Summary Sony SLT-A55

Prices Price
Body only $1,073 With 18-55mm lens $1,075 - $1,165
all SLT-A55 prices
Score Snapsort rank
Within its price range #n/a of 13 Among similar cameras #n/a of 14
details details
Specifications Key specs
Sensor size Help APS-C 23.5x15.6mm Screen resolution Help 921k dots
Megapixels Help 16 MP Movie format Help 1080p @ 30fps
Screen size Help 3.0" Light sensitivity Help 12,800 ISO
see all specifications
Lenses Lenses
Browse all Sony SLT-A55 lenses at LensHero
Sony SLT-A55Sony SLT-A55

Replacement

Sony has replaced the SLT-A55 with the A65 and A57.

Sony SLT-A65
Sony SLT-A65 announced August, 2011
Movie format Higher frame rate movies
Supports 24p Supports 24p
True resolution Much higher true resolution

Compare the new Sony SLT A65 vs the SLT-A55

Sony SLT A57
Sony SLT A57 announced March, 2012
Movie format Higher frame rate movies
Supports 24p Supports 24p
Battery life Longer battery life

Compare the new Sony SLT A57 vs the SLT-A55

reviewsWhat are people saying about the SLT-A55

"The A55 feels like a cross between a good midrange DSLR and a high-end 'bridge' model, but its focus system and large, high-resolution viewfinder surpass our expectations of both types of camera."
dpreview.com | talking about the camera's feel
"The Sony Alpha SLT A55 is completely new designs which offer several key advantages over 'traditional' DSLR technology."
dpreview.com | talking about the camera's overall-performance
"The A55's video mode delivers good quality output that is far better than anything you'd get from a digital compact camera."
dpreview.com | talking about the camera's video-quality

Videos

Pros

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The Sony SLT-A55 vs other recent entry-level DSLRs

Viewfinder size Large viewfinder Help
0.72x
Continuous shooting Rapid fire Help
10 fps
Autofocus Phase detection video autofocus Help
fast and accurate
Movie continuous focus Movie continuous focus Help
Makes it easy to get in-focus movies
GPS Built-in GPS Help
Great for travel
Weight Light Help
500 g
Image stabilization Image stabilization Help
Sensor shift
Screen flips out Flip-out screen Help
Great for movies
Panorama In-camera panoramas Help
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
External mic jack External mic jack Help
Record higher quality audio with a microphone
3D Takes 3D photos Help
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions

Cons

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The Sony SLT-A55 vs other recent entry-level DSLRs

Low light performance Noisy at high ISO Help
816 ISO
Lens availability Slightly fewer lenses available Help
123 lenses
Viewfinder Uses battery, see less detail Help
Digital
Cross type focus points Fewer cross-type focus points Help
3
Announced Old Help
August, 2010
Thickness Thick Help
3.3"
Lowest price Very expensive Help
$1,073.15
Movie format Full HD Help
1080p @ 30fps
True resolution Lower true resolution Help
16 MP
Supports 24p No 24p movies Help
Missing that film look
Weather sealed No weather sealing Help
Need to shelter it from weather
Battery life Shorter battery life Help
330 shots
Fastest shutter speed Slow shutter speed Help
1/4000 of a second
Popularity Not so popular Help
Among snapsort users

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Discussion

Sony SLT-A55
SLT-A55
Sony

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Showing 25 comments

Avatar for Md. Shahnewaz Islam Md. Shahnewaz Islam (3:20 PM, March 14, 2012)
Hello Snapsort, I am form Bangladesh and like to buy a DSLR for the first time. and i am confused in between NIKON D5100, CANON 600D and SONY SLT-35 can u plz help. in my country CANON 600D is most expensive and NIKON D5100 is the cheapest among these three 
 
Nathaniel (5:42 PM, February 22, 2012)
Can the a55 use the auto focus of older lenses? For example, the Minolta maxxum 70-210 "beer can" had auto focus but can the a55 use it or is it incompatible?

Thanks guys!
 
Isamjammal (8:49 PM, October 07, 2011)
Just to add, really bad battery life, Software not available for MAC! which is very annoying and strange. I'm using Nikon software to transfer photos and duplicating Sony RAW (.ARW) into TIFF using Mac Preview, In order to open with photoshop.... Yes I am doing that! So, Can't recommend this to a MAC user. 
 
