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Old Sep 6, 2010, 4:21 AM   #11
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You may want to consider the high res lcd, it may be helpful with your vision requirements.
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 1:06 PM   #12
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The higher resolution might be nice. However, between the 500 and the 550, the price increase still seems to be quite a bit and at that point, I would wait for the 560 I think.

Oh, and yes, the 560 at frys for 650 was body only. But the sales guy could have been wrong about the price, who knows. BH has the body listed at 750 awaiting arrival.
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 4:15 PM   #13
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If you're in a hurry, I'd probably go with the the new A33 model, as it should be shipping this week. You may have to wait for the other new Sony models.

When comparing the A33 to other models, you lose about 1/3 stop through the mirror with it's design. But, compared to the A500 and A550, it's got slightly lower noise levels at higher ISO speeds anyway (the newer models are probably around 1/3 better for a given viewing/print size, equalizing any loss through the mirror for noise/detail purposes).

IOW, you'd only see an improvement of around 1/3 stop if you went to the NEX-3, NEX-5 or A560 (and the A560 isn't shipping yet). The A33 is also smaller and lighter and you'll have a larger view with an EVF.

The only major downside I'd see compared to the A500, A550 or A560 would be battery life if you're not shooting action where you may need a better 5fps or faster view (where the A5xx models may have an advantage). However, for battery life comparisons, keep in mind that the CIPA ratings assume a lot of things, including use of flash for a percentage of the images (typically, I get better battery life than the ratings with cameras I use).

Turn off things like automatic image review after taking photos, don't use the flash as much, and I'd suspect around 500 photos on average from one of the newer models. But, I haven't gotten the opportunity to test one yet to find out for sure what to expect.

If you don't plan on using larger and heavier lenses, the new A33 and A55 models look like really nice options, giving you a smaller and lighter kit that's less conspicuous compared to larger models.

If going that way, I'd probably do this for starters:

A33 with 18-55mm lens at $749.99
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...al_Camera.html

Spare Aftermarket Battery at $29.99
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...f_SONY_NP.html

16GB Sandisk 30MB/Second 16GB Memory Stick Pro HG Duo card at $69.29 (these are much faster than the latest Sandisk 30MB/Second Extreme SDHC Cards):
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...II_Memory.html

Or, if on a tighter budget and you don't care about the new features, I'd probably go with the A500 if in a hurry, as it's got a really nice price right now.

Sony A500 with 18-55mm lens at $539.99
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...0_12_3_MP.html

16GB Sandisk 30MB/Second 16GB Memory Stick Pro HG Duo card at $69.29 (again, these are much faster than the latest Sandisk 30MB/Second Extreme SDHC Cards):
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...II_Memory.html

I didn't include a spare battery since the A500 battery life is much batter.
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 4:28 PM   #14
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The other thing to consider with the a33. Is the burst mode. If you are trying to track a subject with the evf. You are limited to 3fps. It is really not the best for action in this regards compare to the other models under consideration. But you should be able to increase the light level in the evf, well at least I hope you can.
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 5:05 PM   #15
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I had ruled out the a33 because I was under the impression that it wasn't the best option for action, which in my case would be a hyper 3 yr old and little league sports with my 10 yr old?
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 5:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
... When comparing the A33 to other models, you lose about 1/3 stop through the mirror with it's design. ...
That's about 2/3 stop. Sony says the Pellicle "Translucent" Mirror takes 30% of the light. 50% would be one stop, 25% would be 1/2 stop, and 17% would be 1/3 stop. 30% is closer to 2/3 stop.
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 5:33 PM   #17
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They're very fast cameras. Just because you see a stream of still images if you use 7fps is no big deal from my perspective. From comments I've seen from reviewers, you get pretty good at following action with the EVF after a couple of hours practice.

You're still taking photos at the higher frame rate, even if the EVF display can't keep up. ;-)

You could always use 3fps if you want a better display for following action. But, I suspect that the faster 7fps mode would be better for getting more keepers for sports with a bit of practice from comments I've seen from A33/A55 users so far. I'd probably avoid the 10fps mode for most purposes, as the AF design is too limiting.
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 5:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
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I had ruled out the a33 because I was under the impression that it wasn't the best option for action, which in my case would be a hyper 3 yr old and little league sports with my 10 yr old?
Another factor with the A33 is its poor battery life (a consideration it shares with the NEX product line.) While an A5XX could take about 1000 photos on a single battery, the A33/A55/NEX-3/NEX-5 use smaller, less powerful batteries, and so can only get about 300 shots on a single battery. That's about 2GB, so it would take two batteries to fill a 4GB SDHC Card. If you'll be shooting sports/action, you'll go through batteries in a hurry.
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 5:41 PM   #19
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That's about 2/3 stop. Sony says the Pellicle "Translucent" Mirror takes 30% of the light. 50% would be one stop, 25% would be 1/2 stop, and 17% would be 1/3 stop. 30% is closer to 2/3 stop.
1/3 stop light means losing 33.3 Percent of the light (about what you'd lose with Sony's mirror. No big deal. That's like the difference between ISO 3200 and ISO 4000 (and the newer sensors are around 1/3 stop better from a noise/detail perspective anyway), and thanks to the amplification of the signal going to the EVF, you'd see a brighter image compared to an OVF for framing (as compared to the 1/3 stop dimmer view you'd have using a Pellicle mirror design with an SLR that has an optical viewfinder).
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 5:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Another factor with the A33 is its poor battery life (a consideration it shares with the NEX product line.) While an A5XX could take about 1000 photos on a single battery, the A33/A55/NEX-3/NEX-5 use smaller, less powerful batteries, and so can only get about 300 shots on a single battery.
That ~300 shots is a CIPA Rating, and assumes things like the default image preview features turned on, use of the flash for a percentage of the images, time the camera is turned on and supplying an image to the EVF or LCD, and more.

I'd expect much better battery life from a number of photos perspective if using burst modes and taking a lot of photos in a short period of time. But, I'd still buy a spare battery or two . No big deal if you value the smaller size/weight, EVF, etc. of the newer models.
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