Pre-IFA 2009: Sony has also added to its consumer-level DSLR range, with the A500 and A550 taking the count to five cameras. The DSLR-A550 and DSLR-A500 digital SLRs are based around new CMOS sensors and add a manual focus confirmation live view mode using the main imaging sensor, in addition to Sony's secondary-sensor Quick AF live view system. Both cameras feature Sony's better noise reduction, include an Auto HDR mode and offer sensitivity of up to ISO 12800. The 14.2 MP A550 features a high resolution 921k dot 3" tilt-angle LCD, while the 12.3 MP A500 comes with a 230k dot resolution 3"tilt-angle LCD.

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Catch the moment in perfect detail with responsive new DSLR cameras from Sony


Easy-to-use Alpha A500 & A550 offer enhanced Live View shooting and superb image quality

August 27, 2009: Two powerful, feature-packed DSLR cameras from Sony make it easier than ever to capture beautiful pictures, carefree family portraits, stunning holiday memories and action-packed scenes.

The DSLR-A500 (12.3 megapixels) and DSLR-A550 (14.2 megapixels) are packed with advanced Sony technology that combine the spontaneity and freedom of Live View shooting with generous possibilities to realise your creative vision.

At the heart of both cameras 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. Dramatically reduced picture noise now allows super-sensitive shooting at up to ISO12800, 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.

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.

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.

A special new Manual Focus Check Live View mode 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 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.
 
The A500 offers a crisp, high-contrast 3-inch Clear Photo LCD Plus screen with the same tilt range for clear, comfortable composition and reviewing shots.

The A550 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 while both cameras also feature a clear, bright optical viewfinder with wide 95% field coverage for framing and focusing as an alternative to live view shooting.

Operation of both cameras 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.

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 A500 and A550 use 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.


SteadyShot Inside Image Stabilization

The D-Range Optimiser featured in previous 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 etend your camera’s zoom lens range further for frame-filling close-ups.

Like all DSLR cameras by Sony, both new models feature 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 to connect both cameras 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.

Both cameras let you capture even more incredible moments without the worry of running out of power. The rechargeable battery pack of the A500 allows up to 1000 shots (CIPA test, approx. figure) – the highest capacity of any α series digital SLR camera battery to date. 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 A500 users an incredible 2,000 shot maximum capacity (A550: 1,900 shots), 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.

 

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.

The DSLR-A550 and DSLR-A500 digital SLR cameras are available from the end of October 2009.

*these figures are measured under certain conditions

Features

  • New 12.3/14.2 effective megapixel (A500/A550) 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) and 7fps in Speed Priority mode (A550 only)
  • Enhanced Quick AF Live View captures fast-moving action, with Face Detection for beautiful portraits
  • 180º tilt-angle 3” Xtra Fine LCD (A550) and intuitive new interface for clear, simple shooting
  • Manual Focus Check Live View mode for precise, convenient adjustment of focus and composition
  • Auto HDR mode for high dynamic range exposures
  • Class-leading shooting stamina (1,000 shots - A500)
  • HDMI™ output and BRAVIA™ Sync for control from TV remote

Sony DSLR-A550 & DSLR-A500 specifications

  Sony DSLR-A550 Sony DSLR-A500

Suggested selling price
(With 18-55mm lens)

$950
$1050
$750
$850
Body material Plastic exterior
Sensor • 23.4 x 15.6 mm APS-C Type CMOS Exmor Sensor
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter
• 14.6 million total pixels
• 14.2 million effective pixels
• 23.5 x 15.6 mm APS-C Type CMOS Exmor Sensor
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter
• 12.9 million total pixels
• 12.3 million effective pixels
Image sizes *

3:2
• 4592 x 3056 (L)
• 3344 x 2224 (M)
• 2288 x 1520 (S)
16:9
• 4592 x 2576 (L)
• 3344 x 1872 (M)
• 2288 x 1280 (S)

3:2
• 4272 x 2848 (L)
• 3104 x 2072 (M)
• 2128 x 1416 (S)
16:9
• 4272 x 2400 (L)
• 3104 x 1744 (M)
• 2188 x 1192 (S)
File qualities / formats • RAW (.ARW)
• RAW + JPEG Fine
• RAW + JPEG Standard
• JPEG Fine
• JPEG Standard
Dust reduction • Charge protection coating on low-pass filter
• Sensor-shift dust reduction mechanism
Lenses • Sony Alpha lenses
(also compatible with Minolta and Konica -Minolta AF lenses)
FOV crop 1.5x
SteadyShot INSIDE • CCD-Shift 'SteadyShot Inside' system
• Claimed equivalent to 2.5 – 3.5 steps in shutter speed
Auto Focus • TTL CCD line sensors (9-points,with center cross sensor)
• EV 0 to 18 (ISO 100) detection range
• Predictive focus, Focus Lock
AF area selection

• Wide AF area
• Spot AF area (center)
• Focus area selection (any of 9)

Focus modes • Single-shot AF
• Continuous AF
• Automatic AF
• Manual focus

AF assist
illuminator

• Yes (using built in flash)
• Range approx 1m - 5m
Eye-start AF Yes, selectable from menu
Shooting modes

• Programmed AE (Auto, Flash off, P)
• Aperture priority AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Manual
• Scene Selection

Scene modes • Portrait
• Landscape
• Macro
• Sports
• Sunset
• Night view/portrait
Sensitivity

