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

Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 vs Sony Alpha NEX-5

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Sony Alpha DSLR-A550

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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

3D
Takes 3D photos
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
Startup delay
Almost no delay when powering up
1000 ms startup delay

galleries

Explore our gallery of 7 sample photos taken by the Sony Alpha DSLR-A550. Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Sony Alpha NEX-5.

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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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
Movie format
Shoots movies
1080p @ 30fps vs None
Help
Shoots Full HD (1080p) video as well as still pictures
Panorama
Can create panoramas in-camera
Yes vs No
Help
Stitches together multiple photos for a wide perspective
Thickness
Significantly thinner
1.5" vs 3.3"
Help
2.2x thinner
Weight
Significantly lighter
287 g vs 632 g
Help
2.2x lighter
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
Slightly cheaper
$349.99 vs $600.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $250 cheaper (more than 40% 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 43
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        43 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-A550921k dots
              NEX-5920k dots
              HDR In-camera HDR Help
              Combines multiple exposures
              Interchangeable lenses Both support interchangeable lenses, which is uncommon in cameras similar to these Help
              Many lenses to choose from
              Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
              DSLR-A550500 ms
              NEX-51000 ms
              Supports RAW Supports RAW Help
              Better editing
              External flash Each supports an external flash Help
              Better lighting
              Common Weaknesses
              Light sensitivity (boost) No boost ISO Help
              Lacks boost light sensitivity
              Weather sealed Neither is weather sealed Help
              Need to shelter it from weather
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS Rebel T2i

              Canon Rebel T2i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $799 with 18-55mm lens

              True resolution Takes slightly higher resolution photos
              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $279 - $547 body only

              $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 D5100

              Nikon D5100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $354 body only

              $591 with 18-55mm, 55-200mm lenses

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

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $629 body only

              $549 - $629 with 18-55mm lens

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

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony SLT-A55

              Sony SLT-A55

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,975 with 18-55mm lens

              Autofocus Video autofocus
              3D Takes 3D photos
              Battery life Much shorter battery life
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Sony Alpha DSLR-A500

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A500

              Entry-level DSLR

              $1,079 body only

              Autofocus Faster autofocus
              Battery life Slightly longer battery life
              Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Sony Alpha DSLR-A580

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A580

              Entry-level DSLR

              3D Takes 3D photos
              Movie format Shoots movies
              Shutter lag More shutter lag
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Sony SLT A58

              Sony SLT A58

              Entry-level DSLR

              $448 with 18-55mm lens

              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Movie format Shoots movies
              Screen resolution Significantly lower resolution screen
              Screen size Smaller screen
              Nikon D90

              Nikon D90

              Entry-level DSLR

              $714 body only

              $1,026 with 55-300mm lens

              Built-in focus motor Has a built-in focus motor
              Autofocus Faster autofocus
              Image stabilization No image stabilization
              Screen flips out Screen does not flip out

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $689 body only

              $803 with 16-50mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Startup delay More startup delay
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Sony NEX-7

              Sony NEX-7

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $580 body only

              $498 - $589 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Overall image quality Better image quality
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Weight Slightly heavier
              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $291 body only

              $330 - $398 with 16-50mm lens

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

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $192 body only

              $320 with 18-55mm lens

              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Thickness Slightly thinner
              Movie format Lower resolution movies
              Dynamic range Less dynamic range
              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $659 body only

              $887 with 16-50mm lens

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

              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

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              Alpha DSLR-A550
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              Sony Alpha NEX-5
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