Sony SLT Alpha A55

Last Updated (09 May’13):
- Review by PhotographyReview

Sony SLT Alpha A55 is the world’s first DSLR with Translucent Mirror Technology™ with 15-point Auto Focus features 16.2MP, Full HD 1080/60i movies, Auto HDR, Built-in GPS, Sweep Panorama™ Mode, ISO 100-12800 and a 3” TFT Xtra Fine LCD w/TruBlack™ (921,600 pixels). The camera measures (124.4 x 92 x 84.7mm) (W/H/D) and weighs Approx. 17.35 oz (492g) (w/battery & media).

sony-slt-alpha-a55
Overall Rating: ★★★★½


Expert Reviews

Sony SLT Alpha A55 Reviews

Phoblographer reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
If you are looking to upgrade from a P&S or advanced P&S and you want your next camera to be able to grow with you, go for the A55. You have WAY more lenses to choose from, IQ is much better, you get more features, in-body image stabilization, built in flash, and the list goes on and on.”
Rating: N/A

PhotographyReview reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“The Sony Alpha SLT-A55 is a great camera with an innovative design, great performance and excellent image quality. It’s not quite the sports camera I was hoping for but it’s a very capable all-round performer that most people will be very happy with”
Rating: N/A

Shutterbug reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“In all, the a55 begins to create a different photographic atmosphere. It’s a fascinating combination of tools and tricks, with the tricks increasingly becoming an inherent part of the tools.”
Rating: N/A

DigitalCameraHQ reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“The A55 is an excellent camera all around, and absolutely worth buying. It’s the speediest consumer dSLR out there and doesn’t compromise on image quality, either. The handling is unique within the dSLR realm, and incredibly versatile out in the field: Nothing else at this price combines a dSLR’s speed with such a useful live-view”
Rating: ★★★★☆

TechTree reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“Image quality is excellent even in low light conditions, especially when you use the Hand-held Night Shot mode. Photos are sharp and colors look natural. The GPS geotagging feature is surely going to interest travelers with a serious interest in photography.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

TechRadar reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“Given the current Sony A55 price, it may still prove to be a compelling choice if the features meet your buying criteria, due to its decent image quality at high sensitivities, compact dimensions and support for existing Sony A-mount lenses.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

Adorama reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“The Sony A55 is a great marriage of new and old, competitively priced to take on the best that mid-range DSLRs and Compact System Cameras can offer, and surpassing both in many ways. Highly Recommended.”
Rating: ★★★★½

PhotographyBlog reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“The Sony A55 is a great marriage of new and old, competitively priced to take on the best that mid-range DSLRs and Compact System Cameras can offer, and surpassing both in many ways. Highly Recommended.”
Rating: ★★★★½

Geek reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“I’m still impressed with the A55, and it could be a good choice if you need something that takes excellent (short) videos, but I wouldn’t recommend it over cameras like the T2i/T3i.”


Rating: N/A

BJP-Online reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“So why buy it? Size, weight, resolution and the GPS function make the A55 an ideal travel camera – free from unsynchronised camera and GPS clock settings – embedding data in raw files, movies or JPEGs.”
Rating: N/A

NeoCamera reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“the Sony Alpha SLT-A55 deserves our highest rating and we really cannot wait to know how SLT cameras will evolve from here. For now, the A55 is a very compelling DSLR-replacement, particularly for new photographers and video enthusiasts. “
Rating: ★★★★½

WDC reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“Image noise is no problem when shooting ISO 100-400, but begins 
to appear from ISO 800 onwards. Between ISO 800-1600, images are still of a good quality but detail does begins to diminish – especially when viewing images at 100%. “
Rating: ★★★★½

MacWorld reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“shooting video with this camera is much easier than with any digital SLR. Because the camera can continuously autofocus while shooting video, you don’t need to worry about how you or your subject moves while rolling video. The camera’s quick autofocus mechanism will keep your scene in focus, even during difficult camera movements. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

KenRockwell reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“Yes, the A55 is a cool gadget, but I see it more as a fun toy than a serious tool with which to create lasting artwork.”
Rating: N/A

