Sony SLT Alpha A55 In-depth Review
Although unmistakably 'Alpha', the A33 and A55 are significantly different to what has gone before - both in terms of Sony's DSLR products, and the market as a whole. The most obvious differences are a high-resolution EVF in place of an optical finder, and a fully articulated LCD screen - both firsts for the Sony Alpha line. For all their changes, they retain use of Sony's A mount, just like all the company's existing DSLRs.
The EVF is a necessary consequence of the translucent mirror and the location of its phase-detection AF array, but apart from a slight elongation of the viewfinder housing it is hard to distinguish from an optical finder at a casual glance at the camera's body. The fully articulated LCD screen however, is impossible to miss, and dominates the rear of the A33 and A55.
In your hand
Viewfinder viewOne of the best things about EVF displays as opposed to optical viewfinders is the much greater amount of shooting data that can be shown at any given time. The EVF in the A55 and A33 is excellent. The amount of information that can be displayed in the EVF (and LCD) can be changed using the 'display' button on the camera's rear. One of the most useful pieces of information is a multiple-axis electronic level, which shows both pitch and roll, overlaid on the screen image.
The A55's EVF is bright and large - significantly brighter and larger in fact than Sony's A550. It also compares very well against the EVF of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 (arguably its closest competitor in this respect). The only serious complaint that we have is that the rainbow 'tearing' which is a characteristic of field-sequential displays is more noticeable (and therefore more of a problem) when using the A55 than the G2.
This tearing takes the form of an RGB 'rainbow' ghosting effect which becomes visible when the eye is moved around the viewfinder. The dpreview office is divided between those of us that find it obtrusive and unpleasant, and those of us that barely notice it, but everyone is agreed that the A55's EVF is slightly more prone to the effect.
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