The latest addition to Sony's award winning Alpha range of Digital SLR is the A850, a 24.6-megapixel monster that comes packed with features similar to its big brother the A900 but without the price tag.
Apart from sharing the same body, the A850 comes with a 35-mm full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor - the same as the A900 - with dual BIONZ processing engines, a 3-inch LCD monitor plus an Ultra-Bright Viewfinder with a coverage of 98 percent.
Sony has also integrated its antishake functionality, the SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization, which will nicely complement the 3fps shooting capacity. Other nice additions include an intelligent preview function and a Dynamic Range Optimizer to take even nicer pictures.
Thanks to the onboard HDMI port, you will be able to connect it to your full HD television. Furthermore, Sony has judiciously included two memory slots, one for its MS Duo format and the other one for the much more prevalent Compact Flash format.
Expect the camera to be available for around £1225 or less in the UK. In comparison, the A900 (body only) is available for £1699 from Jessops.
Upper midrange DSLRs are coming down in price fairly quickly. £400 from one generation to another is nothing to be sniffed at. Still it is quite interesting to find out that the cheapest Digital SLRs, which are a step up from the normal compact digital cameras, can be had for around £300.