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Sony Alpha 550 Specs and Scores

Storage & Battery
Sony Alpha 550
Alpha 550
Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Announcement Date
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
August 27, 2009
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Sony Alpha 550 earns a score of 44/100 in our evaluation. Introduced on August 27, 2009, this DSLR camera was initially priced at $899. Measuring 137 x 104 x 84mm and weighing 632g (1.39lbs), it has a relatively compact and lightweight design for its time.

However, considering the rapid advancements in camera technology, the Alpha 550’s specifications may not hold up well in today’s market. Despite its solid build and respectable launch price, newer models offer superior performance and features.

Sony Alpha 550 Overview and Optics

The optics of the Sony Alpha 550 receive a score of 48 out of 100. This camera features 14.2 megapixels, a shooting speed of 7, and a CMOS sensor type. Its processor is Bionz, and the DXOMARK score for the sensor is 66. The sensor size is APS-C, with a Sony Alpha DT lens mount. Additionally, the camera has image stabilization and a 3:2 aspect ratio.

In today’s market, the Sony Alpha 550’s specifications are not as competitive as they once were. The 14.2-megapixel count is lower than many current cameras, and the shooting speed of 7 is also not as fast as some newer models. However, the image stabilization feature remains valuable for photographers seeking steady shots.

The Sony Alpha 550 is a solid camera with decent optics, but it may not be the best choice in the current market. Its specifications are somewhat outdated, and there are more advanced options available for photographers seeking top-of-the-line performance.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
14.2 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
4592 x 3056 px
Sensor Type
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
Sensor Size
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
15.6 x 23.5 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
7 fps
Lens Mount
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
Sony Alpha DT
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Minimum ISO (Native)
Refers to the lowest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Maximum ISO (Native)
Refers to the highest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 4000 s
Autofocus Points
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
Viewfinder Type
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Optical (pentamirror)

Sony Alpha 550 Video Performance

The Sony Alpha 550 lacks video functionality so it cannot record videos. This camera focuses solely on still photography.

Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.

Sony Alpha 550 Features and Benefits

The Sony Alpha 550’s features score stands at 41/100. This score reflects the camera’s capabilities when considering its specifications and how they compare to other cameras in today’s market.

The camera has a 3-inch screen size with a resolution of 921,600 dots, providing good image quality on the display. However, it lacks a touchscreen, which is a common feature in modern cameras. The Alpha 550 does include a flip screen, making it convenient for capturing images from different angles.

Despite these features, the Sony Alpha 550 falls short in other aspects. It does not have GPS, WIFI, or Bluetooth capabilities, limiting its connectivity options and making it less convenient for users who rely on these technologies for sharing and geotagging images.

Considering these specifications, the Sony Alpha 550 has its strengths and weaknesses. While its screen size and resolution are commendable, the lack of modern connectivity features may be a drawback for potential buyers.

Built-in Flash
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External Flash
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather Sealing
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
921,600 dots
Flip Screen
A flip screen (or articulating screen) is a second screen which can flip out from the side or top of the camera. This rotating screen allows you more freedom to take photos at different angles.
Live View
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.

Sony Alpha 550 Storage and Battery

The Sony Alpha 550 receives a storage and battery score of 27/100. This camera has only one memory card slot and accepts SD, SDHC, SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo, and Pro-HG Duo cards.

The battery life is around 480 shots, which is lower than the average battery life of modern cameras. The camera uses an NP-FM500H battery type, which is common among Sony cameras. It lacks USB charging, a feature that can be useful for on-the-go photographers.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC, Memory Stick Pro Duo / Pro-HG Duo
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
480 shots
USB Charging
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
21.9 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
11.8 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'
User Scores
B&H photo video

Sony Alpha 550 Alternatives

Do you want to know how the Sony Alpha 550 compares to its competitors? Have a look at these popular comparisons for inspiration:

Sony Alpha 550 photographed on a colored background

Sony Alpha 550 FAQ

Does the Sony Alpha 550 Have Built-in Image Stabilization?

Yes, the Sony Alpha 550 features built-in SteadyShot image stabilization, which helps to reduce camera shake and produce sharper images.

Does the Sony Alpha 550 Support 4K Video Recording?

The Sony Alpha 550 does not support 4K video recording, as it does not have video functionality.

What Size Sensor Does The Sony Alpha 550 Have?

The Sony Alpha 550 is equipped with an APS-C sized sensor, which is smaller than a full-frame sensor but larger than a Micro Four Thirds sensor.

Does the Sony Alpha 550 Have a Dual Memory Card Slot?

No, the Sony Alpha 550 has a single memory card slot that supports Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD/SDHC cards.

Does the Sony Alpha 550 Have a Touch Screen?

No, the Sony Alpha 550 does not feature a touch screen. Instead, it has a 3-inch tilting LCD screen for image composition and review.

Does the Sony Alpha 550 Have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth?

The Sony Alpha 550 does not have built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity for wireless image transfer or remote control.

Does the Sony Alpha 550 Have GPS?

No, the Sony Alpha 550 does not have a built-in GPS for geotagging images.

Is the Sony Alpha 550 Weather Sealed?

No, the Sony Alpha 550 is not weather sealed, so it is not recommended for use in harsh weather conditions or environments with dust and moisture.

Does the Sony Alpha 550 Have a Built-in Flash?

Yes, the Sony Alpha 550 has a built-in pop-up flash for low-light situations and fill-flash needs.

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