Sony Alpha DSLR-A500

Released August, 2009
  • 12.2 MP
  • APS-C 23.5 x 15.6 mm CMOS
  • 3" LCD
While not as flexible of a design as a flip-and-twist articulated LCD is, Sony's tiltable displays are nice for shooting at odd angles.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)
8.5 Out of 10

Camera Rocket Review Our evaluation of the Sony Alpha DSLR-A500

Image Quality

RAW image quality independent of lens

Alpha DSLR-A500
8.6
PEN E-PL5
8.9
Rebel T4i
8.4
DxOMark Low light, DxOMark Color depth and DxOMark Dynamic range

Focusing

How fast and easily does the camera nail focus

Alpha DSLR-A500
7.2
PEN E-PL5
7.5
Rebel T4i
7.1
Focus lag, cross type focus points and focus points

Responsiveness

How much delay is there between you and your photo?

Alpha DSLR-A500
8.6
PEN E-PL5
8.3
Rebel T4i
8.1
Focus lag, continuous shooting and Startup delay

Reviews

What do the experts think?

Alpha DSLR-A500
8.7
PEN E-PL5
9.5
Rebel T4i
9.2
Reviews from sonyalpharumors.com and reviews.cnet.com

8.5

Camera Rocket Score

Image Quality, Focusing, Responsiveness and Reviews

Alpha DSLR-A500
8.5
PEN E-PL5
9.0
Rebel T4i
8.6

Benchmarks Real world tests of the Sony Alpha DSLR-A500

Low light image quality Highest ISO setting that still achieves great image quality

Alpha DSLR-A500
772 ISO
PEN E-PL1
487 ISO
PEN E-PL3
499 ISO

Focus lag Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

Alpha DSLR-A500
181 ms
PEN E-PL1
820 ms
PEN E-PL2
434 ms

Shutter lag Delay to take a photo when prefocused

Alpha DSLR-A500
74 ms
Rebel T3i
87 ms
PEN E-PL5
64 ms

Startup delay Delay from power on to first photo

Alpha DSLR-A500
500 ms
PEN E-PL1
2,200 ms
PEN E-PL3
2,100 ms

Continuous shooting Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

Alpha DSLR-A500
5 fps
PEN E-PL5
8 fps
PEN E-PL2
3 fps

Battery life How many photos per battery charge (CIPA)

Alpha DSLR-A500
1,000 photos
PEN E-PL2
280 photos
PEN E-PL1
290 photos

Photo Gallery Wallpaper quality closeups of the camera

Reviews Word on the street for the Sony Alpha DSLR-A500


7.3
Overall, the A500's noise reduction fares pretty well at midrange ISOs, though it still can't top the class-leading Pentax K-x.

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight

Sensor

By ISO 6,400 there's not much you can do about the inherent noise in the photos except change your trade-offs.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)
In a pinch, and for much smaller sizes-even at 50 percent, it's visibly soft and noisy-ISO 12,800 can be serviceable.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)
You can start seeing a little bit of detail degradation at ISO 800, but it's not bad through ISO 1,600.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)

Screen

It displays the focus indicators as large, persistent boxes, which is a nice switch from the tiny dots favored by competitors' viewfinders.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)
While Live View displays only 90 percent of the scene-that's even less than the optical viewfinder-the MF Check LV mode displays 100 percent.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)
Since the LCD extends out a bit past the eyecup, you actually have to cram your face against the camera to see through it.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)

Iso

But it does seem to work better for extended the dynamic range over Sony's DRO, and the fully automatic setting doesn't override your ISO sensitivity setting as I'd expected.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)
They just get in the way while you're trying to distinguish among the drive mode, ISO sensitivity, exposure compensation, and exposure lock button, which all feel identical.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)
After that ISO, color noise in its images gets bad and detail starts to smear.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)

Image quality

It still doesn't offer a natural/accurate color mode or a way to strip out all the color "enhancement" for JPEGs.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)
The A500's kit lens can be quite sharp, though it's prone to a little bit of fringing on the highlights.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)
You can probably eke a stop out of the A500 by shooting raw and not relying on the in-camera noise reduction; as is true of its generation of Sony dSLRs, the in-camera noise reduction isn't very good.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)

Viewfinder

The viewfinder prompts mixed reactions as well.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)
The design and features coverage of the A500 borrows heavily from my review of the A550.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)
However, the viewfinder is small with a low magnification factor.
by c|net (Jul, 2010)

Specifications Full list of technical specs

sensor

Type CMOS
Megapixels 12.2 MP
Resolution 4272 x 2848
Size APS-C
Area 23.5 x 15.6 mm
Crop factor 1.5x
Pixel size 30.1 microns
Light sensitivity 200 ISO to 12,800 ISO
Codecs
  1. RAW
  2. JPEG

display

Type LCD
Size 3"
Resolution 230 k dots
Has a touch screen No
Has a flip out screen Yes
Supports live view Yes

shutter

Min 30 s
Max 1/4000 s

form factor

Size 137 x 104 x 84 mm
Thickness 84 mm
Weight 630 g
Is weather sealed No

features

Includes a GPS No
Supports HDR Yes
Automatic panorama No
Create realistic 3D images No
Image stabilization Sensor shift

video

Video None

focus system

Type Phase detection
Focus points 9
Cross type focus points 1
Supports continuous Yes

viewfinder

Viewfinder mirror Opaque
Viewfinder Viewfinder
Type Pentamirror
Coverage 95%
Magnification 0.8x
Viewfinder size 0.52x

performance

Max continuous shooting 5 fps
Battery life 1,000 photos
Continuous shooting 5 fps, JPEG
Focus lag 181 ms
Shutter lag 74 ms
Startup delay 500 ms
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