Eduardo (11:15 PM, September 23, 2011)
Which one is better, Sony HX100 or A55? The Snapsort recomends HX100 over the A55, is that real? 
Thks
 
Isamjammal (6:54 AM, September 03, 2011)
Great Camera, I got one yesterday and I'm pleased with the first few shots, however, for video people, you may wanna know that the camera heats up very quickly when using "Steady Shot" and limits your movie length to 9 minutes in areas with 20 degrees temperature, 6 minutes in 30 and 3 minutes in 40 degrees. When SteadyShot is off, you get 29 min / 20 degrees, 13/30 and  5 minutes/40 , this you may wanna know. ( btw, this is according to the catalog )
 
Pedro Del Zurdo (0:42 PM, July 07, 2011)
I 100% Agree.

If I'm shooting portraits for example, knowing I'm not yet good enough to know "exactly" when to fire the shutter, I fall back on 10FPS.  It works a treat and yes, I know that the buffer will eventually fill up after X seconds/frames, in each burst - BUT in that time I nearly always capture the expression I'm looking for in at least 1 if not several frames.  So for me, Image preview would probably hinder me rather than help in portrait situations.

I converted an old manual Pentax K-mount 40mm Pancake lens recently and I'm really pleased with the image quality the a55 and Pancake lens give.

 
Avatar for Micro Micro (0:48 PM, July 06, 2011)
I read about those "delays" too often - it's not true. There are delays only, *only* if you set "preview" after a shot is taken. It's logical that when the preview takes 2 seconds, this will cause switch between shooting mode and preview mode. Turn the auto preview off, and there will be completely no delay. I personally had many cameras, and this one and A550 were absolutely best for shooting "sports" like subjects. Especially A-55 because of this incredibly fast auto focus that works continuously between every single shot even while shooting at full 10fps speed.
 
Avatar for Robert Anceski Robert Anceski (1:43 AM, June 12, 2011)
Hello everyone, i was hoping that you all could help me in my tireless job of finding the right camera to buy, i'm really gravitated towards the A55 but i have a couple questions

first off, how is this thing in low light, for example if i shoot at the moon in the middle of the night, will i even see anything other then a random circle??
second, what other cameras should i be looking at....i've read things that say that the a55 actually has little to no competitors for its price range, but i'd like to hear what you guys have to say

thanks
 
Peter (11:20 AM, June 09, 2011)
You do not lose any image quality. On the other hand, the a55 is incredibly sluggish. You will not find it useful for sports photographs. The effective speed is 0.5 FPS, not 10 FPS. 10FPS is just the marketing spec (see my link posted above). The D90 is ancient, though. You'd be better off with something modern -- high ISO performance increased dramatically since the D90, and that allows for much fast shutter speeds, which is useful for sports.

Do factor in the cost of the lens. You will want a wide aperture telephoto lens with image stabilization. Those ain't cheap. If you do buy Sony, you can get an old Maxxum f/4 70-210mm lens for $150 or so off of eBay. With Canon/Nikon, you'll spend a lot more, since IS isn't in the body, and you'll need to buy something both new and fancy.
 
Peter (2:17 AM, June 09, 2011)
After 9 months of use, I posted a review of the Sony a55 at http://mitros.org/p/reviews/sony-a55.html. Personal web site. No ads or anything. This is less professional than the real review sites, but based on much more real-life shooting experience.

Summary: It'd be a wonderful camera if not for the effective shooting speed of 1 frame every 2 seconds, and the horrible user interface. The GPS is surprisingly useful, and the picture quality and the focusing accuracy beats cameras 4x the price. Sadly, the camera is just too slow to be useful -- with 2 seconds between shots, you miss almost all good pictures. In spite of much better picture quality, I find myself using my older a700 far more often than the new a55.
 
Arianne94 (6:52 PM, May 16, 2011)
does it have live view?  
 
Lamboram (6:53 AM, May 08, 2011)
Plastic, but the camera feels good in hand..
 
Lamboram (6:53 AM, May 08, 2011)
in a word, Excellent.. better than most of the Pro-DSLRs.. infact this EVF is one of the strengths of SLT A55..
 
