Sony Tuesday unveiled its first digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera, the 10.2-megapixel alpha DSLR-A100.

Single-lens reflex cameras use a mirror placed between the lens and the film or image sensor to project the image to the camera's viewfinder. The mirror moves out of the way when the picture is taken. They typically support interchangeable lenses and are preferred by professional and serious amateur photographers over the compact point-and-shoot models that dominate the digital camera market.

One of the camera's main features is its use of Super SteadyShot, developed by Sony to compensate for camera movement and reduce the number of photographs that turn out blurry. The technology allows more photos to be taken hand-held with natural light, rather than requiring a flash or tripod, according to the company.

The DSLR-A100 can shoot three frames per second, and can take 750 photos on a full battery charge, Sony said. It accepts both Compact Flash memory cards and Sony's own Memory Stick Pro and Memory Stick Pro Duo, the latter cards requiring an adapter supplied with the camera.

Sony said in July last year that it had begun developing a DSLR model. Competition in the compact camera market is intense and DSLRs typically carry higher price tags and have better profit margins. There is little compatibility between interchangeable lenses from different camera makers, so users are generally reluctant to switch brands once they have invested in several lenses. The DSLR-A100 is the first under Sony's new alpha brand name.

Sony said the DSLR-A100 camera body will be available for about US$900, with the DSLR-A100K kit, which includes the camera body along with an 18-70mm zoom lens, available for about $1,000. Both will ship in the US in July, the company said.