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Sony continues to forge a mighty path into the increasingly competitive world of DSLRs in the form of the Sony Alpha a560. The big news about the a560 is that after pushing off video capture in their DSLRs until they (Sony) felt it was genuinely user friendly, the a560 records 1080p HD video with stereo sound. And while they were at it, they threw in still capture at burst rates of up to 7 frames per second. Heavens love ya', Sony!
The new Sony Alpha a560 is designed around a 14.2-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and yet another incarnation of their BIONZ image processor, which according to Sony should get a polite round of applause in upping the frame rate to 7 frames per second in Speed Priority mode (up to 5 fps when using optical finder, and 3 fps in Quick AF Live View mode). To better ensure sharp images regardless of how fast you're shooting, the a560 features a new TTL 15 point phase-detection autofocus system with 3 cross sensors (11-point through the optical finder).
As for composing and viewing images, users have the choice of the a560's pentamirror optical finder or truly bright 3" TFT Xtra Fine LCD, which sports 921,600-dots of resolving power. The LCD can be tilted for optimal viewing. For critical focusing on the LCD, the a560 features a Focus Check Live mode. For the record, the optical finder displays about 95% of the total image area and the LCD displays 100% of the total image area.
The new Sony a560 also includes a short list of features (and updated versions of these features) that have become the hallmark of all Alpha cameras, including Sweep Panarama mode and 3D Sweep Panarama mode, that enable 3D viewing of your wide-field imagery of 3D-capable HDTVs, and Auto HDR, which combines the best data out of 3 rapidly captured images into a single, fuller-toned image. Taking this concept one step further, the a560 also features a mode tagged Multi-frame Noise Reduction, which stacks six quickly-captured frames and combines the best data of the bunch into a single optimized image under any lighting conditions throughout the entire ISO, which in the case of the a560 is 100–12,800, and expandable to ISO 25,600 in NR mode.
Stills can be captured as JPEGs or RAW as well as a combination of JPEG+RAW, in a choice of sRGB or Adobe RGB, and recorded onto your choice of SD, SDHC, SDXC, as well as Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo and Pro HG Duo. Image stabilization is made possible courtesy of Sony's SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization, which enables sharp imagery with all Sony and Minolta AF lenses.