CNET.asia reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“The good: Blazing fast 10fps burst mode; accurate continuous AF while recording video; compact size; onboard GPS. The bad: Limited video-recording option. The bottom line: The A55 is a great dSLR for budding sports photographers who want a fast-performing camera that can focus quickly on moving subjects. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

LetsGoDigital reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“Sony Alpha 55 : Highly recommended. The Sony SLT-A55 uses an old technology to innovate and optimize, which has raised the camera to an outstanding level. It offers fine video quality, an excellent, fast AF, user-friendly control and ease, and not to mention outstanding image quality. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

CNET reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“The good: Fast, especially for burst shooting; articulating display; relatively straightforward, streamlined interface; really nice virtual-level implementation. The bad: Poor battery life; limited manual video-capture controls. The bottom line: Expensive and probably a bit large for the typical point-and-shoot upgrader, the Sony Alpha SLT-A55V nevertheless delivers the performance and photo quality boost those shooters are expecting. “


Rating: ★★★★☆

DCRP reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“Photo quality was very good for the most part. The A55′s weak spot is in the metering department, where it frequently overexposed. I found myself bracketing every shot once I discovered that, so you might want to do the same, or just dial down the exposure compensation a bit. The camera does clip highlights here and there, though it wasn’t a huge issue. Colors were accurate…”
Rating: N/A

PopPhoto reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“You’ll get those lower noise levels, matching the Rebel T2i’s Very Low scores at ISO 100 and 200. The A55 remained very competitive with the T2i throughout their shared sensitivity range of ISO 100–12,800, though both cameras reached Unacceptable levels at their highest ISOs.”
Rating: N/A

PCMag reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“The Sony Alpha55 (SLT-A55VL) offers faster-than-D-SLR focusing speeds along with D-SLR-quality images. The only thing you don’t get is a true optical viewfinder. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

BuyNShoot reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“For its price and given its ability the a55 is, in short, a winner. It’s bringing some features and functions previously only available to those with a bigger wallet to consumers who want more from their cameras. Invest in Sony’s a55 and the reality is you’re unlikely to be disappointed. Quite the opposite in fact. “
Rating: ★★★★½

DCI reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“We were impressed with the quality of the Full HD video captured by the SLT-A55, which had good color and very low noise. The video also held up well in low light, although we did notice a slip in the color accuracy and the video was a little undersaturated. Overall, the SLT-A55 shoots high quality video. “
Rating: ★★★★½

PhotoReview.au reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
“We were pleasantly surprised by the speed and accuracy of the autofocusing system – particularly in the high-speed burst mode, where it was able to keep track with most moving subjects – as long as the motion wasn’t too fast. (Really rapid local movements were often blurred in shots.) However, the Spot AF setting was prone to hunting in dim lighting and with low-contrast subjects”
Rating: ★★★★½

ImagingResource reviews the Sony SLT Alpha A55 and writes;
” It produces some very clean, detailed images and also extends the available ISO settings to 25,600, but requires the use of a tripod at slower shutter speeds, so similar results can be obtained by simply shooting at a lower ISO with longer exposures if you’re already using a tripod.”
Rating: N/A

Samples

Sony SLT Alpha A55 Sample Photos

- Sony SLT Alpha A55 Sample Photos @ PhotographyReview
- Sony SLT Alpha A55 Sample Photos @ TechRadar
- Sony SLT Alpha A55 Sample Photos @ PhotographyBlog
- Sony SLT Alpha A55 Sample Photos @ NeoCamera
- Sony SLT Alpha A55 Sample Photos @ LetsGoDigital
- Sony SLT Alpha A55 Sample Photos @ DCRP
- Sony SLT Alpha A55 Sample Photos @ DCI
- Sony SLT Alpha A55 Sample Photos @ Flickr.com
- Sony SLT Alpha A55 Sample Photos @ Imaging-resource

Manual

Sony SLT Alpha A55 User Manual (PDF)

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

- Download Sony SLT Alpha A55 User Manual (PDF – 12.5MB)

Features

Sony SLT Alpha A55 Features

It’s all about speed and precision. Capture the decisive moment with the α55V, Sony’s top-of-the-line Translucent Mirror Technology™ DSLR. Now you can focus and shoot simultaneously for fast, precise performance. And because the mirror never moves, the time needed to raise and lower the mirror is eliminated. This all helps continuous shooting up to 10 frames per second, complete with continuous auto focus. Auto focus is also visibly faster in Live View and HD Movie modes. There’s also built-in GPS photo tagging that lets you map your memories on your compatible computer.

