Alpha Fever - Sony A450 Digital SLR

The new Sony Alpha A450 digital SLR has arrived in our inbox just 4 months after the A500, A550 and A850 were announced, reinforcing the message that Sony are committed to taking a serious share of the DSLR market. The latest member of the Sony Alpha family is a cut-down version of the A550 – offering 14 megapixels, SteadyShot image stabilisation and up to 7fps continuous shooting.

The new Sony Alpha A450 digital SLR (DSLR-A450)

What has been sacrificed? Not much. The tilting LCD screen and fast Live View autofocus are the main casualties, but the Sony A450 does have one trick up its sleeve; An impressive 1,050 shot battery life (by CIPA standards).

Looking at the new line-up of APS-C Sony Alpha Digital SLRs is potentially a little daunting – there are so many choices. Here’s a quick comparison table for an overview:

Sony A230 vs A380 vs A450 vs A500 vs A550

  DSLR-A230 DSLR-A380 DSLR-A450 DSLR-A500 DSLR-A550
Megapixels 10.2 14.2 14.2 12.3 14.2
ISO Range 100-3200 100-3200 200-12,800 200-12,800 200-12,800
LCD Screen 2.7" fixed 2.7" tilting 2.7" fixed 3.0" tilting 3.0" tilting
LCD Pixels 230k 230k 230k 230k 921k
Frame Rate 2.5 2.5 5 / 7* 5 5 / 7*
RAW Buffer ? ? 14 3 14
Battery Life 510 500 1,050 950 1000
Weight 452g 489g 520g 597g 599g

* 7 FPS available in ‘speed priority’ mode, where the focus & exposure are locked at the start (AF/AE lock).

The Alpha A450 retains the Auto HDR function found in the A550, which combines two successive handheld frames with an exposure difference of up to 3EV. The creative options don’t stop there; Low-light photography is aided with option of ISO 12,800 and SteadyShot image stabilisation, which can compensate for up to 4-stops of light. Add the 9 AF points and 5-7 FPS continuous burst to the mix and you have a potent camera for action photography too.

Have Sony struck gold with the A450? Potentially – the specifications are stronger than the Nikon D5000 and Canon 500D in many respects. The real thorn in the A450’s side is the lack of HD video recording (the D5000 offers 720P and the 500D offers 720p & 1080p), presumably because Sony are concerned about damaging sales of their camcorder range... but will this end up being an expensive mistake?