Sony Alpha a33 and Alpha a55 DSLR's

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After two-plus years of claiming they're not going to incorporate video capture into their DSLR product line until they can overcome the limitations of DSLR capture—i.e, no autofocus and viewfinder blackout during video capture—Sony has introduced two compact DSLRs that address both issues.


The Sony Alpha a33 and Sony Alpha a55 are a pair of interchangeable-lens DSLRs that make good use of a couple of interesting camera technologies, including one not seen for a couple of decades, to solve a couple of modern-day DSLR video-capture roadblocks.

The Sony Alpha a33 and Alpha a55 both make full use of Sony Alpha a-Series optics, and the differences between them are the resolving power of their respective APS-C format Exmor HD CMOS imaging sensors and the quality of their video capture—a 16.2Mp sensor and 1080p video in the Alpha a55, and a 14.2Mp sensor and 720p in the Alpha a33.

The first part of Sony's solution to the present day "DSLR-video dilemma" has to do with the mirror assembly, which in the case of the Sony Alpha a33 and Sony Alpha a55 are fixed, translucent mirrors that allow light to pass through them, rather than the mirrors lifting up and out of the way each time a picture is taken. By incorporating what Sony is calling Translucent Mirror Technology into the new cameras, Sony's engineers were able pull off a trifecta of technical goals—continuous autofocus while shooting video, uninterrupted image viewing through the viewfinder when shooting stills (JPEGs and/or RAW) and video and still capture burst rates of up to 7 frames per second in the Alpha a33 and up to 10 frames per second in the Alpha a55, making it the fastest frame-banger to date among current video-enabled DSLRs.

The concept of using a pellicle mirror as a method of increasing frames-per-second burst rates is not a new one. It was used originally in the Canon Pellix SLR in 1965 and last used in Canon's EOS RT film SLR back in 1989, which was capable of firing up to 10 frames per second, which was even more impressive back then, although it's mighty impressive today.

Sony's solution to the autofocus and blackout quandary has been addressed by replacing the pentaprism/pentamirror housings used on traditional DSLRs with a high-res (1,440,000-dot) Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder (EVF), which under bright viewing conditions replicates the viewing experience of an optical viewing system remarkably well. Once the sun goes down, though, the Tru-Finder EVF becomes as noisy as the rest of the lot, at least on the pre-production camera we tooled around with for a few days prior to the official announcement. Nonetheless, the EVFs on the new Sonys, which feature a 60 fps refresh rate, are a huge step forward in terms of clarity than comparable EVF offerings. 

A plus side of the Tru-Finder EVF is that it makes it possible to view the same exposure and scene mode data you'd normally only be able to view on the camera's variable-angle tilt 3" Xtra Fine Live View (921,600-dot) LCD, which can be swiveled 270° horizontally and 180° vertically. It should also be noted that you can view 100% of the total image area on both the LCD and Tru-View eye-level finder.

One particularly handy visual aid you can bring up onto both the Xtra Line Live View LCD and Tru-Finder is a Digital Level Gauge, which while some may find distracting (and they can always turn it off if they do), this user found mighty handy especially when shooting in video mode.

Both the Tru-Finder EVF and Live View Xtra Fine LCD enable you to display histograms and gridlines as well as preview the look of all Scene modes and/or color settings, i.e. exposure compensation, white balance and creative styles in true WYSIWYG fashion when shooting stills or video. The Tru-Finder EVF also allows you to zoom in for critical eyeballing of your pictures, just as you would with the LCD, without having to fend off glare when shooting under bright lighting conditions.

The lack of image blackout made possible by the pellicle mirror system also aids in boosting what is already a very responsive 15-point TTL Phase Detection autofocus system, which performed equally well on our pre-production test camera indoors and out, and that's using the camera's Sony DT 18-55mm/3.5-5.6 SAM kit lens. We would imagine the AF system will prove to be even more responsive when used with any of the faster Sony  AF optics. And like all other Sony Alpha DSLRs, the new cameras work equally well with any older Minolta AF lens you might have knocking around.

