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VINE VOICEon February 3, 2010
I'm going to contain my enthusiasm for long enough to get some details down about what I love about the A500. This is one GREAT camera body and I am having a ball using it.

I previously used both a Minolta 9xi (their top of the line 35mm film camera) as well as Mamiya medium format gear which I still use for weddings and portraits. With the advent of good digital cameras and especially digital darkroom (AKA Photoshop) I had become increasingly frustrated dealing with film but had not found a digital SLR that performed well enough for my relatively limited amateur budget so made do with a nice pocket-sized digital Nikon zoom which takes great pictures but is slow slow slow compared to what I was used to. Since I had an investment in Minolta lenses I was inclined toward the Sony line (which takes the Maxxum lenses) but earlier models seemed like too much of a compromise for the $$$. Enter the A500!

Things I love about it:
- 12.3 megapixels
- really easy and intuitive controls, which in a lot of ways are similar to the 9xi so especially easy for me
- fast initial and shot-to-shot speed - I use the 5fps continuous mode for sports all the time
- fabulous low-light performance
- in-body (vs in-lens) antishake - still have not resorted to a tripod!
- very high maximum ISO
- excellent battery performance (covered two school basketball games using Live View with juice to spare)
- high memory capacity - I think I have 8Gb in it, and shooting in "fine" resolution I get about 1450 images and about 500 in "raw" mode. I LOVE LOVE LOVE never having to stop to change film cartridges and never worrying about running out! If the subject matter and final use allowed fewer megapixels or smaller image size I could get 5000+ images on this thing. Woo hoo! Talk about built for news or sporting events!

One nice surprise was how fast I can download the images from the camera - previously downloading images from my 5mp Nikon Coolpix I was prepared to wait a long time to download the larger files from the A500. Much to my surprise it was perhaps even a bit faster. Same computer, same USB port. Nice!

All this for a very reasonable price (and I caught it on a day where the price was $100 off Amazon's usual price - what a deal!). I've still not explored all this baby can do, and look forward to getting to know it better. So far most of what I have been shooting has been sports but next up are some portraits and out to do some landscape/nature stuff. I'm eager to see how my 100-300mm lens does on the A500 with wildlife under the forest canopy, and tripod work to maximize image quality of scenic and nature shots.

Most of the time I use it with the Sony 18-105mm lens, pretty decent but I have not put it through its paces fully. My father-in-law has the equivalent Zeiss and I'm definitely going to borrow it for comparisons. I wish it were faster in the longer focal lengths. Also, I wish there was a prime lens closer to the 35mm equivalent of 90-100mm, my favorite portrait length. For now I'm making do with a Minolta 50mm f1.7 prime, which is equivalent to 75mm on the 9xi - an excellent lens and between f1.7, high ISO values, and the Sony's anti-vibe and low light performance I practically never have to take subject motion or available light into consideration - which means the subject doesn't have to think about the camera and I can focus on letting them do what they do while I capture it. This is just...unleashed!
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on May 12, 2010
I have had my a500 for a few months and am very happy with my purchase. This is a great camera for someone wishing to switch from advanced point-and-shoot to full d-SLR. The menus are intuitive, and this camera is generally easy to use. It has some nice features like HDR imaging, manual live focus, and an amazing live view. I tested this camera with Nikon and Canon models in the same price range and felt this was the superior product. I also like that this camera has the autofocus motor inside the camera itself (unlike many similarly priced models by other brands), making it compatible with my 20-year old Minolta lenses. As you probably know, lenses are as important, if not more important, than the camera body so it's nice to be able to use older, reasonably-priced, solid glass. This generally takes nice low light shots although there is some noise at higher ISOs if you are really picky. This is to be expected from a camera in this price range. Also the kit lens is not the greatest, but this is usually the case with entry level SLR cams and I do feel that it's a lot better than the kit lens that comes with comparable Canons and Nikons. At any rate, I'd recommend buying the body only and picking up a used Minolta 50mm 1.7 prime lens (readily available and inexpensive). Then start shooting. I gave this 5 stars because it's great at what it is --- a starter SLR camera with some room for the photographer to grow. This of course can't compete with $2000-$3000 full frame models, but it has none-the-less exceeded my expectations. Great value. In general, I think this brand is underrated in the digital camera world. If you are in the market for your first d-SLR, give Sony a try.
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on March 9, 2013
I have an alpha 350 body that needs work (I dropped it while on a shoot in a nightclub). I got this for less than the repair bill would have been. I've just used this body, along with my other alpha 500 while shooting pics for my blog while at the HIMSS13 conference in New Orleans. My Sony 300 mm lens on one, my Sony 18-250, wide/tele lens on the other. So, now I have uniformity of functionality, and perfectly fine photo quality for the money (I'm not a pro photographer; I can't invest 30 grand in bodies and lenses). I got through the entire week on one set of batteries, too, btw, while shooting tons of shots. I'm a happy camper for now. This body showed up ahead of schedule and has worked just fine. The alpha 500 does quite well in low light settings; barely noticeable grain at ISO 6400, which you can tweak down in Photoshop.

