Metering is provided by the main imaging sensor and the image area is separated into 1200 zones during evaluative metering. Evenly lit scenes tend to be exposed a little on the bright side, leading to washed out colours, so it pays to keep an eye on the histogram and apply compensation accordingly. Centre weighted and spot metering modes are also provided. A circle showing the area the light reading is taken from is shown on-screen during spot metering, which is a nice touch.

Colours are vibrant, even when using the standard picture style. If more colour is required then the landscape and vivid styles should satisfy most. Even when not using the dynamic range optimiser feature, the Sony A55 produces images with excellent dynamic range. Where highlights do blow out, the roll off into white is smooth and subtle, giving a pleasant film-like appearance.

As the translucent mirror reduces the amount of light available for imaging by a third, the sensor really needs to be good at controlling noise, and luckily it is. There are no significant signs of noise in the shadows until ISO 1600 and even ISO 12800 should be very usable for all but the largest print sizes.

Images produced by the camera appear a little softer than images produced by other contemporary cameras and a little extra sharpening, either in-camera, or afterwards in image editing software may be required subject to taste.

Sony Alpha A55 ISO performance

JPEGs

ISO 100

Sony A55 Review: 0.8secs at f/11, ISO 100

ISO 100

Sony A55 Review: ISO 100 (Click to view full size)

ISO 200

Sony A55 Review: ISO 200 (Click to view full size)

ISO 400

Sony A55 Review: ISO 400 (Click to view full size)

ISO 800

Sony A55 Review: ISO 800 (Click to view full size)

ISO 1600

Sony A55 Review: ISO 1600 (Click to view full size)

ISO 3200

Sony A55 Review: ISO 3200 (Click to view full size)

ISO 6400

Sony A55 Review: ISO 6400 (Click to view full size)

ISO 12800

Sony A55 Review: ISO 12,800 (Click to view full size)

Raw Files

ISO 100 raw

Sony A55 Review: ISO 100 (Click to view full size)

ISO 200 raw

Sony A55 Review: ISO 200 (Click to view full size)

ISO 400 raw

Sony A55 Review: ISO 400 (Click to view full size)

ISO 800 raw

Sony A55 Review: ISO 800 (Click to view full size)

ISO 1600 raw

Sony A55 Review: ISO 1600 (Click to view full size)

ISO 3200 raw

Sony A55 Review: ISO 3200 (Click to view full size)

ISO 6400 raw

Sony A55 Review: ISO 6400 (Click to view full size)

ISO 12800

Sony A55 Review: ISO 12,800 (Click to view full size)