Ilse Jurriën : August 27th 2009 - 15:00 CET
Sony Alpha 550 digital SLR camera : The feature-packed Sony DSLR-A550 camera makes it easier than ever to capture beautiful pictures, carefree family portraits, stunning holiday memories and action-packed scenes. The 14.2 megapixels Sony A550 is packed with advanced technology that combines the spontaneity and freedom of Live View shooting with generous possibilities to realise your creative vision. At the heart of the Sony A550 SLR camera is a new Exmor CMOS sensor that ensures crisp low-noise images, packed with fine detail and vibrant colours. Sharing powerful on-chip noise reduction techniques with the full-frame DSLR-A900, this advanced sensor works with processing algorithms handled by the high-speed BIONZ engine to deliver premium images plus razor-sharp shooting responses.|
Sony A550 features Quick AF Live View function
Dramatically reduced picture noise now allows super-sensitive shooting at up to ISO 12800, allowing attractive results when shooting handheld in challenging situations like candlelit interiors. Thanks to the powerful BIONZ image processing engine, Quick AF Live View now supports even speedier shooting responses with rapid, precise autofocus. This makes it easier than ever to capture beautifully relaxed portraits, dynamic action shots and more.
BIONZ image processor incorporated in the Sony A550
Powered by the BIONZ image processing engine, fast-moving action can now be captured effortlessly with faster continuous shooting speeds. Sustained shooting speeds of up to 4 fps can be achieved in Live View Mode, rising to 5 fps with the optical viewfinder. New Speed Priority mode on the DSLR-A550 raises the bar further still, shooting at an incredible 7 fps (with AF and AE setting maintained from the first frame ). It’s a powerful creative tool for capturing the nuances of a portrait subject’s changing expression or dynamic action sequences.
Sony DSLR-A550 camera technologies
In a DSLR debut, Quick AF Live View now features Face Detection, prioritising AF on people’s faces and fine-tuning exposure/white balance settings for crisp, beautiful portraits with natural skin tones. Another DSLR first by Sony that’s already featured on many Cyber-shot models, Smile Shutter detects faces in Live View mode, automatically firing the shutter at just the right moment to capture happy, relaxed smiles.
Sony Alpha 550 live view mode
A special new Manual Focus Check Live View mode on the Sony A550 assists with fine-tuning your composition. Low-noise images can be previewed directly from the CMOS sensor, allowing critical assessment of focus and fine detail, even in low light. The Sony A550 live image offers 100% field coverage, assisted by framing grid lines for precise composition. There’s also a selectable 7x/14x zoom function for a close-up confirmation of focus.
3" LCD screen on the Sony Alpha A550
The Sony Alpha 550 features a superb (921k dot) 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD screen for critical focusing and photo-quality viewing with class-leading colour, contrast and detailing. The screen tilts up or down over a full 180 degree range, allowing uncompromised ‘free-angle’ live view shooting in any position. An ambient light sensor automatically boosts LCD brightness for extra screen clarity when surrounding light levels are high. The Sony A550 SLR camera also features a clear, bright optical viewfinder with wide 95% field coverage for framing and focusing as an alternative to live view shooting.
Sony A550 SLR camera operation
Operation of the Sony A550 is brilliantly simple, thanks to a redesigned on-screen interface that provides easy access to functions and settings during live view operation. A unique Graphic Display gives a clear, intuitive indication of how shutter speed and aperture adjustments will affect the final image.
Sony A550 features a new HDR mode
Creative options are broadened by new Auto HDR mode that captures a huge range of shadow and highlight detail in landscapes, interiors and other scenes. Previously accessible only to enthusiasts equipped with a tripod and image processing software, HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a specialist technique that combines two frames shot at different exposure settings. The Sony A550 DSLR uses powerful algorithms to combine and optimise two successive frames in less than 10 seconds, correcting any misalignment between frames when shooting handheld. The result is a single HDR image emulating the huge natural tonal range of human vision - with no PC or tripod needed.
Sony Alpha 550 image quality
The D-Range Optimiser featured in previous Sony DSLR models has been enhanced for even better results with backlit portraits and other tricky high-contrast scenes. The powerful BIONZ engine now optimises image data in real time, processing brightness and contrast in individual areas of each exposure for balanced, natural looking results. Optimisation can also be selected manually from 5 processing levels. A Smart Teleconvertor button instantly boosts image size by 1.4x or 2x to extend your camera’s zoom lens range further for frame-filling close-ups.
Sony A550 compatible with BRAVIA televisions
Like all DSLR cameras by Sony, the Sony DSLR-A550 features SteadyShot INSIDE, the powerful optical image stabiliser that cuts the effects of camera shake by up to 4 stops while shooting handheld with any lens. After shooting, it’s easy to connect the Sony A550 SLR to your BRAVIA television via HDMI (requires optional cable) for a stunning big-screen view of your shots. Compatible BRAVIA models automatically switch to PhotoTV HD mode for optimised still image playback with incredible detail, colour and clarity. BRAVIA Sync lets you control image slideshows in comfort via your TV’s remote.
Sony Alpha A550 battery life and vertical control grip
The Sony A550 camera lets you capture even more incredible moments without the worry of running out of power. The battery of the A550 delivers up to 950 shots from a single charge. If you’re hungry for even more shooting stamina, the new VG-B50AM Vertical Control Grip holds up to two NP-FM500H batteries. This premium grip gives Sony Alpha A500 users an incredible 1,900 shot maximum capacity, with automatic switchover between batteries and accurate display of power remaining in % increments on the camera’s LCD. An additional shutter release and dual controls support comfortable, accurate shooting in either portrait or landscape positions.
Sony DSLR-A550 supports Memory Stick format
Also, with Memory Stick at the heart of the Sony Alpha, you have every advantage. The advanced Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX (4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB) is the perfect tool for continuous shooting mode, with the ideal combination of massive storage capacity and blisteringly fast operation. Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX 32GB will never miss the key shot because the number of pictures taken in 1 min is approx 270 photos (in RAW+JPEG/L (12M).Delivered with USB Adaptor, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX 32GB is ideal for users who want to transfer data in high speed: approx. 1700 pictures in L (12M) size at RAW+JPEG mode in 26 minutes.
Sony A550 SLR camera features
• New 14.2 effective megapixel CMOS sensor and new enhanced BIONZ processor for detail-packed, low-noise images with high sensitivity up to ISO 12800
• High-speed continuous shooting up to 5fps (with optical viewfinder)
• High-speed continuous shooting up to 7fps in Speed Priority mode
• Enhanced Quick AF Live View captures fast-moving action, with Face Detection
• 180º tilt-angle 3” Xtra Fine LCD (A550) and intuitive new interface for clear, simple shooting
• Manual Focus Check Live View mode for precise adjustment of focus and composition
• Auto HDR mode for high dynamic range exposures
• Class-leading shooting stamina
• HDMI output and BRAVIA Sync for control from TV remote
Sony A550 price & availability
The Sony Alpha 550 digital SLR camera is available from the end of October 2009. Suggested retail price to be announced.
Sony A550 review
As soon as we receive a full production Sony A550 test sample, we will publish a photo gallery with high resolution pictures, followed by an extensive Sony Alpha 550 review.