In addition to "normal" still shooting, both cameras feature Sony-centric shooting modes that have been incorporated into many of Sony's digicams including Handheld Twilight mode, which enables you to shoot sans tripod in near darkness by capturing six rapidly-captured, ISO-boosted exposures, sampling them and editing the sharpest, best-exposed portions of each into a single, optimized (and surprisingly noise-free) image. Low-light shooters can also take advantage of the camera's Night Portrait and Night View modes, as well as the ability to boost the ISO ratings from a native ISO 100 up to an extended ISO equivalent of 25600.

Even in brighter lighting conditions, Multi Frame NR enables you to go beyond single-frame capture by allowing you to capture six rapid-capture frames and synthesize them into a single optimized image at any ISO rating in order to squeeze every last bit of detail from the shadows and highlight areas.

Additional tone-expanding shooting options include Auto HDR and D-Range Optimizer, and as with all Sony DSLRs, both cameras feature SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization, which enables sharper imagery with all Sony and Minolta AF lenses.

Sweep Panorama mode is another Sony shooting mode that's been incorporated into the new cameras. This mode captures up to 65 individual images and combines them into a single ultra-wide (12416 x 1856) panoramic image for incredibly dramatic landscapes, architectural and interior imagery.

Switching from stills to video and back is also easy with the new Sonys and is accomplished by simply pressing the One-Touch Movie button, which is located on the top deck, just to the right of the EVF eyepiece. Both cameras also feature built-in stereo mics, which are located on the right and left side of the EVF housing. You have the additional option of using more advanced shoe-mounted mics, which are available from Sony as well as third-party manufacturers. There's also a built-in GPS device in the a55 that automatically tags your photos and videos with coordinates in the EXIF data

.

Shooting videos in stereo is One-Touch away,
and you have the option of using third-party stereo
mics as well as a built-in GPS receiver in the a55.

Both cameras record images in a choice of sRGB or Adobe RGB, and you can expect to shoot about 330 exposures per charge (of its 7.2V, 1020mAh InfoLITHIUM battery pack, part number NP-FW50), which can be recorded onto Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick PRO-HG, SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards.

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Why no OVF? There is a mirror!

Dovie Eisner wrote:

Why no OVF? There is a mirror!

That's actually a good question that I'm afraid I don't have an 'official' answer for (though I do intend to follow up on this one).

As far as I understand all this Voodoo, the pellicle mirror system should certainly allow for the same functionality afforded by the EVF, and while I still favor optical viewing systems, if they stuck to an optical viewing system it would be at the cost of losing all of the visual displays afforded by the EVF.

And as distracting as some users find these visual displays, they do in fact come in handy when shooting video, and personally speaking, I prefer playback viewing of stills and video on the EVF as opposed to the LCD when shooting under brighter lighting conditions.

I will post a follow-up comment when I hear back from Sony on their spin on your question.

(BTW, are you from Edison?)

Allan Weitz wrote:

(BTW, are you from Edison?)

Edison, NJ? Nope, but I have cousins of the same surname in Lakewood.

Dovie Eisner wrote:

Allan Weitz wrote:

(BTW, are you from Edison?)

Edison, NJ? Nope, but I have cousins of the same surname in Lakewood.

May the Good Lord take a liking to the bunch of ya'!

Allan Weitz wrote:

Dovie Eisner wrote:

Allan Weitz wrote:

(BTW, are you from Edison?)

Edison, NJ? Nope, but I have cousins of the same surname in Lakewood.

May the Good Lord take a liking to the bunch of ya'!

Um... thanks?

No capisce...

Allan Weitz wrote:

Dovie Eisner wrote:

Why no OVF? There is a mirror!

That's actually a good question that I'm afraid I don't have an 'official' answer for (though I do intend to follow up on this one).

