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
DxOMark Low light, DxOMark Color depth and DxOMark Dynamic range


How fast and easily does the camera nail focus

Alpha DSLR-A500
Focus lag, cross type focus points and focus points


How much delay is there between you and your photo?

Alpha DSLR-A500
Focus lag, continuous shooting and Startup delay


What do the experts think?

Alpha DSLR-A500
Reviews from and


Camera Rocket Score

Image Quality, Focusing, Responsiveness and Reviews

Alpha DSLR-A500

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
Nikon 1 J1
372 ISO
Pentax K-5
1,162 ISO

Focus lag Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

Alpha DSLR-A500
181 ms
820 ms
Alpha NEX-3N
272 ms

Shutter lag Delay to take a photo when prefocused

Alpha DSLR-A500
74 ms
Alpha NEX-3N
22 ms
Pentax K-5
92 ms

Startup delay Delay from power on to first photo

Alpha DSLR-A500
500 ms
Alpha NEX-3N
2,200 ms
2,200 ms

Continuous shooting Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

Alpha DSLR-A500
5 fps
Nikon 1 J1
60 fps
Pentax K-5
7 fps

Battery life How many photos per battery charge (CIPA)

Alpha DSLR-A500
1,000 photos
Nikon 1 J1
230 photos
290 photos

Photo Gallery Wallpaper quality closeups of the camera

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

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


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)


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)


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)


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


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
  1. RAW
  2. JPEG


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


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


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


Video None

focus system

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


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


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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