Sony Alpha a550 review
The a550 is quite the live view photographer's camera - it ousts competitors at a similar level with class-leading, super-fast live view autofocus and quirky modes such as Quick Tele 1.4x or 2x crop factors. However, when lined up against competitors such as the Canon 500D, the build quality feels a little plasticy, which is a let down.
Thankfully the a550 adopts a proper DSLR-like grip, unlike the poor a380 and a230's lack of any surmountable grip, so it feels good in the hand.
Modes such as in-camera HDR and expanded D-Range Optimiser will afford creative photographers more possibilities, as will the addition of higher-sensitivity to ISO 12,800. However, whilst the brand has been touting this high-ISO to be groundbreaking, it's more an improvement over Alphas of old, the upper echelons of ISO sensitivity actually proving to be too noisy for most people's use.
The tilt-angle LCD adds a new dimension to creative framing, though the continued lack of a video mode may isolate some new buyers looking for a stills and video hybrid.
Give it a couple of months and the price should drop to be a touch more competitive, and then the a550 will be quite the competitor to consider.