Two possible reasons:

(1) The use of a pellicle reduces light to the finder. dpreview found that the a55 lost almost precisely 1/2-stop light, but the user doesn't notice this in regular use because the 0.5EV is made up for in gain in the electronic finder. (An optical viewfinder used in conjunction with a pellicle mirror would seem darker in comparison.)

(2) The electronic finder is 1.1x in size -- much bigger and brighter than any APS-C sized optical finder on any camera. (A 100% finder like the one in the Nikon D300s comes close, but at B&H it costs roughly $1,000 more than the Sony does.) An optical viewfinder would therefore look darker and more tunnel-like than the electronic finder.

This is not to say that an optical finder could be used in the future. Obviously battery life would be improved. And you would be able to see subjects at the moment the shutter is snapped -- giving you a DSLR that gives you that same benefit only offered by rangefinders at present.

Parachute wrote:

Allan Weitz wrote:

Dovie Eisner wrote:

Why no OVF? There is a mirror!

That's actually a good question that I'm afraid I don't have an 'official' answer for (though I do intend to follow up on this one).

Two possible reasons:

(1) The use of a pellicle reduces light to the finder. dpreview found that the a55 lost almost precisely 1/2-stop light, but the user doesn't notice this in regular use because the 0.5EV is made up for in gain in the electronic finder. (An optical viewfinder used in conjunction with a pellicle mirror would seem darker in comparison.)

(2) The electronic finder is 1.1x in size -- much bigger and brighter than any APS-C sized optical finder on any camera. (A 100% finder like the one in the Nikon D300s comes close, but at B&H it costs roughly $1,000 more than the Sony does.) An optical viewfinder would therefore look darker and more tunnel-like than the electronic finder.

This is not to say that an optical finder could be used in the future. Obviously battery life would be improved. And you would be able to see subjects at the moment the shutter is snapped -- giving you a DSLR that gives you that same benefit only offered by rangefinders at present.

I may be wrong, but I think you would have a problem using an OVF because the fact that the mirror is see through would also allow light form the viewfinder near the photographers eye to travel back down to the sensor all the time as well as the imagine traveling up to the eye... In other words you would have light leak from the viewfinder hitting the sensor all that time with varying degrees...maybe none when the camera was up to your eye but lots when you were using the LCD back.

Dovie Eisner wrote:

Why no OVF? There is a mirror!

With only 30% of the light bouncing off of the mirror, will it (30% brightness of the pic in the OVF) be of any use?  Just curious.

Alex G. wrote:

Dovie Eisner wrote:

Why no OVF? There is a mirror!

With only 30% of the light bouncing off of the mirror, will it (30% brightness of the pic in the OVF) be of any use?  Just curious.

I personally didn't notice any loss of brightness when using the camera compared to the brightness levels I'm used to whe using a traditional optical finder. One of the pluses of an EVF is it's ability to boost the brightness sensitivity levels within the finder when the light levels start to fizzle. This is particularly noticable when shooting at night using EVFs and LCDs alike.

Allan Weitz wrote:

Alex G. wrote:

Dovie Eisner wrote:

Why no OVF? There is a mirror!

With only 30% of the light bouncing off of the mirror, will it (30% brightness of the pic in the OVF) be of any use?  Just curious.

I personally didn't notice any loss of brightness when using the camera compared to the brightness levels I'm used to whe using a traditional optical finder. One of the pluses of an EVF is it's ability to boost the brightness sensitivity levels within the finder when the light levels start to fizzle. This is particularly noticable when shooting at night using EVFs and LCDs alike.

I was talking about an OVF and the reason it may not be technically usable with this camera - sorry for the confusion.  I totally believe you than an EVF on the other hand is usable.

Dovie Eisner wrote:

Why no OVF? There is a mirror!

Will be too dark.

I'm confused a bit here - what is the difference between these two cameras and the Sony A560 and A580?

Marylander wrote:

I'm confused a bit here - what is the difference between these two cameras and the Sony A560 and A580?

