Sony A850

Last updated (27 January’11):
– Review by

Sony A850 is a full frame DSLR features a 35mm 24.6MP Exmor CMOS image sensor, in-camera image stabilizer, Dual BIONZ™ processors, PhotoTV HD viewing w/ HDMI™ output, Anti-Dust Technology, Moisture/dust-resistant design, Dual Card Slots, ISO 200-6400, and a 3″ TFT Xtra Fine LCD (921,600 pixels).

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

Expert Reviews

Sony A850 Reviews reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“Offering high performance at a relatively low price, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 is one of the cheapest ways to enter the world of full-frame photography. If you can afford it, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

PhotographyBlog reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“In terms of image quality, the A850 is also hard to find fault with. The resolution is jaw-dropping, the dynamic range is fantastic, the tonality is great and the colours are pleasing. You do get quite a bit of noise at ISO 1600 and higher (and sometimes lower as well), but it won’t really impact on the final output… we do not hesitate to award this camera our coveted Highly Recommended rating.”
Rating: ★★★★½ reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“All in all the Sony A850 is a triumph. While it’s not perfect, and in many ways feels like an A900 Lite, it’s also a full-frame camera that doesn’t break the bank (well, relatively speaking). In the hands of a decent photographer it’ll deliver incredible stills, but the lack of video is a weakness. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

Review Video by PhotoRadar;

Steve’sDigicams reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“..we can easily recommend this camera to dSLR users looking for a camera offering offering the highest possible image quality with a very high resolution output, suitable for all types of photos except perhaps the most demanding conditions encountered during some sports shooting (where you may want a faster frame rate than this model offers).”
Rating: N/A

DCR reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“With the right lens and the appropriate settings, the Sony A850 is capable of producing excellent images both on-screen and in print. Using the 24-70mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar f/2.8 lens, images were sharp and detail capture was quite good.”
Rating: N/A

WDC reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“Get the right lens on the front and the a850, just like the a900, can capture significant detail thanks to such a high resolution sensor. Both Raw and Jpeg files respond well to sharpening, though beyond the +/-3 ‘Sharpness’ setting in Creative Styles there is no further in-camera sharpness control, bar the usual Raw file post-processing.”
Rating: ★★★★½

PopPhoto reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“From ISO 100 through 400, it showed about a 1-stop improvement—that is, the A850’s noise level at ISO 400 (Very Low) was about the same as the A900’s noise level at ISO 200. The A850 also bested the older camera’s color accuracy, with an average Delta E of 7.7 (Excellent) versus 9.0 (Extremely High)”.
Rating: N/A

Shutterbug reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“I found the noise was no problem up to ISO 400, slightly greater at ISO 800, as expected, and at ISO 1600 it crept in, but only if you really dug into the file. In well-exposed areas it is barely noticeable at that speed, but when magnified you could see specks in the shadows. Overall very impressive, and what we have come to expect from full-frame sensor performance.”
Rating: N/A reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“The good: Inexpensive full-frame dSLR; bright viewfinder; sensor-shift image stabilizer; dual memory card slots; plenty of customizable options. The bad: No video recording function; high ISO images tend to be too noisy; some buttons hard to access. The bottom line: The A850 is a decent full-frame camera for its price but fussy shutterbugs may not take to its below-average pictures at high ISO settings. “
Rating: ★★★★½

PhotoCracti reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“image quality is superlative at ISO 100 to 200. My best RAW photos—made with Carl Zeiss ZA lenses at around f/8—are suitable for gallery quality 24×36-inch prints. By ISO 400 some digital noise is apparent, but that’s not a problem in 13×19″ prints.”
Rating: N/A reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“Camera response times were similar to the A900 in our tests. The AF system was quick to lock on to subjects, even in dim lighting after dark. Focusing was accurate for more than 90% of the shots we took, regardless of the drive mode selected. “
Rating: ★★★★½

DigitalTrends reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“As for digital noise, the bête noir of point-and-shoot digicams and some entry-level DSLRs, it didn’t appear until ISO 800 and wasn’t a problem until hitting 1250. At 3200 and 6400, quality was bad no matter what level of DRO (Dynamic Range Optimization) we used. .”
Rating: ★★★★☆

AlphaMountWorld reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“A850 is a responsive, comfortable, intuitive, and easy to use camera. Yes that sounds a lot like what I’ve said about the A900. With image quality, it seems nothing has been changed. Overall as I have said before the image quality is excellent with the A900 and same goes for the A850.”
Rating: N/A

Sony A850 preview video by WDC;

ImagingResource reviews the Sony A850 and writes;
“Sony A850 presents a bit of a trade-off between detail and image noise. It’s a camera with enormously high resolution, but also somewhat higher noise levels at high ISO settings than some of its competition….Shooting with the Sony Alpha A850 can be summed up in one word: Satisfying.”
Rating: Dave’s Pick

User Opinions

Sony A850 User Reviews

Coming soon..