Translucent Mirror Technology
Other DSLRs can shoot. Or they can focus with the speed and precision of Phase Detection AF. They cannot do both at once. The SLT-A55 is the world’s first DSLR with Translucent Mirror Technology™ that directs light to both the image sensor and the Phase Detection AF sensor simultaneously.

16.2 megapixel resolution
You get incredible detail and gorgeous enlargements. Thanks to the 16.2 megapixel APS-C sensor size and Sony® Exmor™ APS HD CMOS technology, the camera achieves high resolution with no penalty in low-light sensitivity or sensor noise.

Full HD 1080/60i movies
This is one of the very few DSLRs with 1080/60i Full HD, exactly the same resolution and frame rate as most broadcast and cable HDTV channels. Records in 1080/60i AVCHD™ format, 1080/30p high definition in PC-friendly MP4 format and standard definition 480/30p in MP4 format.

Auto HDR built into camera
Captures more scene dynamic range than a single exposure can handle—and more range than photo film. Combines the best highlight detail from one shot, the best mid-tones from a second and the best shadow detail from a third for one incredible shot. Captures in a split second. (Recommended for still subjects.)

Eye-Level Electronic Viewfinder
The Tru-finder™ Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is super bright, easy to see with 1.1x magnification, ultra-sharp with 1.44 million dots (1.15 effective) and provides 100% frame coverage. Exposure preview and informative overlays make operation easy.

Tilt/swivel 3” LCD screen2
Tilt it up or down to frame high- and low-angle shots that would otherwise be hit-or-miss. Tilt and swivel under the camera for self-portraits. Fold it flush to the camera with the LCD exposed for shooting or protected for travel.

Live View in LCD or EVF
You can use both the LCD monitor and Electronic Viewfinder for composing shots. Both provide a what-you-see-is-what-you-get preview of white balance, focus, depth of field, exposure and 100% framing accuracy, plus informative on-screen displays.

AUTO+ (Advanced Auto) mode
Get cleaner, more dynamic pictures and fewer missed shots. Unifies and simplifies Sony intelligent technologies, the camera automatically recognizes the correct scene mode, then quickly shoots and combines up to six shots to produce images with greater clarity, optimum dynamic range using Auto HDR technology and lower image noise using 6 shots layering technology.

Pro-style “rack focus” movie effect
A hallmark of today’s movies is the “rack focus” effect, when the cinematographer changes focus between background and foreground subjects. This usually involves careful planning, a tape measure and dedicated a crew member for “pulling” focus. With the SLT-A55V, you can perform this pro-style effect simply by changing the selected AF Area within the frame.

Graphic Display
Clarifies the relationship between aperture and shutter speed, as well as the effect each has on photographic results.

1200-Zone exposure metering
Reads exposure directly from the main image sensor. Choice of Multi, Center and Spot metering accommodates a full range of shooting situations.

Powerful supplied software
To help you refine and manage your images and video, the camera is equipped with computer software including Image Data Converter SR, Image Data Lightbox SR and Picture Motion Browser (PMB).

HDMI™ output for HD viewing
Enjoy HD movies and stunning still images on a compatible HDTV. The camera includes an HDMI™ output9. In addition, the BRAVIA® Sync system works with compatible Sony® BRAVIA HDTVs enabling you to control camera playback using the television’s remote.

Up to 330 Shots of battery life
Take up to 330 shots on a single charge with Sony® Stamina™ battery power.5 Sony’s InfoLITHIUM® battery system enables you to see the percent of power remaining, so you can keep shooting in confidence.

