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Old Nov 17, 2009, 12:48 AM   #31
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Yes, I also saw some nice photos (despite the negative review above), and HDR on A550 is really good too that improves high ISO performance as a side benefit

ISO 6400
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg/imag...8/original.jpg

ISO 6400 with HDR (much lower noise, more detail)
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg/imag...7/original.jpg

and HDR on A5xx is possible hand-held without tripod (unlike Pentax) and it works even if the subject is moving towards/away from the camera.
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Old Nov 23, 2009, 3:14 PM   #32
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How much importance do you attach to David Kilpatrick's review of the A-500/A-550 cameras at www.photoclubalpha.com?

He finds that visible noise at ISO 200 as "inconsistent." He points out that is sometimes there and sometimes not there. Is this a viable explanation? It seems like a typical dpreview "tempest in a teapot" to me.

Have a great day and a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Nov 24, 2009, 12:58 AM   #33
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the review overall was positive. He did do second revision article for ISO 200 skynoise. The only noise sample that he did show at base ISO is sky noise, and I see such occasional sky noise all the time in samples from almost all cameras.
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Old Nov 24, 2009, 5:47 AM   #34
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That article was about the higher resolution A550 (not the A500). But, I agree with oneguy. You can see a bit of noise in a blue sky looking at 100% crops from almost any camera from time to time, depending on exposure, white balance, and more. Plus, he was testing with a beta version of Adobe Camera Raw (5.6) which may have had some issues with tone curves, demosaic algorithms used for that camera, etc. He even pointed out that sky noise is much lower when shooting jpeg.
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 2:17 AM   #35
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I have been following this thread with interest for a few days now, since I am in the process of looking for an addition to my FZ-28.

Our Dealer in town had the 550 (not the 500) on the shelf for over a week now, and I went in today to have a look at this camera.

Handling the camera and checking out the Viewfinder I pretty soon I found out that this is not the camera for me. The switch to change between the LiveView / LCD monitor and the Viewfinder is very awkwardly placed on top of the camera, right next to the "hump" where the flash-unit hides and just in front of the diopter adjustment.

Not only is it placed out of reach and in a silly place, but it also is a (mechanical!!?!) slide-switch that has to be pushed (quite hard, too) forward for LiveView and than pulled back for the Viewfinder.

The engineer who placed and designed this switch has never handled a camera for photographing before, I'm sure!

They could have made this a single push/push microswitch-button like most other dSLR's have and placed the switch to a more easy to reach place. Some cameras even have some kind of automatic switch between Viewfinder and LCD monitor, like Panasonic G1 and GH1 where a tiny sensor besides the diopter reacts to an eye looking through the viewfinder and switching it on and vice versa the other way.

The ViewFinder itself was light and good and the LCD monitor was of good quality and sharp enough, but if it takes that much to switch between them, it will becom an irritation-point. I know I would!

Or did I miss something out here? I cannot belive Sony doing such a stupid thing on one of their flagships? When I pointet this issue out to the shop-attendant, she just shrugged her shoulders and made a sour face....
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 3:00 AM   #36
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The Sony Live View models are somewhat unique because they use a separate sensor in the viewfinder housing for Live View (so that it sees the same image that's normally projected to the optical viewfinder when in Live View mode).

That way, Autofocus performance is the same either way, and can make use of the camera's dedicated 9 point AF Sensor (versus using a slower Contrast Detect Autofocus system with the camera's main sensor, or needing to flip the mirror back and forth to Autofocus). As a result, the Sony Live View models have the fastest Autofocus (by far) when using Live View, as compared to other dSLR models in their Live View modes.

Basically, a small mirror is tilted when you use the OVF/Live View Switch, so it makes sense that they'd want the switch located close to it. Here's an image showing the A350, which works the same way:



Here's a flash representation of what happens. Click on the Live View/OVF switch (click on the center of the switch or it may not work) and you can watch the mirror tilt:

http://www.sonystyle.com/wcsstore/So..._mechanism.swf
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 10:16 AM   #37
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P.S.

Here's a good image showing the switch from the A500 listings at B&H:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/m...IMG_112828.jpg
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 10:41 AM   #38
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Walter-

I just received my A-500 yesterday, and I have not found that switch to be a problem at all. When you make the conscious decision to switch from the optical viewfinder to Live View, you are going to be taking up an entirely new stance in which to snap the photo. Therefore, as you drop the camera from your eye, in preparation to use the Live View, I found it no problem at all to switch from OVF to Live View, in the process of getting ready to use the Live View feature.

At least for me, it is not something that you do while the A-500/A-550 is held to your eye. Your experience and mode or method of shooting may be different than mine.

Walter, I am a big admirer of your beautiful photos from Norway. I know what an eye you have for image composition and how skilled you are at capturing those wonderful images. I think the A-500/A-550 might be a very appropriate new tool for you when capturing those inspiring images.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 3:21 PM   #39
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Quote:
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Walter-

I just received my A-500 yesterday, and I have not found that switch to be a problem at all. When you make the conscious decision to switch from the optical viewfinder to Live View, you are going to be taking up an entirely new stance in which to snap the photo. Therefore, as you drop the camera from your eye, in preparation to use the Live View, I found it no problem at all to switch from OVF to Live View, in the process of getting ready to use the Live View feature.

At least for me, it is not something that you do while the A-500/A-550 is held to your eye. Your experience and mode or method of shooting may be different than mine.

Walter, I am a big admirer of your beautiful photos from Norway. I know what an eye you have for image composition and how skilled you are at capturing those wonderful images. I think the A-500/A-550 might be a very appropriate new tool for you when capturing those inspiring images.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
Exactly.

As for mechanical switch, right on! The switch also shuts the viewfinder closed so no light can enter it when in LV, and that switch is mechanical.

I just wish they have kept the on/off switch button and position the "Minolta style," on its own, as it is the case up to the a200/3xx line, as opposed to where the shutter release button is.

Of course I just got a brand new a700 for much less than what a550 (and a500) cost, so I really do not 'care" about the a5xx besides being a new product.
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Old Nov 26, 2009, 1:59 AM   #40
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A700 is upper class and much better featured, but A500 and A550 still have some neat new toys missing in A700. Such as live view (quick and MF lv), best HDR implementation, newer jpeg engine, white balance, face & smile detection, 7fps (A550), and at least A550 seems to have class-leading dynamic range (according to one review, even better than A900, 5DII, D700 .. see dpr sony forum) <... not sure how credible the last point is, though.
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