Monday, November 9, 2009

Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

Buy Cheap Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

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14.2-megapixel effective recording * APS-C-size CMOS image sensor (23.4 x 15.6 mm) * built-in sensor-shift SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization (works with all attached lenses) * Sony BIONZ image processor for accurate, low noise images and responsive shooting * 3" high-res tilt-screen LCD (921,600 dots) with live view mode for composing shots on-screen in real-time (adjusts up to 90 degrees upward and 90 degrees downward) * optical SLR viewfinder (with diopter adjustment) * Eye-Start® Autofocus System begins focusing your picture as soon as you bring your eye to the viewfinder * face detection AF fine tunes exposure and white balance for more natural skin tones (live view only) * smile shutter automatically shoots when subject smiles (live view only) * Quick Auto Focus live view uses a second built-in image sensor to eliminate focus delay * Manual Focus Check mode allows accurate fine focusing when in manual focus mode (live view only) * built-in anti-dust technology for spotless photos * 9-point autofocus with center cross-type sensor for accurate, high-speed focusing * auto High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode takes two exposures in rapid succession and combines them to capture increased shadow and highlight details * Dynamic Range Optimizer * built-in auto pop-up flash with flash compensation * 16:9 JPEG options (pixels): 4,592 x 2,576; 3,344 x 1,872; 2,288 x 1,280 *

Technical Details

- 14.2-megapixel resolution for incredible detail; new Sony Exmor CMOS image sensor
- Body only; lenses sold separately
- Quick Auto Focus Live View for composing shots in the LCD monitor; Manual Focus Check Live View enables critical focus in macro and tripod shooting
- Auto HDR (High Dynamic Range) captures more scene contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one shot
- Dual media slots for Memory Stick PRO Duo/Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC media (sold separately)
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Customer Buzz
 "Good camera" 2009-10-31
By Jackal (Singapore)
I'm happy with this camera. However, the development of digital cameras is very fast so the camera is likely to be behind cutting edge in a couple of years. I bought this camera because it is not that expensive, so one can always upgrade. Some good and bad things:

- Steady shot makes it possible to take very sharp pictures at 1/15.

- Quite decent performance up to ASA 800. I can go up to ASA 12,800, which results in noise, but also sharp pictures in very low light. If you like me hate using the flash, this is great. I'd rather have grain than flat flash light.

- Very sharp live viewfinder. I cannot do without this facility anymore. Not many higher-end DSLR cameras have this function yet.

- The autofocus does not work that well in low light. I don't know if other cameras are better. However, the Manual Focus Live Viewfinder function is very good when using manual focus in low light and low contrast settings.

- The camera isn't well prepared for HDR (high dynamic range). There is a built in function (works just so so), but I'd rater be able to do bracketed exposures in 1 or 2 EV steps. That is not possible. I can do bracketed exposures in 0.3 or 0.7 EV steps but that isn't really useful for HDR. Clearly Sony is holding back on performance for the next model in 2010.

- The camera fits okay in my standard male sized hands. Bigger might fit better but it is also nice that the camera is not bulky.

- Information panel is informative, except for ASA level when using ASA Auto setting. It would have been very nice to know what ASA level the camera decide to use when in Program mode.

If you buy this camera, skip the 18-55 lens and go for the 18-250 lens instead Sony SAL18250 Alpha DT 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 High Magnification Zoom Lens w/Lens Hood. That is a good allround lens, a bit slow but an amazing range, 27-375mm equivalent. I actually don't find a 200mm zoom that useful, but when you can go up to 375mm new opportunities open up. If you want to spend some more, get the 50mm f/1.4 Sony 50mm f/1.4 Lens for Sony Alpha Digital SLR Camera. That lens will function like 75mm, which is not optimal but that is really the only chance of getting a wide open aperture lens. (Sony also sells a 35mm f/1.4, but that is very expensive and has received poor reviews.) The advantage with the 50mm f/1.4 lens is that it is full-frame so it can be used when you later upgrade to a fullformat camera.

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Buy Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) Now

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