Updated (August, 2011): Compare the Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 vs Sony NEX-5N

Sony Alpha DSLR-A550

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Sony Alpha DSLR-A550

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vs

Sony Alpha NEX-5

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Sony Alpha NEX-5

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Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha DSLR-A550

Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift
Almost no delay when powering up
Startup delay
500 ms startup delay
Barely any delay taking photos
Shutter lag
184 ms shutter lag
Slightly more lenses available
Lens availability
123 lenses
 

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

Panorama
In-camera panoramas
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
3D
Takes 3D photos
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
 

differences

Advantages of the Sony DSLR-A550

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Shutter lag
Much less shutter lag
184 ms vs 670 ms
Help
3.6x less delay when taking photos
Image stabilization
Image stabilization
Sensor shift vs None
Help
Helps eliminate blur caused by small camera movements
Battery life
Much longer battery life
950 shots vs 330 shots
Help
Around 3x more shots per battery charge
Lens availability
Significantly more lenses available
123 lenses vs 21 lenses
Help
Around 6x more lenses available
Storage slots
Has more storage slots
2 vs 1
Help
More slots allows storing more images without switching memory cards
Startup delay
Less startup delay
500 ms vs 1000 ms
Help
2x less delay when turning on
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
Yes vs No
Help
A built-in flash is useful for taking indoor shots where there is little light
Viewfinder
Has a viewfinder
Pentamirror vs None
Help
A viewfinder can help save battery life by keeping the screen turned off
Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Learn more about
the Sony DSLR-A550

Advantages of the Sony NEX-5

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Movie format
Shoots movies
1080p @ 30fps vs None
Help
Shoots Full HD (1080p) video as well as still pictures
Size
Much smaller
111x59x38 mm vs 137x104x84 mm
Help
4.8x smaller
3D
Takes 3D photos
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple photos into a 3D image
Panorama
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
Weight
Significantly lighter
287 g vs 632 g
Help
2.2x lighter
Thickness
Significantly thinner
1.5" vs 3.3"
Help
2.2x thinner
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12.2 EV vs 11.8 EV
Help
0.4 f-stops more dynamic range
Overall image quality
Slightly better image quality
69.0 vs 66.0
Help
Almost the same
Color depth
Better color depth
22.2 bits vs 21.9 bits
Help
Distinguishes 0.3 more bits of color
Lowest price
Cheaper
$398.00 vs $600.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $202 cheaper (more than 30% less)
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Learn more about
the Sony NEX-5
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recommendations

Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent digital cameras, and ignoring price

Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 46
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        46 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony Alpha NEX-5
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              similarities

              Compared to recent digital cameras

              Common Strengths
              Screen flips out Flip-out screens Help
              Great for movies
              Screen resolution High resolution screens Help
              DSLR-A550:921k dots
              NEX-5:920k dots
              Sensor size Large sensors Help
              APS-C 23.4x15.6mm
              Interchangeable lenses Both support interchangeable lenses, which is uncommon in cameras similar to these Help
              Many lenses to choose from
              HDR In-camera HDR Help
              Combines multiple exposures
              Supports RAW Supports RAW Help
              Better editing
              External flash Support external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Sensor type Better sensor types Help
              Better in low light
              Common Weaknesses
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $319 - $527 body only

              $389 - $447 with 18-55mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              True resolution Takes significantly higher resolution photos
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $272 body only

              $390 - $409 with 18-55mm lens

              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Autofocus Focuses automatically while shootting video
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Sony SLT-A55

              Sony SLT-A55

              Entry-level DSLR

              $530 body only

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Autofocus Focuses automatically while shootting video
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Canon EOS Rebel T2i

              Canon Rebel T2i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $600 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Nikon D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $360 - $378 body only

              $429 - $499 with 18-55mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 - $550 body only

              $549 - $630 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $790 body only

              $900 - $1,079 with 18-105mm lens

              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Lens availability Slightly more lenses available
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is significantly heavier

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A580

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A580

              Entry-level DSLR

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Autofocus Faster autofocus
              Shutter lag More shutter lag
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Sony Alpha DSLR-A500

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A500

              Entry-level DSLR

              Autofocus Faster autofocus
              Battery life Slightly longer battery life
              Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Sony SLT A58

              Sony SLT A58

              Entry-level DSLR

              $398 with 18-55mm lens

              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Movie format Shoots movies
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              Screen size Significantly smaller screen
              Nikon D5200

              Nikon D5200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $497 body only

              $597 with 18-55mm lens

              Movie format Shoots movies
              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Image stabilization No image stabilization
              Battery life Significantly shorter battery life

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $298 - $400 with 16-50mm lens

              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $299 - $689 body only

              $803 with 16-50mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $641 body only

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Supports 24p Supports 24p
              3D Doesn't take 3D photos
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $302 body only

              $320 - $420 with 16-50mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Slightly thinner
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Sony NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $1,199 body only

              $809 with 18-200mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Weight Heavier

              appearance

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sony Alpha NEX-5
              Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sony Alpha NEX-5

              discussion

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A550
              Alpha DSLR-A550
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              Sony Alpha NEX-5
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