More user opinions | Write your opinion


Sony A850 Sample Photos

A850 VS A900 ISO Comparison Sample Photos @ PhotographyBlog
Sony A850 Sample Photos @ Steve’sDigicams
A850 VS A900 ISO Comparison Sample Photos @ Dpreview
Sony A850 Sample Photos @ DCR
Sony A850 Sample Photos @ AlphaMountWorld
Sony A850 Sample Photos @ ImagingResource


Sony A850 User Manual (PDF)

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– Download Sony A850 User Manual (PDF – 3.6MB)


Sony A850 Specifications

Price (body only)

• US: $ 2000

• EU: € 1999

Price (with 28-75mm SAM lens) • US: ~$ 2800

• EU: € 2688
Body material Magnesium Body
Sensor • 35.9 x 24.0 mm CMOS sensor ‘Exmor’
• RGB Color Filter Array

• Built-in fixed low-pass filter
• 25.7 million total pixels
• 24.6 million effective pixels
• On-chip Column A/D Conversion & NR

Image sizes [Still]

• 6048 x 4032 (24M 3:2)
• 4400 x 2936 (13M 3:2)
• 3024 x 2016 (6.1M 3:2)

• 6048 x 3408 (21M 16:9)
• 4400 x 2472 (11M 16:9)
• 3024 x 1704 (5.2M 16:9)
• 3924 x 2656 (11M APSC)
• 2896 x 1928 (5.6M APSC)

• 1984 x 1320 (2.6M APSC)

File qualities / formats • RAW (.ARW 2.0)

• Compressed or uncompressed RAW option
• RAW + JPEG Fine
• JPEG Extra Fine
• JPEG Fine
• JPEG Standard

Dust reduction • Charge protection coating on low-pass filter
• CCD-shift dust reduction mechanism
Lenses • Sony Alpha lenses
(also compatible with Minolta A-type bayonet mount lenses)
• Can be used with DT (1.5x crop) lenses in APS-C mode
FOV crop 1.0 x
Image Stabilization • CCD-Shift ‘ SteadyShot INSIDE’ system

• Five level LED shake indicator in viewfinder
• Claimed equivalent to 2.5 EV- 4 EV steps in shutter speed

Auto Focus • TTL CCD line sensors (9-points, center dual cross types + 10 assist sensors)

• EV 0 to 18 (ISO 100) detection range
• Predictive focus control for moving subjects

AF area selection

• Wide AF area

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

Focus modes • Single-shot AF

• Direct Manual Focus
• Continuous AF
• Automatic AF
• Manual focus
• AF micro adjustment (+/- 20 steps for up to 30 lenses)

AF assist
• Yes (built-in LED lamp)
• Range approx 1m – 7m
Eye-start AF No
Shooting modes

• Auto
• Programmed Auto (with shift)
• Aperture priority AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Manual

• MR (memory recall) / Custom


• Auto (200 – 1600) – upper/lower limit selectable *

• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 3200

• ISO 100,ISO 125,ISO 160, ISO 4000, ISO 5000, ISO 6400 (expanded range)

Metering modes • Multi-segment (40 segment Honeycomb pattern)
• Center-weighted

• Spot

Metering range • TTL metering
• 40-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC

• EV 0 to 20 (Multi-segment / Center-weighted)
• EV 2 to 20 (Spot metering)
(at ISO 100 with F1.4 lens)

AE Lock • AEL button (customizable)
• Half-press shutter release
AE Bracketing • Single or continuous bracketing

• 3 or 5 frames
• 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 or 2.0 EV steps*
*2.0 EV steps for 3 frames only

Exposure compen. • -3.0 to +3.0 EV
• 0.3 or 0.5 EV steps
Shutter Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane Shutter
Shutter Speed • 30 to 1/8000 sec
• Bulb
Flash X-sync • 1/250 sec
• 1/200 sec (with SteadyShot INSIDE on)
Aperture values Depends on lens, 0.3 EV steps
DOF preview Yes, dedicated button
White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Shade

• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Flash
• Color temperature (2500 – 9900 K)

