Sony Intros New Mid-Range & Full-Frame DSLRs

Sony has officially announced the rumored full-frame A850 and mid-range A550 and A500 DSLR additions to its Alpha family. The A850 offers a few less features than the A900 but keeps the same 24.6 megapixel sensor and knocks the price tag down to around $2,000 for the body. The new A550 and A500 offer 14.2 and 12.3 megapixel sensors, respectively and offer tilt-able LCDs as well as fast burst shooting speeds. Read on for additional details as we take a closer look at what each of these new models has to offer.

Sony A550 &A500 DSLRs

TheA550 andA500 use a new generation of Sony Exmor CMOS image sensors that offer low-noise processing for high-quality pictures. Sony calls the A550 “the first DSLR in its class with seven frames per second shooting speed for under $1,000.” In addition, the A550 andA500 are Sony’s first DSLRs with a built-in High Dynamic Range (HDR) feature. This option can process the image within two seconds to give you the best highlights and shadows in a picture. Unlike other HDR features from other manufacturers, Sony points out that its positional interpolation technology can overcome slight movements in camera position so that you can use the feature without a tripod.

Both of the new cameras also offer two Live View functions and a 3-inch diagonal LCD screen that tilts 90 degrees up or down. The A500’s display is a 230,000 pixelClear Photo LCD Plus screen, while theA550 has a 921,000 pixel Xtra Fine LCD display.In addition to Live View, the cameras also offer Face Detection technology and Smile Shutter technology. Like other Sony alpha cameras, the A550 andA500 offer in-body image stabilization.

The new DSLRs are compatible with Sony’s newest32GB Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX media, which is designed to give users read and write speeds for capturing photos as well as higher transfer rates of large capacity files to a compatible PC.

TheA550 andA500 will cost about $950 and $750 respectively for the body only. Kit options with the camera body and 18-55 kit lens will also be available for $1,050 and $850, respectively. The cameras will be available in October.

Sony A850 Full-Frame DSLR

Targeting experienced shooters looking for sophisticated SLR performance, the new A850 uses the same 24.6 megapixel sensor and most features of the flagship A900 camera introduced last year but offers a lower price than the flagship model. Key features of this camera include a 35-mm full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor and fast image processing with dual BIONZ processing engines. The camera is also capable of shooting up to three frames per second at 24.6 megapixels.

The A850 offers body-integrated SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization which provides an anti-shake effect equivalent of 2.5 to 4 stops. Another key feature is the Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) as well as DRO bracketing to help you capture the best shot possible.

The A850 features a 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD screen (921K). A backlit LCD panel sits on top of the camera and displays key settings. The camera supports high-capacity Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, HX series, and CompactFlash media.

The A850 will be available in September for about $2,000 (body only) along with related accessories. All A900 accessories are compatible with the A850, including the dedicated vertical grip.