At the same time as Sony announced the A845 Walkman they also gave us news of the newest addition to the ‘a’ range of DSLR cameras — the A450. Selling itself as an ‘all round model’ this aims itself at that step between the amateur and the professional, or ‘advanced’ as Sony so patronisingly put it, either way this is definitely a step up from the Sony CyberShot compact digital camera range!
But in all fairness even at first glance it does look fairly, as they put it, advanced. It boasts a 14.2 megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor (I’ll admit to not knowing what’s special about an ‘Exmor’ sensor, but it sounds good!) and a BIONZ processor which has proved effective in the past and allows for well detailed shots as well as impressively quick continuous shots, but we’ll come to that later.
Firstly we’ll have a look at the lens and screen – but not before I’ve pointed out the annoying trend for Sony to name their camera’s, MP3 players and the like with irritating ‘product key’ type names — they are dead hard to remember when you have to deal with 5 or 6 of them. What’s wrong with good old fashioned names?
Apologies for that slight digression! Back onto the specifications and the A450 offers up to ISO 12800 which combined with the BIONZ processer offers well detailed images with great “natural handheld images” in low light without flash. The bright viewfinder allows a 95% field of view which is nice, and well complimented by the option to have 7x or 14x enlargements to get the focus just right, shown on the full resolution 2.7” LCD screen, which is great for still life or architecture shots (although I thought they were the same thing!).
But for sports and other fast moving action you’ll want something with a little more speed, and the BIONZ processor (as I mentioned before) offers just that with a continuous shooting speed of 5fps, which rises up to 7fps with Speed Priority Mode on, and although the actual figure depends on the type of memory card and shooting ‘conditions’ it will be more than enough for most things you choose to throw at it.
Moving onto the more practical specifications and we’ve got the memory card options and battery both of which are quite impressive on the A450. The battery lasts up to 1,050 shots between charges and whilst that’s probably without any of the fancy features turned on it’s still the best figure that a Sony DSLR has had so far. As far as memory cards go you have the choice between Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC (or presumably both) so you can choose whichever suits you, which is nice as there’s nothing more annoying than getting a new camera and finding the £100 worth of memory cards you own don’t work with it!
If you happen to own a Sony Bravia TV (what a sensible name!) then you can show all your photos on the ‘big screen’ using PhotoTV HD optimisation, and you can easily set up a slideshow using BRAVIA Sync which you can control using your TV remote. From a marketing point of view I can’t imagine this being especially effective as I can’t think of anyone that would buy a Sony camera (or for that matter TV) based on this information, but it’s still nice to know!
Finally the fact that this is an ‘a’ camera you get the benefit of a whole load of camera accessories including flashes, cases and, oddly, GPS along of course with the wide selection of 30 lenses and 2 teleconverters. So, as patronising as it may have sounded, and as patronising as I was towards it, I think Sony were right: it really is an advanced all rounder and would make a great post-Christmas pick-me-up!