• APS-C 372.9mm2
  • 12.3 megapixels
  • ISO 200 - 3200
  • APS-C 369.7mm2
  • 14.2 megapixels
  • ISO 200 - 12,800

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Differences

Nikon D300S advantages over Sony DSLR-A550

  • Lens selection
    Excellent vs Good
    Better lens selection gives you more options
  • Fast startup
    ~0.30 vs 0.5 sec
    Faster startup lets you catch the moment
  • Top deck display
    Yes vs No
    Check settings with a screen on top of the camera
  • External Mic Jack
    Jack vs No jack
    Improved sound fidelity when shooting video
  • More cross-type AF points
    15 vs 1
    Cross-type AF points improve autofocus performance
  • Higher max flash sync
    1/250 vs 1/160 sec
    Reduce the effect of ambient light in flash shots
  • Pentaprism viewfinder
    Pentaprism vs Pentamirror
    Much better viewfinder picture fidelity
  • Shoots 24p video
    Yes vs No
    Gives your movies a big-screen feel
  • More viewfinder magnification
    0.63x vs 0.53x
    Get a bigger view of the scene through the eye-level viewfinder
  • Dual card slots
    Yes vs No
    Gives you more storage flexibility
  • More AF points
    51 vs 9
    More AF points improve autofocus
  • Bigger JPEG buffer
    26 vs 15 shots
    Take more JPEG shots before waiting (burst mode)
  • Faster shutter
    1/8000 vs 1/4000 sec
    Shoot wide open in bright light

Sony DSLR-A550 advantages over Nikon D300S

  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
    Yes vs No
    Reduces the effects of camera shake at slower shutter speeds
  • Tiltable Screen
    Tiltable vs Fixed
    Tilt the screen for shooting flexbility
  • More pixels
    14.2 vs 12.3 megapixels
    Higher resolution photos
  • Higher extended ISO
    12800 vs 6400 ISO
    Higher extended ISO can give more low-light flexibility

Similarities

Common Strengths

  • Eye-level viewfinder
    Both provide
    You'll be able to frame photos even when the sun is out
  • Internal flash
    Both provide
    Useful in a pinch for fill flash
  • HDMI out
    Both provide
    Use an external screen to monitor or review video
  • Hot shoe
    Both provide
    Off-camera flashes open new possibilities
  • Bulb shutter
    Both provide
    Hold the shutter open manually for long exposures

Common Weaknesses

  • Focus peaking
    Neither provide
    Your camera will highlight what's in focus
  • Touchscreen
    Neither provide
    Interact with your camera just like your smartphone
  • In-camera panoramas
    Neither provide
    Stitches multiple shots into a panoramic photo
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
    Neither provide
    Share your photos wirelessly
  • Built-in Bluetooth
    Neither provide
    Always-on wireless connectivity
  • Built-in GPS
    Neither provide
    Geotag your photos
  • On-sensor phase detect
    Neither provide
    Usually improves live view and video AF performance
  • Headphone jack
    Neither provide
    Monitor audio recording while you shoot video
  • Slow-motion videos
    Neither provide
    Shoot slow-motion videos

User reviews

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Your purchases support this site

Review Excerpt

  • Rugged construction; 51-point AF system capable of sophisticated AF tracking; Large, bright optical viewfinder; 7 fps JPEG or 12-bit RAW burst mode; HD Video capture.

  • 14-bit RAW mode slows continuous shooting from 7 fps to 2.7 fps; Somewhat slow AF for a camera at this level, especially in 51-point auto-area mode; Video capture tops out at 720p24.

The Competition

Compared to Nikon D90

Nikon D300S
Nikon D90
  • $1495
  • APS-C
  • External Mic Jack
  • More cross-type AF points
  • $1300
  • APS-C
  • Higher effective ISO
  • Bigger JPEG buffer
Sony DSLR-A550
Nikon D90
  • $859
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • $1300
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Fast startup

Compared to Canon 50D

Nikon D300S
Canon 50D
  • $1495
  • APS-C
  • Higher effective ISO
  • Longer stills battery life
  • $1000
  • APS-C
  • Less shutter lag
  • More pixels
Sony DSLR-A550
Canon 50D
  • $859
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • $1000
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Fast startup

Compared to Pentax K-7

Nikon D300S
Pentax K-7
  • $1495
  • APS-C
  • Fast startup
  • Higher effective ISO
  • $1300
  • APS-C
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • Less shutter lag
Sony DSLR-A550
Pentax K-7
  • $859
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Tiltable Screen
  • $1300
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Top deck display

Compared to Sony DSLR-A500

Nikon D300S
Sony DSLR-A500
  • $1495
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Fast startup
  • $850
  • APS-C
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • Tiltable Screen
Sony DSLR-A550
Sony DSLR-A500
  • $859
  • APS-C
  • More dots on screen
  • More pixels
  • $850
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive

Compared to Sigma SD1 Merrill

Nikon D300S
Sigma SD1 Merrill
  • $1495
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Less expensive
  • $2299
  • APS-C
  • More pixels
  • Doesn't require an AA filter
Sony DSLR-A550
Sigma SD1 Merrill
  • $859
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • $2299
  • APS-C
  • Pentaprism viewfinder
  • More viewfinder magnification
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