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Sony Alpha A450 - Performance and Results

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


Fortunately one feature that survived the axe is the excellent Bionz image processor, and the A450 does have basically the same performance as the A550. It can start up and take a picture in well under a second, and in single shot mode it can manage slightly more than one frame a second, and keep it up apparently until the memory card is full, which is fast but not exactly ground-shaking. The real performance comes in continuous shooting mode. A450 actually has three continuous shooting modes; a high and low speed standard mode, with autofocus between shots and a maximum speed of 5fps for approximately 30 shots, and a Speed Priority mode, which only focuses for the first shot, but can shoot at a very fast 7fps for approximately 20 shots. Remarkably it can even shoot at this speed in Raw + JPEG mode, although only for seven frames. This is considerably faster than the Nikon D5000, and roughly twice as fast as the Canon EOS 500D.

The A450 has the same nine-point autofocus system, with a cross-shaped centre sensor, as most of the other APS-C cameras in Sony's range. It's proved itself well before, and provides fast and reliable performance in a wide variety of lighting conditions, and is quite effective even in low light. The A450 doesn't have a separate AF assist lamp, but if the flash is popped up it can operate as a very fast strobe to help with focusing in very low light.

At least limiting the camera's features means there's less drain on the battery, and since that battery is a big 1600mAh InfoLithium cell the charge duration is excellent. After approximately two weeks of regular use the battery was still reading as 66 percent full.

Of course the proof of the camera is the image quality, and here the A450 has some mixed results. Overall the quality was very good, with accurate exposure and focusing, good colour and dynamic range and plenty of fine detail, especially in Raw mode shots. On the other side of the equation, the standard 18-55mm kit lens does produce some slight chromatic aberration towards the corners of the frame. There is also some wide-angle barrel distortion, but this is not unexpected. More annoyingly the lens is very prone to flare when shooting into the light, an effect which spoiled several otherwise good shots.

Equally annoying is the A450's noise control. After the superb results from the Sony NEX-5 earlier this week I has understandably high hopes for another 14MP CMOS sensor Sony camera. Unfortunately the results weren't anywhere near as impressive. The camera has an ISO range of 200-12,800, but even as low as 400 ISO noise effect are visible, ans the noise reduction system starts binning detail from 800 ISO. The only way to get the best out of the A450 is to use it in Raw mode all the time, and stick to 200 ISO.


The Sony Alpha A450 is an in-between camera, neither as cheap as the A390 nor as well specified as the A550. It feels like it's been made down to a price rather than up to an aspiration, and the corners that have been cut are exactly where it will lose out to its more expensive but better-equipped competitors. It has outstanding performance, but that alone is not enough to sell it. If you want a Sony DSLR, save up a bit more and get an A500 or A550 instead.


August 14, 2010, 5:41 pm

You guys realise that this camera has been available for close to 6 months or so... so isn't all that new?

Cliff Smith

August 14, 2010, 9:50 pm

fatmikel - Yes, we know. Unfortunately we're limited by the availability of review samples supplied by Sony. Usually we're able to get samples within a month or so, but sometimes there is a delay. If it's any consolation I'm hoping to get the A390 in very soon.


August 14, 2010, 9:59 pm

Seems like this a very basic DSLR dressed up in a fancy shell. The kx does everything and a lot more in a much smaller package, and similar price.


August 15, 2010, 6:53 am

Smoke and Mirror!

That is the business model and philosophy that Sony use for all of their new products. instead of listening to their customers for feed backs, Sony produced clones of cameras from their competitors. And service supports are almost non-existent.

Sony as a business entity is dying slowly, their Walkman had been replaced by Apple I-POD, their playstations is lossing to X-Box and Nintendo, their TV is overwhelm by Samsung and Panicsonic, their camera are being overshadowed by Canon and Nikon.

So far, the Sony NEX-5 is the only DSLR camera that meets the photography market standard, all the other Sony DSLR cameras lack features(like movie mode) and are too expensive compares to other manufactors.

Tim 12

August 15, 2010, 6:28 pm

I just picked on of these up at Comet for £300 and now it is on sale for £330. How does that effect the numbers? It is cheaper than many other things on the market.


August 15, 2010, 7:48 pm

Yes £300 is true price, that's why I got it. Cos you wont get any DSLR for this price from others companies. So my value fro money is 10/10


August 15, 2010, 8:19 pm

@ Money your right Sony are getting dominated. They are a top company with great products but the fail badly at certain stuff. There walkman line is finished, people don't understand what OLDED technology is and sound quality Driver size, frequency etc....

Only tech geeks or enthusiasts know that kind of stuff and fully appreciate it.


August 15, 2010, 8:40 pm

@Money: 'Clones of cameras from their competitors'? Hardly. Think A700, A900 and A350 - all of which differed radically from what their competitors were doing (affordable full-frame, Live View with phase-detection AF, sensor-based stabilisation, and so on). They've lost the plot since then, but not because they're cloning competitors' cameras - on the contrary, they're removing features that their competitors would consider essential (DOF preview, MLU, fully functional A-mode, and so on).


August 16, 2010, 3:20 am

I bought into the Sony brand with the A200 and consequently invested MAJOR money in Alpha fit lenses. I didnt require all the features of the A550 because I am more interested in producing better pictures rather than playing with the cameras features!The A450 fitted the bill with its 14.2 exmor, Bionz etc. Ok, so there are better cameras out there, but I cant use my lenses on them! In my case Sony have got this spot on. What p*****s me off is I paid £450? If you can get it for £330 its a bargain.


