCD is available and can tilt up or down for working in unusual shooting positions.
Included with the camera body is the DT 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM II lens, which provides a 27-82.5mm equivalent focal length range to cover wide-angle to portrait-length perspectives. This lens features a Smooth Autofocus Motor (SAM) to offer quick and quiet performance that benefits video recording and subject tracking. In regard to the lens construction, two aspherical elements and one extra-low dispersion glass element are incorporated to help reduce spherical and chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range while also helping to produce sharper, clearer imagery.
24.2MP APS-C Exmor Sensor and BIONZ X Image Processor
The 24.2MP APS-C-sized Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor work together to produce high resolution, well-detailed imagery with minimal noise and notable low-light quality and sensitivity to ISO 25600. The sensor utilizes a gapless on-chip lens design, which fills the gaps between neighboring pixels with optimized lenses that match the angle of incidence to increase light gathering ability and produce edge-to-edge sharpness and quality. Detail reproduction technology works to increase the fine detail rendering capabilities for a more three-dimensional, realistic image quality while diffraction-reducing technology helps to enhance the optical qualities of any lens by suppressing diffraction that is common when working at smaller apertures. The BIONZ X processor also contributes to providing a wealth of speed throughout the camera system, including a top continuous shooting rate of 8 fps and full HD 1080p video recording in multiple frame rates.
Translucent Mirror Technology
Translucent Mirror Technology is a design that enables the mirror to continuously direct light to both image and autofocus sensors to provide continuous phase- and contrast-detection focusing for quick and precise performance. The additional speed afforded to the camera by eliminating the need for a swinging mirror benefits many shooting features including the fast continuous shooting rate, continuous focusing when shooting movies and working in continuous shooting modes, and also allows for the use of a high resolution electronic viewfinder for eye-level live view monitoring.
SteadyShot INSIDE Image Stabilization
SteadyShot INSIDE sensor-shift type image stabilization helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake with any mounted lens when recording still images, with the results visible in both the EVF and on the rear LCD monitor. When recording video, electronic image stabilization is available to reduce camera shake.
79-Point Wide-Coverage AF System
Complementing the imaging abilities, an equally apt phase-detection autofocus system, coupled with the Translucent Mirror Technology, provides fast and full-time continuous focusing performance to suit working in nearly any environment, even in lighting conditions as dim as -2 EV. Subject tracking is benefitted by the expansive 79 AF point array, which incorporates 15 centrally-located cross-type points for added precision in the most frequently used portion of the image frame. A centrally-located horizontal f/2.8 AF point is also incorporated within this array, and overlaps another AF point, to better support the use of large-aperture lenses. Also benefitting subject tracking, an enhanced flexible spot function utilizes eight focus points surrounding a chosen point to maintain focus on moving subjects if the main, selected point loses focus.
For further refinement, a series of distinct AF modes can be selected from depending on the subject. Eye AF is a detail-oriented focusing function that can prioritize a subject's pupil and dedicate focusing performance on that for sharply-rendered portraits; Lock-on AF is a dedicated focusing method for use with moving subjects and adjusts the target frame size as the subject moves throughout the image frame; and AF Range Control permits the selection of a dedicated focusing distance range for faster performance and greater accuracy. Additionally, five-step AF Tracking Duration allows the setting of focus speed and performance based on the specific scene type and subject matter.
Full HD Video Recording
Full HD 1080p video recording is supported at both 30 and 24 fps frame rates to produce high resolution movies with a smooth, cinematic look. Full HD videos are recorded using the high-quality 50 Mbps XAVC S format with options for using the AVCHD codec, while 1440 x 1080, 1280 x 720, and 640 x 480 formats are also supported in the Internet-friendly MP4 format. When recording in AVCHD, audio is recorded in the AC-3 Dolby Digital format and, instead of the built-in stereo microphone; an optional external microphone can be utilized for higher quality sound recording. Additionally, audio levels can be monitored and adjusted during recording for more exacting control.
OLED Tru-Finder and Tilting LCD Screen
For image monitoring and review, both a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and a rear tilting LCD monitor are incorporated into the camera's design. The XGA OLED Tru-Finder is a 0.39" 1,440k-dot EVF, which provides 100% frame coverage with a high eye point, wide viewing angle, and accurate color representation. Due to the Translucent Mirror Technology, this viewfinder can be used at all times and offers real-time monitoring of changes to exposure, Picture Effects, and focus settings.
For larger-scale monitoring, a 2.7" 460.8k-dot LCD is also available and features a tilting design to benefit working from high and low angles. This tilting design allows users to tilt it upwards 135° and downwards 55°.
Surrounding the imaging components is a durable body which features both a rear and front control dial, as well as a top control panel for quick access to settings. Ten different customizable buttons can be configured to control a wide variety of assignable functions while a Memory Recall function on the mode dial can be used to recall up to three sets of distinct exposure settings.
A Multi Interface Shoe has also been incorporated into the camera's design, which, aside from permitting the use of optional external flashes, also provides support for a range of accessories, including video lights and external microphones.
DT 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM II Lens
The included 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens has a 27-82.5mm equivalent focal length range and features a portable design that makes it ideal for use in a wide variety of shooting situations. The integrated SAM (Smooth Autofocus Motor) provides quiet, quick, and precise focusing that suits both still and video applications, as well as tracking of moving subjects. Additionally, this lens features a refined rear element shade that helps to minimize internal surface reflections and prevent flare and ghosting in order to produce clear, contrast-rich imagery.
Other Camera Features
An advanced 1200-zone evaluative exposure metering sensor delivers consistent and accurate results using multi-segment, center-weighted, or spot metering modes.
Eye AF function will lock onto subjects eyes and track them during shooting ensuring portraits are always tack sharp.
Auto Object Framing is an intelligent shooting mode that can automatically analyze the scene and subjects within it and determine an aesthetically-pleasing composition. The subsequent imagery will be cropped according to subject matter, resulting in a well-balanced composition that utilizes Face Detection and Tracking Focus to ensure high image quality and sharpness.
Clear Image Zoom can be used to magnify the center of scenes by 2x to effectively extend the reach of any focal length lens. This digital zoom technology uses an intelligent interpolation process to minimize the amount of image degradation in order to produce realistic, high-quality images.
Multi Frame NR records consecutive images at a reduced ISO sensitivity and then composites them into a single image to realize higher effective sensitivity with minimal image noise. Standard image compositing is comprised of four exposures and High image compositing utilizes 12 distinct exposures.
Creative Style settings provide control over how the camera processes images based on six different predetermined styles: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, and B&W. Within these settings, contrast, saturation, and sharpness can also be adjusted depending on personal preference.
Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) works to improve images featuring backlit subjects or scenes with high contrast where details can be lost in the shadows or highlights. This mode can be controlled automatically or fine-tuned using five settings.
Center-Weighted Average Metering, Multi-Zone Metering, Spot Metering
Modes: Aperture Priority, Auto, Continuous Advance Priority AE, Manual, Memory Recall, Movie, Programmed Auto, Scene Selection, Shutter Priority, Sweep Panorama Compensation: -5 EV to +5 EV (in 1/3 or 1/2 EV Steps)
Up to 8 fps at 24 MP
White Balance Modes
Auto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Color Temperature Filter, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (Cool White), Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm White), Incandescent, Shade