The Surprise Sony α55 Successor
Tuesday 13 March 2012 — Category: Equipment
Digital Photography Review Web site was for the successor to my precious Sony Alpha α55 — the new Sony Alpha α57!
Somehow I had not heard any rumors about an α55 replacement, so for me this preview came totally out of the blue! Of course, because I upgraded to the Sony Alpha α77 about four months ago, this new camera is not something I would seriously consider. But still, because it’s the successor to the α55, and today’s a year and two weeks after my precious α55 arrived, I find the news — and the camera specs — quite interesting.
In the Sony Alpha product line, you can think of the α77 as the big brother of the α65; the α55 as the big brother of the α33; and the α33/α55 as the cousins of the α65/α77. The α35 is the replacement for the α33, and now the α57 is the replacement for the α55. Got that?! Sometimes it’s hard to keep all of those relatives straight! α55 and the α57 is the body size. The comparison image above will help me explain — and help you visualize — the differences amongst the family members. Papa Bear — the α77 — is on the left. Baby Bear — the α55 — is on the right. Mama Bear — the α57 — in the middle, has the exact same body size as the α65. So you can see from the image that I made quite a leap when I went from the α55 straight to the α77.
So, if you wanted to summarize the α57 in a nutshell, what Sony has done is take almost all the features of the α55, and put them into the bigger body size of the α65. It’s interesting to me that they chose to increase the body size, because the compact-size body was one of the characteristics of the α55 that I didn’t like very much — it seemed a bit too small to hold on to comfortably. I can imagine that enough other customers felt the same way that Sony decided to grow things a bit.
The one feature of the α55 that did NOT make it into the larger α57 body is the GPS — which I think it a pity, because I really like the ability to geotag my photos when I’m out all day taking pictures. It is VERY useful for determining where I took each shot. I loved it in the α55, and I’m so glad that my α77 has that feature too.
Sony has made a number of small but useful tweaks when moving from the α55 to the α57, as is befitting this second-generation camera. It has the same field-sequential LCD viewfinder, but with improvements from the revised viewfinder optics. It has the same two-hinge, fully-articulated LCD screen that the α55 and α65 have, which is not quite as useful as the three-hinge screen on the α77. For a more in-depth comparison of the features between the α77 and the α55, see my previous article here.
Well, I guess that’s it for now. Whatever camera you’re using, get out there, use your photographic eye, and get some great shots!