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Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)


Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)


Sony DSLR-A550 Alpha DSLR Camera Body14.2MP, CMOS image sensor, two types of Live View, Face Detection, Smile Shutter technology, tiltable 3.0″ LCD, upto 7 fps continuous shooting, SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization.For a higher level of performance, step up to the Sony ?550 DSLR camera. Enjoythe freedom of Quick Auto Focus and Manual Focus Check Live View on the tiltable 3.0″ LCD. Experience the responsiveness of up to 7fps Speed Prioritymode. Relish the clarity of 14.2MP and up to ISO 12800 sensitivity. Capture the full range of lightand shadow with Auto HDR. Features:* This camera’s 14.2 megapixel resolution makes for incredible detail and gorgeous enlargements. The all-new Sony Exmor CMOS image sensor ensures state-of-the-art response. The large, APS-C format means high sensitivity, powerful depth-of-focus control.* Quick Auto Focus Live View: Unlike competing cameras, the DSLR-A550 is just as responsive in Quick Auto Focus Live View mode as in optical viewfinder mode. That’s because, unlike the others, the 550 uses the same “phase detection” auto focus for Live View as for the optical viewfinder. While other Live View systems are severely restricted, Sony’s performs superbly any time-even if you’re shooting handheld or chasing after moving subjects like kids or pets.* Smile Shutter technology: Another Quick AF Live View enhancement, Smile ShutterTM technology automatically takes the shot when your subject smiles. Works with Quick Auto Focus Live View to capture spontaneous moments, making the difference between a missed shot and a cherished memory.* Auto HDR built into camera: High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography captures more scene contrastthan a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one incredible shot. Until recently, you needed a computer and editing software to enjoy HDR. Now the ?550 has Auto HDR built in. Handles severe backlighting and other high-contrast scenes. Captures in a spli

  • 14.2-megapixel resolution for incredible detail; new Sony Exmor CMOS image sensor
  • Body only; lenses sold separately
  • Quick Auto Focus Live View for composing shots in the LCD monitor; Manual Focus Check Live View enables critical focus in macro and tripod shooting
  • Auto HDR (High Dynamic Range) captures more scene contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one shot
  • Dual media slots for Memory Stick PRO Duo/Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC media (sold separately)

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What customers say about Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) Reviews?

  1. 112 of 114 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Is the best possible choice for real-world non-pros now OBE?, February 9, 2010
    By 
    Tim Naff “Tim” (Huntsville, AL USA) –

    This review is from: Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)

    My original in-depth A550 review was done long before the A580/A560 and A55/A35 came out. They are game changers. This is still an A550 review, but it won’t mean much unless I provide some context relative to the new designs. I’m going to summarize the key differences first so maybe you can avoid the long, in-depth discussion of features that follows. If you decide to skip over most of the info, you might just glance at the last two or three paragraphs before moving on.

    The A580 and A560 are in essentially the same shell as the A550 and A500. They build on the technology of those designs. The biggest difference is the addition of HD movie shooting. The still-camera differences include marginally increased resolution (A500 = 12.3 megapixels, A550 = 14.2, A560 = 14.2, and A580 = 16.2). This is no big deal except for bragging rights. Be aware that Sony makes its own sensors and makes sensors for some of its competitors. Given Sony’s obvious corporate priority on DSLR market share, we have to believe that they won’t sell their very best to competitors.

    The A580/A560 includes some new features relative to the A550/A500: mirror lock-up on self-timer, which may make a difference for ultimate sharpness on non-hand-held shots; depth-of-field preview, so you can see how much of a scene is in focus before you shoot; a new “hand-held twilight mode,” which will significantly reduce low-light noise, may reduce blur and camera shake effects, but may only make sense for near-motionless scenes; and 3D panorama, which will allow you to sweep across a scene and “paint” a wide, panoramic frame.

    There are other upgrades, which Sony claims will enhance features that already exist. These include better/faster autofocus, and a very significant improvement to the HDR mode. The autofocus speed on the A500/A550 does not, for me, need improvement so I don’t know how to evaluate that upgrade. The in-camera HDR is a trick of reducing loss of detail in shadows while simultaneously reducing white-out of ultra-bright parts of the picture. It only works on static scenes, but it already works well on the A500/A550 (it’s one of my favorite Sony exclusives). The use of three frames will double its potential dynamic range advantage as well as make it more practical. I have a more in-depth discussion of the feature later.

    If you will make good use of the movie feature, the choice between the one-year-old technology and the new technology is a no-brainer: buy the new. For still-pictures alone, the new technology is easily worth an extra $150 to me personally. An extra $250, however, is a resounding MAYBE for me just based on still-camera differences. I say that, because I’ve done a wide range of work with the A550, and I absolutely love the camera just like it is. Sometimes better is the enemy of good-enough. I also have an A850, so I can make direct comparisons to it. At the time of this review, the A580s are hard to find, and where they are available, they come only with the kit lens, and vendors are asking over $800. The A560s, a very attractive compromise, aren’t even on the market yet.

