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Sony DSLR-A550 & DSLR-A500

Review Camera Sony DSLR-A550 & DSLR-A500

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Alpha Camera

Pre-IFA 2009: Sony has also added to its consumer-level DSLR range, with the A500 and A550 taking the count to five cameras. The DSLR-A550 and DSLR-A500 digital SLRs are based around new CMOS sensors and add a manual focus confirmation live view mode using the main imaging sensor, in addition to Sony’s secondary-sensor Quick AF live view system. Both cameras feature Sony’s better noise reduction, include an Auto HDR mode and offer sensitivity of up to ISO 12800. The 14.2 MP A550 features a high resolution 921k dot 3″ tilt-angle LCD, while the 12.3 MP A500 comes with a 230k dot resolution 3″tilt-angle LCD.

Catch the moment in perfect detail with responsive new DSLR cameras from Sony

Easy-to-use Alpha A500 & A550 offer enhanced Live View shooting and superb image quality

August 27, 2009: Two powerful, feature-packed DSLR cameras from Sony make it easier than ever to capture beautiful pictures, carefree family portraits, stunning holiday memories and action-packed scenes.

The DSLR-A500 (12.3 megapixels) and DSLR-A550 (14.2 megapixels) are packed with advanced Sony technology that combine the spontaneity and freedom of Live View shooting with generous possibilities to realise your creative vision.

At the heart of both cameras is a new Exmor™ CMOS sensor that ensures crisp low-noise images, packed with fine detail and vibrant colours.  Sharing powerful on-chip noise reduction techniques with the full-frame DSLR-A900, this advanced sensor works with processing algorithms handled by the high-speed BIONZ™ engine to deliver premium images plus razor-sharp shooting responses. Dramatically reduced picture noise now allows super-sensitive shooting at up to ISO12800, allowing attractive results when shooting handheld in challenging situations like candlelit interiors.

Thanks to the powerful BIONZ image processing engine, Quick AF Live View now supports even speedier shooting responses with rapid, precise autofocus. This makes it easier than ever to capture beautifully relaxed portraits, dynamic action shots and more.

Powered by the BIONZ image processing engine, fast-moving action can now be captured effortlessly with faster continuous shooting speeds. Sustained shooting speeds of up to 4 fps can be achieved in Live View Mode, rising to 5 fps with the optical viewfinder. New Speed Priority mode on the DSLR-A550 raises the bar further still, shooting at an incredible 7 fps (with AF and AE setting maintained from the first frame ). It’s a powerful creative tool for capturing the nuances of a portrait subject’s changing expression or dynamic action sequences.

In a DSLR debut, Quick AF Live View now features Face Detection, prioritising AF on people’s faces and fine-tuning exposure/white balance settings for crisp, beautiful portraits with natural skin tones. Another DSLR first by Sony that’s already featured on many Cyber-shot™ models, Smile Shutter detects faces in Live View mode, automatically firing the shutter at just the right moment to capture happy, relaxed smiles.

A special new Manual Focus Check Live View mode assists with fine-tuning your composition. Low-noise images can be previewed directly from the CMOS sensor, allowing critical assessment of focus and fine detail, even in low light. The live image offers 100% field coverage, assisted by framing grid lines for precise composition. There’s also a selectable 7x/14x zoom function for a close-up confirmation of focus.

The A500 offers a crisp, high-contrast 3-inch Clear Photo LCD Plus screen with the same tilt range for clear, comfortable composition and reviewing shots.

The A550 features a superb (921k dot) 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD screen for critical focusing and photo-quality viewing with class-leading colour, contrast and detailing. The screen tilts up or down over a full 180 degree range, allowing uncompromised ‘free-angle’ live view shooting in any position. An ambient light sensor automatically boosts LCD brightness for extra screen clarity when surrounding light levels are high while both cameras also feature a clear, bright optical viewfinder with wide 95% field coverage for framing and focusing as an alternative to live view shooting.

Operation of both cameras is brilliantly simple, thanks to a redesigned on-screen interface that provides easy access to functions and settings during live view operation. A unique Graphic Display gives a clear, intuitive indication of how shutter speed and aperture adjustments will affect the final image.

