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Sony Alpha DSLRA850 24.6MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

Sony Alpha DSLRA850 24.6MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 24.6MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

  • 35mm, full-frame 24.6-megapixel Exmor CMOS image sensor; SteadyShot INSIDE in-camera image stabilization
  • Body only; lenses sold separately
  • Dual BIONZ processors for up to fast 3fps performance; 9-point AF system w/ additional 10-point assist
  • Rugged magnesium alloy shell; dust/moisture-resistant design
  • Dual card slots; accepts both CompactFlash and Memory Stick Duo Media (not included)

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What customers say about Sony Alpha DSLRA850 24.6MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)?

  1. 80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Great full-frame camera, January 18, 2010
    J. Smith

    This review is from: Sony Alpha DSLRA850 24.6MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)

    The Sony A850 is an awesome camera, as long as you know what to look for in a camera system. You just aren’t buying the body, you have to buy the glass 🙂
    That said, when I was deciding to move up to full frame, I had to make a decision: Did I stick with Nikon, or try Sony? Well, I went with the A850 and I’m glad I did. It’s a great camera.
    I got myself the A850, the Carl Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8, and the Sony 70-400G and 58AM flash. Although the review covers the camera, realize I’m using these items with the body.


    Solid feel throughout, with a very positive grip on the right. Command wheels “click” firmly, unlike cheaper builds that will be accidentally turned. Viewfinder is awesome, big, bright. Most buttons are within easy reach, except the ISO and WB buttons on the upper-right. I also don’t like the optical preview button orientation (I prefer to press the button towards my body instead of inward towards the lens), but a small niggle. Once you pick up the A850, you know you’re holding a solid piece of machinery. CF & battery doors seem to lack any sealing, so I’d be hesitant to take this out in any more than a very light drizzle. Rubber covers on the ports of the camera are very well-designed and actually hinge out, as opposed to flopping around like almost every other camera on the planet. CF door opens and stops at 90 degrees to the camera body – more is needed, as it makes getting out a CF card too hard for larger fingers.


    Overall, it’s a camera that just gets out of your way, which is a compliment. First, some quibbles: There’s no ISO listed in the VF display unless you’re in the process of changing it. The AF points don’t cover as much as the frame as I’d like (common complaint among FF DSLRs). Mirror slap is a noticeable “THUNK-THUNK”, so don’t think you’ll be taking spy pictures with this any time soon.

    Onto a couple of more important gripes:
    No onboard flash, which really hurts for not having wireless flash triggering built-in. There is no “AF-ON” button like you find on Canon or Nikon bodies – Instead, Sony uses a button that can be used to toggle AF/MF, or switch to a central focus point, etc. but nothing exactly like the AF-ON operation from other cameras. Finally, using the “Quick-Navi” to change settings is a bit annoying, in that you can’t change multiple settings at once – you have to reenter Quick-Navi each time. Not really time-consuming, as the button is right near your right thumb, but annoying. EDIT – Silly me! You can change multiple settings at once, after entering Quick-Navi mode, by using the front/rear wheels to adjust your settings, instead of the joystick. No longer a complaint!

    Now the good stuff: The camera just works 🙂 I love the SteadyShot meter in the VF, which shows you relative camera shake and lets you take a shot with minimal shake. Although I miss AF-ON, I do like AF-MF quick button, which lets me quickly take over focus when I need to. I also like the way the camera will illuminate AF points when you’re in AF-C mode and using “Wide” AF points (the camera chooses the AF points). AF speed is adequately fast, though it can have trouble in very dim lights.


    Ultimately, the reason I bought into Sony. The image quality is amazing. Colors are outstanding. Detail is definitely there. I can crop for days and still end up with a large, high-detail file. I can (and do) print large, which was a deciding factor over the D700 (I did not consider the 5DII, as I dislike Canon controls).

    I was initially really worried about the noise of the camera, that is until I read a blog from a wedding photographer that had recently switched to Sony. He gave good advice – Look at your images and really see if you *need* high ISO. I think high ISO has become the want-all, end-all criteria for buying a camera body, which is a shame. How about image quality? Ergonomics? Value? Lots of things to consider, although high ISO is nice to have.

    For me, up to ISO 1600 is fine, and a well-exposed ISO 3200 looks pretty good. Interestingly enough, I’ve actually found myself almost completely ignoring luminance NR and only applying small amounts (15% slider in Lightroom 3) of chroma NR and images look very good! Maybe it’s because of the “film-like” quality, but I actually enjoy having some grain in my images.

