Sony Australia has announced two new Alpha DSLR cameras that bring new features and a more compact size to its Alpha range of interchangeable-lens DSLR cameras.


August 24, 2010: Sony Australia has announced two new Alpha DSLR cameras that bring new features and a more compact size to its Alpha range of interchangeable-lens DSLR cameras.
The 16.2-megapixel Alpha A55 and 14.2-megapixel Alpha 33 feature a new Translucent Mirror Technology (TMT) system that uses a pellicle mirror to replace the normal reflex mirror system. The semi-transparent pellicle mirror splits the light passing through the lens into two separate beams, enabling fast TTL focusing and high burst speeds.


Front views of the new Sony Alpha A55 (left) and A33 (right) DSLR cameras. (Source: Sony.)
The optical viewfinder in each camera is replaced by a 1.2 cm colour EVF with 1,440K dots and covers the full field of view of the image sensor. It has the advantage of being able to display a wide range of camera functions as well as supporting image playback without requiring photographers to chimp (remove the camera from the eye). This system also minimises blackout time due to mirror bounce when a shot is taken and, together with the Super Steady Shot sensor-shift stabilisation system provides effective stabilisation for both cameras.


The Translucent Mirror Technology (TMT) pellicle mirror system in the Sony Alpha 55. (Source: Sony.)
The TMT system also enables the camera body to be lighter and more compact. It also improves the focusing system, enabling phase-detection AF in movie mode, with focus readjustment while clips are recorded. Both cameras feature a new autofocusing system with 15 AF points, three of them with cross-type sensors. The 3-inch Xtra Fine TFT LCD is hinged at the base plate and adjustable through 270 degrees. It can be reversed onto the back of the camera or rotated to protect the screen when the camera is not in use.


Rear view of the A55 with the LCD monitor reversed onto the camera body. (Source: Sony.)


The rear view of the A33 showing the hinging point for the adjustable monitor screen. (Source: Sony.)
Both cameras come with a top-panel mode dial that carries settings for the mandatory Program AE, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE and Manual modes plus two Auto modes, a flash-off mode and a Scene Selection setting with eight illustrated pre-sets. Sony’s Sweep Panorama function is available in both cameras, with both wide and standard settings and 3D Panorama available. There’s also an Auto+ mode that can select the correct camera settings and will apply one of the multi-frame modes should the subject require it.


Top view of the A55 showing the key controls. (Source: Sony.)
The mode dial is also used to set continuous shooting and the A55 supports a maximum burst rate of 10 frames/second while the A33 tops out at approximately 7 frames/second. The buffer memory in the A55 will hold up to 35 Large/Fine JPEG frames or 20 RAW or RAW+JPEG files. The A33 has a limit of 16 Large/Fine JPEG frames or 7 RAW or RAW+JPEG files.
A number of shooting modes from Sony’s compact cameras have been ported across to the new models for further development. Among them is a new Auto HDR mode that records three shots with different exposure levels and combines them in the camera to produce an image with an extended dynamic range. This mode suits subjects with wide brightness ranges and prevents blown-out highlights and blocked, noise-affected shadows.
There’s also a multi-frame mode for noise-reduction, which is particularly useful with high ISO settings. Another new mode is Hand-held twilight, which captures a sequence of frames and integrates the exposure to minimise blurring and digital noise. The A55 has a built in GPS receiver for geotagging shots.
Both models feature an auto pop-up flash with a guide number of 10 (metres/ISO 100) and coverage for lenses as wide as 18mm. Its recycling time is approximately four seconds and flash metering is achieved by an ADI flash/ pre-flash TTL system. Flash modes include auto, fill-in, rear-synch, slow-synch, high-speed synch and red-eye reduction. Flash exposure compensation of +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV or 2/3 EV steps is available, along with flash bracketing across three frames in 1/3 EV or 2/3 EV steps. Sony’s Alpha system flash units can be used with the new models via each camera’s hot-shoe.


