Free Shipping on ALL Products
camera reviewsbest cameraslens reviewsphotography tipscamera forumvideo toursphotography bookssupport me
It is currently Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:27 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 30 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:59 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
Posts: 9975
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi everyone, we've just reviewed the Alpha A550 and demo'd its highlights in our latest HD video tour. Hope you enjoy it...

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Sony_Alpha_DSLR_A550/


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:13 am 
It looks like I might replace my A300 with this. Thanks for the review.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:44 am 
Good work as usual Gordon. I got a really good feeling for the camera, and I'm certain this will be helpful to many.

Reading reviews on other sites, you do feel that the A550 is a crappy camera but you not only back up your reviews with words and pictures, but also video, which just shows how much some of these guys exaggerate the negatives about the camera. Also, I think you got it right since the camera is missing a couple of things, but what it caters to, is people upgrading probably from a P&S camera, who are dumbstruck to find out that their new camera, which costs 3x as much as their old camera, can't even focus properly in live view :lol:

The comparison with the D90 was also very fair, and I don't think the Sony is better, but it does things differently enough that it will certainly appeal to some people who have different priorities.

In any case, I really like the direction Sony took with this model, and I hope they go on to refine the idea some more (improve the ergonomics, refine the menu system, improve the build). It does seem to have some rough edges, and maybe a little rushed in places (I felt the same way about the D90 as well with its video implementation), but there is some great technology that will help to grow the Alpha range in 2010.

N.B. You seem to know something about the new A7xx camera! Pop Photo also made some sly comments in their Jan. issue. I hope you already have a copy, and that your review will be one of the first out, because some of these reviews just don't give people a good idea about a new camera/lens.

In addition, Sony needs to send you a review copy of cameras a little quicker, as cameralabs does seem to lag behind in reviewing Sony gear as opposed to other review sites.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:42 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 827
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Nice job Gordon. It's nice to see a review come through without any particular slant against the manufacturer - you seem to do a very nice job of staying as objective as it is possible to do, and noting any positives or negatives of the camera in a very straightforward manner.

Much hulabaloo was raised on some other boards due to the review, and as usual everyone concentrates on the end of the review rather than the language within. My personal dismay in reading some reviews was that it was abundantly clear that some of the reviewers had a particular dislike of Sony as a company or its products, on principal alone...therefore undue criticism, long-winded and insulting descriptions of negatives, and oversight of positives was a common theme.

What I like is that you specifically touch on some of the same points, which are legitimate (lack of MLU, Program shift, DOF preview), but without turning it into a rant on the company. And you are able to note the advantages the camera has over some rivals that can be important in the overall purchase decision by some buyers. With the same basic result (recommended), your review manages to sound less judgemental and more straightforward. Bravo.

I grabbed this camera as an upgrade from my A300 once I had a chance to handle it and test it in store - it turned out to be the right mix of similarities to the A300 in the areas I liked, and improvements over the A300 exactly where I hoped it would improve. I don't know that I'd consider it midrange myself...I consider it an advanced entry-level personally...but have been very happy with the decision and have had wonderful fun and great results with the camera, even though I may not fit some of the perceived target market for this camera (not a beginner, not coming from P&S, primarily use OVF rather than live view, don't use Auto modes and like to choose my own settings). The continuous shooting speed, focus accuracy and speed, best live view system available today (though I don't use it often, I still consider it an invaluable tool for when I do), much improved and competitive high ISO ability, great ergonomics for me (big hands!), HDR mode (don't use the +3 setting!!! It works so much better in Auto or up to +1.5 or so!), excellent battery life and proper battery meter, dual card slots, and more - all reasons I made the move.

Thank you for a solid, well done review.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:09 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
Posts: 9975
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Thanks guys, I'm glad you liked the review.

I really enjoyed my time with the A550, but to really appreciate it, you need to be a regular Live View user, and also want to shoot action - as I said in the review, the combination of doing both successfully is what makes this camera unique, but when testing it, you really need to go out and shoot action in Live View. Not many reviews seem to look at this aspect.

zackiedawg, are you saying there was a hullabaloo about my review?

primitive, sorry, no knowledge of an A700 successor, just an expectation that there will be one. Finger's crossed for CES?!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:12 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
Posts: 9975
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
PS - I meant to add, this was the first time I uploaded a video tour in 1080p to Youtube, rather than my usual 720p. I believe YT are now exploiting 1080p files, so video afficianados may want to check it out! Does it look better than my previous HD tours to you...?

PPS - much as I don't want you to leave cameralabs, you'll need to watch it at YT for this maximum resolution.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:30 pm 
Thanks Gordon,

Looking forward to A500 review and comparison shots with A550. I am beginning to agree that A500, given price, might be a better choice for most folks on a tighter budget. However, the pic quality may not be better on A500 just because it has fewer pixels. Dxomark data shows A550 sensor is just as good. It's smeary jpeg NR that is the the reason D90 beats it, and A500, with the same NR, would most likely will be closer to A550 than D90.

When is A500 review coming?

