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Alpha A500 and A550

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Sony has announced three new digital SLRs for the Autumn season. The Alpha A500 and A550 are new semi-pro models, while the Alpha A850 is a new full-frame pro model that shares many features with the Alpha A900.

A500 and A550

The A500 and A500 share same new body design and many of their main features, but differ mainly in sensor resolution. The A500 is 12.3 megapixels, while the A550 is 14.2. Both have new high-speed APS-C Exmor CMOS sensors with on-chip noise reduction, and BIONZ processors, giving the A500 a continuous shooting speed of 5fps, while the A550 can manage 7fps.

Both cameras feature three-inch tilting LCD monitors. The A500's has a resolution of 230,400 dots, but the A550 matches the A900 with a monitor resolution of 921,600 dots.

Both cameras feature live view with Sony's proprietary Quick AF system, allowing nine-point phase detection AF in live view mode. Both cameras also feature face detection and smile-detection shutter in live view mode, a first among DSLRs.

Both new cameras also feature automatic in-camera HDR, as well as Sony's Dynamic Range Optimiser feature. Surprisingly, in the current DSLR market, neither model features a video mode.

Both cameras are the same size, measuring approximately 137 x 104 x 84mm, but the A550 is slightly heavier at 599g body-only, against the A500's 597g. Both models will be launched at the end of October. Prices will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

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