Very "Gladd" I bought this.
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on February 28, 2010
This camera is easy to use yet has the functions of a pro level DSLR. Tilt screen is large and clear coupled with the live view it has been very helpful since I broke my wrist. Pictures are clear and very sharp. If you have old Minolta AF lens like I do it was an easy decision as to what camera to choose. Was almost going to choose a Canon but found out in time that their Live Veiw could not be used in manual mode.

In Short this camera is an excellent choice for all levels of experience however the a550 "might" be of more appeal if you have the extra 200.00 to spend.
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on August 15, 2010
I'll try to review aspects of this camera body purchase, and not just to repeat "camera test" reports which you can find several by googling it. I am happy with the price and solid reputation of Amazon on this "fulfilled by Amazon" purchase. This is important as there are other lower prices offered by some dubious sellers. (Now you can get a good "sold by Amazon" price.)

The Sony A500 body replaces my A300 body, and the improvements (confirmed in my 2 day makeshift tests)are definitely there , while retaining the two best and also improved features that I treasure -- the tiltable screen and the best live-view system. On a value basis, I would give it 5+ stars. I agree with the previous reviewer that Sony is under-appreciated. Sony delivers value, best bang for the buck. As you can tell by the price, the camera has been heavily discounted, making it a tremendous value over Nikon and Canon, who I think are too traditional photography bound. They lack innovation and usable features. Who introduced dust removal, anti-shake, live view, tilt screen? Not them. (Don't respond to this. I am not trying to start a war with Canon fanatics. Oops, I mean fans.) To the pixel peeping Toms, Canon is the epitome. But Sony shooters can still use old Konica-Minolta AF lenses and have auto focus and anti-shake function because they are built into the camera, not in the lens. In the lower price category, the Sony A500 is a very capable camera, as others. So it boils down to personal preference on features or brand name when choosing a camera. The most important part of the camera however is the photographer. Composition is the key and post software editing does the rest. Go out and take some pictures. As previous reviewer noticed, the cameras are getting better and cheaper every year, just like other electronics.

You must also have a fairly good Point & Shoot to complement the DSLR. The P&S is good for portability, 25mm wide angle, a longer zoom and 720p movie. My camera equipment for my budget and style: Sony A200 body, A500 body, 18-55mm kit lens, various Minolta era lenses, 3 big flashes; Panasonic ZR1; and Pentax Optio WS80 (not good, but cheap and weather resistant)
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on October 2, 2013
I was a bit hesitant being a Canon guy for so long,But the Sony brand does the job and does it well,the Best thing is they will take any A-mount lens that can be bought cheap used in the bay. You can get a Nice 50mm lens used for 50 bucks that is prime quality..Great Body,ISO only goes down to 200 but no big deal,IS is built into the body and works well. Very happy with it.
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on April 24, 2010
I checked out the a500 with Adobe Lightroom 2.7; the program had no problem downloading the RAW files from the SONY. Since I tend to use Lightroom and Photoshop for image manipulation, I have not tested the ability of the camera to change such items as sharpness, white balance, etc.

The a100 is very sensitive to infrared. Using a 72 filter, I could get good IR photographs in bright sunlight at f8/1 sec. The a500 requires a 4-second exposure indicating a somewhat better IR filter.

Otherwise, the a500 has several features no offered by the a100, SONY's first DSLR. The viewing screen can be helpful, as can the new exposure modes. It's a bit easier to use since some of the menu items are accessed by a Fn (function) system.
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on August 18, 2010
I just wanted to write a quick review of this camera highlighting the fact that although pitched by Sony to amateurs, this camera has performed exceptionally in demanding wedding and portrait shoot environments. Throw a good prime lens on there like the f/2.8 100 macro, or a super sharp f/1.4 50mm on it, and you can get amazing shots from this <$500 camera.
As a professional photographer of 5 years(and amateur most of my life), I can tell you that this camera is only limited by it's owner's abilities.
If you want to spend an extra $200, get the A550 for the 7 fps, but this camera is all you need!
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on August 5, 2011
The Sony A500 is a great camera for both people new to digital photography and those with experience in it. It is fairly light weight and easy to get use to. Sony has a great selection of lens and you have the huge number of the great Minolta lens to choose from. Sony makes a great digital camera with which you can take many breath taking pictures with for many years to came.
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on October 16, 2013
I have used this camera for several years now and used a film SLR many years before that. This camera takes excellent pictures if you know what you're doing. It is a basic model that doesn't have video. The video feature was added to cameras like this to expand the market. They wanted non photographers to buy them and take them on vacation with them. These people usually shoot everything on auto anyway. I posted a picture of a summer tanager I took with this camera from about 30' away above. No special equipment, just used the manual settings. If you want an inexpensive camera that you can grow with as you learn then this is a great buy.
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