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First Look: Sony Alpha A500
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First Look: Sony Alpha A500

3:17 /

The Sony Alpha DSLR-A500's quirky design is the only real flaw in an otherwise solid entry-level model with fast Live View shooting and a useful tilting LCD

[Music] ^M00:00:03 >>Hi, I'm Lori Grunin, Senior Editor for CNET, and this the Sony Alpha DSLR A500. Out of the 5 consumer models in Sony's DSLR product line, stuffed into their other tight price range between 500 and 750 dollars, the Alpha DSLR A500 is probably the biggest value [inaudible]. It has the best photo quality, good performance and the tilting LCD. It's identical to its upscale sibling, the A550, with 3 exceptions. IT has a lower resolution LCD, a lower resolution 12 megapixel version of the sensor, and it lacks the A550's no focus speed priority continuous shooting mode. The A500 is heavier and bulkier than its lower end siblings, as well as its competition. While feels solidly built, its plastic housing leaves a cheaper impression than similarly priced models. Usually on DSLR's with buttons on the top right, they're placed forward enough to easily reach with your forefinger. On the A500, though, they're set closer to the camera back, where you can't comfortably reach them with either your thumb or your forefinger, unless you lower the camera. The function button on the back pulls up drive mode, flash settings, auto-focus, ISO sensitivity, etc, but the switch you use to navigate them feels a bit too flat without enough tactile feedback. Compared with its standard display, the graphic display is intended to provide an educational view of the relationship between shutter speed and aperture, as well as the effect each has on stopping, action, and depth of field. It doesn't have as flexible a design as a flip and twist articulated LCD, but Sony's tilt able displays are nice for shooting at odd angles. The A500's display is otherwise pretty comparable with everybody else's. It's not bursting with novel features, but the A500 does have a couple of interesting capabilities. There's auto HDR, which naps two sequential shots at different exposures and combines them into a single shot with optimal highlight and shadow detail. Though the A550 and A500 have very similar noise profiles, the A500's photo's have much better color accuracy, and in fact, they A500's jpeg color accuracy is a lot better than most of Sony's other consumer DSLR's. The camera still doesn't offer a natural or accurate color mode, or a way to strip out all the color enhancement for jpeg's. It also performs better than the A550, though it's still not quite as iffy as the class leading Pentex KX. But, the A500's quirky design and interface leave the, otherwise, nice mid to entry level DSLR lagging just a little behind the rest of the pack. I'm Lori Grunin, and this is the Sony Alpha DSLR A500. ^M00:02:35 [Music]

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