Channel 5

Sony Alpha SLT-A55

Monday 28 February 2011

G-Rating

Rating of 4

The basics

Sony's Alpha DSLR range offers a host of viable alternatives to more mainstream rivals from Canon and Nikon. The Sony Alpha SLT-A55 sits in the middle of the range, but it's not actually a proper DSLR. It does offer excellent quality and a decent range of features, however.

The good

The Sony Alpha SLT-A55 is a fast camera – amazingly so at times. The main reason for this is the lack of movable mirrors inside the body. This means it's not a traditional DSLR – even though it features similar sensor technology and interchangeable lenses, and as a result you can capture up to 10 frames per second with the Sony Alpha SLT-A55. The lack of mirrors also allow the Sony Alpha SLT-A55 to be smaller than other Sony Alpha models; it's a lot more compact and lighter than the Sony Alpha DSLR-A550, a full-fat digital SLR, yet it still offers similar build quality. Boasting a 16.2-Megapixel CMOS sensor, the Sony Alpha SLT-A55 provides excellent quality when it comes to photographs, too. We found it particularly impressive in low light conditions – an area where non SLRs traditionally fail to impress.

The bad

On the downside, the lack of moving mirrors inside the Sony Alpha SLT-A55 mean that what you see isn't exactly what you get. Instead of seeing through the lens itself, the Sony Alpha SLT-A55 uses an electronic viewfinder (EVF). It's good, but it uses more battery life than a proper viewfinder, and it can never quite match up to DSLR rivals.

The bottom line

The Sony Alpha SLT-A55 is an impressive piece of kit. It's well made, offers a host of decent lenses, and is incredibly quick. It's good for shooting fast moving objects then, but you'll have to get used to the electronic viewfinder.
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User comments (4)

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Peter

Good review but the the comments: "what you see isn't exactly what you get" and "Instead of seeing through the lens itself" are incorrect and misleading and should be reviewed. Actually the a33/55 EVF shows you 100% view as opposed to 80% for most SLR and so is exactly what you will get because its what the sensor is seeing through the lens. Of course EVF will not be for everyone though but you soon forget as Sony did a good enough job with it. Comments about battery drain are well justified though :) Thanks to all on the show, and keep up the good work.

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Tim G

I own the Sony Alpha 55 and I am very pleased with it. The viewfinder works brilliantly as all the digital intructions that you usually only see on the LCD screen you can see on the viewfinder, the quality is really impressive, if you have any doubt go down the shops and have a look through one, its also 100% what you see. The camera is smaller and lighter than others I tried like the Canon 550, the picture quality is fab, and the digital tricks are really good, especially the panaramic option which work really well, and the 10 frames a second stuff if stuff of much more expensive cameras. The camera will do all the work for you if you want or you can do it all manually, so its good for starter to expert. I also got the 75-300 sony zoom lens which makes a good combination with the cameras 18-55 lens and there are loads of other sony lenses available. the camera links via USB or HDMI straight to my sony TV which allows for instant viewing for all. The HD video is nice bonus as well again lionking straight to the TV. Mine cost £609 from Jessops, John Lewis also do for £619, it seems expensive on line for some reason. The battery life is a bit of an issue if you use all the digital tricks all the time, I would say get a spare thown into the deal when you buy the camera. Overall - its a great camera - enjoy ;o)

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Rafaa

I am a botanist looking for a camera to take photo of plants and flowers in the field also i use the GPS to get the location for the plants its very important to use the GPS, my question is can i see the GPS reading in the photo to record it in my note. I really need help shall i buy sony a55, or what do you recommended me to buy. regards Rafaa

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Richie

Raffa yes once you take the picture if you press the review button it will show you the image, pressing the display button will show you the GPS location. :) Its a great camera and I love it!

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