Sony Announces new NEX-5R with Hybrid AF System and Suite of PlayMemories Camera and Mobile Apps

sony_NEX-5R_front_wSEL1855_WH-550.jpgSony has just announced the new NEX-5R mirrorless interchangeable lens camera to enhance their existing NEX Camera Lineup. The new Sony NEX-5R uses a newly developed 16.1 Megapixel HD CMOS EXMOR Sensor that contains a lot of new technology. Not only can the new Sony take Still Photos, but it can record high quality video in a variety of modes, including 1080p super-smooth 60p, standard 60i or cinematic 24p, all at Full HD 1920×1080 resolution.

This new model contains a host of new features, including a new Hybrid Autofocus System that uses 99 phase-detection AF points arrayed on the image sensor to detect a subject's distance and quickly lock focus on it, and then uses contrast-detection AF to confirm extremely fine, precise details.

The new Hybrid AF design allows users to track rapidly moving subjects via Phase Detect AF, as you would normally find in a dSLR model versus a Mirrorless Compact Camera. Sony is not the only one to integrate the Phase Detect AF Sensors into the main Imaging Sensor, so that no separate AF Sensor is needed to provide faster Focus. This is similar to the Hybrid AF technology we saw introduced in Nikon's 1 Series cameras, like the recently announced J2, which has 73 AF points on the main imaging sensor used for Phase Detect AF.

In Speed Priority Continuous Shooting Mode, the Sony NEX-5R switches to Phase Detect AF Tracking automatically using it's 99 AF points to maintain accurate focus on a subject while taking photos at up to 10 frames per second. That's the kind of performance you normally see from a high end Professional Grade dSLR, not from a smaller Compact Camera model like the NEX-5R. The evolution of technology we're seeing in newer cameras like this is amazing.

The new Sony 5R also includes WiFi, a feature we're beginning to see in more newer cameras now, along with a touch screen interface built into the tilting LCD. If you have a Smart Phone or Tablet running iOS or Android, you'll be pleased to know that you can upload photos to your Mobile Device directly from the 5R. In addition, content can be directly uploaded to FaceBook.

Thanks to Sony's new PlayMemories Mobile App for Android and iOS, you can also remote control the NEX-5R using your mobile device, and even send content from the Phone to DLNA enabled TVs and devices like some of the Sony Bravia TV Models. The advances in technology making it easy to share content between multiple devices is a welcome addition to digital cameras like this new Sony.

Sony has also announced a new PlayMemories Camera and Mobile app suite that will be available for the NEX-5R and future models. This new app will let users download new applications to the camera. For example, at launch, camera owners can download apps for Picture Effect+; Bracket Pro, Multi Frame NR, Photo Retouch, and Smart Remote Control (the application that lets you control your camera from a smart phone or tablet running iOS or Android). A variety of other apps including Time-Lapse and Cinematic Photo are also planned for release soon.

As part of this product launch, Sony has also announced a content sharing service called PlayMemories Online. That way, users of the NEX-5R can upload photos and videos directly to a Cloud based storage offering for sharing of content with others. The Content stored in PlayMemories Online will also be viewable on newer Sony Bravia Series TVs,

On top of this, Sony announced a new PlayMemories Studio, that includes features that let you view videos and photos on a PlayStation3, as well as the ability to output images to Sony's 4K Televisions like the new Sony Bravia XBR084x900 4K LED TV PlayMemories Studio also lets you upload content to YouTube and PlayMemories Online.

We are pleased at the direction we see Sony moving toward with its new Sony NEX-5R and PlayMemories service offerings, and can't wait to get our hands on one for testing.

Make sure to see our Sony NEX-5R Preview here.