Creative options are broadened by new Auto HDR mode that captures a huge range of shadow and highlight detail in landscapes, interiors and other scenes. Previously accessible only to enthusiasts equipped with a tripod and image processing software, HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a specialist technique that combines two frames shot at different exposure settings. The A500 and A550 use powerful algorithms to combine and optimise two successive frames in less than 10 seconds, correcting any misalignment between frames when shooting handheld. The result is a single HDR image emulating the huge natural tonal range of human vision – with no PC or tripod needed.

SteadyShot Inside Image Stabilization

The D-Range Optimiser featured in previous DSLR models has been enhanced for even better results with backlit portraits and other tricky high-contrast scenes. The powerful BIONZ engine now optimises image data in real time, processing brightness and contrast in individual areas of each exposure for balanced, natural looking results. Optimisation can also be selected manually from 5 processing levels.

A Smart Teleconvertor button instantly boosts image size by 1.4x or 2x to etend your camera’s zoom lens range further for frame-filling close-ups.

Like all DSLR cameras by Sony, both new models feature SteadyShot™ INSIDE, the powerful optical image stabiliser that cuts the effects of camera shake by up to 4 stops while shooting handheld with any lens.

After shooting, it’s easy to to connect both cameras to your BRAVIA™ television via HDMI (requires optional cable) for a stunning big-screen view of your shots. Compatible BRAVIA™ models automatically switch to PhotoTV HD mode for optimised still image playback with incredible detail, colour and clarity. BRAVIA Sync lets you control image slideshows in comfort via your TV’s remote.

Both cameras let you capture even more incredible moments without the worry of running out of power. The rechargeable battery pack of the A500 allows up to 1000 shots (CIPA test, approx. figure) – the highest capacity of any α series digital SLR camera battery to date. The battery of the A550 delivers up to 950 shots from a single charge.

If you’re hungry for even more shooting stamina, the new VG-B50AM Vertical Control Grip holds up to two NP-FM500H batteries. This premium grip gives A500 users an incredible 2,000 shot maximum capacity (A550: 1,900 shots), with automatic switchover between batteries and accurate display of power remaining in % increments on the camera’s LCD. An additional shutter release and dual controls support comfortable, accurate shooting in either portrait or landscape positions.

Also, with Memory Stick™ at the heart of the Sony alpha, you have every advantage. The advanced Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX (4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB) is the perfect tool for continuous shooting mode, with the ideal combination of massive storage capacity and blisteringly fast operation. Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX 32GB will never miss the key shot because the number of pictures taken in 1 min is approx 270* photos (in RAW+JPEG/L (12M).Delivered with USB Adaptor, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX 32GB is ideal for users who want to transfer data in high speed: approx. 1700* pictures in L (12M) size at RAW+JPEG mode in 26 minutes.

The DSLR-A550 and DSLR-A500 digital SLR cameras are available from the end of October 2009.

*these figures are measured under certain conditions


    New 12.3/14.2 effective megapixel (A500/A550) CMOS sensor and new enhanced BIONZ processor for detail-packed, low-noise images with high sensitivity up to ISO 12800
    High-speed continuous shooting up to 5fps (with optical viewfinder) and 7fps in Speed Priority mode (A550 only)
    Enhanced Quick AF Live View captures fast-moving action, with Face Detection for beautiful portraits
    180º tilt-angle 3” Xtra Fine LCD (A550) and intuitive new interface for clear, simple shooting
    Manual Focus Check Live View mode for precise, convenient adjustment of focus and composition
    Auto HDR mode for high dynamic range exposures
    Class-leading shooting stamina (1,000 shots – A500)
    HDMI™ output and BRAVIA™ Sync for control from TV remote

    best new latest coolest funny top high technology gadgets 587958

    Sony DSLR-A550 & DSLR-A500 specifications

    Sony DSLR-A550
    Sony DSLR-A500

    Suggested selling price
    (With 18-55mm lens)


    Body material

    Plastic exterior


    • 23.4 x 15.6 mm APS-C Type CMOS Exmor Sensor
    • RGB Color Filter Array
    • Built-in fixed low-pass filter
    • 14.6 million total pixels
    • 14.2 million effective pixels
    • 23.5 x 15.6 mm APS-C Type CMOS Exmor Sensor
    • RGB Color Filter Array
    • Built-in fixed low-pass filter
    • 12.9 million total pixels
    • 12.3 million effective pixels