Lamboram (6:51 AM, May 08, 2011)
@Za1n - Sony NEX-3 has just 3 lenses and as yo u have mentioned, the zoom is also a bit tricky.. I would suggest you to take up SLT A55, in which case you can enjoy the wide variety of lenses available and also the exquisite EVF experience. If you havent tried the EVF and the image quality, i would say try this out in your nearest outlet.. Its actually pretty interesting.. Good luck and congrats :)
 
Avatar for Za1n Za1n (5:30 PM, April 28, 2011)
i have been reading some really good reviews about this cameras, ive loved sony point and shoot in the past, but i am not sure about the DSLR version and non of the stores in my area have them in store so i can play with them.
now i am getting a decent discount on both sony nex-3 and sony slr a55
i loved the nex3, but the only problem is the zoom in that camera and the lenses to use with them are very expensive.
what do u guys think which one is better?
sony nex3, or slt a55 or nikon d3100
i am more concerned about the picture quality in almost any kind of environment.
thanks
 
Italianbreadman (8:12 PM, April 27, 2011)
Hi! I'm fairly certain the A33/A55 only have one card slot that reads SD and Memory Stick, whereas the A560/580 have one for each, with a switch to tell the camera which to use at any given time.
 
Blue__monday (1:43 AM, April 25, 2011)
Hi, I can to know if those cameras have a metalic body or plastic body. Thanks.
 
Rathernot (7:57 PM, April 15, 2011)
Mentions short exposures is one of the cons of this camera. The A55 has a bulb mode though. Is this a mistake?
 
Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (6:58 PM, April 14, 2011)
I've read a bit more about Sony's 1920x1080 @ 60i, and from what I can tell its actually the same as 30p, read the section titled "30P or 60i – Which Is It?" here:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/camcorders/vg10.shtml

"Most people interested in video know that interlaced is old tech, that all modern TVs are progressive devices, and that therefore Progressive video recording is to be preferred, because it potentially offers twice the vertical resolution of interlaced. But Sony AVCHD video cameras (at least until one gets to their higher-end prosumer and pro gear) is speced as recording 60i. But, when you read the fine print you discover that qt least some of these cameras (such as the VG10) really aren't recording 60i, they're capturing 30P and placing it in a 60i "wrapper".
 
Indoreelal (5:49 PM, April 14, 2011)
Sorry...The information regarding full HD capabilities of Sony SLT-A55 needs to be corrected...Sony website says this camera has 1080i resolution not 1080p .!! Please check and reconfirm to avoid confusion....
 
Michael (3:56 PM, February 08, 2011)
I think this camera should get extra credit for the *effective* magnification of its viewfinder, which is around 0.74x (better than Canon 5D Mark II at 0.7x, 37% larger than Pentax K-r at 0.54x, etc) ... while also noting the pros and cons of the viewfinder being electronic.
Cons: tearing effect
Pros: exposure preview, zoom for manual focus help

I feel that the huge effective size of the viewfinder image makes up for the thickness of this camera, especially since the camera is still so light.
 
Dan W (5:37 AM, January 13, 2011)
is any image quality lost due to the translucent technology, i am favouring this camera over the nikon d90 due to it 10fps as i mostly shoot sports photographs. my friend swears by the d90 but i want to be different.
 
William (0:28 PM, January 03, 2011)
How is the viewfinder of this camera?
 
Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (1:53 PM, November 14, 2010)
Hi Daniel, good call. I had naively assumed in a traditional DSLR like the D90 that the focus sensors were in between the mirror and the viewfinder (and were what you see in the viewfinder).

But, you're correct. Wikipedia has an article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_single-lens_reflex_camera

That says:

"The diagram shown here is an over-simplification in that it omits the sensors used to activate the drive for the autofocus system. Those sensors reside at the bottom of the mirror box. In such a system, the main mirror is slightly translucent in the center, which allows light to pass through it to a secondary mirror which reflects light to the sensors below."
 
Daniel Kopial (5:13 AM, November 14, 2010)
Hi, you said that a DSLR directs all incoming light to either the sensor of the focus system...if the light is directed to the Phase Detect Sensor...how are we supposed to see the image in the optical viewfinder. Are you sure its not a translucent mirror with 70% to the OVF & 30% to the PDAF?