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Sony Alpha SLT-A55V DSLR with Translucent Mirror Technology and 3D Sweep Panorama (Camera Body only) (Black)

4.4 out of 5 stars 160 customer reviews
| 19 answered questions

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Body Only

DPReview Gold Award
From the experts at DPReview
Overall score: 76%
See review summary and sample images
What is DPReview and its awards?

Digital Photography Review is the most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography site on the Internet. Our authoritative reviews have earned us the trust of photographers and camera buyers all over the world, for more than 15 years.

Gold and Silver Awards are given to products that deserve special recognition based on how well they perform relative to their competitors at the time of review.

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  • Translucent Mirror Technology accelerates AF performance
  • Continuous 10 fps shooting with continuous Phase Detect AF
  • Worlds1st consumer HD video camera w/ cont. Phase Detect AF
  • 16.2 megapixels with Sony's Exmor HD APS sensor
  • 1080/60i Full AVCHD or 1080/30p movies Embedded GPS
7 used from $225.00

Technical Details

Review summary from DPReview

DPReview Gold Award August 2010
Coupled with what appears to be an excellent sensor and good ergonomics the A55 must count as one of the strongest contenders in its category, and one that in some respects completely re-aligns our expectations of what is possible in consumer-level equipment.
Barney Britton Barney Britton Lars Rehm Lars Rehm


The Sony SLT-A55 is an excellent all-rounder with a comprehensive feature set. The translucent mirror technology gives it an innovative touch and the best live view AF on the market. Continuous-shooting performance is the best in its class--just don't plan on shooting the Olympics with it.

Reasons to buy

  • Reliably good image quality at lower sensitivities
  • High ISO JPEG output usable up to ISO 12800 for smaller prints
  • Excellent LCD and good EVF, with efficient automatic switch.
  • Versatile and capable (for its class) 15-point AF system
  • Accurate metering and focus
  • Very Good JPEG resolution
  • Very good (almost 9EV) dynamic range
  • Good quality HD video output
  • Swivel-screen useful for overhead- and video shooting
  • Good ergonomics all around, good build quality, nice handling
  • Very compact design
  • Excellent digital level gauge in EVF/LCD
  • Useful Fn menu allows direct access to many important settings
  • Very usable manual focus mode (including up to 15x image magnification)
  • Lots of cool features - 10fps, Auto HDR, Multi-shot NR etc., (automatically selected in Auto+ mode)
  • Auto+ mode makes the various continuous shooting modes (see above) available to novices
  • Efficient image stabilization system
  • Built-in GPS handy for organising images (though it can struggle in built-up areas)

Things to consider

  • Limited control in 10fps and movie modes
  • AF system not quite up to capturing fast action
  • No live view in 10fps/6fps shooting makes panning almost impossible
  • Slow (50 seconds) buffer clear time (RAW-mode)
  • Little control over high ISO noise reduction in JPEG mode ('auto' or 'weak')
  • Visible loss of detail at anything over ISO 400 in JPEG mode (noise reduction too strong)
  • Menu system a little confusing (hard to orientate yourself sometimes)
  • 'Ghosting' can be an issue in certain scenes (clipped specular highlights against dark backgrounds)
  • EVF slightly more prone to RGB 'tearing' than competitors
  • Image review not separately configurable for EVF and LCD
  • Awkward to navigate between stills and movie playback modes
  • LCD unusually prone to finger prints and smearing (reducing visibility in very bright light)

Suggested for

Feature-hungry photographers from entry- to enthusiast level

Not suggested for

Anyone who expects real pro-level sports camera performance at a budget price
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (RAW)
Image quality (JPEG)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
DPReview is the world’s most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography website. Since 1998 its mission has remained unchanged: to deliver the best reviews of cameras and lenses anywhere on the Internet, and help you find the right gear for your needs.

Product Description

Style: Body Only

Product Description

Capture your perfect moments with the world’s first Translucent Mirror Technology DSLR enabling simultaneous focusing and capture. Continuous shooting is an amazing 10 frames per second, complete with continuous auto focus. Auto focus is also visibly faster in Live View and HD Movie modes.