    Also, the camera seems to underexpose anywhere from 0.3 to 0.7 EV – knowing to do a little ETTR really helps with noise and IQ in general.
    EDIT – Camera no longer seems to underexpose after I switched my ‘style’ “Zone” setting to -1, which tells the camera don’t worry so much about blown highlights when you’re metering (even with RAW) – Camera now exposes how I would expect, and I don’t to use a permanent exposure compensation!


    Overall, a great camera (system). I like…

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  2. 35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great camera, February 6, 2010
    William P. Rowland “prowl103” (atlanta, ga) –

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Sony Alpha DSLRA850 24.6MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)
    I’ve had the chance now to use this camera for over a month and I love it. I have the 85 f/1.4 zeiss lens attached to it for portraits / weddings, and it gets the job done–the resolution is amazing. I will hopefully be adding the 16-35 or 24-70 later this year. Some make a big deal about this camera having high iso ‘issues’, but they are mistaken. I prefer natural light and have gone up to ISO 3200 without complications–using nik dfine’s noise reduction software only makes it better! I also have used flash in order to lower my iso and deliver great imagery.

    The camera feels solid and has some weight to it with good glass. The shutter noise is very distinct, but that is to be expected with such a large mirror. In-body stabilization is as advertised and is incredible–I’m able to get crisp, hand held shots at 1/15 s with an 85 mm lens.

    I’ve always been told that with anything involving optics, you will never go wrong with the system with the best glass, and I believe Sony is the leader by offering zeiss lenses. Yes–they don’t have all of the different lenses that Canikon offers, but 99% of my work is done in the 16-200 mm range, and they offer amazing lenses for that focal length range (I guess I could go even longer-twss-with the 400 mm G series lenses they offer).

    Get this camera if you’re looking for a well-built machine that can deliver professional images. Full frame for less than $2000 = awesome.


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  3. 36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Sony a850 is One Fine Camera, April 26, 2010
    E. Leute “EWL” (Vermont) –

    This review is from: Sony Alpha DSLRA850 24.6MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)
    The a850 is one fine camera. I’ve been a Leica user since age 12 and found most other brands imprecise and unsatisfying, and was waiting for a Leica full frame DSLR. But when Sony announced the sub-$2000 full-frame a850, I had to bite, especially at a price differential of $21,000. After all, I’ve owned [and own] an assortment of Sony products and over 40 years have never had to replace any of them due to product failure. So the risk was minimal.
    Let me dispense with the frequently reported shortcomings of this camera, and the only reason I ranked it 4, instead of 5 stars. It does not include “Live View” or “Movie mode”. As a traditional enthusiast “film” photographer I use neither of these features, so their omission is inconsequential to me. Their omission, however, allows highest end digital photography to become available at unprecedented low prices. If you need these features then look elsewhere.
    However, the strong points are:
    1 – When Konica-Minolta ceased camera production Sony purchased rights to use their auto-focus design, originally introduced in 1985 for Minolta’s premium line of “Maxxum” cameras and lenses. Therefore, any Minolta “AF” lens works perfectly with this Sony; and I already had 3 of them covering from 28mm to 300mm. They are readily available used at very low prices. The 50mm f:1.7 primary lens is particularly sharp. Thus, for the price of the body, I had a complete camera outfit. The current Sony lenses for the a850 are basically repackaged Minolta AF designs with improved weather protection. Additionally, Zeiss makes a superb line of premium professional lenses for the purist [but at high prices].
    2 – Anti-shake is mounted in the camera body, not the lens, allowing any lens that can be mounted to use this feature, even the 1985 Minolta lenses for the Maxxum. It will even work with non-autofocus lenses mounted with adapters.
    3 – Sony “kit” lenses are priced significantly lower than competing brands since anti-shake does not have to be incorporated into each lens.
    4 – A dial atop the camera allows instant selection of Auto operation, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual operation and 3 custom settings.
    5 – Despite a myriad of features, the controls are easy to use. On my earlier Canon G7 almost all control settings, such as shutter speed, aperture, white balance, et., had to be set through the LCD menu – a slow tedious process, causing some photos to be missed. On the a850 all such settings are directly settable using controls accessible with the right hand. White balance, ISO selection, aperture and shutter are instantly adjustable. Once these buttons are mastered the camera becomes extremely responsive to use.
    6 – Tha a850 takes noiseless pictures at ISO settings to 3200 while most cameras get noise interference above 200 ISO.
    Although this is the lowest priced full frame camera available, it is solidly built and does not feel flimsy. The 24.6mb CCD gives extraordinary results that look sharp, even on my Sony 70 inch HDTV. The smallest details can be cropped and enlarged without pixellation. However, with the 75mm to 300mm macro zoom lens the a850 becomes truly weighty and I use a monopod to increase stability. I can highly recommend the a850 to serious camera enthusiasts and professionals while it is probably more camera than an average family snapshooter needs.


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