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Sony's up-market camera push (photos)

At Photokina, Sony announced an advanced translucent-mirror camera to come and a host of lenses to flesh out its NEX line of higher-end compacts. Here's a look at the lineup.

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Stephen Shankland
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Stephen Shankland
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1 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Proving a point: Sony's NEX camera adaptability

COLOGNE, Germany--At the Photokina show here, Sony made the case that its new NEX cameras should be taken seriously. Although only three lenses are available for the NEX family's E mount, adapters let people attach all manner of lenses to the compact cameras, including this bellows option.
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2 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sony's 2011 NEX lens plans

Sony's compact, higher-end NEX cameras use the proprietary E mount to attach lenses, and only three are available for the new camera family today. To expand the line, Sony plans to release four more in 2011: a wide-angle, fixed focal length design with Carl Zeiss optics; a telephoto zoom; a macro lens; and a portrait lens.
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3 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sony's 2012 NEX lens plans

This trio of prototype NEX camera lenses, due to arrive in functioning form in 2012, consist of a high-performance standard zoom, a wide-angle zoom, and a mid-range telephoto.
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4 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Turo Katsumoto, head of Sony's Alpha camera business

Turo Katsumoto, head of Sony's Alpha business, at a press conference at the Photokina show in Germany.
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5 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

500mm supertele mode

Sony has been showing off supertelephoto lenses for years now to highlight its SLR ambitions, but this 500mm F4 model appears to be getting closer to reality. At left is a skeletal version; toward the right the painted equivalent. Sony's SLRs use the A mount inherited from the Konica Minolta line the company bought. A new line, Sony's translucent-mirror models that lack an SLR's flip-up mirror and optical viewfinder, also use the A mount.
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6 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sony 500mm supertelephoto controls

A closer view of the controls on Sony's 500mm supertelephoto lens prototype.
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7 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Translucent-lens prototype

This prototype at Photokina shows a planned new advanced model in Sony's translucent-mirror line that today includes the a33 and a55. The new model should arrive within a year.
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8 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sony's flash prototype

Sony also is working on a new flash. A prototype of the swiveling design was on display at Photokina. Also on the accessory list is a new vertical grip for translucent-mirror camera models.
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9 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

NEX E-mount roadmap

Sony committed to new E-mount lenses for its NEX line of cameras.
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10 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

NEX camera lens converters prototypes

These add-on converter prototypes show Sony's plans for endowing lenses with a wide-angle and fisheye look.
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11 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sony NEX flash prototype

To flesh out the NEX range, Sony plans a flash tailored for the compact cameras.
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12 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sony's NEX Frankenstein camera

Novoflex's adapter let older Olympus and Canon lenses be grafted onto Sony's NEX cameras. A more realistic combination likely would be Sony's own A-mount lenses from its SLRs. With a firmware update scheduled for October, NEX cameras will be able to take advantage of A-mount lenses with autofocus support.
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13 of 13 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Leitz on NEX

Old and new: a Leitz lens shown attached to an NEX camera with an adapter.

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