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on 28 April 2010
In a world where all the camera snobs insist on Nikon this and Canon that, it comes as a refreshing change to find a so called mid range camera that can rub shoulders with the best of them.
Sony itself can be accused of dampening the A500 down by touting its bigger brothers with their big price tags.
At the moment the Sony camera range appears over crowded with all the A2- A3-A4- and A500 ranges and to be honest none have them have set the world on fire.
Until now!!
Ive been a keen photographer for twenty five years, at the age of 15 i got my first proper camera, the Ricoh Mirai.
Recently ive been using my Nikon 700 to produce brochures for a local florists, but i thought i would test out my new spare camera- Sony Alpha 500.
With a little bit of tweeking, the Sony matched the quality of the Nikon with ease which was a shock for me, infact you would have to take the photos to a lab to pick out any trivial differences.
Its a very user friendly camera with very impressive systems inside to produce extremely high quality pictures.
You really need to look at the specs. Its also quite a big manly camera which is good for me as some other cameras, epsecially compacts can look really girly.
This is a message for anyone thinking about buying a Dslr, dont listen to the fan boys!!!!!
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on 8 June 2010
The Sony Alpha 500 sure is one hell of a camera for its price.
It has all the advanced features you want from a mid level camera without the £700 price tag. The new Exmor image sensor is a revelation providing low noise photographs upto ISO 800 and usable photographs upto 3200. At 12.3 megapixels the images are nice and detailed and this resolution means you can do A3 sized prints/canvas without worry of getting a pixelated image.

This camera is fast too so it can handle sports photography no problem, on the JPEG FINE setting it can fire around 5 frames per second in good light and fires about 30 in a 10 second burst (buffer starts to slow frame rate down a tad). The shutter itself goes down 1/2000th sec which will freeze any amount of motion you point the camera at.

The LCD liveview screen is good quality and allows you to compose decent shots without trouble. It is also really handy that it tilts so you can hold it over your head in a crowd and still take decent shots. The optical viewfinder is bright and clear and is as good as a camera without liveview and there is a simple selector switch to choose between the two aiming methods.

The 18-55mm SAM kit lens this camera comes with is a good quality lens and is fine for portrait and landscape work. It autofocuses quickly and produces good images with no noticable ill effects.

Battery life is very good and I can believe the rating of 1000 shots on one charge if using the optical viewfinder, the camera also has power saving options that are adjustable. If you do find yourself turning the camera off between shots it is not a problem as it starts up very quickly (1-2 seconds).

To sum this camera up; it is an excellent buy at this price point with a decent kit lens. The decent burst shooting frame rate and tiltable liveview screen make this good value for money when compared to it's peers from other manufacturers.
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on 30 August 2010
I purchased this camera as my first DSLR after having seen it in a well known department store. So far have found it very easy to use as a novice photographer and the user manual although basic is very adequate and easy to understand. I am looking to purchase a telephoto lens as the one supplied with the camera doesn't do the longer distance shots I am trying to achieve but is quite adequate for taking portrait shots of family and friends. This camera also comes steady shot stabiliser built in. I would recommend anyone to take a look at the Sony Alpha range as I found it very comparable to the other makes on the market.
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Have now been using this camera for two years or so, and am very happy with it. Use it for a wide range of static snaps; everything from personal holidays to promotional pics for a charity, to action photos suitable for publication in professional magazines. It has proved to be very robust and very easy to use, straight out of the box. That's perfect for me - I'm not a pro photographer or a camera expert. I just want a solid machine which will do the technical stuff for me, output images in flexible formats which can be used online or in print, and let me get on with composing the pics.

The A500 is slap-bang in the middle of Sony's Alpha range. It's more flexible that the 300s, but cost quite a bit less than the a550. I don't have any need for video, so appreciate using a camera which doesn't come with that facility: I'm not paying for something I don't need and don't have the clutter of the extra options on the dash.
The A500 body is physically big, so if you want a small, compact then you may be better off with a Canon Eos, but I've found the chunky grip on the A500 means I can hold it for long periods of time without cramped hands, or aching wrists. It's light enough to use one-handed, at weird angles if need be.
The extending viewfinder screen is fine; it shows slightly less of the pic than you will actually take (about 95%), and it's fairly flexible - although not as good as on my previous Sony, a first-generation digital camera from 15yrs ago!
The sockets and flaps feel a bit flimsy when you first use them, and I was concerned that the rubbery hinge might wear quickly but it's proved to be fine - although rough use and wrenching with cold hands might damage it, I think. Battery life is excellent; I can shoot for a couple of hours and still have plenty of juice left.
Used straight from the box with no technical tinkering, the standard settings are useful for most situations; the tracking facility in particular is very impressive, and very forgiving of handshake / sudden jolts. However, the tracking facility still isn't quite as quick as on a trad SLR film camera, and it tends to pause when on the highest quality settings. So it's worth experimenting to get the best from this function.
I would also have liked a quick button for force flash (when I need to fill in shadow).
The 18-55 lens has been all I've needed but plenty of other, inexpensive lenses are available.

The new version of this camera, the A57, appears to address most of my grumbles (notably about speed shooting), and would be a natural choice. However, you can pick up the A500 at substantial discounts now, so that would be worth considering if having the current model isn't all-important to you: Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD

Overall this is an excellent mid-range camera. Good value for money, practical and no-fuss, easy to use straight out of the box, with plenty of additional flexibility for anyone who wants to experiment. I expect to keep on using mine for several more years: it's so good that I have no reason to change!
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on 1 March 2017
Super full size dslr. Usual expected quality from Sony.Takes all Sony /Minolta alpha lenses, so older and cheaper lenses can be used. Exceptional picture quality.
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on 30 October 2010
I wish to experiment with high dynamic range imaging (HDR) and was looking for a DSLR camera which would offer a decent auto-bracketing range. When I read the technical details of this camera on the Amazon UK site I was sold. Amazon states:

AE Bracketing
Single or continuous bracketing
3 or 5 frames
0.3, 0.5, 0.7 or 2.0 EV steps*
*2.0 EV steps for 3 frames only

Exactly what I needed. However, when the camera arrived and I set it up I discovered that the AE Bracketing provision is only 3 frames in a maximum of 0.7 EV steps. A significant difference from that advertised, and useless for my needs (hence the single star rating). The camera is being returned for a full refund.

Therefore, if you dabble in HDR, beware.

PS: I cannot rate the performance of the camera as I have never used it.
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