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New Sony Patent Hints At NEX Camera With Translucent Mirrors

When Sony first announced its translucent mirror technology for its Alpha A33 and A55 DSLR cameras, suffice to say it took the entire photography world by storm. And now, it appears that Sony is gearing for its next major headline: a look at certain patents filed by the Japanese electronics giant has revealed that Sony plans to introduce that very same translucent mirror technology into a much smaller camera which suspiciously resembles its current NEX lineup.

Read on to find out more.

Sony’s translucent mirror technology may have took the entire photography world by storm, and for good reason. Having a fixed mirror in a DSLR meant that there was one less moving part in the camera, which translated to a much reduced chance of the device suffering from mechanical failure after extended usage while still reaping the benefits of a blazing-fast phase-detection autofocus.

But of course, everybody has different needs, and suffice to say DSLRs are not necessarily suited for every single photographer out there. That being said, there will undoubtedly be significant interest in a much smaller camera which sports the same translucent mirror technology currently found in Sony’s Alpha A33 and A55 DSLR cameras. And apparently, that is the very thing Sony has in mind, if the certain specific patent application made by the Japanese electronics giant means anything.

According to online reports, Sony had recently filed an application for a patent which describes how the translucent mirror may be used in a smaller camera body which lacks an optical viewfinder. The result is that the user of such a camera will make use of the LCD screen located at the camera’s back to frame and compose the image which is to be taken, thanks to the translucent mirror allowing sufficient light to pass through it and land on the camera’s image sensor, while the trace amounts of light that get reflected by the mirror will be picked up by an autofocusing mechanism. This is similar to how phase-detection autofocusing mechanisms work in DSLRs, and it is clear that Sony is planning on bringing the exact mechanism over to much smaller cameras, which usually rely almost exclusively on contrast detection for autofocusing.

What is interesting, though, is that Sony apparently has plans to tweak the translucent mirror a little in order to ensure that it works well enough to carry out phase-detection autofocus, even under situations where there may be insufficient lighting. According to the patent application, the mirror will be smart enough to identify light produced by a camera’s autofocusing illumination, and will in turn adjust itself to ensure that the autofocus assist light will be reflected at a higher reflectivity level sufficient enough to activate the phase-detection autofocus feature.

That being said, we should point out that a patent application does not necessarily translate to a real product, so whether Sony will ever product a NEX-sized camera with its translucent mirror technology remains to be seen. Still, it will no doubt be something worth looking forward to in the new year, especially if you are a camera enthusiast.

Reference: Electronista

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