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

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Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha DSLR-A550

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

Reasons to buy the Sony Alpha NEX-5

3D
Takes 3D photos
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
 
Differences | Recommendations | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Sony DSLR-A550

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Shutter lag Much less shutter lag 184 ms vs 670 ms
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3.6x less delay when taking photos
Image stabilization Image stabilization Sensor shift vs None
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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
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Shoots Full HD (1080p) video as well as still pictures
Size Much smaller 111x59x38 mm vs 137x104x84 mm
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4.8x smaller
3D Takes 3D photos Yes vs No
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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
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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
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Distinguishes 0.3 more bits of color
Lowest price Cheaper $435.86 vs $1,123.50
Help
The best price we've seen is $688 cheaper (2.6x 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 Common Weaknesses
              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
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D3100

              Nikon D3100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $270 - $387 body only

              $399 - $430 with 18-55mm lens

              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Autofocus Focuses automatically while shootting video
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly heavier
              Canon Rebel T3i

              Canon Rebel T3i

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 - $550 body only

              $549 - $575 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 D3200

              Nikon D3200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $319 - $657 body only

              $477 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
              Sony SLT-A37

              Sony SLT-A37

              Entry-level DSLR

              $440 - $479 with 18-55mm lens

              Supports 24p Records movies in 24p
              Viewfinder coverage Significantly better viewfinder coverage
              Thickness Is thicker
              Weight Is slightly 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 SLT-A55

              Sony SLT-A55

              Entry-level DSLR

              $405 body only

              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Movie format Shoots movies
              Battery life Much shorter battery life
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Sony Alpha DSLR-A700

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A700

              Entry-level DSLR

              Autofocus Faster autofocus
              Color depth Better color depth
              Screen flips out Screen does not flip out
              HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
              Sony Alpha DSLR-A350

              Sony Alpha DSLR-A350

              Entry-level DSLR

              $950 with 75-300mm lens

              Size Smaller
              Color depth Better color depth
              Screen resolution Much lower resolution screen
              Screen size Significantly smaller screen
              Sony SLT A57

              Sony SLT A57

              Entry-level DSLR

              $499 with 18-55mm lens

              Autofocus Video autofocus
              Movie format Shoots movies
              Battery life Significantly shorter battery life
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots

              Sony Alpha NEX-5 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Sony NEX-5N

              Sony NEX-5N

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $598 - $689 body only

              $635 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Startup delay Significantly more startup delay
              Lowest price Slightly more expensive
              Sony Alpha A5000

              Sony Alpha A5000

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $398 - $410 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 Alpha NEX-3

              Sony Alpha NEX-3

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $500 body only

              $420 - $430 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

              $999 - $1,136 with 18-55mm lens

              Shutter lag Much less shutter lag
              External mic jack Has an external mic jack
              Startup delay Slightly more startup delay
              Weight Heavier
              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Sony Alpha NEX-6

              Mirrorless interchangeable-lens

              $399 - $574 body only

              $739 - $759 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

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