Sony 14.2 Megapixels Alpha DSLR-A550 DSLR Review by DCRP2010-02-10 03:38 | Source
On August 27 2009, Sony announces two mid-range APS-C-sensor DSLRs, the DSLR-A550 and DSLR-A500. Both cameras features the unique ability to create two-shot high-dynamic-range images automatically, producing images of high-contrast subjects with balanced shadow and highlight areas by combining two images taken a fraction of a second apart. Using a system calls positional interpolation to compensate for slight changes in position between shots, these are the first cameras that provide in-camera HDR without a tripod.
The camera's metering system can determine how wide an exposure adjustment should be made between the two shots, or the user can specify bracketing values. In either case, the composite is created by the camera rather than using external software. Speedy shooting plays a role in making the HDR feature practical - minimal movement between exposures helps with precise alignment. The A500 and A550 also speed through continuous shooting assignments, with default burst rates of 5 frames per second shooting with the viewfinder and 4 fps in Live View mode. The A550 also offers a speed priority mode which locks autofocus and autoexposure with the first shot and then churns out 7 shots per second.
The main difference between the two cameras are the sensor resolution with the A550 at 14.2 Megapixels, while the A500 comes with 12.3 Megapixels. The more expensive A550 comes with a high-res 3-inch display with 920,000-dot resolution, while the A500 screen is a 230,000-dot screen. The rest of the features are similar between the two new DSLRs. Both cameras offer articulated LCDs that tilt 90 degrees up and down. Both cameras use a 9-point autofocus system and use phase-detect sensor for focusing in Live View mode as well as viewfinder shooting. These new models add Manual Focus Check Live View, providing 7x and 14x views for precise manual focusing operations, including macro photography. Both cameras include pop-up flash, HDMI output and face and smile detection. Smile Shutter and Face Detection that is popular in the Sony's Cyber-Shot point and shoot are also included in these new DSLR models. The cameras can accommodate both Sony's Memory Stick PRO and standard SD/SDHC cards. The two bodies are essentially identical at 5.39 x 4.09 x 3.31 inches (137 x 104 x 84mm). The A550 is priced at $950 for the body, or $1050 for the kit. Here is the summary of a recent review of the A550 cameras by DCRP:
Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sample Photos on Flickr
Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Camera Reviews Roundup
|Mason Resnick at ALC: "The a550 uses a new CMOS sensor that is designed with noise reduction at each pixel, plus further noise reduction applied via the updated on-board BIONZ image processor. All of this attention to noise reduction paid off: Images were remarkably clean through ISO 400, with very little noise at ISO 800 and moderate noise at ISO 1600 and 3200 that still lets you produce usable images. By ISO 6400, noise becomes more not..." - May 11 2010 More »|
|PhotoZone: "The Alpha 550 did quite convince during our lab and field tests but it's not a camera without flaws. On the positive side the camera delivers the fastest Live View autofocus so far. The AF speed is exemplary in this class and 7 fps is a new benchmark here. The 14.2 megapixel Exmor™ CMOS sensor is capable of producing superb high-resolution images. Furthermore the good ISO performance and the proven "Stead..." - Mar 29 2010 More »|
|CNET: "Although the A550 has the same 14.2-megapixel resolution as the cheaper Alpha DSLR-A380, the A550's Exmor CMOS sensor delivers much cleaner images at all ISO sensitivities than the CCD used by its sibling. They're sharp with solid exposures, at least until ISO 400. ISO 800 looks very good on our high-end, colour-calibrated monitor but slightly noisy on our cheap, standard-issue display. At ISO 1,600, detail sta..." - Feb 11 2010 More »|
|RegHardware: "As with many DSLRs, the A550 includes a built in Flash and delivers an even exposure in all focal lengths. Overall, it would be preferable to knock it down a notch, to reduce the flash look, although, this can be done from the function menu. The high ISO on offer actually might encourage less use, and that can only be a good thing for people wanting to learn about using available light. The hotshoe up top is the Min..." - Jan 26 2010 More »|