Front view of the A55 with the pop-up flash raised. (Source: Sony.)
Both models offer Full HD video recording, using the AVCHD format for 1920 x 1080i clips, which are recorded at 29.97 fps. Progressive scanning is used for other resolutions, which are recorded in MP4 format. The new Alpha models are scheduled for release in September and will be offered in single-and twin-lens kits. RRP for the A55 is $1699, while the A33 is priced at $1399. For more information, visit

Image sensor: 23.5 x 15.6 EXMOR CMOS sensor with 16.7 million photosites (16.2 megapixels effective) for A55; 14.6 million photosites (14.2 megapixels effective) for the A33
A/D processing: 12-bit
Lens mount: Sony A-mount (compatible with Minolta A-type bayonet mount)
Focal length crop factor: 1.5x
Image formats: Stills – RAW, JPEG (Exif 2.21), Fine & Standard compression; Movies – AVCHD at approx. 17 Mbps/MP4 at 3-12 Mbps
Image Sizes A55: 3:2 aspect: 4592 x 3056, 3344 x 2224, 2288 x 1520; 16:9 aspect: 4592 x 2576, 3344 x 1872, 2288 x 1280; Std Panorama: 8192 x 1856 (H), 3872 x 2160 (V); Wide Panorama: Horizontal – 12,416 x 1856 (H), 5536 x 2160 (V); 3D Panorama Max. 7152 x 1080
Image Sizes A33: 3:2 aspect: 4912 x 3264, 3568 x 2368, 2448 x 1624; 16:9 aspect: 4912 x 2760, 3568 x 2000, 2448 x 1376; Std Panorama: 8192 x 1856 (H), 3872 x 2160 (V); Wide Panorama: Horizontal – 12,416 x 1856 (H), 5536 x 2160 (V); 3D Panorama Max. 7152 x 1080
Movies: 1920 x 1080i; 1440 x 1080p, 1280 x 720p, 640 x 480p all at 29.97 fps
Image Stabilisation: Body integrated image sensor shift Super Steady Shot
Dust removal: Charge-protection coating on low-pass filter plus image sensor shift mechanism
Shutter speed range: 30 to 1/4000 second plus Bulb; X-synch at 1/60 second
Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV steps
Exposure bracketing: 3 frames in 1/3 or 2/3 EV steps
Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay
Focus system: TTL phase-detection AF via CCD line sensors; 15 points (3 cross type)
Focus modes: Single-shot, Auto, Continuous AF; Direct manual focus, Manual focus; wide, spot and local modes
Exposure metering: 1200-zone evaluative metering with multi-segment, centre-weighted and spot modes
Shooting modes: Auto, iAuto, P, A, S, M, Scene Selection (Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night View, Hand-held twilight), Sweep Panorama, Anti Motion Blur
Colour space options: sRGB, Adobe RGB
ISO range: Auto, ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12,800
White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Kelvin temperature setting, Custom
Flash: Auto pop-up; GN 10 (m/ISO100)
Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV steps plus flash bracketing
Sequence shooting: A55: Max.10 frames/second up to 35 frames (JPEG/Fine) or 20 RAW/RAW+JPEG frames; A33: Max. 7 frames/second up to 16 frames (JPEG/Fine) or 7 RAW/RAW+JPEG frames
Storage Media: Single slot that accepts SD/SDHCSDXC or Memory Stick Pro Duo cards
Viewfinder: 1.2 cm colour EVF with 1,440K dots and 100% FOV; -4.0 to +4.0 dpt adjustment, 19mm eye relief
LCD monitor: Adjustable 16:9 aspect ratio 3-inch Xtra Fine TFT LCD with 921,600 dots, 100% FOV
Live View modes: Quick AF, Focus Check, Contrast AF
Video Capture: Yes, 1920 x 1080; 1440 x 1080,1280 x 720, 640 x 480 all at 29.97 fps
Data LCD: No
Interface terminals: USO 2.0, HDMI (Type C Mini), Mic. terminal, remote controller, Bravia synch
Power supply: NP-FW50 InfoLithium battery, CPIA rated for approx. 330 shots with EVF or 480 shots with LCD and no flash
Other features: Built-in GPS receiver (A55 only), Help guide,
Dimensions (wxhxd): 124.4 x 92 x 84.7 mm (body only)
Weight: A55: Approx. 441 grams; A33: 433 grams (body only without battery and card)