In graphic terms, posterization creates abrupt changes in tone with no or very little gradient using a limited color palette. This particular effect creates a wildly posterized photo and replaces the normal color palette with primary colors. These photos look like something out of a graphic novel. Photos taken with this effect look like pen and ink drawings. This effect adds zing to colors. Retro Photo This option reduces contrast color, creating a photo that looks aged, complete with subtle sepia tones.

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The Sony A55 also offers a number of Scene modes, a Sweep Panorama mode, and a Multi Frame NR mode which merges multiple images into a single exposure with reduced noise.

See the Modes and Menus page for more details. The A55 offers an optional live histogram function in all operating modes except Sweep Panorama. Beyond the 2. Together, the live histogram and exposure display make it relatively easy to get suitable exposures even when shooting manually. This information is taken into account when determining several exposure variables -- focus, exposure, flash and white balance.

It does, however, includes a related feature that is now pretty common in point-and-shoot cameras, but relatively unknown in large-sensor cameras. Dubbed "Smile Shutter", this allows the A55 to automatically trigger the shutter, capturing photographs by itself when a smiling face is detected within the image frame. In our testing we found the feature a little hit-and-miss, however, consistently spiking to the top of the scale and tripping the shutter for some individuals with barely the slightest smile, even when set to require a big smile.

The ISO sensitivity is adjusted through the Function menu, or by pressing the ISO Down Arrow button on the four-way controller, and adjustments can be made in one-stop increments.

In addition, the Sony A55 offers a Multi-Frame NR mode, which couples multiple shots into a single output image, in a similar manner to the Hand-held Twilight mode, but allows direct control over ISO sensitivity.

The Auto option cannot be selected in continuous shooting or bracketed image bursts. If enabled, this approximately doubles the exposure time for each shot, allowing the second dark frame exposure to be captured with the shutter closed.

A direct Kelvin temperature setting is also available, ranging from 2,K to 9,K, as is a Custom white balance setting, for setting white balance from a white or grey card. For each shutter release, the A55 records three separate image files, varying only the white balance between each image.

The default Multi-segment metering mode divides the image into 1, segments, and compares these to determine exposure. Center-Weighted gives precedence to the center of the image while reading the whole frame. Spot metering is useful for high-contrast subjects, as it bases the exposure reading on the very center of the image, letting you set the exposure based on a small portion of your subject. By default, you can lock an exposure reading separately from autofocus lock by pressing and holding the AEL button.

Alternatively, the AEL button behaviour can be changed so that pressing and releasing the button will set and release the autoexposure lock on subsequent presses. A Continuous Bracketing feature captures multiple shots with different exposures. See the Drive Mode section on Continuous Bracketing below for more details. The Dynamic Range Optimization DRO function adjusts the tone curve of captured images, bringing out shadow detail without adversely affecting highlights.

Alternatively, Sony has included a high dynamic range HDR mode, which captures three separate images with varied exposures, and then combines the images in-camera, creating a single image with significantly increased dynamic range. The A55 can either automatically select the exposure variation, or a value can be selected manually in 1EV steps within a range of 1EV to 6EV.

Since DRO only works from a single shot, it must operate entirely within the dynamic range available from the image sensor, where the HDR mode is able to capture a significantly greater dynamic range than is possible in one shot. Since DRO is effectively amplifying the signal in shadow areas of the image, it also brings increased noise or increased noise reduction in the shadows. HDR mode, meanwhile, is suitable only for relatively static subjects, given that it requires multiple exposures.

Hand-held Twilight mode shoots a burst of six images with a single press of the shutter button, using as high sensitivity as is necessary to offer hand-holdable shutter speeds. The A55 then combines all six source images into one image with reduced noise in static areas, as compared to a single shot taken with the same exposure settings. Cleverly, Hand-held Twilight mode is able to deal with moving subjects, by making the assumption that the first frame includes your intended subject.

Where the existing cameras have been able to use an electronic shutter to capture the source images, the A55 must instead rely on its physical shutter. One further difference of note is that in Multi-frame NR mode, the maximum ISO sensitivity limit of the Sony A55 is raised from its standard ISO 12, equivalent, to an impressively high 25, equivalent.

Both 2D and 3D modes are offered, with the latter cleverly comparing the relative positions of subjects as they pass the left and right sides of the lens, and using this information to create a 3D image consisting of separate 2D views, stored in a Multi Picture Object file.

From there, you can pan left, right, up, or down, simply sweeping the camera across your subject matter after pressing the shutter button. Two panorama sizes are available -- standard, or wide. Standard horizontal panoramas are limited to 15 megapixels, and vertical panoramas to 8. In Wide mode, horizontal panoramas are 23 megapixels, and vertical panoramas are 12 megapixels.

For 3D mode, only horizontal panoramas are possible, with the standard size providing 5. Depending on how much was captured, the A55 sometimes retains a partial panorama with the uncaptured portion of the image left as a flat grey.

Sony A55 Drive Modes The Sony A55 offers a variety of shooting modes through the Drive Mode option under the Function menu, which can also be accessed by pressing the left-arrow button in all shooting modes except Continuous Advance Priority, Sweep Panorama, and Hand-held Twilight modes.

Continuous Advance captures images at either six frames per second in Hi mode, or three frames per second in Lo mode, while the shutter button is held down. The Self-timer modes offers a choice of either two or ten second timers. Continuous Bracket mode lets you take a sequence of three shots with either 0. White Balance Bracket captures three images with varied white balance settings, as describe in the white balance section of this page. Finally, Remote Commander mode configures the A55 to capture images as directed by the optional RMT-DSLR1 wireless remote control, which communicates with the camera via an infrared receiver located in the top of the hand grip.

The Sony A55 also offers a separate Continuous Advance Priority mode, accessed from its own position on the Mode dial. When enabled, this boosts the frame rate significantly to a whopping ten frames per second, and allows both autofocus and autoexposure to continue to operate between frames. The only way to avoid this requirement is to use either single autofocus, or manual focus. With single autofocus, the focus point is locked from the first frame. For all six choices, Contrast and Sharpness levels may be adjusted in seven steps.

In addition, all but the black and white mode offer seven-step control over saturation. This allows them to be tagged with information regarding capture location, including latitude, longitude, altitude, receiver speed and direction, and the GPS time stamp. Movies are only tagged with information regarding the location at the start of the clip.

Accuracy will vary depending on the number of satellites in view at a particular time and location. This process has to be repeated roughly once per month, as the assist data is only good for so long. Note that all this information pertains only to the A55V model, with the standard Sony A55 model lacking a GPS receiver, and so not including this functionality. In the US market, the only available model is technically the Sony A55V, although it will likely be referred to by many users and photographers as the Sony A The images above were taken from our standardized test shots.

Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!


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