Sony have just announced the release of the NEX-5 and NEX-3 compact interchangeable lens digital cameras which are reported to provide the quality of a digital SLR in a compact body, easy to slip into a small purse or jacket pocket for ultimate portability. They are on sale in the UK from 1 June. Pricing for the NEX-5 starts at £550 and the NEX-3 £500.

These cameras also offer a breakthrough in video performance being the world's first interchangeable lens cameras with an APS-C sensor to continuously adjust focus and exposure while recording HD video.

Unlike conventional DSLR models, the "mirrorless" construction of the new models reduces the thickness of both camera bodies to just about an inch at their slimmest point (excluding grip and mount portions). The NEX-5, constructed from magnesium alloy, and the NEX-3, with a polycarbonate casing, offer a newly developed 14.2 megapixel Exmorâ„¢ APS HD CMOS sensor which is about 60 percent larger than the sensor in micro four-thirds cameras. Sony state that this sensor is key to the exceptional image quality, extremely low image noise and creative defocus background effects that are familiar to DSLR users.

Sony is also currently developing a new AVCHD high-definition camcorder with an interchangeable lens system compatible with the interchangeable lenses developed for these new models, as well as many "A Mount" interchangeable lenses currently used by the existing DSLR camera lineup via a mount adapter.

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The move towards Still & Video combinations seems to be gathering momentum. Any thoughts?