    Image sizes *

    • 4592 x 3056 (L)
    • 3344 x 2224 (M)
    • 2288 x 1520 (S)
    • 4592 x 2576 (L)
    • 3344 x 1872 (M)
    • 2288 x 1280 (S)
    • 4272 x 2848 (L)
    • 3104 x 2072 (M)
    • 2128 x 1416 (S)
    • 4272 x 2400 (L)
    • 3104 x 1744 (M)
    • 2188 x 1192 (S)

    File qualities / formats

    • RAW (.ARW)
    • RAW + JPEG Fine
    • RAW + JPEG Standard
    • JPEG Fine
    • JPEG Standard

    Dust reduction

    • Charge protection coating on low-pass filter
    • Sensor-shift dust reduction mechanism


    • Sony Alpha lenses
    (also compatible with Minolta and Konica -Minolta AF lenses)

    FOV crop


    SteadyShot INSIDE

    • CCD-Shift ‘SteadyShot Inside’ system
    • Claimed equivalent to 2.5 – 3.5 steps in shutter speed

    Auto Focus

    • TTL CCD line sensors (9-points,with center cross sensor)
    • EV 0 to 18 (ISO 100) detection range
    • Predictive focus, Focus Lock

    AF area selection

    • Wide AF area
    • Spot AF area (center)
    • Focus area selection (any of 9)

    Focus modes

    • Single-shot AF
    • Continuous AF
    • Automatic AF
    • Manual focus

    AF assist

    • Yes (using built in flash)
    • Range approx 1m – 5m

    Eye-start AF

    Yes, selectable from menu

    Shooting modes

    • Programmed AE (Auto, Flash off, P)
    • Aperture priority AE
    • Shutter priority AE
    • Manual
    • Scene Selection

    Scene modes

    • Portrait
    • Landscape
    • Macro
    • Sports
    • Sunset
    • Night view/portrait


    • Auto (ISO 200-1600)
    • Manual ISO 200- ISO 12800 in 1 EV steps

    Metering modes

    • Multi-segment (40 segment Honeycomb pattern)
    • Center-weighted
    • Spot

    Metering range

    • TTL metering
    • 40-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC
    • EV 2 to 20 (Multi-segment / Center-weighted) *
    • EV 4 to 20 (Spot metering) *
    (at ISO 100 with F1.4 lens)

    AE Lock

    • AEL button (customizable, hold or single-press)
    • Half-press shutter release

    AE Bracketing

    • Single or continuous bracketing
    • 3 frames
    • 0.3 or 0.7 EV steps

    Exposure compen.

    • -2.0 to +2.0 EV
    • 0.3 EV steps


    Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane Shutter

    Shutter Speed

    • 30 to 1/4000 sec
    • Bulb

    Flash X-sync

    • 1/160 sec

    Aperture values

    Depends on lens, 0.3 EV steps

    DOF preview


    White balance

    • Auto
    • Daylight
    • Shade
    • Cloudy
    • Incandescent
    • Fluorescent
    • Flash
    • Color temperature/filter (2500 – 9900 K)
    • Manual (Custom)

    White balance fine tuning

    • Auto (none)
    • Preset WB: -3 to +3
    • Fluorescent WB: -1 to +2
    • Color temperature WB: G9 to M9 (Magenta to Green)

    White balance bracketing

    • 3 exposures
    • Hi / Lo level selectable

    Dynamic range optimizer

    • Off
    • D-Range Optimizer (Auto, Lv 1-5)
    • Auto HDR (Auto, Ajustable up to 3 EV betwwen 1.0-3.0 EV in 0.5 EV steps)

    Color space

    • sRGB
    • Adobe RGB

    Color modes

    • Standard
    • Vivid
    • Portrait
    • Landscape
    • Sunset
    • B&W

    Image parameters

    • Contrast (-3 to +3)
    • Sharpness (-3 to +3))
    • Saturation (-3 to +3)