From the Manufacturer

Change the way you shoot pictures with Sony's new Translucent Mirror Technology DSLR camera. The SLT-A55V Alpha DSLR camera features professional-grade continuous shooting at 10 fps and visibly faster, more accurate focus in Live View and HD Movie modes. Compose your shots on either the LCD monitor or electronic viewfinder with 100% framing accuracy. Advanced features including Auto HDR, Sweep Panorama and 15-point Auto Focus make it dramatically easier to get the best shot.

Sony Alpha a55 Highlights

Unprecedented Image Capture

Sony Alpha a55 Digital SLR from Amazon.com

Unlike other DSLRs that can either shoot or focus with the speed and precision of Phase Detection AF, the SLT-A55V is the world's first DSLR that can do both simultaneously1. Featuring an unprecedented Translucent Mirror, the a55V DSLR camera is able to feed both the image sensor and the Phase Detection at the same time.

Professional Class Shooting Speeds
By transforming the fundamental way DSLR cameras work, you'll experience best-in-class speed3, up to 10 fps continuous shooting at full 16.2MP resolution with exposure fixed at the first frame. This is made possible by a Translucent Mirror that always stays in place. You also get standard continuous shooting at up to 6 fps.

Astonishing HD Video Capture
Sony Alpha a55 Digital SLR from Amazon.com

Experience a revolutionary breakthrough in video capture when shooting fast-moving subjects. The a55V is the world's first camera with the precision of Phase Detection auto focus (AF) for HD Movies1. Translucent Mirror Technology not only enables full-time phase-detection AF for photos, it also delivers the same speed and precision for Full HD movies.

Spectacular Resolution and Detail
Featuring a large 16.2-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor, you'll achieve beautiful image quality during both still-photo and movie shooting. Rich tonal gradation and highlight/shadow detail are assured by the BIONZ image processing engine which supports high-speed continuous shooting, advanced digital compositing, and Full HD movie recording.

Advanced Still Shooting Features
Expand your creativity with advanced imaging features including built-in Auto HDR, which captures more scene contrast by combining the best highlight detail from one shot and the best shadow detail into one unbelievable shot. Map your journey via an integrated GPS receiver, or use 3D Sweep Panorama Mode to automatically capture expansive landscapes.

Versatile Shooting Options
Sony Alpha a55 Digital SLR from Amazon.com

Use both the LCD monitor and Electronic Viewfinder to compose your shots. An all-electronic design enables a wide range of shooting information to be displayed in the finder and on the LCD monitor. Both provide a what-you-see-is-what-you-get preview of white balance, focus, depth of field, exposure and 100% framing accuracy, plus on-screen displays.

What's in the Box

  • Alpha A55 digital SLR body
  • Shoulder Strap
  • CD-ROM
  • Battery Charger (BC-VW1)
  • Body Cap
  • Rechargable Battery (NP-FW50)
  • USB Cable

Product Information

Style:Body Only
Product Dimensions 4.9 x 3.4 x 3.6 inches
Item Weight 1.1 pounds
Shipping Weight 2.5 pounds
Item model number SLTA55V
Customer Reviews
4.4 out of 5 stars 160 customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #16,893 in Camera & Photo
#526 in Camera & Photo > DSLR Cameras
Date first available at Amazon.com September 21, 2010

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Donaldson VINE VOICE on October 19, 2010
Style Name: With 18-55mm lens
I've had a Panasonic FZ30 "bridge" camera for five years. It is the type of camera without interchangeable lenses and a small sensor. I've really enjoyed that camera as it had good ergonomics, a great 35mm to 420mm 12x zoom lens, shot video, a good set of features, and pretty good stills. However I found it limited me in three areas (there's always something right?):

1) I wanted better image quality.
2) I wanted better low light capability.
3) I wanted better video performance.

Not wanting to carry and change lenses I searched for another bridge mega-zoom type of camera but they all suffered from the same small sensors and limited low light capability. So I decided I had to make the leap to an interchangeable lens camera. I would search for one that had a sort of mega-zoom lens available so I could just have one lens.

I looked at DSLRs but they are so big, so expensive, and so heavy that I shyed away from them.

