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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Traditional body design

AF switch

Tilt/swivel display

Top controls

Mode dial

Features

Back controls

Unsurprisingly, the A55V looks, feels, and operates much like Sony's traditional dSLR models--a bit clunky, but functional.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Sony uses a large, unmissable switch for toggling between manual and autofocus. It'd be nice if the AF options--continuous, single, and auto--were available here as well rather than in the interactive control panel.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
While I tend to prefer flip-out LCDs, the flip-down-and-twist model on the A55V comes in very handy for overhead and waist-level shooting.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Maybe it's just me, but wouldn't a direct control for metering be more useful than for the D-Range Optimizer?
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The A55V's relatively sparse mode dial contains the usual PASM, auto, flash off, and scene modes, as well as the new Auto+ a late-to-the-party automatic scene selection mode; 10fps Continuous Advance Priority AE mode; and Sony's Sweep Panorama mode.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
As the "V" in the model name indicates, the A55V includes a built-in GPS for geotagging photos. It can add location metadata for video, but it's only accessible from within the bundled PMB software. You can also see one of the stereo mics on the side of the EVF.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Unsurprisingly, the controls on the A55V are the same as on Sony's dSLRs. The Fn button pulls up an interactive display where you can set drive, flash, autofocus mode and area, face detection and smile shutter, ISO sensitivity, metering, flash compensation, DRO/Auto HDR, and Creative Style. The AF button initiates autofocus.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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