Sony's Alpha DSLR-A550 offers beginners and advanced shooters alike an instrument that each can embrace. On the newbie end of the equation the A550 offers automatic and scene modes that require little input from the user, as well as the opportunity to explore the more advanced shooting modes and have the camera explain the nuances of each to them as they go. For those folks who are inclined to shoot at a more advanced level, the camera offers a 5 fps motor and dynamic range management tools to exert some serious creative input into the process.
No matter which end of the spectrum they're at, any user will appreciate a quick start up and responsive shutter along with a reasonably quick AF system. For those who just can't divorce themselves from using the monitor for image capture, the A550 offers a live view system that's quick and easy to use.
Image and color quality is good, and if shooting in the manual or semi-automatic modes there are substantial user established settings available to tailor output to virtually any taste. Noise performance is about par for the class, the plastic on the body might look a bit cheap for the price point and the battery charging cycle is odd, but these are really minor gripes for a camera that goes about its business in a very capable manner.
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