• Manual (Custom) – 3 memories

White balance fine tuning • Auto (none)
• Preset WB: -3 to +3
• Fluorescent WB: -2 to +4

• Color temperature WB: G9 to M9
(19 step Magenta / Green compensation)

White balance bracketing • 3 frames
• Hi or Lo steps
Dynamic range optimizer

• Off
• Standard
• Advanced Auto

• Advanced
• DRO advanced bracketing (3 frames, High/Low selectable)

Color space • sRGB

• Adobe RGB

Color modes • Standard
• Vivid

• Neutral
• Clear
• Deep
• Light
• Portrait

• Landscape
• Sunset
• Night view
• Autumn Leaves
• B&W

• Sepia

Image parameters • Contrast (-3 to +3)
• Saturation (-3 to +3)

• Sharpness (-3 to +3)
• Zone Matching (-1 to +2 steps)
• Brightness (-3 to +3 steps)
(Available in all color modes)

Noise reduction • Long exposure for exposures longer than 1 second (User controllable: On / Off)
• High ISO NR High/Normal/Low/Off at ISO 1600 or higher

• Eye-level fixed optical glass pentaprism
• Spherical Acute Matte focusing screen (interchangeable)
• Magnification approx. 0.74x
• 98% frame coverage*

• Dioptric adjustment (-3 to +1.0)
• Eye-relief 20 mm from eyepiece
• Eyepiece cup removable
• Eyepiece shutter built-in
• Viewfinder info bar

LCD monitor

• 3.0" ‘Xtra Fine’ TFT LCD
• 921,600 pixels (640 x 480 x 3 (RGB))
• 100% coverage

• Brightness setting -/+
• Anti-reflective coating

Flash compensation -3.0 to +3.0 EV in 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 2.0 EV steps
Flash Mode Auto, Fill-Flash, Rear sync , High Speed Sync
External flash (optional) • Sony HVL-F58M
• Sony HVL-F56M
• Sony HVL-F42M
• Sony HVL-F36M
• Macro Twin Flash Kit HVL-MT24AM

• Ring Light HVL-RLAM
• Off camera flash shoe FA-CS1 AM

Drive modes • Single-frame

• Continuous (H/L selectable)
• Self-timer (10 or 2 sec)
• Mirror-Up
• Continuous bracket
• Single-frame bracket
• White balance bracket
• DRO bracket

• Mirror Lock-Up
• Remote Commander

shooting *
Approx 3 fps max
• RAW: Up to 16 frames
• cRAW (compressed): Up to 18 frames
• RAW+JPEG: Up to12 frames
• cRAW+JPEG : Up to 12 frames

• JPEG (XFINE): Up to 34 frames
• JPEG (STD/FINE): 593/384


• 10 sec

• 2 sec
• Mirror up function (optional)
• Remote control

Orientation sensor Yes, for shooting, playback and control panel display
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mass storage, Multi-LUN or PTP)
• Video out (NTSC or PAL)

• HDMI type C mini jack
• Remote terminal
• PC control (with supplied software)

Remote control * • Wired: with optional RM-S1AM or RM-L1AM
• Wireless: with optional RM-DSLR1)
Video out • AV (Selectable NTSC or PAL)
• HDMI (1920 x 1080i, 1280 x 720p, 720 x 580p, 720 x 576p)
• ‘PhotoTV’ HD settings applied with BRAVIA.
Storage • Compact Flash Type I/II, UDMA Mode 5 compliant
• Memory Stick Duo / Pro Duo, PRO-HG Duo
• Supports FAT12 / FAT16 / FAT32
Power • NP-FM500H Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (1650 mAh)
• CR2025 Wireless remote
• Battery charger included

• Optional AC adapter
• Battery life Approx 880 shots (CIPA standard)

Vertical grip • Vertical Grip VG-C90AM

• One or Two NP-FM500H batteries with auto switchover for power (additional battery is optional).

Dimensions 156 x 117 x 82 mm
Weight (body) 850 g

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2 Responses to “Sony A850”

  1. sam says:

    i love my black cannon cyber shot 4 mp camera.. i am actually searching about tungsten ring.. if anyone want 2 know about tungsten ring and their advantages over titanium visit


  2. FrontRangePhotos says:

    While this camera is ugly–which doesn’t matter much to me, I hear it performs quite well. I’m loving the user reviews and test reports. Nice thorough overview up on Imaging Resources (some good comparison pic’s), and Photocrati has a good field test report of the Sony A850 by the Magic Latern series writer– Peter Burian. Looks like I need to start saving for my own Christmas present!

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