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Sony Alpha 850 | Digital Camera Review | Camera
We have already briefly mentioned the handful of differences between the Sony DSLR A850 and A900. Firstly, the Sony A850 is slower when it comes to continuous shooting; offering 3 fps compared to the A900 (5 bps). Compared to competing full frame DSLR cameras, the A850 also trails slightly behind the average. Furthermore, the optical viewfinder with 98% frame coverage is slightly less than the 100% coverage the Alpha 900 provides. Further differences are found in very small things such as a slightly better color saturation as default setting.
Sony Alpha 850 | Digital Camera Sony Alpha 850 | Digital Camera
Sony Alpha A850 camera body
The Sony A850 features a high-quality housing. The body consists of five key parts containing a magnesium alloy. Looking at the design, I would not call it a sleek one, but rather a bit hefty. It does however not have a negative effect on the hand-fit, and the approximate weight of 930 grams is average for a DSLR in this segment. The integration of Sony's SteadyShot Inside technology really stands out. Sony had to design a new and powerful mechanism that was first used in the Sony A900. The advantage of the Steady Shot Inside is unquestionably the possibility to shoot with 2-4 stops slower shutter speed without having to worry about camera shake.

Sony A850 offers protection against dust and moist
When it comes to the housing, we see various parts with a special seal to protect against dust and moist. Features that we usually only find in a professional body. An effective anti-dust system, also found in the A900, should provide optimal protection. In short, a lot of effort has been put into the housing.

Sony Alpha 850 SLR lenses
The front of the Sony Alpha 850 is similar to that of the A900, which in turn had many similarities with the A700. The latter model is no longer included in Sony's range. The handgrip of the Sony A850 features a handy open space for the middle finger to fit into comfortably. This part also contains the sensor for the remote control, which is not standard included, unlike with the A900. The large metal, so-called Minolta A-mount supports a wide range of lenses. In theory, you could even use the old analog Minolta lenses, although these are naturally not optimized for digital use, which would influence the picture quality. The button to determine the manner of focusing is placed to the right of the mount, with above it, just below the orange Alpha logo, a PC Sync flash socket for a flash system. A large LED next to the handgrip provides extra help while focusing and also serves as an indicator for the self-timer.

Sony 850 equipped with a dual card slot
On the side of the handgrip, a dual card slot is placed, which is not only able to contain Sony's proprietary Memory Stick Duo card, but can also fit a CompactFlash memory card. The Sony Alpha 850 supports UDMA cards that will achieve high speed in writing and reading the data.

A850 test
At the time of this review, we were already aware of the new SanDisk Extreme PRO CompactFlash memory cards. These new cards are able to reach a speed of 90MB/sec which is the equivalent of UDMA 6. We are curious to find out if the Sony Alpha 850 is also able to support these speeds. If we get confirmation on this, we will still adjust it. The bottom of the handgrip contains the compartment for the Sony NP-FM500H 7.2V 1650mAh Lithium Ion battery.

Small display on top of the camera
As with the A900, the Sony DSLR-A850 too is equipped with a rather small display on top of the camera. This monitor displays the status of ISO, white balance, exposure compensation, battery status, etc. The shutter release button responds well, provides tactile feedback and thus offers excellent control. The various shortcuts and large command dial bearing the main programs offer a clear set of functions at your fingertips.
The 3-inch display has remained unchanged, and this also goes for the high resolution of 921,600 dots.

Lack of a Live View and video function
Striking is the "lack" of Live View on the A850, while the Sony Alpha 500 and 550, introduced simultaneously, are both equipped with the famous Live View function. Striking at the very least, since the competition has already equipped its professional DSLR cameras with this feature. It seems like Sony preferred a fast introduction of a full-frame DSLR camera at an extremely hot price instead of developing the camera further, which would have resulted in a higher price. Furthermore, we are surprised by the fact that the Sony A850, and all other Alpha DSLR cameras, do not provide video functionality. A question of costs and time? Or did Sony decide to raise its own bar and will it soon startle the competitors with an enhanced video capture system?

Sony Alpha 850 viewfinder
The frame coverage of the Sony A850's viewfinder deviates from that of the A900. The brightness is excellent; however, whereas the A900 has a 100% coverage, the Sony Alpha A850 has to settle for 98%. No doubt this was a cost-saving measure. Two small sensors just below the viewfinder ensure that the display is switched off when the viewfinder is used.



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