I listor: 1
Image quality: 9/10
Value for money: 9/10
The Sony A55 turns conventional design on its head to provide what is in many ways a better user experience than traditional DSLRs can achieve, at a price point that Canon and Nikon must be worried about. If you can overcome your reservations about electronic viewfinders, the Sony A55 is a great choice for both beginners and more cautious enthusiasts alike. If you don't need the 2 extra megapixels, built-in GPS or 3 frames per second faster continuous shooting mode, the cheaper A33 is also well worth considering.
Sony Alpha SLT-A55 review
Conclusion OUR VERDICT The Sony Alpha SLT-A55 holds its own against its competition thanks to its nice feature set and very good image quality. What sets it apart is its small size, ability to continuously autofocus while shooting video, and fast continuous shooting mode. If portability, video capability and burst shooting are serious concerns for you, then you'll want to give this camera a very close look. If regular still images are your primary concern, then you'll need to pay close attention to the electronic viewfinder, and try to determine if you are comfortable with its limitations.
Sony Alpha A55 Review
There is no doubt that this is an enjoyable and versatile photographic tool, capable of very fine results. Access to the range of Sony/Carl Zeiss lenses has to be a major plus point, and at a reasonable cost too. The lack of mirror slap reduces potential vibration and also enables very high frame rates.
Competition therefore comes from other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and from conventional DSLRs. Professionals needing rugged workhorse cameras may well stick with the DSLR. Those wanting something more compact will be looking to dispose of the mirror system.
Bearing in mind that none of the mirrorless cameras are truly pocketable and that therefore we need to carry a camera bag, albeit a reduced size, this Sony probably ends up being the best of both worlds rather than the master of neither. There is a slight question mark over whether or not users will take to the new EVFs, but it could be a very good choice for those tempted by other mirrorless systems that have far less selection of lenses. Others may be more comfortable with the entry level conventional DSLR, but the battle has definitely been engaged.
In that middle battle ground the Sony Alpha A55 performs well and is good value for money.
- High resolution images
- Access to high quality lens range
- No vibration
- High Frame Rate
- AF in Movie Mode
- GPS Module built in
- Metering gives very light images
- Loss of quality at high ISO values
- Resistance to concept of EVF
- FEATURES: 9/10
- HANDLING: 8/10
- PERFORMANCE: 8/10
- VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10
- OVERALL: 8/10
Sony Alpha SLT-A55 review
The Sony Alpha SLT-A55 holds its own against its competition thanks to its nice feature set and very good image quality. What sets it apart is its small side, ability to continuously autofocus while shooting video, and fast continuous shooting mode. If portability, video capability and burst shooting are serious concerns for you, then you'll want to give this camera a very close look. If regular still images are your primary concern, then you'll need to pay close attention to the electronic viewfinder, and try to determine if you are comfortable with its limitations.
Inget betygDigital Photo Expert
We loved the in-camera HDR function. Three shots are taken in rapid succession and then merged in the camera to produce an image that has better shadow and highlight detail than from a single exposure. Needless to say this only works with stationary subjects. Image quality is generally good but let down by the lens which is not the sharpest optic in the drawer.
Electronic viewfinders are rubbish. But the high resolution swivelling LCD is excellent.
If we had to choose between this camera and a similarly priced conventional Sony DSLR we wouldnâ€™t hesitate â€“ conventional is better. However this choice is easy because we donâ€™t make movies with our still cameras. If we did then we would look seriously at the a55 because that continuous auto-focus solves a problem that has restricted movie making with DSLRs â€“ the need to use manual focus to follow movement toward and away from the camera. The a55 has a lesser sibling, the a33, with fewer features at a lower price.
Inget betygSony SLT-A55 Review
•Reliably good image quality at lower sensitivities
•High ISO JPEG output usable up to ISO 12800 for smaller prints
•Excellent LCD and good EVF, with efficient automatic switch.
