Sony has unveiled its first digital SLR, a 10.2 million pixel model called the a (alpha) 100 which will be compatible with Konica Minolta A-type bayonet mount lenses.

Boasting an APS-C size CCD imaging sensor the a (pronounced ?alpha?) 100 includes an image stabilisation system called Super SteadyShot which is designed to shift the image sensor to help compensate for camera shake. Sony claims this allows shutter speeds of up to 3.5 stops slower to be used.

Sony expects the camera to carry a body-only UK street price of £599.

Speaking at this morning?s European press launch (held in Marrakesh, Morroco) a Sony UK spokesman said he expects the camera to also be available with an 18-70mm lens in a kit priced £699; as well as in a twin-lens kit costing £849.

Due to land in Europe in July, the a100 includes an anti-dust feature which aims to dislodge dust particles from the imaging sensor when the camera is switched off. This system is designed to minimise the effect of dust entering the camera body when changing lenses. In addition, the CCD imaging sensor includes a coating which is designed to avoid static build-up by aiming to stop dust from sticking to the sensor.

The camera uses Dynamic Range Optimiser (DRO) technology (understood to be a hardware-based system) to ensure, according to Sony, ?perfectly exposed pictures, especially when shooting high-contrast or strongly backlit scenes that can lead to loss of highlight and shadow detail?.

And it incorporates an image processing engine called ?Bionz? which aims to deliver reduced noise levels and faithful colour reproduction.

The camera ? which has a built-in flash ? is built to shoot RAW and JPEG format images simultaneously (at 3fps for up to three frames).

The camera deploys a 40-segment Honeycomb pattern metering system. Centreweighted and spot metering is also possible.

Sony claims it has a maximum ISO sensitivity of ISO 1600.

The a100 boasts a top shutter speed of 1/4000sec, white balance adjustment and sRGB and Adobe RGB colour space. We believe it is compatible with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed and that the pentaprism viewfinder delivers a 95% field of view.

Sony has confirmed that it will launch more than 20 lenses ? including Carl Zeiss optics this year.

Product support will be available at

The full UK spec had not been released at the time of writing.

? Further details will appear in next week?s AP, in shops on 13 June.