Sony Alpha Digital Cameras
First introduced in 2006, the Sony Alpha series is Sonys primary range of interchangeable lens digital cameras. Originally made up of DSLRs, it is now primarily a range of mirrorless cameras.
Which Sony Alpha Cameras Can I Choose From?
- The original Alpha cameras were Sony DSLRs equipped with the Sony A mount. This range, produced between 2006 and 2011, included full-frame cameras like the A850 as well as APS-C cameras like the A300.
- Sony SLT cameras like the A99 use a semi-transparent pellicle mirror to illuminate both a phase-detection autofocus sensor as well as the main imaging sensor, which is connected to an electronic viewfinder.
- Since 2010, Sony mirrorless cameras have become an increasingly important part of the Sony Alpha lineup. Sonys mirrorless lineup includes APS-C format entry-level and enthusiast cameras like the original NEX-3 and A5000 as well as advanced full-frame cameras like the A7 II.
Which Features Should I Look For?
- Sensor size has a major effect on the images you capture. Larger sensors allow shorter depth of field and perform better in low light, while smaller sensors allow for smaller camera bodies and lenses. Sony Alpha cameras are available with full frame sensors or the smaller APS-C format.
- Megapixel count is one of the key specifications for digital cameras. Higher resolution images are clearer, sharper and can be displayed at larger sizes.
- Body size and ergonomics can have a significant effect on how easy it is to use a camera. Larger cameras can be easier to grip depending on design, but smaller ones are lighter and easier to transport. Find a camera that fits your hands is a very personal choice.
Which Lenses Can I Use With Sony Alpha Cameras?
There are two primary groups of Sony camera lenses: E-mount lenses and A-mount lenses. The right type to choose depends on which Sony camera you have.
- Sony DSLRs and SLT cameras are equipped with the Sony A-mount. Sony made both full frame and APS-C A-mount lenses. Full frame lenses can be used on APS-C cameras, but APS-C lenses cast too small an image circle for full frame cameras. A-mount lenses can also be used with Sonys mirrorless cameras with the right Sony adapter.
- Sony mirrorless cameras use the Sony E-mount. Like Sonys A-mount lenses, Sony E-mount lenses can be built for either full frame or APS-C cameras. E lenses are designed for APS-C cameras, while FE lenses are designed for full frame but can also be used on APS-C models. While E lenses can be used on full frame cameras like the A7, they will automatically crop the image to avoid vignetting, reducing image resolution.
- In both the A-mount and E-mount ecosystems, Sony has tended to release their more advanced, professional-oriented lenses for full frame cameras. However, both full frame and APS-C camera users have access to a wide range of prime and zoom lenses at a variety of focal lengths and apertures.