•Versatile and capable (for its class) 15-point AF system
•Accurate metering and focus
•Very Good JPEG resolution
•Very good (almost 9EV) dynamic range
•Good quality HD video output
•Swivel-screen useful for overhead- and video shooting
•Good ergonomics all around, good build quality, nice handling
•Very compact design
•Excellent digital level gauge in EVF/LCD
•Useful Fn menu allows direct access to many important settings
•Very usable manual focus mode (including up to 15x image magnification)
•Lots of cool features - 10fps, Auto HDR, Multi-shot NR etc., (automatically selected in Auto+ mode)
•Auto+ mode makes the various continuous shooting modes (see above) available to novices
•Efficient image stabilization system
•Built-in GPS handy for organising images (though it can struggle in built-up areas)
•Limited control in 10fps and movie modes
•AF system not quite up to capturing fast action
•No live view in 10fps/6fps shooting makes panning almost impossible
•Slow (50 seconds) buffer clear time (RAW-mode)
•Little control over high ISO noise reduction in JPEG mode ('auto' or 'weak')
•Visible loss of detail at anything over ISO 400 in JPEG mode (noise reduction too strong)
•Menu system a little confusing (hard to orientate yourself sometimes)
•'Ghosting' can be an issue in certain scenes (clipped specular highlights against dark backgrounds)
•EVF slightly more prone to RGB 'tearing' than competitors
•Image review not separately configurable for EVF and LCD
•Awkward to navigate between stills and movie playback modes
•LCD unusually prone to finger prints and smearing (reducing visibility in very bright light)
- More exposure variability than we like to see
- Overexposure bias in metering system under bright/high-key conditions
- Maddening black-screen delay (15 seconds) after filling buffer, before you can review any photos, total buffer clearing time is very slow.
- Short battery life
- Best-of-breed EVF still doesn't match optical viewfinder for highlight/shadow visibility
- Succession-of-stills viewfinder images can make subject tracking difficult during high-speed shooting sequences
- Time-multiplexed EVF display sometimes produces RGB "rainbows" with rapid eye, camera, or subject movement
- Autofocus a little quick to jump to the background, if the AF point leaves the subject momentarily
- Limited/no aperture control during high-speed burst or video recording
- Translucent mirror reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor, so high ISO performance not quite as good as mirrorless or true SLRs with same sensor
- Internal mirror reflections can appear in images in certain situations (mainly occurs in night shots containing small, bright lights)Lens AF actuation noise very prominent in audio track of videos
- Sunny-Weather LCD brightness setting does lose highlight detail (hard to avoid, though, given how bright it is)
- Modal playback showing only stills or videos (but never both together) is awkward
- Viewer software (Image Data Lightbox SR version 2.2) is very buggy under Mac OS X 10.6
- Fixed screen brightness in magnified live view can make it difficult to check focus on highlight and shadow areas
- Video frame rate from sensor is 30p, frame-doubled to 1080/60i output
- Very good body/grip design, but the small body can still be tiring when shooting with large lenses
Inget betygSony Alpha SLT-A55
- 10 frames per second continuous focus burst shooting
- Great video autofocus
- Electronic Viewfinder won’t be for everyone
- 16:9 ratio of LCD screen not ideal for stills shooting
Conclusion Part of a new generation of cameras, the SLT-A55 is truly innovative. The 10fps continuous shooting is incredibly good and far outclasses the next nearest DSLR in this department, not to mention significantly by price.Downsides are few and far between, and may be to a matter of taste rather than significant negatives: the main point is that the electronic viewfinder may not be for everyone, as it’s quite different to the feel of an optical version. However it does add some technological advances that will tick the box for a more tech-savvy audience.All in all the combination of fast shooting, GPS, impressive video autofocus (thanks to the phase detection AF during live view) and the general responsiveness in use make the A55 wildly impressive. There’s still some room for improvement, so we wait with baited breath as to just how good the next generation of cameras will be. But for now the A55 rules the roost and it really is the pinnacle of new age digital cameras.