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
By today’s standards, the Alpha 55 performs as one might expect and holds its own against competitors with a dynamic range of around 11-12EV.
In real-world settings I found the wide dynamic range produces images with fine detail, but also a good level of contrast is applied to keep images looking punchy. Using the supplied Image Data Lightbox software to process raw images, I could recover detail from dark shadow areas, but not quite so much from blown-out highlights.
For high-contrast scenes, the dynamic range optimizer (DRO+) is useful. This function can be found via the D-Range button next to the on/off switch, along with the high dynamic range (HDR) mode. DRO+ assesses the contrast of light and shadow in the subject and background, and lifts the darkest shadows for extra detail.
There are five levels of effectiveness, from weak (level one) to strong (level five). HDR mode is only available when shooting JPEGs; it captures three images including ones for highlight and shadow detail, at up to a range of 6EV in 1EV steps. If slow shutter speeds are used then a tripod is necessary, but using the quick frame rate with fast shutter speeds allows for handheld HDR shooting.