Take a look at the specs, they are all different, if only subltely.

Marylander wrote:

I'm confused a bit here - what is the difference between these two cameras and the Sony A560 and A580?

The one and only difference is the resolving power of their respective imaging sensors.

The a560 contains a 14.2MP CMOS sensor and the a580 contains a 16.2MP CMOS sensor.

Allan Weitz wrote:

Marylander wrote:

I'm confused a bit here - what is the difference between these two cameras and the Sony A560 and A580?

The one and only difference is the resolving power of their respective imaging sensors.

The a560 contains a 14.2MP CMOS sensor and the a580 contains a 16.2MP CMOS sensor.

The a55 and the a580 also have GPS built in.

Allan Weitz wrote:

Marylander wrote:

I'm confused a bit here - what is the difference between these two cameras and the Sony A560 and A580?

The one and only difference is the resolving power of their respective imaging sensors.

The a560 contains a 14.2MP CMOS sensor and the a580 contains a 16.2MP CMOS sensor.

I'm afraid Mr Weitz has got this wrong. 

The a33 and a560 share the 14.2 Mp CMOS sensor.  The a580 and the a55 share the 16.2 Mp CMOS sensor.

The a33/a55 use the pellicle mirror and electronic viewfinder (EVF), with all of the benefits that entails (see my post above). 

The a560/a580 use a conventional moving mirror, which makes them much more like competing product such as the Canon 60D, eg no autofocus during video recording.

I suspect that Sony produced the a33/a55 to showcase its new technology and preferred direction,  but developed the a560/a580 in parallel, in case the market didn't warm to the various innovations, especially EVF.  FWIW, I suspect the 560/580 will go the way of the dodo quite quickly, if the reviews of the a33/a55 are accurate.

If you want more complete and accurate information than that provided here, I suggest you go to dpreview.com or imaging-resource.com.  Both have extensive writeups.

Allan Weitz wrote:

Marylander wrote:

I'm confused a bit here - what is the difference between these two cameras and the Sony A560 and A580?

The one and only difference is the resolving power of their respective imaging sensors.

The a560 contains a 14.2MP CMOS sensor and the a580 contains a 16.2MP CMOS sensor.

I'm afraid Mr Weitz has got this wrong. 

The a33 and a560 share the 14.3 Mp CMOS sensor.  The a580 and the a55 share the 16.2 Mp CMOS sensor.

The a33/a55 use the pellicle mirror and electronic viewfinder (EVF), with all of the benefits that entails (see my post above). 

The a560/a580 use a conventional moving mirror, which makes them much more like competing product such as the Canon 60D.

I suspect that Sony produced the a33/a55 to showcase its new technology and preferred direction,  but developed the a560/a580 in parallel, in case the market didn't warm to the various innovations.  FWIW, I suspect the 560/580 will go the way of the dodo quite quickly, if the reviews of the a33/a55 are accurate.

If you want more complete and accurate information than that provided here, I suggest you go to dpreview.com or imaging-resource.com.  Both have extensive writeups.

Richard wrote:

Allan Weitz wrote:

Marylander wrote:

I'm confused a bit here - what is the difference between these two cameras and the Sony A560 and A580?

The one and only difference is the resolving power of their respective imaging sensors.

The a560 contains a 14.2MP CMOS sensor and the a580 contains a 16.2MP CMOS sensor.

I'm afraid Mr Weitz has got this wrong. 

The a33 and a560 share the 14.3 Mp CMOS sensor.  The a580 and the a55 share the 16.2 Mp CMOS sensor.

The a33/a55 use the pellicle mirror and electronic viewfinder (EVF), with all of the benefits that entails (see my post above). 

The a560/a580 use a conventional moving mirror, which makes them much more like competing product such as the Canon 60D.

I suspect that Sony produced the a33/a55 to showcase its new technology and preferred direction,  but developed the a560/a580 in parallel, in case the market didn't warm to the various innovations.  FWIW, I suspect the 560/580 will go the way of the dodo quite quickly, if the reviews of the a33/a55 are accurate.