Built-in Auto Pop-Up Flash
To help you shoot more effectively, the built-in flash automatically pops up and fires as needed when the camera is set to certain scene selection modes. The built-in flash can also trigger a wireless accessory flash (sold separately). The integrated hot shoe enables you to expand your lighting options with a range of accessory flashes (sold separately).

PhotoTV HD compatibility
Optimizes compatible BRAVIA® televisions for gorgeous display of digital pictures.

10 frames per second continuous
The translucent mirror makes it far easier to capture the decisive soccer kick or your baby at her absolute cutest. The Sony® SLT-A55V camera shoots full, 16.2 MP resolution pictures at up to 10 fps while maintaining continuous auto focus and auto exposure.

APS-C size HD CMOS image sensor
With 19.5 times the area of the typical camcorder image sensor7, APS-C makes the difference between amateur and professional-looking video, delivering an exceptional combination of high resolution, high sensitivity and gorgeous, blurred backgrounds.

Multi-frame NR
Experience incredible low-light shooting without a flash. The camera captures six images in a fraction of a second. Combining the data from all six, it creates a single image with a reduction in noise equivalent to two additional steps of ISO sensitivity. Sensitivity selectable up to ISO 25600. (Recommended for still subjects.)

3D Sweep Panorama™ Mode
Capture vast scenic vistas and 16:9 shots in spectacular 3D. As you sweep across the panorama, the camera records separate right-eye and left-eye images that make landscapes come alive on your 3D television3. Records both JPEG and MPO file formats.

Eye-level finder for HD Movie
The eye-level finder is one of the reasons people love DSLRs. But that finder goes dark whenever you shoot HD Movies. Until now. The Sony® SLT-A55V enables you to shoot movies with the added stability you get holding the camera up to your face and using the eye-level finder for framing a scene and focus.

921K dot TruBlack™ LCD screen
Sony’s Xtra Fine LCD™ monitor has 921K dots for superb resolution. The TruBlack™ screen includes a special resin layer to suppress internal reflections, increasing contrast compared to conventional LCDs. Sunny Weather mode boosts visibility even further in bright sunlight.

Phase Detection Auto Focus
While Contrast Detection AF often hunts for correct focus, Phase Detection AF knows exactly where correct focus is, and goes straight for it. The Sony® SLT-A55V is the world’s first consumer camera to provide Phase Detection AF when capturing HD movies as well as during still image capture, either using the viewfinder or Live View on the LCD.

Sweep Panorama™ Mode
Capture expansive landscapes automatically. Press the shutter and sweep vertically or horizontally. The camera does the rest, continuously shooting images and stitching them together. Up to 23 MP image size.

Compact, lightweight deign
Eliminating the moving mirror also reduces the camera’s size and weight. It’s not just remarkably advanced; it’s notably small and light.

BIONZ® image processor
The brains of the camera is a refined version of Sony’s BIONZ® image processor. Its chroma noise reduction delivers high-resolution, low-noise photos even at ISO 12800 sensitivity. Also enables 10 fps continuous shooting at full resolution, Sweep Panorama™ mode and more.

RAW image capture
Saves your pictures as compact JPEG files or ultra-high quality RAW files or both. RAW files save images prior to de-mosaicing, white balance, sharpness and color enhancement. This retains maximum latitude for enhancing the image on your PC.

Face Detection technology
The camera can automatically detect up to eight individual faces and adjust focus, exposure, white balance and flash to help deliver crisp, properly lit images of family and friends. Can prioritize children or adults.

Eight Scene Selection Modes
These help you get the shot by optimizing the camera for specific shooting situations. Select from Portrait, Sports Action, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night View, Night Portrait and Handheld Twilight Shot modes.

P/A/S/M exposure modes
The camera offers a full range of controls from the beginner’s AUTO+ mode to P/A/S/M: Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual. On-screen prompts help you refine your skills, build your confidence and exercise greater creative control.