    So what about the A35 and A55? They are not true DSLRs, because they don’t “reflex” the mirror. The mirror is partially reflecting, or “translucent,” with 30 percent of the light going up to an electronic viewfinder’s (EVF’s) sensor while 70 percent goes through to the main sensor. The mirror is stationary: it doesn’t flip up for picture taking like an SLR. This eliminates mirror slap noise and vibration altogether, but there is no true optical finder, and the main sensor loses light input. They do, however, do an excellent job of shooting movies with autofocus; they are smaller and lighter; and they are quieter than DSLRs. I’ve tried an A35: the EVF is excellent and can display more info than you can get in an optical finder’s window. The loss of light to the sensor equates to loss of 0.514 stop; one third of the effective area of the lens’ front optic is lost to the sensor; or, stated one more way, it is equivalent to increasing your lens f-number by 20 percent. (Please, before you disagree, look up the formulas: there are logarithms to base 2 involved.) There is no general loss of contrast, but one reviewer reported measuring image ghosting in the A55. The ghosting will show up as a very thin bright line on the dark side of a bright-dark interface in a picture. The ghosting was down 200x in intensity from the main image (meaning Sony has done a good job of coating the mirror glass.) Message: it is unlikely to matter. Beyond this point, discussions of differences between the A550 and the newer models will be mostly confined to the A550/A500 versus the A580/A560.

    In the first version of this review, I wrote that the A550 was ahead of every other camera on the planet (except the A500) in three areas that are critical to non-professionals:

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  2. 51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Good camera, October 30, 2009
    By 
    Jackal (New Hampshire) –

    This review is from: Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)
    I’m happy with this camera. However, the development of digital cameras is very fast so the camera is likely to be behind cutting edge in a couple of years. I bought this camera because it is not that expensive, so one can always upgrade. Some good and bad things:
    - Steady shot makes it possible to take very sharp pictures at 1/15.
    - Quite decent performance up to ASA 800. I can go up to ASA 12,800, which results in noise, but also sharp pictures in very low light. If you, like me, hate using the flash, this is great. I’d rather have grain than flat flash light.
    - Very sharp live viewfinder. I cannot do without this facility anymore. Not many higher-end DSLR cameras have this function yet.
    - The autofocus does not work that well in low light. However, the Manual Focus Live Viewfinder function is very good when using manual focus in low light and low contrast settings. Even if it is very dark the scene is lit up in the viewfinder and manual focusing becomes easy. Still it is very annoying that the camera doesn’t have some kind of infrared focusing in darkness. The manual focusing works but it is also not that quick and it requires the LCD screen mode (not the viewfinder mode)
    - The camera could be better prepared for HDR (high dynamic range) photography. There is a built in function taking two shots (great!). This works okay if you don’t use the ‘auto’ setting, which just give a very small adjustment. In high contrast settings (or if you use PC software) you need three or four photos. However, taking bracketed exposures in 1 or 2 EV steps is not possible. I can do bracketed exposures in 0.3 or 0.7, so Sony is clearly holding back on performance for the next model in 2010 (bad!).
    - The camera fits okay in my standard male sized hands. Bigger might fit better but it is also nice that the camera is not bulky.
    - Information panel is informative, except for ASA level when using ASA Auto setting. It would have been very nice to know what ASA level the camera decide to use when in Program mode. ASA is as important as aperture and shutter speed.

    If you buy this camera, skip the 18-55 lens and go for the 18-250 lens instead Sony SAL18250 Alpha DT 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 High Magnification Zoom Lens w/Lens Hood. That is a good allround lens, a bit slow but an amazing range, 27-375mm equivalent. I actually don’t find a 200mm zoom that useful, but when you can go up to 375mm new opportunities open up. If you want to spend some more, get the 50mm f/1.4 Sony 50mm f/1.4 Lens for Sony Alpha Digital SLR Camera. That lens will function like 75mm, which is not optimal but that is really the only chance of getting a wide open aperture lens. (Sony also sells a 35mm f/1.4, but that is very expensive and has received poor reviews.) The advantage with the 50mm f/1.4 lens is that it is full-frame so it can be used when you later upgrade to a fullformat camera.

    I would also recommend getting Sony Alpha RMT-DSLR1 Camera Remote (Black). This is both cheaper and more functional than the wired remote Sony RM-S1AM Remote Commander for Sony Alpha Digital SLR Camera. See my reviews of those products

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  3. 21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent upgrade from A300, November 17, 2009
    By 
    J. Curtis
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)
    I sold my A300 in anticipation of the A550 and I am very happy with that decision. The A500/550 are targeted towards the A300/350 user base and upgraders from the existing A330/380. This is not meant to be a replacement for the A700 as some review sites had been wishing for. I am extremely pleased with the camera up to this point (about a month as of this review).

    The improvements over the A3xx series in my view are:
    1) Much improved LCD – it is much sharper than the A3xx series and also the A500
    2) High ISO is also much improved over the A3xx series cameras
    3) FPS is much faster and makes this camera much more suitable for catching action shots than the A3xx series
    4) Improved button layout
    5) SD card compatible (subjective)
    6) Easy to use menu system
    7) Built in HDR
    8) Better built in flash
    9) Exposure is spot on and colors are great

    The not so good
    1) Power switch takes some getting used to. It is in a position much like Nikon and Pentax cameras which is not familiar for existing Minolta/Alpha users. It took me a few days to get used to the power switch being near the jog dial, but I have adjusted and it is not a big deal any more.
    2) No video – I do not care much about this, however it is a feature that helps sell cameras and Sony needs to step up here to help increase marker share in the dSLR arena
    3) Lack of MLU (Mirror Lock Up) – again this has little value to me, but is a selling point at least to the more advanced user base
    4) Lack of Program Shift – another one that is a feature the more advanced users would like to have that was in the A300/350 granted it was clumsy to use

    Overall I am enjoying my camera immensely. The LCD and Built in Stabilization make differentiate this camera from Nikon and Canon and make this a great choice for me. I have had 3 previous Minolta Maxxum cameras in the late 1980′s – 1990′s and Sony in my opinion is doing a good job. They have more work to do and need to make cameras that have a wow factor to win more market share and these cameras are a good step in the right direction. Once Sony adds video and some of the more basic missing features, the critics will quiet down…

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