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Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

4.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
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  • 14.2-megapixel resolution for incredible detail; new Sony Exmor CMOS image sensor
  • Body only; lenses sold separately
  • Quick Auto Focus Live View for composing shots in the LCD monitor; Manual Focus Check Live View enables critical focus in macro and tripod shooting
  • Auto HDR (High Dynamic Range) captures more scene contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one shot
  • Dual media slots for Memory Stick PRO Duo/Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC media (sold separately)
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Technical Details

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This item: Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
Customer Rating 4 out of 5 stars (21) 4 out of 5 stars (124) 4 out of 5 stars (218) 4 out of 5 stars (627)
Price $895.93 $1,198.00 $406.99 $649.00
Shipping FREE Shipping FREE Shipping FREE Shipping FREE Shipping
Sensor Size APS-C (23.4 x 15.6 mm) APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) APS-C APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
Max Resolution 14.2 24.3 MP 6 18 MP
Iso Range Auto, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800 Auto (ISO 100-51200), Manual (ISO 100-25600) Auto, 200 - 1600 Information not provided
Display Size 3 inches 0.5 inches 2 inches 3 inches
Continuous Shooting Speed 7 12 2.5 5
Wireless Communication Technology Information not provided Yes None Yes
Image Stabilization Sensor-shift Sensor-shift None None
Item Weight 1.39 pounds 1.43 pounds 1.37 pounds 1.28 pounds
Add to Cart Add to Cart Add to Cart Add to Cart

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Product Description

Product Description

The Sony alpha DSLR-A550 is a camera designed for photo enthusiasts. These active shooters demand the utmost picture quality, super-fast response and maximum shooting versatility in a complete SLR system. Step up to the Sony alpha 550. Enjoy the spectacular imagery of 14.2 megapixels with ISO 12800 sensitivity. Experience the versatility of Quick Auto Focus Live View or MF Check Live View on the tiltable 3.0" LCD screen. Discover the superb response of up to 7 fps of continuous shooting. 9-point Auto Focus covers varied shooting situations SteadyShot INSIDE in-camera image stabilization Eye-Start Auto Focus for fast picture taking Advanced Anti-Dust Technology keeps imager clean Face Detection and Smile Shutter technology Specifications Effective Picture Resolution - Approx. 14.2 MP Imaging Sensor - APS-C size Exmor CMOS sensor Lens Mount Type - Sony alpha lens, Minolta and Konica Minolta AF lens Monitor - 3 TFT Xtra Fine LCD (921,600 pixels) Recording Media Type - Memory Stick(R) PRO Duo media, SD and SDHC memory card Recording Mode - RAW, RAW+JPEG, JPEG Fine, JPEG Standard Viewfinder - Fixed eye-level, penta-Dach-mirror File Size - Up to 4592 x 2576 (16 - 9, 12M); 4592 x 3056 (3 - 2, 14M) Flash - Auto Pop-up and accessory shoe Interfaces - USB 2.0 Power - Li-ion rechargeable battery NP-FM500H Dimensions (Approx.) - 5.4 x 4.1 x 3.3 (137 X 104 X 84mm) Weight (Approx.) - 1 lbs 3 oz (597g)

From the Manufacturer

Step up to the Sony a550. Enjoy the spectacular imagery of 14.2 megapixels with ISO 12800 sensitivity. Experience the versatility of Quick Auto Focus Live View or MF Check Live View on the tiltable 3.0-inch LCD screen. Discover the superb response of up to 7 fps of continuous shooting.

Alpha A550 Highlights

Sony Alpha Digital SLR highlights
14.2 megapixels for amazing pictures
This camera's 14.2 megapixel resolution makes for incredible detail and gorgeous enlargements. The all-new Sony Exmor CMOS image sensor ensures state-of-the-art response. The large, APS-C format means high sensitivity, powerful depth-of-focus control.

