Sony DSLR-A850

Released August, 2009
  • 24.4 MP
  • Full frame 35.9 x 24 mm CMOS
  • 3" LCD
Having said that, with its large and bright image the A900 viewfinder is is one of the nicest DSLR viewfinders we've ever had the pleasure to look through and the A850 is not far off.
by DPReview (Mar, 2010)
8.6 Out of 10

Camera Rocket Review Our evaluation of the Sony DSLR-A850

Image Quality

RAW image quality independent of lens

Nikon D800
Sony A7
DxOMark Low light, DxOMark Color depth and DxOMark Dynamic range


How fast and easily does the camera nail focus

Sony A7
focus points


How much delay is there between you and your photo?

Nikon D800
Sony A7
continuous shooting


What do the experts think?

Sony A7
Reviews from, and


Camera Rocket Score

Image Quality, Focusing, Responsiveness and Reviews

Sony A7

Benchmarks Real world tests of the Sony DSLR-A850

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

1,415 ISO
Nikon D800
2,979 ISO
Sony A7
2,449 ISO

Resolution Results from photos of standard resolution charts

2,150 LPH
Nikon D800
3,100 LPH
Pentax K-01
3,000 LPH

Focus lag Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

184 ms
Pentax K-01
803 ms
326 ms

Shutter lag Delay to take a photo when prefocused

74 ms
Pentax K-01
120 ms
114 ms

Startup delay Delay from power on to first photo

500 ms
Pentax K-01
2,400 ms
1,900 ms

Continuous shooting Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

3 fps
8 fps
Pentax K-01
6 fps

Photo Gallery Wallpaper quality closeups of the camera

Reviews Word on the street for the Sony DSLR-A850

You won't miss live view when focusing manually and to anyone previously using an APS-C DSLR the viewfinder is still a revelation.

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight


A big, low-noise, high-resolution sensor: what's not to like?
by c|net (Aug, 2009)
Since larger sensors are generally better for cramming a lot of pixels in without losing ground to an excessive amount of image noise, full-frame sensors are commonly accepted as the best choice for high-resolution and/or low-light photography (without opting for the significantly larger and more expensive medium format option).
by c|net (Aug, 2009)
It's worth taking a step back and considering the benefits-and drawbacks-of a full-frame dSLR; that is, a camera with a sensor that has the same active area as a frame of 35mm film.
by c|net (Aug, 2009)


A look through the viewfinder will reveal one of them.
by DPReview (Mar, 2010)
As a result, you don't get exactly to see what the sensor will record, but even at 98% frame coverage framing and composing an image is still a pleasure with the A850.
by DPReview (Mar, 2010)
According to Sony, that extra 2 percent of viewfinder coverage is really expensive to attain, and the fast mirror mechanism necessary to gain that 2 extra frames per second in burst shooting adds a lot of cost as well.
by c|net (Aug, 2009)

Continuous shooting

Obviously something had to be done to justify the price difference to the flagship A900 (and not completely annoy existing A900 owners), so Sony decided to differentiate the A850 from its bigger brother by slightly reducing the viewfinder coverage and the buffer size (the latter resulting in a 3.0 fps vs 5.0 fps continuous shooting rate).
by DPReview (Mar, 2010)
In the tables below you'll find the results of our continuous shooting test with both cameras.
by DPReview (Mar, 2010)
This is two frames per second slower than the A900 but, as you would expect, due to the slower shooting speed the A850 captures more frames in a burst.
by DPReview (Mar, 2010)

Image quality

From now on we will be using this format for cameras that are in terms of operation close and in terms of image quality fundamentally identical to either their predecessors or other models in the line that we already treated to a full review.
by DPReview (Mar, 2010)
We would therefore attribute these differences in the two cameras' noise reduction to sample and/or environmental variations.
by DPReview (Mar, 2010)
We first confirm the image quality is identical by running a couple of basic image quality tests (noise test and shots of our 'compared to' studio scene at all ISOs) and then concentrate in the review on the differences between the two cameras.
by DPReview (Mar, 2010)


While the viewfinders' construction is very similar the A850's variant 'only' offers 98% frame coverage making it slightly smaller.
by DPReview (Mar, 2010)

Specifications Full list of technical specs


Megapixels 24.4 MP
Resolution 6048 x 4032
Size Full frame
Area 35.9 x 24 mm
Crop factor 1.0x
Pixel size 35.3 microns
Light sensitivity 200 ISO to 3,200 ISO
Light sensitivity (Boost) 3,200 ISO to 6,400 ISO
  1. RAW
  2. JPEG
Self cleaning sensor Yes
Tested vertical resolution 2,150 LPH
Tested horizontal resolution 2,150 LPH

focus system

Type Phase detection
Focus points 19
Cross type focus points 1
Supports continuous No


Min 30 s
Max 1/8000 s

form factor

Size 156 x 117 x 82 mm
Thickness 82 mm
Weight 895 g
Is weather sealed Yes


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


Video None


Type LCD
Size 3"
Resolution 921 k dots
Has a touch screen No
Has a flip out screen No
Supports live view No


Viewfinder mirror Opaque
Viewfinder Viewfinder
Type Pentaprism
Coverage 98%
Magnification 0.74x
Viewfinder size 0.74x


Max continuous shooting 3 fps
Battery life 880 photos
Continuous shooting 3 fps, JPEG
Focus lag 184 ms
Shutter lag 74 ms
Startup delay 500 ms
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