Sony A550

Last updated (22 December’11):
- Review & Sample Photos @ PhotographyBlog

Sony A550 is a 14.2 Megapixel DSLR camera features ISO 100-12800, Quick Auto Focus Live View, Smile Shutter™ technology, Auto HDR built into camera, 9-Point AF Sensor, Anti-Dust Technology, Dual Media Slots, PhotoTV HD compatibility, Eye-Start Autofocus, SteadyShot INSIDE™ stabilization, Up to 7 fps of continuous shooting, and a Tiltable 3.0″ LCD features 921,600 pixels and Sony’s Clear Photo LCD™ display technology.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½ | Latest Price Info

Expert Reviews

Sony A550 Reviews

PhotographyBlog reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“…there’s no denying that the A550 is another user-friendly DSLR camera from Sony that delivers excellent results for both beginners and shutterbugs alike, and is still easily worthy of our Highly Recommended award.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

Adorama reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“Overall, the Sony a550 had the fourth highest high-ISO image quality rating for cameras with APS-sized sensors, an impressive performance…. the Sony a550 is a very worthwhile camera that’s capable of bringing home the goods for serious photographers.”
Rating: N/A

PCMag reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“I’m impressed by the speedy A550, with its top-notch, user-friendly interface and versatile 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. And it takes beautiful pictures, even in low light. You could save a few bucks and go for the less-expensive Nikon D5000 or Canon T2i, which offer comparable image quality and add HD video capture, but these cameras lack the snappy autofocus and 7 fps burst mode you get with the A550.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

Photozone reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“Summing up the Sony A550 represents an very good package not only for beginners but also for enthusiasts. The camera is on par with the Canon EOS 500D and the Nikon D5000…All in all – recommended! “
Rating: ★★★★☆

Steve’sDigicams reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“The A550′s focus system worked nicely, easily tracking moving subjects, performing better than expected. The only minor complaint was that the frame rate was not quite as fast as advertised when using Continuous Autofocus (the camera slows down just a bit when shooting rapidly moving subjects, apparently to help insure greater accuracy). Overall, we found that it was a fast and reliable system, giving a high percentage of in focus images in tougher conditions..”
Rating: N/A

DCR reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“All things considered, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 is a competent but not spectacular digital SLR. It takes nice-looking photos (especially if you shoot RAW), performs well, and offers features that will be familiar to point-and-shoot users.”
Rating: N/A

RegHardware reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“There is much to like with the Sony Alpha A550. It has great autofocus, image stabilisation, quirky but effective HDR and a nice big sensor… Overall, it’s an extremely capable point and shoot camera with appeal for advanced users who want the functions that set it apart and for people setting off on the DSLR route, who don’t want anything too daunting.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

DCR reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“Image and color quality is good, and if shooting in the manual or semi-automatic modes there are substantial user established settings available to tailor output to virtually any taste. Noise performance is about par for the class, the plastic on the body might look a bit cheap for the price point and the battery charging cycle is odd, but these are really minor gripes for a camera that goes about its business in a very capable manner.”
Rating: N/A

CameraLabs reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“So long as you’re happy to trade video and the features mentioned above for speed and fuss-free operation, the A550 easily comes Recommended. But like the A380 before it, the cheaper sibling – in this case the A500 – could end up being the preferred choice.

Rating: ★★★★☆

PhotographyBay reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“The A550 covers ISO 200-12800, which is pretty impressive for a consumer-oriented camera. I never expected the A550 to really do that great with noise control at higher ISOs, and I wasn’t really surprised. “
Rating: N/A

AlphaMountWorld reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“In every day usage the difference is basically invisible. Make no mistake about it, the A5xx cameras are terrific high ISO cameras. If some one is coming from a Sony A2xx or A3xx the improvement in high ISO results will be very gratifying.”
Rating: N/A

DCI reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“The A550 has a very comfortable, rubberized grip and thumb rest, making it easy to hold securely even when moving quickly. The buttons and dials are well positioned, though the four-way controller is a bit too compact for our tastes. “
Rating: N/A

PhotoclubAlpha reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“ISO 6400 is great. Fantastic colour saturation – not like most recent super-6400 DSLRs – and it matches even a Nikon D300S for noise and detail at this setting..”
Rating: N/A

AlphaMountWorld reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“In short ,I have a pass/fail (love/hate) relationship with the A550, with very little inbetween. On one hand the Alpha A550 totally impressed me with its ability to create very good quality images overall, its superior AUTO HDR feature, excellent live view tools and options, comfortable grip, and its spirited performance.”
Rating: N/A reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“Image noise was negligible up to ISO 400, although by ISO 3200, pattern and colour noise had become obvious in long exposures with the in-camera noise-reduction processing turned off. “
Rating: ★★★★½

PhotoCracti reviews the Sony A550 and writes;
“Low ISO quality is excellent; after a bit of sharpening, I made 13×19-inch (33×48cm) prints suitable for framing. Some digital noise is visible at ISO 400, but this level is still fine for all-purpose use. At high ISO levels, it is important to avoid underexposure. My best ISO 800 images are suitable for making nice letter size prints while my ISO 3200 photos made for decent 5×7-inch (13×18cm) glossies.”
Rating: N/A

Sony A550 preview video by WDC;

User Opinions

Sony A550 User Reviews

Excellent upgrade from A300 | Rating: ★★★★★
“..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….” – by Jeffrey

More user opinions | Write your opinion


Sony A550 Sample Photos

- Sony A550 Sample Photos @ PhotographyBlog
- Sony A550 Sample Photos @ Photozone
- Sony A550 Sample Photos @ DCWatch
- Sony A550 Sample Photos @ DCRP
- Sony A550 Sample Photos @ RegHardware
- Sony A550 Sample Photos @ CameraLabs
- Sony A550 Sample Photos @ PhotographyBay
- Sony A550 Sample Photos @ DCI


Sony A550 User Manual (PDF)

Click to view or right click and select Save Target As..(Firefox) or Save link as.. (IE) to download

- Download Sony A550 User Manual (PDF – 7.9MB)


Sony A550 Specifications

Body material Plastic exterior
Sensor * • 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

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)

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
Lenses • Sony Alpha lenses

(also compatible with Minolta and Konica -Minolta AF lenses)

FOV crop 1.5x
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
Shutter 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 No
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, manually select level 1-5)

• Auto HDR (Auto, Adjustable between 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 Exmor sensor
• 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
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 (shoots with focus and exposure locked)*
• 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


• 10 sec
• 2 sec

Orientation sensor Yes, for shooting, playback and control panel display
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mass storage, Multi-LUN or PTP)
• Remote terminal
Remote control • Wired: with optional RM-S1AM or RM-L1AM
Video out • AV (Selectable NTSC or PAL)
• ‘PhotoTV’ HD settings applied with BRAVIA.
Storage • SD/ SDHC
• Memory Stick Pro Duo / Pro HG Duo
• Supports FAT12 / FAT16 / FAT32
Power • 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)
Vertical grip • Yes (model tbc)
Dimensions 137 x 104 x 84mm (5.5 x 4.2 x 3.9 in)
Weight (body) No battery: 599 g (1.5lb)
Price (body only)
(With 18-55mm lens)

• $950
• $1050

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See also: Digital Camera | Digital SLR Cameras | Sony

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