Today we got hands on with the Sony Alpha A33 and A55, and had a go at some amateur falconry while we were at it (more of that later). Sony’s two new additions to the Alpha range pack a lot of nifty features for lightweight, compact entry-level DSLR-type cameras (the translucent mirror means that technically it’s an SLT, a single lens translucent camera) both inhabiting the same chassis, but with slightly different specs – the Sony Alpha A33 is marginally less pimped out than the Sony Alpha A55, which has more megapixels for your money, and can push 10fps, in comprison to the 7fps that the A33 can run.
In the above gallery, there’s an image of two cameras, which is an image of the Alpha A33 next to an A580, the latter of which was also launched this morning (Japan won’t even be receiving the A580 cameras). It should give you an idea of how compact the A33 and A55 are, but what it doesn’t show you is the bigger difference – the weight.
Given that we all carry way too much kit around with us on a daily basis, lightening the load of the A33 and A55 is a welcome change. The weight is saved because of the translucent mirror technology in the Sony Alpha A33 and A55, which means that the mechatronics needed to shunt a mirror around inside your camera body can be chucked out and replaced with a neater, featherweight solution.
An afternoon’s shooting with the Sony Alpha A33 and Alpha A55 was a joy. It’s easy to use, and crucially, for an entry level DSLR that Sony hopes will open up a new customer base, has brilliant point and shoot features. There’s a standard auto setting, but also an auto plus setting, which will guess the scene mode for you.
Shooting multiple frames is a feature on its own on the top dial, meaning it’s just one flick of your thumb to go from normal shooting, to grabbing 7 or 10 frames per second. This means that when you’re shooting moving objects, you can just point, and shoot, and the camera will fire off shot after shot, and can mean the difference between a perfect shot and one that’s just missed.
HD video shooting was easy, and yielded some impressive results, with the only downside being that it took a few seconds for the A33 and A55 to process the video and switch to stills shooting. All in all the A33 and A55 were simple and easy to use, and delivered on Sony’s promises.
Sony is shipping the A33 in a week, and the Sony Alpha A55 will follow through soon after, with the A55 priced at between £600-£700, and the A33 around £100 cheaper.
Out September 2010 | £500-£700 | TBA