If you want more complete and accurate information than that provided here, I suggest you go to dpreview.com or imaging-resource.com.  Both have extensive writeups.

Richard,

If Mr. Weitz got anything wrong it's his mistakingly writing 14.2Mp instead of 14.3Mp. And his comments were specifically about the a560 & a580.

You're the one who started cackling about the Sony a33 & a55, not Mr. Weitz.

I always thought the pellicle mirror was a great idea, but as I recall it didn't go over too well because the mirror deflected too much light from the film surface, lowering the effective ASA (ISO) of the film.  Hopefully, Sony has solved this problem, which I guess is easier to do digitally. 

 Cant seem to find it but is there a crop factor with these cameras?

Ted H wrote:

 Cant seem to find it but is there a crop factor with these cameras?

All Sony, Nikon, and Pentax dSLR's are 1.5×, except for the Nikon D3[s|x], Nikon D700, and Sony A900/A850, which are full-frame.

All Canons are 1.6×

, except for the EOS-1Ds and EOS 5D series, which are full-frame, and the EOS-1D series, which is 1.3×.

All Panasonic and Olympus cameras have a 2× crop factor.

1.5×

1.5×

Dovie Eisner wrote:

Ted H wrote:

 Cant seem to find it but is there a crop factor with these cameras?

All Sony, Nikon, and Pentax dSLR's are 1.5×, except for the Nikon D3[s|x], Nikon D700, and Sony A900/A850, which are full-frame.

All Canons are 1.6×

, except for the EOS-1Ds and EOS 5D series, which are full-frame, and the EOS-1D series, which is 1.3×.

All Panasonic and Olympus cameras have a 2× crop factor.

1.5×

1.5×

The Canon 7D has a 1.3x crop factor

klw10 wrote:

The Canon 7D has a 1.3x crop factor

No it doesn't. It has a typical Canon crop factor of 1.6x.

I have been struggling with the lack of mirror lock-up in Sony DSLR's for a long time now.  Does this new pellicle mirror make this a moot point?  Please, oh please say yes.

DLimer wrote:

I have been struggling with the lack of mirror lock-up in Sony DSLR's for a long time now.  Does this new pellicle mirror make this a moot point?  Please, oh please say yes.

Yes.  The only time the mirror moves is for manual sensor cleaning, so no need for MLU and no mirror slap of any sort.  Ever.

Also, DoF preview is back, via a button in the traditional Minolta/A100/A700/A900 place.

In my last post I forgot to mention that the evf can give you 15x magnification for micro focus adjustment. 

is it available now on display at B&H so we can get our hands on it? 

Too little, too late.

Just yesterday I switched up from Sony to Nikon and do not intend to look back.

I had read about the new Sony DSLRs on Photography Bay and made up my mind that, if true, I was going over to Nikon.  I do not make movies and do not want to spend money on a camera intended to make movies as the raison d'etre for its technology.  Besides, my son and my brother have been making much better images on their Nikon gear than I have been able to capture on my Sony Alpha.

They have wlecomed me into the Nikon family and congratulated me on getting a 'real camera'!

ChrisW wrote:

Too little, too late.

Just yesterday I switched up from Sony to Nikon and do not intend to look back.

I had read about the new Sony DSLRs on Photography Bay and made up my mind that, if true, I was going over to Nikon.  I do not make movies and do not want to spend money on a camera intended to make movies as the raison d'etre for its technology.  Besides, my son and my brother have been making much better images on their Nikon gear than I have been able to capture on my Sony Alpha.

Or..., they are just better photographers....

?

You blew it then, Chris. Too bad, really.

Cool, but...

Bummer your stuck with sony alpha and minolta lenses.  It's not that those lenses aren't good... you can still do some amazing shallow dof and really good cinematic stuff I'm sure.  But I still think I'm sold on Canon simply for the fact that you can buy/rent lenses that open up to f1.2 which has saved me countless of times in low light.  I wish Sony could have made their cameras compatible with Nikon lenses.  