Versatile on-screen displays
Informative displays in the LCD monitor and electronic viewfinder include digital level gauge, graphic display of exposure settings.

Index and Slide Show Display
Quickly review your photos using 6- or 12-frame index views, or as an automatic slide show with fade-in/fade-out effect.

Quick AF for Full HD Movie1 Capture
When most DSLRs shoot video, their Contrast AF is slow and visibly “hunts” for focus. The Quick AF Full HD Movie1 retains the same fast, precise Phase Detection you enjoy for still images. It’s a decisive advantage for tracking fast-moving subjects and a major benefit of Translucent Mirror Technology™.

Sony® Exmor™ technology
Conventional image sensors use only a handful of analog-to-digital (A/D) converters, which can slow you down. The Exmor™ sensor provides more than 4,000 column-parallel A/D converters. This helps enable continuous shooting at up to 10 frames per second.

Hand-held Night Shot
Get cleaner and sharper nighttime pictures—beyond the capability of traditional cameras—without using flash or a tripod. The camera captures six images in a fraction of a second. Combining the data with separate algorithms for still and moving parts of the picture reduces blur, minimizes noise and enables extraordinary detail.

Built-in GPS
An integrated GPS receiver records the location and time of every shot you take and lets you view your images on a map with compatible computer and Internet applications, so you can remember where you took your favorite shots.

15-point Auto Focus
To maximize the value of Translucent Mirror Technology™, Sony incorporates Phase Detection AF of great sophistication. Three cross sensors maximize precision.

Main Sensor Quick AF Live View
This the world’s first DSLR to combine the optimum focus of Phase Detection with high quality Live View images right from the main sensor. This is made possible by Sony® Translucent Mirror Technology™. You get accurate images and 100% framing on the LCD monitor or eye-level viewfinder.

ISO 12800 sensitivity
Incredibly clear low-light pictures without sacrificing detail, made possible by the low-noise Exmor™ APS HD CMOS image sensor and refined BIONZ® image processor.

Powerful creative control over movies
While the camera offers fully automatic movie shooting1, you can also control aperture (A mode w/ MF only), white balance and select Creative Style. During a movie shot, you can change the metering mode and adjust exposure compensation.

Help Guide
Provides ready reference to advanced camera functions, helping to develop your confidence and skills as a photographer.

Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO)
Improves results with backlit subjects and recovers details hidden in shadows. Settings include Auto, Level with a choice of five operating levels and Off.

SteadyShot™ INSIDE stabilization
Image stabilization reduces blur by compensating for camera shake. Typical DSLR systems build image stabilization into selected lenses only. SteadyShot™ INSIDE image stabilization is built into the camera body itself. You’ll reduce blur with every a-mount lens, including macro and wide-aperture standard zoom lenses.

Smile Shutter™ technology
Captures a smile the moment it happens. Simply select the Smile Shutter™ mode and the camera takes the picture automatically. You can prioritize children or adults and adjust the smile sensitivity.

Six Creative Style settings
Control how the camera processes your images with six finishing styles: Standard, Vivid, B&W, Sunset, Portrait and Landscape. You can even fine-tune contrast, saturation, and sharpness to your personal taste.

Anti-Dust Technology
Anti-Dust Technology helps keep the CMOS sensor clean, resulting in consistently clear pictures. First a static-free coating on the sensor’s low-pass filter helps repel dust. Then vibration automatically dislodges dust from the sensor.

Slot for two media types
For cost-effective, convenient storage and sharing of your images, the camera accepts Memory Stick PRO Duo™/Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ and SD/SDHC/SDXC media (Class 4 or higher recommended). (Memory card is required. All are sold separately.)

Remote capability
Works with the RMT-DSLR1 Remote Commander® wireless remote control, sold separately.

Also Consider

Canon 7D

canon-7d
Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Sony A550

sony-a550
Overall Rating: N/A

Nikon D300

nikon-d300
Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Sony A900

sony-a900
Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

canon-5d-mark2
Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV

canon-eos-1d-mark-4
Overall Rating: ★★★★½


See also: Digital Camera | Digital SLR Cameras | Sony





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