August 16, 2010, 1:10 pm

I started with an a100, moved onto a350 and now have a 550. In terms of how they compare relative to the opposition they've steadily gone downhill. What's been most disappointing about the 550 is noise and consequently the lack of 100 ISO. Despite the puff from Sony, the noise level from their cmos sensor is very poor, blue sky noise at ISO 100 from the old chip is considerably better than the new one at 200 ISO, at 200 ISO they're comparable. In fairness other parameters such as colour response have improved.


August 16, 2010, 1:40 pm

@Money - The NEX cameras are not DSLRs.


August 20, 2010, 12:20 am

Which is the better camera out of the NEX-5 and the A450? I compared the ISO both side by side and the Nex-5 wins hand down. However the NEX-5 would cost £500 and the A450 now £329.99 Which to me is a bargainnnnn! However the loss of video... Which is the better in picture quality Cliff? From your point of view?


August 20, 2010, 4:08 am

@@ stop talking nonetheless, Sony is a top company with great products.

smoke an mirrors ?

i think the Ipod is smoke and mirrors, Have you ever compared a Walkman sound quality to a an Ipod sound?

Walkman has cleaner and higher quality than any other MP3 players on the market,

Ipod has a weak and terrible sound performance covered with a stylish smoke an mirrors ads.

and the Playstation is the only console that is 100% reliable and it has more quality exclusive games then any other gaming console on the market.

their bravia TVs are very good most of their TV's get a review between an 8 and 10 for the picture quality, everything Bravia makes Samsung copies.

as for their DSLR, A700, A900 and A350 are one of the best DSLR on the market and they are very affordable.

also another smoke and morris product from apple is the AirBook

Haters gonna hate.


August 20, 2010, 8:11 am

@ Ahlan:

Are you for real, or are you on drugs?

How can tape walkman be better than digital sound?

as for Playstation, it has a problem with Disc Freezing, Connecting To The Internet problem, HDMI problem, and Overheating Console.

Yeah, Sony Bravia TV is an over priced TV and only gets 8/10, so why are you paying so much for a TV that only gets a 8/10 rating? Why not buy a Panasonic TC-PVT20/25 series, or Samsung PNC7000 series, or LG LE8500 series for that they deserved higher rating than Sony for lesser price.

As for Sony DSLR, The A350, A700, and A900 are almost 3 years old technology, and none of them have video features, and sub-par performance compares to Canon and Nikon.

I supposed that if you like to over-pay for old technologies, it would be ok to defend and follow Sony blindly.

The blinds lead the blind!


August 20, 2010, 7:32 pm

Television? Walkman? Personal digs?

On this subject exchanges should stick to modern, innovative and effective cameras!

Which completely eliminates this particular item. Pity the folk who want to buy a camera but don't read reviews and end up with a salesperson forcing this one on them. No positive reviews at all is some achievement...


August 23, 2010, 5:04 pm

Could anyone help me here with my question. What exactly are the differences between the A450 and A550 they are both selling now quite cheap and I want to know which one is the best to get. Cliff you do state that the A450 feels like it has something missing but like what? Thanks. Also I do know that the A550 has that other Live view and a more higher res screen/tilting but what else does it better for an Extra £60?


August 25, 2010, 11:18 pm

@Money, I think your the only person who is on drugs here,

tape walkman? LOLOLOL have you ever seen a digital Walkman, or your just brain washed with Ipod?



check out the sound quality and compare it to the Ipod sound quality, i have an ipod and a walkman and the walkman has way better sound quality than that useless gimmick called Ipod.

Playstation 3, has NO problem with Disc Freezing, and NO problem Connecting To The Internet , NO HDMI problem, and No Overheating Console,

I think your mistaking it with the xbox 360 aka 60 % of RROD failure last year.

as for the TV's Sony are still on top delivering the best picture quality

here is their latest product.


10/10 picture quality.

ill say it agian, inform your self before you take nonetheless, and stop acting like a little hater kid.


August 26, 2010, 4:44 am

Obviously, you did'nt know the history of the walkman(Please read the history of walkman), my first comment was referred to the eroding of the Sony Empire and how their electronic market dominance was slowly being replaced by other companies. Of course - Someone like would miss understand the point completely. and didn't have the education to understand the history of technology.

As for your point for Playstation 3, that just full of personal bias. Here are some other site and their complains about PS3.




I think your mistake is that you are too overzealous about Sony and being brain wash by their commercials and culture that you can't see beyond the Sony Brand.

As for TV Review. Here is what CNET have to say about TVs.


Sony, did not make the top 4.

Like I said before, if you are too closed minded and only buy Sony - you wouldn't get the most out of your hard earned dollar. Stop Blindly follow just one brand, and start to think about other alternative options.

There are many more companies that can produce better product than Sony for a lower price.

BTW - Most of Sony's new products are being make by Foxconn in China, and that is the company that have 12 of their employees committed Suicide.

BTW - I didn't care much for Apple products either, I just want quality products for a reasonable price and NOT BLINDLY FOLLOW JUST ONE SINGLE COMPANY.

Geoff Richards

August 26, 2010, 11:48 am

Enough guys. Please keep discussion on topic, relating to this Alpha A450 camera, or other camera questions.


August 31, 2010, 4:01 am

Could anyone help me here with my question. What exactly are the differences between the A450 and A550 they are both selling now quite cheap and I want to know which one is the best to get. Cliff you do state that the A450 feels like it has something missing but like what? Thanks. Also I do know that the A550 has that other Live view and a more higher res screen/tilting but what else does it better for an Extra £60?


September 11, 2010, 4:32 am

I have the a450 and it is excellent. I don't need video, Fast AF LiveView or other gimmicks - just raw image quality (also at high ISO), good ergonomics, and high shutter speed. I paid £284 for a new a450, which is ridiculously cheap. This is the best deal on the market (and I am not a Sony fan at all).

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