Regarding A7xx, one speculation is that the planed A700 will be delayed due to work on adding video. The model that they were planning to release as A700 replacement will now be released as A6xx, which will be a genuine upgrade to A700, but without video, and the A700 series camera will be released 6 months after that to compete with Canon 7D in price/features. A900 replacement is also due in 2010

Please now disregard what I posted above A7xx as it could be total BS.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 827
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Gordon Laing wrote:
zackiedawg, are you saying there was a hullabaloo about my review?


No no...sorry - the hulabaloo was over the OTHER site's review - particularly questioning their objectivity going into the review. Your review was mentioned over there, so far only a few nice comments and a few contradictory ones, much to be expected on that site (the Sony board over there seems to be filled with a large number of brand-loyalists and brand-haters, with a handful of those in between!). Any review of a Sony cam will bring out the two extreme parties every time.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:31 pm 
Gordon Laing wrote:
Hi everyone, we've just reviewed the Alpha A550 and demo'd its highlights in our latest HD video tour. Hope you enjoy it...

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Sony_Alpha_DSLR_A550/


There was a post about this part on dpr

"Note in order to achieve the same image brightness in the examples below, the Nikon D90 employed exposures roughly half that of the A550. At 200 ISO f8, the A550’s exposure was 1.3 seconds, while the D90’s was 0.62 seconds. This difference remained consistent up to the high-end of the scale, with the A550’s exposure at 3200 ISO f8 being 1/15 and the D90 being 1/30. This implies the D90 is more sensitive when both cameras are set to the same ISO values."

I am really skeptical about this claim. On IR and other sample shots, A550 has either faster (or same) shutter speed as D90 for most ISOs.

Did you mix D90's ISO 100 with A550's ISO 200?

Where is link to full photos along with exif data so I can check this claim?

Thanks


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:45 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
Posts: 9975
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi OneGuy, the shutter speeds were taken from the 200 ISO and the 3200 ISO samples - there was no mistake.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:19 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 827
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Gordon,

I wonder if that shutter speed difference could just be in Sony's programming, which seems to support what many who shoot with the A550 seem to agree on - that it seems prone to overexpose about 1/2 stop to 1 stop. It's a very consistent overexposure, and many of us by default set -.3 or -.7 EV on the cameras for consistent and reliable exposures. So maybe the two cameras share equal sensitivity, but the Nikon exposes slightly more conservatively (ie: faster shutter) compared to the Sony which can be prone to some overexposure (ie: too slow a shutter than needed). By using 1/3 stop EV dialed in, you could probably find the Sony using the same shutter speeds and quite possibly achieving the same exposure?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:26 pm 
Gordon Laing wrote:
Hi OneGuy, the shutter speeds were taken from the 200 ISO and the 3200 ISO samples - there was no mistake.


Thanks.

Are full size images on your flickr account?

I lost the link to your flick account.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:38 pm 
Saw the video tour, and read parts of the review. Just wanted to say thanks for a great review, always easy and fun to stay updated with the latest cameras on this site!
This camera seems to have a lot, no doubt it'll sell well!


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:12 am 
Regarding NR "normal" and "high," the manual says:

"Select High to prioritize image quality. Select normal to prioritize the timing of the shooting"

So does "high" mean high quality NR (not necessarily more smearing) at the cost of less fps, or does it mean something else?

Thanks.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:40 pm 
So its fair to say the A5xx is a very decent Sony dslr. The trick is, can it compete and will it bring Sony some level of commercial success?

The figures for last years dslr sales (in japan) are out, and it looks really bad for Sony, made particularly worse in that Sony has had a pretty tough year with the recession and you have to wonder what Sony is planning on doing, if anything.

Sony, as a company, is as enigmatic as they come. Nobody ever knows what their up. Their business model is no doubt complex, and sales in Japan have little bearings on global sales figures.

But, assuming things are as bad globally as they are in Japan, how can Sony come out on top in the DSLR world? Is the A5xx series one of the cameras to do it? Personally, I think it can be in combination with the new A7xx (which by shear rumor alone is able to bring back the dead, solve global warming and feed the hungry) and the A850.

Personally, I think Sony needs to also spend 2010 to find a direction, and stick with it. Speeding up the release of a well polished A7xx that is highly competitive is also a key goal they should try desperately to meet.

The A2xx/A3xx line was a disappointment to many, and even its intended market seems underwhelmed by what it offers. The A5xx I think is a move in the right direction, and I hope it is a commercial success (and I strongly believe that if this approach was used in the A2xx/A3xx line, then they would have been much more successful).

People seem to think lenses are hurting Sony, but I don't personally think so as most people who complain about a lack of lenses aren't Sony users and don't even own the equivalent lenses on their own systems that they claim Sony is lacking (600mm F4? Those things are expensive niches that Sony doesn't need to fill). As far as I'm concerned, Sony has enough mainstream lenses to compete.

Hoping 2010 is a much better year for Sony as a DSLR company.


Top
  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 30 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2012 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.
/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs

Webdesign by Alphabase IT
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group