Superb in low light (ISO 12800)
An all-new Sony's Exmor CMOS image sensor employs new low-noise processing, for uncommonly clear pictures. The BIONZ image processor with chroma noise reduction helps achieve low noise all the way up to ISO 12800, without sacrificing resolution.

More responsive Live View
All DSLR Live View systems enable you to compose shots in the LCD monitor, just as you would with a point-and-shoot camera. But not all Live View systems are created equal. Some take a painfully long time to focus. Some even black out the LCD before focus. Either can cause you to miss shots. Sony's Quick Auto Focus Live View solves these problems, making it easier to get the best shot.

Quick Auto Focus Live View
Unlike competing cameras, the DSLR-A550 is just as responsive in Quick Auto Focus Live View mode as in optical viewfinder mode. That's because, unlike the others, the a550 uses the same "phase detection" auto focus for Live View as for the optical viewfinder. While other Live View systems are severely restricted, Sony's performs superbly any time--even if you're shooting handheld or chasing after moving subjects like kids or pets.

Manual Focus Check Live View
For critical focus in macro and tripod shooting, the a550 also offers Manual Focus Check Live View. Temporary 7x and 14x zoom views enable you to focus on extremely fine detail while the 1x view shows 100 percent framing in the LCD.

Face Detection technology
The a550 enhances Quick AF Live View shooting with Face Detection technology, which helps you get the best shot by recognizing faces and applying the proper focus, exposure and white balance. World's first Face Detection system to work with fast, high-precision "phase detection" Auto Focus.
Sony Alpha Digital SLR highlights

Smile Shutter technology
Another Quick AF Live View enhancement, Smile Shutter technology automatically takes the shot when your subject smiles. Works with Quick Auto Focus Live View to capture spontaneous moments, making the difference between a missed shot and a cherished memory.
Sony Alpha Digital SLR highlights

Tiltable 3.0-inch LCD
Even if you're completely comfortable with the optical viewfinder, Sony's tiltable LCD empowers your photography with a different point of view. Helps you frame high and low-angle shots that would otherwise be hit or miss. The LCD tilts up or down 90 degrees to capture a child's first steps or shoot over a crowd. The 3.0-inchLCD features 921,600 pixels and Sony's Clear Photo LCD display technology.
Sony Alpha Digital SLR highlights

Up to 7 fps of continuous shooting
Up to 7 frames per second in speed priority mode can capture the decisive moment in sports or get the ideal baby photo. You can also shoot at up to 4 fps with Quick Auto Focus Live View.

Auto HDR built into camera
High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography captures more scene contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one incredible shot. Until recently, you needed a computer and editing software to enjoy HDR. Now the a550 has Auto HDR built in. Handles severe backlighting and other high-contrast scenes. Captures in a split second. (Recommended for still subjects.)

Sony Alpha Digital SLR highlights
Advanced DRO in action
Dynamic Range Optimizer
Dynamic Range Optimizer improves results with backlit subjects and recovers details hidden in shadows. Normal DRO improves detail using standard gamma curves for fast shot-to-shot response time, while Advanced DRO adjusts dynamic range area-by-area for greater accuracy.

SteadyShot INSIDE stabilization
Image stabilization helps you take blur-free shots by compensating for camera shake. Typical DSLR systems build image stabilization into selected lenses only. SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization is built into the camera body itself. You'll reduce blur with every a-mount lens, including macro and wide-aperture standard zoom lenses.

Smart Teleconverter 2x Digital Zoom
In Quick Auto Focus Live View mode, you can extend the optical zoom of your lens with digital zoom. One touch zooms in at 1.4x, while a second touch advances to 2x zoom. The system reproduces pixels on a 1:1 basis so there's no degradation in picture quality.

