Sony's latest Single Lens Transparent ('SLT') camera - the Alpha A55 - adds GPS and a super-fast 10fps burst rate. Is the Sony A55 the dawn of a new digital camera revolution?

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Sony Alpha A55

Overall score:91%
Image Quality:85%


  • Super-fast continuous focus burst shooting, GPS, excellent 1080i
  • HD movie autofocus


  • Widescreen ratio LCD, EVF not for everyone


Sony Alpha A55 Review


Price as reviewed:


Image Quality

Sony Alpha A55 review – Image Quality

Sony A55 review – Tone & Exposure

Despite only 70% of available light reaching the sensor there’s no discernable difference in image quality compared to a DSLR with a similar sensor size and resolution. The loss of 30% of light only equates to 1/3rd of a stop and the processing adjusts for this accordingly so that the output is still in accordance with the same ISO standard.

Sony Alpha SLT-A55 sample image - Bath Sony Alpha A55 review test sample image – click for full size gallery

Exposure is generally accurate and avoids overexposure in most situations. However there is an issue with ghosting that, despite only affecting a tiny percentage of images, does need pointing out. Ghosting gets its name from a secondary, ghost-like image that can appear within a single frame. In the case of the A55 this is not at all severe and only clipped-out (overexposed) highlight areas of a considerably small size will show a ghost in very close proximity. There are very few cases when this 
will be a problem as the highlight area needs 
to be limited to the equivalent of a few pixels 
to show, though the issue is still there.

Tonally images on the camera’s LCD screen appear more punchy and vibrant than when revealed on a computer screen.


Sony A55 review – Colour & White Balance

Auto White Balance works well, despite the occasional outdoor cool cast and indoor warm cast. Colour itself appears more punchy when viewed on the camera’s LCD, but lacks quite 
the same level of contrast when viewed on 
a computer screen. There is also a slight colour shift between the LCD and a balanced monitor.

For further control there are a variety of Creative Style options to chose from that include: Vivid, Sunset, Portrait and Black & White.

Sony A55 review – Sharpness & Detail

The A55 resolves detail well at lower ISO 
settings, but at higher ISO sensitivities detail 
can be lacking. The 18-55mm kit lens performs adequately enough, although better quality lenses (such as the 50mm f/1.4 Sigma we 
used) will obviously yield better results.

Sony A55 review – RAW vs JPEG

In the box is a copy of Sony’s Image Data Converter SR software that can be used to convert the ARW-format Raw files.

The difference between ARW and JPEG is negligible at first glance, but the lack of noise reduction employed in the Raw file means more overall detail. This becomes progressively more noticeable from ISO 800 and upwards, and is particularly prominent at the highest sensitivities.

Sony A55 review – ISO Quality & Image Noise

Image noise is no problem when shooting ISO 100-400, but begins 
to appear from ISO 800 onwards. Between ISO 800-1600, images are still of a good quality but detail does begins to diminish – especially when viewing images at 100%.

Sony Alpha SLT-A55 sample image - ISO100Sony Alpha review test sample image – click for full size gallery and full ISO range

ISO 3200 is still usable, and although 6400-12,800 show a considerable loss of detail and the presence of luminance noise, the A55’s noise reduction processing does a good job of keeping colour noise at bay, even 
in the shadow areas.

  1. 1. Sony Alpha A55 review - Features
  2. 2. How Single Lens Translucent Works
  3. 3. Design & Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality
  5. 5. Movie/Video Mode & Quality
  6. 6. Value & Verdict
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