Ten frames per second with continuously active AF is no mean feat, especially in a camera costing £700. Whether it is worth the loss of the optical viewfinder is another matter

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Sony Alpha 55

AWB Colour:
LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:


Sony Alpha 55 review


Price as reviewed:


The competition











Images: Canon EOS 550D, Pentax K-r

Sony has effectively introduced a new type of camera and as a result the direct competition is not clear. In fact, only the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV can match the Alpha 55’s 10fps, and it is only in the continuous JPEG file burst where the Canon camera outshines the Sony model. However, the Mark IV is aimed at the professional-level user.

While many features put the Alpha 55 up there with higher-level cameras, its build and size align it with more entry-level or even micro-system cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2. In reality, it falls somewhere between the two, such as a high entry-level, or low-end enthusiast level, model. With this in mind, the Pentax K-r, with its respectable 6fps shooting rate, and the Canon EOS 550D are currently the closest competition.

The Alpha 55 has a particularly strong video mode and features, but image quality is slightly better in the Canon model.




RRP:£669.99 (body only)
Exposure Comp:±2EV in 1⁄3EV steps
Compression:Two-stage JPEG
Connectivity / Interface:USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, HMDI
Metering System:1,200-zone evaluative metering, centreweighted, and fixed centre spot
DoF Preview:Yes
Focusing Modes:Manual, single-shot AF, automatic AF, continuous AF, face detection
Lens Mount:Sony Alpha mount
Colour Space:Adobe RGB, sRGB
Drive Mode:10fps for 35 large/fine JPEG files or 15 raw images
Shutter Speeds:30-1/4000sec in 1⁄3EV steps plus bulb
File Format:Raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
Power:Rechargeable Li-Ion NP-FW50 battery
Weight:500g approx including battery or card/s
Exposure Modes:Auto, program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, and 8 scene modes
Focal Length Mag:1.5x
Max Flash Sync:sync 1/160sec
Sensor:16.2-million-effective-pixel CMOS sensor
White Balance Bracket:Yes, 3 images over 2 steps
AF Points:15-point with 3 cross-type, auto or manual selection possible
Field of View:Approx 100%
LCD:3in LCD with 921,600 dots
Output Size:5184x3456 pixels
Viewfinder Type:1.152-million-dot electronic
Memory Card:SD, SDHC, SDXC or memory stick pro duo
Shutter Type:Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter
Built-in Flash:Yes – GN 10m @ ISO 100
Dioptre Adjustment:-4 to +4 dioptre,
White Balance:Auto, 6 presets, Kelvin, plus custom setting
External mic:Yes
Video:1920x1080 pixels (at 30fps, 25fps or 24fps), 1280x720 pixels (at 60fps or 50fps), 640x480 pixels (at 60fps or 50fps), MOV files with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression
  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and handling
  4. 4. Noise, resolution and sensitivity
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. Autofocus
  7. 7. Viewfinder, Live View, LCD and video
  8. 8. Dynamic range
  9. 9. White balance and colour
  10. 10. GPS
  11. 11. Our verdict
  12. 12. The competition
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