Powerful Supplied Software
To help you refine and manage your images, the a550 is equipped with comprehensive computer software, including Image Data Converter SR, Image Data Lightbox SR and Picture Motion Browser (PMB).(Compatible computer required, not included)

BIONZ image processor
A newest version of Sony's BIONZ image processor uses chroma noise reduction to deliver high-resolution, low-noise photos even at ISO 12800 sensitivity. This powerful Sony Large Scale Integrated circuit (LSI) also delivers fast processing for quick response on data-intensive 14.2-megapixel images.

Help Guide and Graphic Display
An informative on-screen Help Guide and Graphic Display provide ready reference to advanced camera functions. The Help Guide explains the camera's modes and settings, while the Graphic Display clarifies the relationship between aperture and shutter speed, as well as the effect each has on photographic results.

HDMI output for HD viewing
Connect your camera to a compatible HDTV and play back your images in stunning high definition. The a550 includes an HDMI output (HDMI cable required, sold separately). In addition, the BRAVIA Sync system works with compatible Sony BRAVIA HDTVs to let you control camera playback using the television's remote.

Sony Alpha Digital SLR highlights
Eye-Start Autofocus
Eye-Start Autofocus
For maximum speed, Eye-Start Autofocus begins focusing as soon as you raise the camera to your eye. So the camera is ready to catch the perfect moment.

9-Point AF Sensor
To get the best shot under a wide range of situations, the a550 uses a 9-Point AF Sensor with Center Cross. In addition, predictive focus control automatically calculates the position of fast-moving subjects, perfect for pictures of kids and pets.

Six Creative Style settings
Control how the camera processes your images with six finishing styles: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset and B&W. You can even fine-tune contrast, saturation, and sharpness to your personal taste.

Sony Alpha Digital SLR highlights
Anti-Dust Technology helps keep the CMOS imager clean
Built-in Auto Pop-Up Flash
To help you shoot more effectively, the built-in flash automatically pops up and fires as needed when the camera is set to certain scene selection modes. The built-in flash also triggers a wireless accessory flash (sold separately). The integrated hot shoe enables you to expand your lighting options with a range of accessory flashes (sold separately).

Anti-Dust Technology
Anti-Dust Technology helps keep the CMOS imager clean, resulting in consistently better pictures. First a static-free coating on the CMOS filter helps repel dust. Then vibration automatically dislodges dust from the CMOS each time you shut off the camera.

Up to a 1000 Shots of battery life
Take up to 1000 shots on a single charge (optical viewfinder mode); up to 520 shots (Live View mode) with Sony Stamina battery power. Sony's InfoLITHIUM battery system enables you to see the percent of power remaining, so you can keep shooting in confidence.

PhotoTV HD compatibility
PhotoTV HD compatibility enables you to automatically create high-resolution thumbnails optimized for viewing on a compatible Sony BRAVIA HDTV.

Six Scene Selection Modes
To help you get the shot, Scene Selection Modes optimize the camera settings for common shooting situations. Just turn the Mode Dial to select from Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Sunset, and Night View modes.

Index and Slide Show Display
Quickly review your photos using 4- or 9-frame index views, or as an automatic slide show with fade-in/fade-out effect.

Dual Media Slots
For cost-effective, convenient storage and sharing of your images, the a550 accepts Memory Stick PRO Duo/Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC media (sold separately).

Product Information

Product Dimensions 5.4 x 3.3 x 4.1 inches
Item Weight 1.4 pounds
Shipping Weight 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Item model number DSLRA550
Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #29,597 in Camera & Photo
#850 in Camera & Photo > DSLR Cameras
Date first available at August 27, 2009

Warranty & Support

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

My original in-depth A550 review was done long before the A580/A560 and A55/A35 came out. They are game changers. This is still an A550 review, but it won't mean much unless I provide some context relative to the new designs. I'm going to summarize the key differences first so maybe you can avoid the long, in-depth discussion of features that follows. If you decide to skip over most of the info, you might just glance at the last two or three paragraphs before moving on.

