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Sony Alpha a33 and a55 News

Andy Vandervell


Sony Alpha a33 and a55 Offer Full HD Video, High-Speed Shooting

Sony has just announced a glut of new DSLRs, including the a33 and a55. These two cameras are the first to utilise Sony's Translucent Mirror Technology, which divides the optical pathway between the image sensor and the phase-detection auto-focus sensor. Among other benefits, this helps Sony reduce the size of the camera, though both cameras still weight around 430 to 440g without batteries and other attachments.

More interesting is the ability for both cameras to shoot full resolution photos at up to 10fps in the case of the a55, and up to 7fps on the a33, in Continuous Priority AE mode. Sony reckons these are the fastest continuous AF shooting speeds of any DSLR with an APS-C sensor.

Also included is Full HD (1080i) video shooting, and Sony's new mirror technology allows for quick auto-focussing while shooting video and viewfinder video preview in real-time. This does necessitate using electronic viewfinders, though, which won't please the purists out there. That said, the 1.15million dot resolution of the viewfinders should alleviate the pain somewhat.

Both cameras feature a three-inch, 921k dot resolution screen that swivels 270 degrees. The screens also have a 16:9 aspect ratio, emphasising the focus on video shooting in addtion to stills photography. Both cameras feature Sony's nifty Sweep Panorama feature, and can shoot at up to 25,600 ISO.

Where they differ is in the aforementioned speed and the sensor size: the a55 has a 16.2-megapixel sensor; the a33 a 14.2-megapixel sensor. The a55 also adds GPS for those with a penchant for geo-tagging. Both cameras will be available from next month.

Click here for the full specs for each camera.


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August 24, 2010, 4:51 pm

Interesting looking cameras, but you said that "Sony has just announced a glut of new DSLRs, including the a33 and a55". What are the other cameras that complete this "glut"?


August 24, 2010, 5:14 pm

I just had to comment first. Finally released!

Andy Vandervell

August 24, 2010, 5:22 pm

I'll be writing another story on the other Sony cameras after lunch.


August 24, 2010, 5:25 pm

Do these cameras replace the A450 and A550? Andy Vandervell


August 24, 2010, 9:59 pm

Ah I've been doing some research and the A450 and A550 are being replaced by the A560 and A580. So I guess the A700 is being replaced by the A33... Sony have definitely stepped up there game with the A33 and A55.

Do you think they will grow even more with the DSLR Market Share?


August 25, 2010, 2:28 am

The A33 & A55 are not replacements for the A700 - they're a very different type of camera. Sony've said they're working on the A700 replacement, and hope to have it available towards the end of this year, or early next year.


August 25, 2010, 3:23 pm

Andy, I'm assuming the other cameras are the A560 and A580.

@Zero - no way is the A33 a replacement for the A700. The A33 will be part of Sony's beginner range of DSLR/SLT cameras, although the specs are very impressive, even in comparison to the A700. The real A700 replacement is coming later this year, but if the A33/55 specs are anything to go by, I can't imagine what the A7xx specs will be.

May Andy can provide some insight when he's finished his lunch!


August 25, 2010, 3:34 pm

Not sure what happened to Andy's plans there (he's now on holiday) but just to confirm the other new cameras are the the 16.2 megapixel A580 and 14.2 megapixel A560. Both feature new Exmor APS HD CMOS sensors and Bionz image processors. As with the A55, they can shoot at 7fps continuous and capture 1920x1080 60i video with stereo audio. They've also got 15-point phase-detection autofocus, 3-inch articulating LCDs with new Focus Check Live View mode, 100 - 12,800 ISO ranges, and optical viewfinders with 95 percent frame coverage. Sony's clever 3D sweep panorama tech is also onboard and a new HDr mode that uses three quickly taken images to form a composite HDR image. The A580 will be available in October while the A560 will appear in Q1 2011.


August 25, 2010, 4:17 pm

Thanks Ed.

With regards to video, apparently the camera captures at 1080p25, then the AVCHD files are saved as 1080i50 for HDTV compatibility reasons. Note that it would be 50i in the UK, not 60i, as we are in a PAL region.

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