The A55 (along with the cheaper A33) is the first translucent mirror SLT camera on the market. This bleeding edge tech brings with it a veritable plethora of advantages, most obviously the ability to shoot continuously at an incredible 10fps.
It’s worth saying again: that’s (count ‘em) ten full-size 16.2MP shots. Every. Second. Factor in the turbocharged, laser-accurate autofocus and you’ve got one heck of a speed demon, ideal for snapping away at fast-moving subjects such as football players, birds in flights and the like.
Eh? Noisy? Nah
Photo quality is excellent. Sony’s DSLRs used to get flak over poor noise control, but the A55 can be nudged up the ISO range and still produce lovely results. Colours are natural, detail is sharp and, well, photos are every bit as good as those produced by any mid-range DSLR.
The A55 ain’t no one-trick pony, either. There’s its ability to shoot 1080i video in the lovely AVCHD format at 25 or 50fps with stereo sound, a nifty automatic HDR mode, built-in GPS for geotagging and Sony’s devilishly clever Sweep Panorama mode, which lets you effortlessly create an epic, multi-exposure panoramic shot in a matter of seconds. You can even do it in 3D – as long as you have the correct sort of telly to watch it back on.
The in-body SteadyShot image stabilisation is a nice touch, because it means you get anti-shake tech with any lens you bolt onto the A55. It’s great for getting sharp shots without a tripod.
Lightweight or flimsy?
The fact that Sony has stuffed all that into a lightweight, compact body makes the A55 all the more impressive. Some might call the build quality plasticky – and it’s true that there is a lot of the placky stuff – but it’s solid enough by mid-range DSLR standards.
The screen is also mightily impressive. A pin-sharp 921,000-dot LCD that can be tilted in any direction, it’s bright and clear enough to be perfectly usable outdoors on a sunny day.
Review continues after the break…
There’s no optical viewfinder, due to the A55 being an SLT rather than a DSLR camera. You can use the electronic viewfinder to give you a view through the lens, and it’s a perfectly good one – but it can’t match up to actually having a proper optical viewfinder.
It’s a shame, but certainly doesn’t take enough of the shine off this fantastic snapper to make it drop a star.