    Noise reduction

    • Long exposure for exposures longer than 1 second
    • High ISO NR at ISO 1600 or higher
    • User controllable: On / Off

    Viewfinder *

    • Eye-level fixed optical glass pentamirror
    • Spherical Acute Matte focusing screen
    • Magnification approx. 0.80x *
    • 95% frame coverage
    • Dioptric adjustment (-3.0 to +1.0)
    • Eye-relief 19 mm from eyepiece, 15 mm from frame*
    • Eyepiece cup removable
    • Viewfinder info bar

    Live view (Quick AF Live View) *

    • Dedicated live view sensor (pentamirror tilt system)
    • 1200 zone evaluative metering
    • Sensitivity 1-17 EV*
    • 90% frame coverage
    • Exposure and white balance simulation
    • Face Detection and Smile Shutter*
    • Smart Teleconverter (x1.4 / x2.0 slectable)*
    • Display: Histogram, eal-time image adjustment display (White balance, Sunset/ B&W of Creative Style, Exposure Compensation)

    Live view (MF Check Live View) *

    • Live View with CMOS sensor Exmor
    • Metering varies according to shooting mode
    • 100% frame coverage
    • Display: Real-time image adjustment display (White balance, Sunset/ B&W of Creative Style, Exposure Compensation)
    • Zoom (x7.0/x14.0), Grid line display

    LCD monitor *

    • 3.0 TFT Xtra Fine LCD
    • 921,600 dots
    • Auto Brightness Control (auto setting in 2 steps)
    • Manual settting in 5 steps
    • 3.0 TFT Clear Photo LCD Plus
    • 230,400 dots
    • Auto Brightness Control (auto setting in 2 steps)
    • Manual settting in 5 steps

    Flash *

    • Built-in pop-up flash (manual release)
    • Metering: ADI, Pre-flash TTL, Manual flash control
    • Guide number 12 (ISO 100/m)
    • Angle of coverage 18 mm (35 mm equiv.)*
    • Flash sync 1/160 sec

    Flash modes

    • Off
    • Auto
    • Fill Flash
    • Rear Sync
    • Slow sync
    • Wireless/High Speed Sync.

    Flash Bracketing

    3 exposures in 0.3 and 0.7 EV steps

    Flash compensation

    -2.0 to +2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps

    External flash (optional)

    • Sony HVL-F58AM
    • Sony HVL-F56AM
    • Sony HVL-F42AM
    • Sony HVL-F36AM

    Drive modes

    • Single-frame
    • Continuous
    • Speed-Priority*
    • Self-timer (10 or 2 sec)


    • Approx 5 fps max (4 fpsin Live view)
    • Speed- Priority: 7 fps max
    • RAW: Up to 14 frames
    • RAW+JPEG: Up to 7 frames
    • JPEG (Fine): 32 frames
    • JPEG (Standard): 116 frames
    • Approx 5 fps max (4 fps in Live view)
    • RAW: Up to 6 frames
    • RAW+JPEG: Up to 3 frames
    • JPEG (Fine): 12 frames
    • JPEG (Standard): 58 frames


    • 10 sec
    • 2 sec

    Orientation sensor

    Yes, for shooting, playback and control panel display


    • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mass storage, Multi-LUN or PTP)
    • DC-IN
    • Remote terminal

    Remote control

    • Wired: with optional RM-S1AM or RM-L1AM

    Video out

    • AV (Selectable NTSC or PAL)
    • HDMI
    • ‘PhotoTV’ HD settings applied with BRAVIA.


    • SD/ SDHC
    • Memory Stick Pro Duo / Pro HG Duo
    • Supports FAT12 / FAT16 / FAT32


    • NP-FM500H Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (1650 mAh)
    • Battery charger included
    • Optional AC adapter
    • Batter life Approx 950 shots with viewfinder, 480 in Live view mode (CIPA standard)
    • NP-FM500H Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (1650 mAh)
    • Battery charger included
    • Optional AC adapter
    • Batter life Approx 1000 shots with viewfinder, 520 in Live view mode (CIPA standard)

    Vertical grip

    • Yes (model tbc)


    137 x 104 x 84mm (5.5 x 4.2 x 3.9 in)

    Weight (body)

    599 g (1.5lb)
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