I think Canon and Nikon still have a corner on most of the market for dslr's because of the quality of their lenses and availability. You can go just about anywhere in the country and find a camera store that will rent you a plethora of lenses, but they're all Canon or Nikon lenses. 

If Sony could get their alpha and Minolta lenses into the hands of the same stores that rent Canon and Nikon then I'd be much more interested in what they've got or at least trying it out.  I'm still excited to see what other people are going to do, just not interested in it for myself for the time being.

 Very interesting development, the camera is a very different concept from whats available today, with the combination of a fixed mirror and an EVF it should be very appealing, my only doubt is about how much light does reach the sensor, and how this affects the sensibility of it

This is a camera for girls unless they add an accessory battery grip, so a grown man can hold it properly. Sony just never seems to be able to get it quite right. Shame!

Sony shooter wrote:

This is a camera for girls unless they add an accessory battery grip, so a grown man can hold it properly. Sony just never seems to be able to get it quite right. Shame!

"This is a camera for girls unless they add an accessory battery grip, so a grown man can hold it properly."

So let's get this straight... you think the difference between 'girls' and 'grown men' boils down to battery grips?

Here's where I am confused...

If the viewfinder is now an EVF viewfinder, why is it necessary to have a mirror at all? Wouldn't the EVF show the same image as the LCD panel on the back which comes from the cameras sensor?

Mr Weitz, you really need to get a handle on the products you are reviewing.  I nearly fell off my chair when you described the Canon 60D as a radically new camera (ooooh, a windbreak for the microphone)  but dismissed the revolutionary nature of these cameras as saying they had 'a couple of interesting techniqies'. Heck, they aren't even DSLRs, because the mirror doesn't move.  They are DSLTs.  This allows them to be smaller, lighter, and radically better performing in a number of respects.  Here's just a few:

 - 10fps shooting in a $750 camera - you need to drop 5 grand on a competing product to get that. 

- Because the mirror doesn't move, the viewfinder doesn't black out when taking a shot.

- The pellicle mirror splits 30% of the light beam to a dedicated AF sensor.  This means that you get constant  phase-detect (ie fast) autofocus during both still and video shooting.

- The first liveview screen that is fully visible in direct sunlight

-The EVF has had a terrific writeup from everybody who has used it, and in fact most reviewers have admitted to disappointment when going back to OVFs on any crop factor camera

Hopefully the above has at least inspired people to google the a55 and have a look at reviews from people who have actually used the thing, rather than just go on the biased and rather underwhelming B&H review.

Richard wrote:

Mr Weitz, you really need to get a handle on the products you are reviewing.  I nearly fell off my chair when you described the Canon 60D as a radically new camera (ooooh, a windbreak for the microphone)  but dismissed the revolutionary nature of these cameras as saying they had 'a couple of interesting techniqies'. Heck, they aren't even DSLRs, because the mirror doesn't move.  They are DSLTs.  This allows them to be smaller, lighter, and radically better performing in a number of respects.  Here's just a few:

 - 10fps shooting in a $750 camera - you need to drop 5 grand on a competing product to get that. 

- Because the mirror doesn't move, the viewfinder doesn't black out when taking a shot.

- The pellicle mirror splits 30% of the light beam to a dedicated AF sensor.  This means that you get constant  phase-detect (ie fast) autofocus during both still and video shooting.

- The first liveview screen that is fully visible in direct sunlight

-The EVF has had a terrific writeup from everybody who has used it, and in fact most reviewers have admitted to disappointment when going back to OVFs on any crop factor camera

Hopefully the above has at least inspired people to google the a55 and have a look at reviews from people who have actually used the thing, rather than just go on the biased and rather underwhelming B&H review.

Get a grip Richard. If you actually read the D60 review you'll quickly note nowhere does Mr. Weitz call Canon's 60D 'a radically new camera', so before you start trashing anybody's efforts get your fact's straight.

