Sony Alpha 850 advanced digital SLR camera
Sony's introduction of the Sony A900 last year, managed to shake the renowned professional camera industry to its foundations. At that time, it was quite unbelievable indeed; a high resolution professional DSLR at such a sharp retail price, bringing the seemingly unattainable PRO segment within reach for the serious amateur photographer. Sony must have liked this feat, since we now witness it happening all over again with the Sony DSLR-A850 camera. Once again, the price tag is shockingly low, which jolts awake the rivalry for a second time.
Sony A850 a true price-breakthrough
However, no matter how important a good price is; it is not just that which guarantees success for the camera manufacturer. Developments and innovations are rapidly being introduced, including the fact Sony is no longer the only brand to offer a high resolution (20MP+) digital SLR camera. Nikon has its D3x, whereas Canon has its EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 1Ds Mark III. Granted; the price tags are clearly different, with the D3x as outlier, however; also in terms of innovative camera technology, a lot has been applied these days.
Sony DSLR-A850 image quality
In terms of innovation, there is nothing to report when it comes to the Sony Alpha 850. The image quality of the Sony A850 is completely satisfying and offers pleasant shooting. Yet, we see more differences emerge which were less noticeable at the time of the Alpha 900. For example; shooting with high ISO while retaining an excellent to good image quality with hardly any visible noise, enabled by the competitors mentioned above. Sony is able to keep up to approximately ISO 800, but higher than that, Sony stays behind the competition. Although it has to be said, the differences are most noticeable in the technical lab tests; in practice they show less clearly.
Sony Alpha 850 review conclusion
The final verdict in our Sony Alpha 900 review was that the A900 offered an excellent basis for developing a new generation of Alpha cameras. This development has not been started by Sony yet, at least not with the A850, but given the current market conditions and economical situation, this seems to be wise. This may disappoint the specification fans, however; technical innovation does not automatically mean progress. The Sony Alpha 850 continues to tread the same path the A900 ventured on before. All in all, the Sony A850 makes high-quality digital photography more accessible to an even broader public than before. And from this, the future Sony Alpha photographer benefits directly. Perhaps the Sony Alpha 850 is the first of a new generation of affordable high resolution full-frame DSLR cameras!
16GB memory card certainly not superfluous
Cameras featuring a resolution of 24 Megapixels automatically generate large file sizes. Especially when these cameras, like the Sony A850, also support RAW and JPEG&RAW format. The aforementioned capacities might seem huge on paper, but in practice, it isn’t all that bad. 16GB equals approximately 420 pictures or 330 pictures in RAW & JPEG format. If you're going on a long hiking trip or a journey during the holidays with no possibility of reading the card in between, you will likely collect a large number of pictures. Certainly the photographer who sets off with a Sony Alpha 850. We therefore recommend a memory card of at least 16GB.
Considering 16GB of storage capacity:
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - RAW - 38MB - 422 pictures
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - cRAW - 26MB - 626 pictures
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - RAW & JPEG - 49MB - 332 pictures
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - cRAW & JPEG - 36MB - 448 pictures
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - JPEG Extra Fijn - 24MB - 686 pictures
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - JPEG Fijn - 10MB - 1580 pictures
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - JPEG Standaard - 7MB - 2370 pictures
The table above considers a storage capacity on a CompactFlash memory card and a ratio of 3:2. Ratio 16:9 will mean a few more pictures, however, when shooting in RAW the camera always selects ratio 3:2.