Recently several micro four-thirds size sensor cameras came on the market, all using a new set of lenses, but I wasn't impressed with them. I thought if the sensor had been the biggest problem in my FZ30 I didn't want just a step up, I wanted a large leap up in sensor size.

Then I saw Sony introduce the A33 and A55. Reading through the specification I was so excited to see it would likely meet all of my wants and then some.

I've had the A55 for just over a week and I am very happy with it. I have the one lens I wanted (sort of) which is the Sony SAL18250 with a 33mm equivalent of 27mm to 375mm, almost as much zoom as my FZ30. I do appreciate the wider 27mm and can crop on the PC to extend the zoom range. Photo quality with this camera/lens combination is a huge improvement, just what I was looking for.
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Style Name: With 18-55mm lens
This camera is probably the best compact DSLR in its segment right now. Here's my summary:


1. Extremely fast and accurate AF. It's as good and sometimes better than my Nikon D90!
2. Image quality from ISO 100-800 is good as my Nikon D90 and is as good or superior to anything near or in its segment! Images above ISO 800 are still very decent and competitive with anything with its class.
3. Images from the kit lens are sharp and vibrant.
4. EVF is accurate, detailed, and provides all the info. you need
5. Excellent quality HD (1080i) video.....better than most DSLR's in its class. Low light capability is excellent.
6. Best Live View of any DSLR around....w/very fast AF.
7. Excellent tilting LCD screen....vibrant and hi-res.
8. Light and compact body.....easy to travel with.
9. Tremendous value.....beats anything in its class (best bang-for-buck)
10. Received dpreview.com's coveted Gold Star award!


1. Relatively short battery life
2. HD video limited to 9 min. with Steady Shot on (but 29 min. with it off). 3rd-party lenses with lens OIS may be a work-around.
3. Limited manual controls with video.
4. Camera might be too small for users with big hands (be sure to handle it in person if possible)
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Style Name: With 18-55mm lens
The a55 makes it easy to shoot great photos in very challenging lighting conditions. The Auto-HDR (digh dynamic range) takes 3 photos and combines them perfectly into one photo, so that very bright sky and darker landscape both are exposed properly in the final photo. The camera also uses a similar process for doing low light situations (where subject movement would cause a blur if no flash was used). These are in-camera processing features that only Sony is offering at this point.

The continuous auto-focus during video is also a first for inter-changeable lens cameras. Overall, it's a great photographic tool.

By the way, one reviewer compared the a55 to his Canon 7D. That's a $1,600 camera, body only, while this is $750 body only. In a way, it's a compliment that a camera costing so little has to be compared not to others in its price class, but to a camera double the price.

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Style Name: With 18-55mm lens
I'm the first to admit that I never liked any of the Sony cameras. I never cared for their Steadyshot P & S, and I still don't care for it today. I considered their DSLR line to be waaaaay too bulky & ISO too noisy, compared to the Canon & Nikon DSLR line (of similar feature models). So I had to re-read all these GREAT reviews about the A55 thinking that it was too good to be true: An improved technology (invented years ago) that ACTUALLY makes good on its promise of faster focus & more light being absorbed by the camera.

I've been playing with my a55 for two days now & I am terribly impressed by its accomplishments & innovative features (gps, image stabilization, lightweight & small footprint, PLUS CONTINUOUS AUTO-FOCUS DURING HD VIDEO RECORDING). Another set of features that I am terribly surprised to see being ACTUALLY USEFUL: Panorama & 10fps shooting mode. I couldn't be more thankful to realize that I can save myself HOURS of pc-processing, by simply panning the A55 left to right (or top to bottom) while pressing the shutter button (continuously taking shots) & processsing (stitching) the pictures internally to give me the final shot practically on-the-fly (literally done in under 15 seconds). Yes, the panorama pictures are very decent (except when people are moving around, then u get blurry subjects) and very useful. The 10fps mode works ONLY if you have very good lighting outside (you can forget indoor shots, even if you have a f/1.4 lens). Granted the focus is fixed, but the feature actually works. I took some shots of my son playing basketball while keeping up with the focus spot, pointed at his face. What sucks is the post-processing & writing of your shots to the memory card. My class 6 sdhc was a TURTLE.
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