A Real Sleeper - Top Shelf Product
This Sony Camera hits a home run. It is not a true DSLR because the reflexing/moving Mirror has been eliminated. The Translucent Mirror technology means that what you see through the Viewfinder or LCD Screen - is the same image that is captured by the CMOS Sensor and onto your Memory Card - What you see is what you get!
As the user of tradtional Canon & Nikon DSLR Cameras, I cannot be more pleased with this new technology, and the way Sony has packaged this product into a slightly smaller and lighter weight DSLT (or DSLR type) product. The Color Quality is impressive to say the least. It is very fast at capturing those quick images and action shots. The Panoramic shooting option works. The user has the option of having short descriptive definitions on the LCD Screen for each setting or function selected shown on the LCD Screen - or not.
This Cameras ability to achieve great image capture in dim light, or night scenes puts many of the more expensive products out there to shame. Sony's previous purchases of Minolta & Konica Camera Companies has enabled the engineering power of three giant Camera companies for Sony to bring top shelf products with the latest technologies to the consumer or pro-sumer.
This SLT-A55 & A55VL are impressive great products, and being slightly smaller and lighter weight than traditional DSLR's, makes carrying it around - even with a telephoto Lens - easier and more convenient.
The Electronic Viewfinder or LCD Screen, and GPS enabled does eat up Battery Power quicker than traditional DSLRs - however, the Sony Battery supplied is of high quality. You would be prudent to carry a spare of the same in your Camer Bag - all though this is not a big issue. For English and American Markets, the Users Manual could use some improvements with some of the camera usage instructions & explanations. A few things are a bit nebulous in the English translations, but are not a big concern.
Do not be afraid to buy this Model as your first SLT (DSLR type), or add it to your stable of other DSLR type camera products - you will be very pleased.
October 15, 2011
Overall this is a great camera. It takes awesome pics and movies.
Number one con: the included lens is cheaply made. Zooming in and out is not smooth at all; very rough. I also experienced this in the 55-200mm lens I ordered with it. Very aggravating as you would expect very smooth zooming for the price of this equipment.
Second con: overheats when filming video and shuts down. While this is a "still" camera as opposed to a "video" camera, Sony should not have included an option that was flawed and would not operate properly to begin with. Very poor taste on Sony's part.
Having said that, as a first DSLR, I'm happy with it.
July 8, 2013
SLT - A 55VL
Been using this Camera since almost 7 months. Its really excellent. Love all its features which neither Nikon nor Canon has them. The photographs are excellent fast and crisp, though sometime I find them little too soft and need a little more contrast. But on the whole excellent Photographs.
I love the Tilt Display and use it really very often, also love the Sweep Panorama, but that cannot be used in many situation, But its a excellent feature.
Only thing I hate is a dedicated Exposure Button which is now there in A77, which sony had thought of that and given to us at that time. Its very very useful.
Another major drawback is I need about 5 hours for charging the battery and drain them out in 2.5 hours. Makes me tear my hair, so fast. Yes A 55 is heavy on Power but whatever I love it.
Its a Really GREAT Camera in its catogery No Nikon nor Canon can even come near it.
April 25, 2012
Great camera, but not perfect
I purchased this camera in July of 2011, and let me just say that though I love it quite a bit, it has its problems.
I'll talk about the pros first. It's an very well-priced product, when you compare it against the other market competitors. Really. When you take a look at the fact that this camera shoots 10 FPS, and Canon doesn't hit this mark until the 1D series, you can't help but notice that you're getting a heck of a deal. Sure, the 1D is also full-framed, and that's a huge part of why the price is so high, but the A55 is less than a fifth of the price and also holds a pretty remarkable image quality with lower ISO figures. This camera is also very easy to use and get adapted to. I knew next to nothing about photography when I first picked this camera up, and I learned it completely within two or three weeks at the most. The fact that it's extraordinarily flexible also helps the Ease of Use factor, and you'll find that whatever situation you're in (especially if you have the right gear), you can pull off the shot. Sure, you might not be able to pull off incredible low-light shots as you would with a Full Frame sensor, but you will find that it holds very well if you have a longer exposure time, a lower ISO, and a sturdy tripod. I do wish that it were a bit heavier, as it would help hand-held shooting tremendously.
Now, with those pros, let me outline the cons. This camera is NOT an ideal camera to shoot video on—even though it boasts a full 1080p video capability. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I'll start with the most known problem: this thing overheats FAST!!! When I say fast, I mean that if you're shooting at AVCHD in full HD with steadyshot on, you're going to overheat in less than 5 minutes at room temperature. It was a huge hassle for me, especially, because I like to shoot video blogs. Basically, not really possible at Full HD with this camera. Even if you change to MP4 with no steadyshot, you'll overheat in roughly 10-12 minutes, and you have to wait at least 5 for it to cool down enough to even think about shooting again for an extended duration. The video feature is also superbly annoying if you're trying to get a "manual" exposure. The fact that you can't directly set the shutter speed, iris (aperture), and ISO while shooting video is remarkably annoying at this price—even the T2i and T3i from Canon can do it and are $200 lower in price. There are ways that you can get around this lack of manual exposure, but just barely. Pretty much the only way to have control over your image is to be in Auto Mode, because this will automatically adjust your exposure based on lighting. After the camera stabilizes, you hit the AEL (Auto-Exposure Lock) button to lock the exposure so it will not change. After, when you hit the video record button, it will retain this exposure, and thus you have "control" over the exposure. What's really interesting is that this technique does not work when you're in "Manual" mode—Sony...WHAT? When you hit the AEL button, then the video record, it ignores the fact that you had locked exposure and essentially goes into "Auto" mode. I know it's kind of hard to understand without actually using the camera, but just know that even a pseudo version of manual control isn't even really feasible. If you're looking to shoot video a lot, go with the A65 or the A77 (the A77 has a much better screen mechanism for viewing/monitoring video).
Other cons include a very short battery life (exasperated when you're shooting with SteadyShot and GPS turned on) and high ISO noise. These are both typically expected with an APS-C sized sensor, but it does seem to be a bit higher than what would normally be expected. At an ISO higher than 3200, or even 1600 for that matter, the noise is REALLY present and hard to get rid of unless you're editing in Lightroom. Anyways, they're not THAT big of an issue if you're shooting in daylight where you don't need higher ISO speeds or steady shoot. Night time shooting is really an issue, though, if you don't have a tripod or a steady hand.
Hopefully this answers a lot of common questions about this camera, and let me just remind you that it truly is a remarkable camera, but the problems are there. If you're looking for an excellently priced camera for what you're getting, then this is your camera. If you're doing a lot of low-light shooting, and you have the extra money, get a full-frame camera, or get a faster lens than the kit-lens.
Good luck, and happy shooting!
April 16, 2012