And if you're looking for cameras that can shoot 10 f/p/s for even less than the Sony a55's $750 asking price, look no further than Sony's TX5 which costs under $350. You can also get 10 f/p/s out of  Nikon's P100  and Fuji's new top dog, both of which use Sony's technologies to do so.

And be nice for gosh sakes.

I did have an NEX5 on order. I'm glad Sony were out of stock. Now I've cancelled the Nex in favour of this option.

I was a bit iffy about the EVF factor but the reviews are putting my mind at ease.

On reflection I don't think I could have coped with having to rely on the LCD screen and the inevitable poor lcd readability on a sunny day and trying to overcome it with  the expensive optical viewfinder option of the NEX especially as I have to wear reading spectacles.

The 15% evf magnification and no mirror slap is going to be a great boon, especially after coping with the A350.

The HD Video mode is the icing on the cake.

Can't wait !!!

This sensor will receive 30% less light than a traditional DSLR. So, the image engine would adjust the brightness? Any example posted? Which implys we lose 30% ISO speed/quality.

Why did manufacturers go away from translucent mirrors a few decades ago?

Important correction - the a33 has full 1080 AVCHD video, not 720. That was a speculation by the rumour mill that was wrong but has fallen over the threshold in many places.

The differences are the 2mp in the sensor, speed and a smaller buffer - the a33 slows down after a second or so at full speed. The a33 does 7fps only (!), not 10x.

I have had a pre-production a55 unit for a week or so now. The translucent mirror is used to divert vision to a phase detect focus sensor and it is fast. There is no blackout shooting at 10x but there is a short blackout when it writes to buffer. This makes it tricky to shoot football - well Australian football anyway as it doesn't keep stopping like the strange American version. It's hard to shoot a series of short 4-5 shot bursts. Otherwise the shutter is quiet and scary fast.

Most interesting feature - multi-shot noise reduction. Shoot at any speed but at 1600 or 3200 it works well. Takes a burst of 4-5 shots and then blends them to reduce noise. It works well and I left it enabled for indoor work. At lower ISO it seems to improve dynamic range, reducing noise in shadows.

Nice camera! Too bad about the video codec. No native 24p. ;(

No true slomo.

After the hacked GH1 firmware came out earlier this year I would have hoped later offerings would have taken this development into account. This is not quite enough for me to switch from my 7D. Nice to see some competition nonetheless, perhaps someone will hack the firmware and give us the options that will truely let this camera fly. 

Im pretty new to all this and I used a Nikon but Im not  a Canon, Nikon, Sony or who ever less they are paying me to shoot with there cameras, I dont understand how people can be so Loyal to a consumer product like they give a crap about you there job is to make money off of who ever. Just do your home work people and find out what works best for what you want to do be it shoot vidio or take pictures. but if your a photograher complaining about video ur in the wrong line of work.

I'm unclear. It says in your blog that the difference between the A33's 14.2mp and the A55's 16.6mp is that the progressive scan video of the A33 is 720P and the A55 is 1080P. However, on the specs provided on the B&H web site, both cameras shoot 1080P. So who is correct? Is that a typo on the B&H web site?

Also, nothing on the B&H web site addresses the audio input in the specs. Is it a standard Sony stereo mini?

Other than that, I'm trying to figure out the difference between the two cameras for film/video production.

Is the sensor on the A55 physically bigger and closer to the size of 35mm? If so, how does that impact the effective focal length of the lenses if you put one on the A33 versus the A55?

I'm really use to the relationship of 35mm film image to the lenses. Is there some kind of reference guide I can use? It really kind of screws up calculating depth of field if you are used to the standards as a cinematographer. Right now I have an iPhone app that helps me calculate depth of field for 35mm, etc. But with these odd sized sensors and understand how that impacts my calculations.

There was some chatter that multiple flash triggering might not work with this model.. 

I wonder about that.