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Cameras Gear Photography Technology

Unboxing the Sony Alpha A550 DSLR

Sony Alpha A550 Unboxed

The year 2009 has been ground breaking for digital cameras. Every manufacturer seems to be putting out new features and technology that are changing the way people do photography. Sony was able to contribute to this growing technology by introducing their EXMOR R sensor. Sony Philippines was generous enough to give me a chance to play around with two of their recent cameras and both uses the new sensor technology EXMOR R with new BIONZ Processing engine. And the first up is their Sony Alpha A550.

Sony Alpha A550 DT 18-55mm Kit Contents
Sony Alpha A550 DT 18-55mm Kit Contents

The year 2009 has been ground breaking for digital cameras. Every manufacturer seems to be putting out new features and technology that are changing the way people do photography. Sony was able to contribute to this growing technology by introducing their EXMOR R sensor. Sony Philippines was generous enough to give me a chance to play around with two of their recent cameras and both uses the new sensor technology EXMOR R with new BIONZ Processing engine. And the first up is their Sony Alpha A550.

Sony Alpha A550 Right Top Rear controls
Sony Alpha A550 Right Top Rear controls

The EXMOR R Sensor. This is a new CMOS Sensor designed by Sony. It is also called a back-illuminated sensor since the circuitry is behind the Photo-diodes unlike the common sensors. Since the light would directly be received without passing through circuitry, it promises twice the sensitivity of conventional sensors and low noise.

The Sony Alpha 550 DSLR using an APS-C sized EXMOR Sensor is somewhere on the mid-range line of Sony DSLRs judging by its price range and features. Looking at the back of the box, these seem to be the highlight features:

Sony Alpha A550 Box
Sony Alpha A550 Box
  • Quick AF Live View
  • MF Check Live View
  • SteadyShot Inside
  • 14.2 Mega pixels
  • Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ Image Processing Engine
  • High ISO 200-12800
  • 9 point AF
  • Dual Slot Memory Stick Duo and SD
  • D-Range Optimizer
  • Auto-HDR
  • 5 fps on viewfinder (7fps on live view)
  • Face Detection with Smile Shutter
  • 3” Xtra Fine LCD
  • Photo TV HD
Sony DT 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 SAM
Sony DT 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 SAM
Sony A550 Body Front with cap
Sony A550 Body Front with cap

I know Sony inherited the Minolta heritage but I really haven’t used a Sony DSLR before so I was excited to try it and see if I can adapt to it easily with my shooting style.  Here’s what’s inside the box of the 18-55mm kit:

  • Sony Alpha A550 DSLR Body
  • NP-FM500H Lithium-Ion Battery
  • BC-VM10 Battery charger
  • Body cap
  • Shoulder strap
  • USB cable
  • Software CD-ROM
  • Manual and Warranty
Trying out the Sony Alpha A550 out of the box
Trying out the Sony Alpha A550 out of the box

Initial Impressions. Take note that these are what I noticed when I opened the box and started tinkering with the A550 with the battery’s factory charge.I will write my entry soon on the A550 as I report actual use on the field.

  • The A550 body is light and of moderate size for a DSLR
  • Solid “plastic” feel build with gun metal color on top
  • Rubber portions with nice easy grip
  • I love the high resolution 920,000 dot articulating 3” screen
  • Certainly didn’t like the plastic body cap and lens mount cap
  • Battery doesn’t have a cap/cover
  • Live View is the fastest I have used on a DSLR and works well with the articulating screen
  • Viewfinder is just average
  • 9-point auto focus is responsive
  • DT 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 SAM front element rotates, (could be bad on filters)

The Sony Alpha A550 with DT 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 SAM (Silent Autofocus Motor) standard retail price in the Philippines is Php 64,999.00 as of this writing.

By Ferdz

Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.

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