The A580 and A560 are in essentially the same shell as the A550 and A500. They build on the technology of those designs. The biggest difference is the addition of HD movie shooting. The still-camera differences include marginally increased resolution (A500 = 12.3 megapixels, A550 = 14.2, A560 = 14.2, and A580 = 16.2). This is no big deal except for bragging rights. Be aware that Sony makes its own sensors and makes sensors for some of its competitors. Given Sony's obvious corporate priority on DSLR market share, we have to believe that they won't sell their very best to competitors.

The A580/A560 includes some new features relative to the A550/A500: mirror lock-up on self-timer, which may make a difference for ultimate sharpness on non-hand-held shots; depth-of-field preview, so you can see how much of a scene is in focus before you shoot; a new "hand-held twilight mode," which will significantly reduce low-light noise, may reduce blur and camera shake effects, but may only make sense for near-motionless scenes; and 3D panorama, which will allow you to sweep across a scene and "paint" a wide, panoramic frame.

There are other upgrades, which Sony claims will enhance features that already exist. These include better/faster autofocus, and a very significant improvement to the HDR mode.
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By Jackal on October 30, 2009
I'm happy with this camera. However, the development of digital cameras is very fast so the camera is likely to be behind cutting edge in a couple of years. I bought this camera because it is not that expensive, so one can always upgrade. Some good and bad things:
- Steady shot makes it possible to take very sharp pictures at 1/15.
- Quite decent performance up to ASA 800. I can go up to ASA 12,800, which results in noise, but also sharp pictures in very low light. If you, like me, hate using the flash, this is great. I'd rather have grain than flat flash light.
- Very sharp live viewfinder. I cannot do without this facility anymore. Not many higher-end DSLR cameras have this function yet.
- The autofocus does not work that well in low light. However, the Manual Focus Live Viewfinder function is very good when using manual focus in low light and low contrast settings. Even if it is very dark the scene is lit up in the viewfinder and manual focusing becomes easy. Still it is very annoying that the camera doesn't have some kind of infrared focusing in darkness. The manual focusing works but it is also not that quick and it requires the LCD screen mode (not the viewfinder mode)
- The camera could be better prepared for HDR (high dynamic range) photography. There is a built in function taking two shots (great!). This works okay if you don't use the 'auto' setting, which just give a very small adjustment. In high contrast settings (or if you use PC software) you need three or four photos. However, taking bracketed exposures in 1 or 2 EV steps is not possible. I can do bracketed exposures in 0.3 or 0.7, so Sony is clearly holding back on performance for the next model in 2010 (bad!).
- The camera fits okay in my standard male sized hands.
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I sold my A300 in anticipation of the A550 and I am very happy with that decision. The A500/550 are targeted towards the A300/350 user base and upgraders from the existing A330/380. This is not meant to be a replacement for the A700 as some review sites had been wishing for. I am extremely pleased with the camera up to this point (about a month as of this review).

The improvements over the A3xx series in my view are:
1) Much improved LCD - it is much sharper than the A3xx series and also the A500
2) High ISO is also much improved over the A3xx series cameras
3) FPS is much faster and makes this camera much more suitable for catching action shots than the A3xx series
4) Improved button layout
5) SD card compatible (subjective)
6) Easy to use menu system
7) Built in HDR
8) Better built in flash
9) Exposure is spot on and colors are great

The not so good
1) Power switch takes some getting used to. It is in a position much like Nikon and Pentax cameras which is not familiar for existing Minolta/Alpha users. It took me a few days to get used to the power switch being near the jog dial, but I have adjusted and it is not a big deal any more.
2) No video - I do not care much about this, however it is a feature that helps sell cameras and Sony needs to step up here to help increase marker share in the dSLR arena
3) Lack of MLU (Mirror Lock Up) - again this has little value to me, but is a selling point at least to the more advanced user base
4) Lack of Program Shift - another one that is a feature the more advanced users would like to have that was in the A300/350 granted it was clumsy to use

Overall I am enjoying my camera immensely.
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