Looks like all the prerelease photos and specs were fairly accurate. The Sony Alpha A100 should be out in July with a body only price of $899.00. Another 100 bucks will add the 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 lens that Sony is offering as the standard lens for the A100. the specs look very good — 10.2mps, Super Steady Shot, APS size sensor and a lens mount compatible with existing Minolta AF lenses.
In studying the specs, I’m confident that a lot of people will overlook the anti-dust provision in their excitement over the other goodies Sony has included in this camera. After all, “My new dSLR has 10 megapixels” sounds much more impressive then “My new dSLR has an anti-dust system.”
But experienced dSLR owners will appreciate the anti-dust feature in the A100. Those coming from a film SLR or a fixed lens digital camera probably won’t give it much thought. That’s because fixed lens digi-cams are well sealed against dust as is the film in a conventional SLR. If some foreign matter does make it to the film plane of a SLR, it would be removed as soon as the camera was wound to expose a new piece of film.
Unlike film, the sensor in a dSLR doesn’t move, so if dust or hairs wind up on the sensor they can remain there forever, causing specs to appear on every image taken with the camera. With a conventional SLR, it was common to brush away any foreign matter with a camel’s hair brush. But dSLR sensors are susceptible to damage and an ordinary brush is definitely to be avoided. There are some special kits available that will allow you to clean your dSLR sensor, (Visible Dust) but most Pros simply send the camera body to a service center to be cleaned. I have a friend who has regularly had to ship his dSLR to the factory for cleaning. It is expensive and leaves you without the camera for whatever time it takes to get it cleaned. That’s why the anti-dust system may just be one of the A-100’s most important features.
Olympus pioneered the first digital camera anti-dust system, but as yet there isn’t a similar dust preventive system for Sony’s two main competitors –Nikon and Canon. I’m sure both companies have something in the works — but Sony will feature anti-dust right out of the gate — which should help Sony achieve market penetration.
Of course there a a couple of variables — first we need to know how well Sony’s combination of anti-static coating and sensor shaking works, and secondly it remains to be seen how many potential dSLR purchasers understand the importance of anti-dust technology.
If the system works as advertised — and customers come to understand that the potential for dust on their sensors is greater for the primary competitors, Sony’s anti-dust system just might be the factor that pushes the Alpha A100 over the top.