• Auto (ISO 200-1600)
• Manual ISO 200- ISO 12800 in 1 EV steps

Metering modes • Multi-segment (40 segment Honeycomb pattern)
• Center-weighted
• Spot
Metering range • TTL metering
• 40-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC
• EV 2 to 20 (Multi-segment / Center-weighted) *
• EV 4 to 20 (Spot metering) *
(at ISO 100 with F1.4 lens)
AE Lock • AEL button (customizable, hold or single-press)
• Half-press shutter release
AE Bracketing • Single or continuous bracketing
• 3 frames
• 0.3 or 0.7 EV steps
Exposure compen. • -2.0 to +2.0 EV
• 0.3 EV steps
Shutter Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane Shutter
Shutter Speed • 30 to 1/4000 sec
• Bulb
Flash X-sync • 1/160 sec
Aperture values Depends on lens, 0.3 EV steps
DOF preview No
White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Shade
• Cloudy
• Incandescent
• Fluorescent
• Flash
• Color temperature/filter (2500 - 9900 K)
• Manual (Custom)

White balance fine tuning

• Auto (none)
• Preset WB: -3 to +3
• Fluorescent WB: -1 to +2
• Color temperature WB: G9 to M9 (Magenta to Green)

White balance bracketing • 3 exposures
• Hi / Lo level selectable
Dynamic range optimizer

• Off
• D-Range Optimizer (Auto, Lv 1-5)
• Auto HDR (Auto, Ajustable up to 3 EV betwwen 1.0-3.0 EV in 0.5 EV steps)

Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Color modes • Standard
• Vivid
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Sunset
• B&W
Image parameters • Contrast (-3 to +3)
• Sharpness (-3 to +3))
• Saturation (-3 to +3)
Noise reduction • Long exposure for exposures longer than 1 second
• High ISO NR at ISO 1600 or higher
• User controllable: On / Off
Viewfinder *

• Eye-level fixed optical glass pentamirror
• Spherical Acute Matte focusing screen
• Magnification approx. 0.80x *
• 95% frame coverage
• Dioptric adjustment (-3.0 to +1.0)
• Eye-relief 19 mm from eyepiece, 15 mm from frame*
• Eyepiece cup removable
• Viewfinder info bar

Live view (Quick AF Live View) *

• Dedicated live view sensor (pentamirror tilt system)
• 1200 zone evaluative metering
• Sensitivity 1-17 EV*
• 90% frame coverage
• Exposure and white balance simulation
• Face Detection and Smile Shutter*
• Smart Teleconverter (x1.4 / x2.0 slectable)*
• Display: Histogram, eal-time image adjustment display (White balance, Sunset/ B&W of Creative Style, Exposure Compensation)

Live view (MF Check Live View) * • Live View with CMOS sensor Exmor
• Metering varies according to shooting mode
• 100% frame coverage
• Display: Real-time image adjustment display (White balance, Sunset/ B&W of Creative Style, Exposure Compensation)
• Zoom (x7.0/x14.0), Grid line display
LCD monitor * • 3.0 TFT Xtra Fine LCD
• 921,600 dots
• Auto Brightness Control (auto setting in 2 steps)
• Manual settting in 5 steps
• 3.0 TFT Clear Photo LCD Plus
• 230,400 dots
• Auto Brightness Control (auto setting in 2 steps)
• Manual settting in 5 steps
Flash * • Built-in pop-up flash (manual release)
• Metering: ADI, Pre-flash TTL, Manual flash control
• Guide number 12 (ISO 100/m)
• Angle of coverage 18 mm (35 mm equiv.)*
• Flash sync 1/160 sec
Flash modes

• Off
• Auto
• Fill Flash
• Rear Sync
• Slow sync
• Wireless/High Speed Sync.

Flash Bracketing 3 exposures in 0.3 and 0.7 EV steps
Flash compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
External flash (optional) • Sony HVL-F58AM
• Sony HVL-F56AM
• Sony HVL-F42AM
• Sony HVL-F36AM
Drive modes • Single-frame
• Continuous
• Speed-Priority*
• Self-timer (10 or 2 sec)
Continuous
shooting
• Approx 5 fps max (4 fpsin Live view)
• Speed- Priority: 7 fps max
• RAW: Up to 14 frames
• RAW+JPEG: Up to 7 frames
• JPEG (Fine): 32 frames
• JPEG (Standard): 116 frames
• Approx 5 fps max (4 fps in Live view)
• RAW: Up to 6 frames
• RAW+JPEG: Up to 3 frames
• JPEG (Fine): 12 frames
• JPEG (Standard): 58 frames
Self-timer

• 10 sec
• 2 sec

Orientation sensor Yes, for shooting, playback and control panel display
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mass storage, Multi-LUN or PTP)
• DC-IN
• Remote terminal
Remote control • Wired: with optional RM-S1AM or RM-L1AM
Video out • AV (Selectable NTSC or PAL)
• HDMI
• 'PhotoTV' HD settings applied with BRAVIA.
Storage • SD/ SDHC
• Memory Stick Pro Duo / Pro HG Duo
• Supports FAT12 / FAT16 / FAT32
Power • NP-FM500H Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (1650 mAh)
• Battery charger included
• Optional AC adapter
• Batter life Approx 950 shots with viewfinder, 480 in Live view mode (CIPA standard)
• NP-FM500H Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (1650 mAh)
• Battery charger included
• Optional AC adapter
• Batter life Approx 1000 shots with viewfinder, 520 in Live view mode (CIPA standard)
Vertical grip • Yes (model tbc)
Dimensions 137 x 104 x 84mm (5.5 x 4.2 x 3.9 in)
Weight (body) 599 g (1.5lb) 597g (1.5lb)

Additional images of Sony DSLR-550 & DSLR-500