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Sony Alpha DSLR-A500, Alpha DSLR-A550 unveiled
by Allison Johnson -  8/26/2009

Sony announces the Alpha DSLR-A500 and DSLR-A550 this morning sporting the latest generation of CMOS sensors. Coupled with their BIONZ image processor, the A500 and A550 are optimized for low-light performance and boast a range of up to 12800 ISO.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A550
Sony Alpha DSLR-A550

The Alpha A500 weighs in with a 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor and the Alpha A550 with 14.2 megapixels. Their differentiated model numbers also denote a difference in LCD resolution. The A500 features a 3.0 inch 230k monitor and the A550 features a higher-res 921k Xtra Fine LCD of the same physical size. The LCDs of both models will tilt up or down at angles of 90 degrees.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A550

Two live view modes can be accessed on either the A500 or the A550. Quick AF Live View utilizes two sensors to reduce shutter lag without use of the optical viewfinder. Manual Focus Check Live View offers a peek at your subject by 7x and 14x magnification to fine-tune focus for occasions that call for precise focusing.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A500
Sony Alpha DSLR-A500

The Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 also pulls in higher continuous shooting frame rates than its step-down A500 sibling. Sony claims a maximum 7 fps for the Alpha A550 and a 5 fps continuous shooting mode in both cameras with use of the optical viewfinder.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A500
Sony Alpha DSLR-A500

Both cameras will feature an HDR high dynamic range function designed to rescue lost details in shadow areas of photos and severely backlit images. They also share a 9-point TTL phase-detection auto focus system and Sony's in-body SteadyShot image stabilization. They'll be compatible with the recently announced whopping 32GB Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo HX memory cards.

Like the most recent generation of Sony Alphas, the A500 and A550 will feature both a slot for Sony memory cards and SD memory cards, a welcome addition to the Sony lineup. Along with the announcement of the Alpha A500 and A550, Sony is also introducing the SAL30M28 DT 30mm f/2.8 macro lens.

Sony Alpha

Pricing and availability
Look for the Sony Alpha DSLR-A500 and Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 in retail stores starting October. The A500 will start at $750 body only or $850 with 18-55mm kit lens. The A550 starts at $950 and will be available with the same lens for $1050.