Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 Quick Review
This is the first camera to be reviewed using our new 'Quick Review' format. From now on we will be using this format for cameras that are in terms of operation close and in terms of image quality fundamentally identical to either their predecessors or other models in the line that we already treated to a full review. We first confirm the image quality is identical by running a couple of basic image quality tests (noise test and shots of our 'compared to' studio scene at all ISOs) and then concentrate in the review on the differences between the two cameras. For a fuller view of the camera's qualities we therefore recommend you not only read this Quick Review, but also the full review of the Sony DSLR-A900.
When the Sony DSLR-A900 was introduced in September 2008 it looked like an incredibly good deal: a full-frame DSLR with a weather-sealed pro body and a whopping 24.6 million pixels resolution for $3000. This was price-wise in a similar ballpark to what were at the time its closest competitors, the Canon EOS 5D and Nikon D700. However, the only camera that (at 21.1 million pixels) came close in terms of resolution, the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, was significantly more expensive ($8000 at launch). The Sony A900 seemed like the obvious choice for resolution-hungry photographers on a smaller budget.
The digital camera market moves fast though, and within weeks of its launch the Sony's price advantage had vanished with Canon's announcement of the EOS 5D Mark II ($2,699 at launch). Canon's new 'compact' full-frame not only had a 20+ MP resolution but also came with a maximum ISO of 25,600, live view and a 1080p HD movie-mode, making the Sony look a little weak in the features department.
Sony's answer came, with a slight delay, in August 2009 in the shape of the DSLR-A850. Rather than upping the new model's feature set Sony decided to leave the A850 (compared to the A900) almost unchanged and compete exclusively on price. The new model is available at a RRP of $2000, making it the cheapest full-frame DSLR currently on the market. Obviously something had to be done to justify the price difference to the flagship A900 (and not completely annoy existing A900 owners), so Sony decided to differentiate the A850 from its bigger brother by slightly reducing the viewfinder coverage and the buffer size (the latter resulting in a 3.0 fps vs 5.0 fps continuous shooting rate). All other key features remain unchanged and are listed below.
- 24.6 MP 35mm format full-frame CMOS sensor (still the highest res in class)
- SteadyShot INSIDE full frame image sensor shift stabilization (world first)
- Dual Bionz processors
- Eye-level glass Penta-prism OVF, 98% coverage, 0.74x magnification
- 9 point AF with 10 assist points, center dual-cross AF w/2.8 sensor
- 3 frames per second burst
- Intelligent Preview Function
- 3 User programmable custom memory modes on mode dial
- Advanced Dynamic Range Optimizer (5 step selectable)
- 40 segment honeycomb metering
- 3.0" 921K pixel Photo Quality (270 dpi) LCD display, 100% coverage
- Direct HDMI output
- ISO 200-3200 (ISO 100-6400 expanded range)
- User interchangeable focusing screens (3 options)
- CF Type I/II and MS slots, LI-ION battery, STAMINA 880 shots
- Weight 850g (without battery, card, accs)
- New Image Data Converter SR software (includes vignetting control)
- Optional vertical Grip
- Magnesium Alloy body and rubber seals for dust and moisture resistance
- AF micro adjustment
|Rocks at Dawn by phucthang|
from The Rock
|Sarlat, France by poppyjk|
from Your City - Dinertime!
|Double Eagle by herbymel|
|Great White Egret vs Lizard by jose garcia|
from Strong - Weak
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.
It will enable users to simulate the presence of the sun, moon and Milky Way and see how they interact with an area's topography.
Since its introduction in November last year Instagram's live streaming feature has been used by millions, but videos could not be archived for watching at a later stage. A new update has now added the capability.
CopyTrack's study also found that the second most-stolen image is a woman wearing painted jeans. That's apparently a thing.
Forget expensive lenses with fancy coatings and special lens elements – photographer Robin de Puy took these portraits using just a water drop for a lens.
Adobe reports a record quarterly revenue of $1.77 billion for the second quarter fiscal year 2017 ended June 2, 2017.
Zeiss says its new lens is particularly suited for portrait photography but also a good all-rounder and can be used in video applications.
We present to you the top photos from the Kennel Club's 2017 Dog Photographer of the Year photo contest – take a look at 10 of the award-winning puppers.
In case you were looking for any more inspiration to go fly one.
Following a couple of successful Kickstarter campaigns, Videre 35mm's creator has re-tooled the camera with sturdier components and a simpler user assembly process.
The two hour long video covers everything an aspiring drone pilot needs to know.
This is what happens when a Canon 17-85mm F4-5.6 lens meets 60,000 PSI of water pressure. Spoiler Alert: the water jet always wins.
Andrew Harnik discusses the challenges – and rewarding moments – of a career making images for the Associated Press in his native DC.
The VMic Pro, VMic Recorder and VMic microphones are targeted at DSLR users who want to record high-quality audio.
While our full OnePlus 5 review is underway, we've put together a sample gallery with images that were taken with both the wide-angle and tele lens in a variety of lighting situations.
The OnePlus 5 main camera comes with a 1/2.8" 16MP Sony IMX 398 sensor and a fast F1.7 aperture. It is supported by a 2x tele-module featuring a 20MP 1/2.8" Sony IMX 350 sensor and F2.6 aperture.
In this video, Vincent Laforet explains why the RED 8K Weapon camera has mostly replaced his still cameras, and it's not all about resolution.
Dupe, Dupe Negative is not a pop song, and Newton's Rings are not NASA's next destination. If you've ever wondered what all that film terminology means, Kodak has you covered.
Fujifilm's X-A3 is the company's only offering to use a new 24MP sensor without their trademark X-Trans color filter array. We've had it out and about with a variety of lenses to see how it compares.
If you thought Nikon had the market cornered on expensive commemorative products, we've got news for you.
The simple drag-and-drop web app reveals the Lightroom edits applied to any JPEG, along with its associated EXIF data, provided that metadata is intact.
Danish photographers Ulrik Hasemann and Mathias Svold spent time documenting the 75,000 refugees currently in Serbia's capitol city. Most are young men from conflict zones in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
It takes a highly-skilled drone operator to execute a video like this in one take.
According to a report by Nikkei Ricoh is facing its biggest crisis ever and will have to cut costs in order to survive.
Air Koryo started flying in 1952, and much of its current fleet still dates from the 1960s. Danish commercial photographer Arthur Mebius has taken 24 flights on some of its oldest airplanes, so you don't have to.