Sony A850 Review

November 19, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Sony A850 from around the web. »

Rather than upping the new model's feature set Sony decided to leave the A850 (compared to the A900) almost unchanged and compete exclusively on price. The new model is available at a RRP of $2000, making it the cheapest full-frame DSLR currently on the market. Obviously something had to be done to justify the price difference to the flagship A900 (and not completely annoy existing A900 owners), so Sony decided to differentiate the A850 from its bigger brother by slightly reducing the viewfinder coverage and the buffer size (the latter resulting in a 3.0 fps vs 5.0 fps continuous shooting rate).
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With the new A850 Sony is pushing the price envelope once more. The A900 currently sells for $2,700, with Canon being forced to match them in terms of pricing with the 5D MKII, the only other 20+MP full-frame camera available in this price range. (The Canon 1Ds MKIII is currently about $6,500 and the Nikon D3x is some $8,000, so both are in another league altogether).
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Sony tells us that the body, sensor, and electronics are identical to those of the A900, and our tests of the Sony A850 bear that out: Image quality is essentially identical to that of the A900, and other performance characteristics apart from the continuous-mode speed and viewfinder coverage appear identical as well. If you've been hungering for an A900 but couldn't quite justify the cost, the Sony A850 is the camera you've been waiting for.
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