Sony A500

Sony Alpha DSLR-A500 front
  • 12MP - APS-C Sensor
  • 3" Tilting Display
  • ISO 200 - 12800
  • Sensor based Image Stabilization
  • No Video
  • Sony/Minolta Alpha Mount
  • 630g - 137 x 104 x 84mm
  • Announced August 2009
  • Replacement is Sony A560
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Lenses
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Sony A500 summary

Sony A500 is Sony's Entry-Level DSLR camera initially launched on August of 2009. The camera features a 12MP, CMOS APS-C sized sensor and has a full resolution of 4272 x 2848.

Sony launched the more recent Sony A560 (Read Full Comparison) as a way to replace this camera.

The A500 places at #50 out of 80 in Entry-Level DSLR cameras and over-all #408 out of 1465 for digital cameras in our collection. Please check out our Smart camera search to find camera listings based on your personal requirements.

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The following is a graph of various factors used in the rating system.

Sony A500 family

The Sony A500 is part of a family of products. You can view the detailed range below.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Sony-SLT-A68 front thumbnailSony A68
A500 vs A68
24MPAPS-C8.0 fps2015
Sony-SLT-A58 front thumbnailSony A58
A500 vs A58
20MPAPS-C8.0 fps2013
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Sony-SLT-A57 front thumbnailSony A57
A500 vs A57
16MPAPS-C12.0 fps2012
Sony-SLT-A37 front thumbnailSony A37
A500 vs A37
16MPAPS-C6.0 fps2012
Sony-SLT-A65 front thumbnailSony A65
A500 vs A65
24MPAPS-C10.0 fps2011
Sony-SLT-A35 front thumbnailSony A35
A500 vs A35
16MPAPS-C6.0 fps2011
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Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A580 front thumbnailSony A580
A500 vs A580
16MPAPS-C7.0 fps2011
Sony-SLT-A33 front thumbnailSony A33
A500 vs A33
14MPAPS-C7.0 fps2010
Sony-SLT-A55 front thumbnailSony A55
A500 vs A55
16MPAPS-C10.0 fps2010
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A560 front thumbnailSony A560
A500 vs A560
14MPAPS-C5.0 fps2010
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A390 front thumbnailSony A390
A500 vs A390
14MPAPS-C3.0 fps2010
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Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A290 front thumbnailSony A290
A500 vs A290
14MPAPS-C3.0 fps2010
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A450 front thumbnailSony A450
A500 vs A450
14MPAPS-C7.0 fps2010
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A550 front thumbnailSony A550
A500 vs A550
14MPAPS-C7.0 fps2009
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A500 front thumbnailSony A50012MPAPS-C5.0 fps2009
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A380 front thumbnailSony A380
A500 vs A380
14MPAPS-C3.0 fps2009
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A330 front thumbnailSony A330
A500 vs A330
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2009
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A230 front thumbnailSony A230
A500 vs A230
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2009
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A200 front thumbnailSony A200
A500 vs A200
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2008
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Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A350 front thumbnailSony A350
A500 vs A350
14MPAPS-C3.0 fps2008
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A300 front thumbnailSony A300
A500 vs A300
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2008
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A100 front thumbnailSony A100
A500 vs A100
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2006

Sony A500 Pros and Cons

Below is a shortlist of good and bad points of the Sony A500 based on things that are often regarded as crucial in a camera.

built-in flash
comes with face detection autofocus
delivers RAW formats
image stabilization (Sensor based)
includes HDMI out
manual focus
nice screen size (3 inches)
screen tilts up and down
sensor has phase detect autofocus
sensor size is decent (APS-C)
switch lenses (Sony/Minolta Alpha mount)
display is not selfie friendly
does not have external mic support
does not have headphone support
does not have Time Lapse mode
low battery life (520 per charge)
low MP (12MP)
max frames per second low (5.0 frames per second)
no video recording
pixelated screen (230 thousand dots)
Photography Glossary

Sony A500 Sensor specifications

The Sony A500 features the Bionz processor. The sensor dimension on the Sony A500 is 23.5mm x 15.6mm (APS-C). The 367 mm² sensor can capture 4272 x 2848 pixels at aspect ratios of 3:2 and 16:9. The camera boasts Image Stabilization (Sensor based). Sensor stabilization is better than digital stabilization since the latter may lead to cropping.

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The CMOS sensor boasts 12MP and includes a native ISO range of 200 to 12800. RAW format is supported which means that you have wider margin for error.

The image below shows the A500's sensor dimensions when compared to other common sizes. The A500 sensor comes with a crop factor of 1.5 and is displayed in green.

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To get an understanding of various aspect ratios, you should refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Sony A500 dimensions

Sony A500 is 1.39 lbs (630g / 22.22 oz) and the over all size of the camera is 137mm x 104mm x 84mm (5.4" x 4.1" x 3.3"). The weight of average Entry-Level DSLR camera is 540g and the Sony A500 is heavier compared with various competitors.

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The following is a photo of the Sony A500 next to a soda to help you to have a feel for its scale.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A500 dimensions scale

The top view here will highlight the button design on the A500.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A500 topview buttons dials

Sony A500 Lens specifications

The A500 works with the Sony/Minolta Alpha mount and has 145 lenses that are available. Below is a few of the lenses we have in our database which will work with the A500.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Sigma-70-300mm-F4-5.6-DG-Macro-Sony-Alpha lensSigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro70-300mmf/4.0-5.6 550g
Sony-20mm-F2.8 lensSony 20mm F2.820mmf/2.8 285g
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Sony-24mm-F2-SSM-Carl-Zeiss-Distagon-T lensSony 24mm F2 SSM Carl Zeiss Distagon T24mmf/2.0 555g
Sony-85mm-F1.4-ZA-Carl-Zeiss-Planar-T lensSony 85mm F1.4 ZA Carl Zeiss Planar T85mmf/1.4 560g
Tamron-AF-28-200mm-F3.8-5.6-XR-Di-Aspherical-IF-Macro-Sony-Alpha lensTamron AF 28-200mm F3.8-5.6 XR Di Aspherical IF Macro28-200mmf/3.8-5.6 354g
Tamron-SP-150-600mm-F5-6.3-Di-VC-USD-G2-Sony-Alpha lensTamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2150-600mmf/5-6.3 2010g
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Sigma-10-20mm-F4-5.6-EX-DC-HSM-Sony-Alpha lensSigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM10-20mmf/4.0-5.6 470g
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Sony A500 Connectivity

The A500 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Digital cameras which have NFC and / or Bluetooth support are able to be controlled wirelessly with smartphones. You are able to send photos and oftentimes adjust settings without connecting directly to the camera.

Certain applications even allow a Liveview and release the shutter when you are not close to the camera. If the camera has a HDMI out, it can easily be connected to an external monitor. Nearly all cameras will allow you to charge the battery pack through the USB socket.

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Sony A500 Video specifications

Sony A500 doesn't record video. If you are wanting a camera to take only pictures, this is not a problem.

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Sony A500 Weather Sealing

Sony A500 does not include environment proofing so damp conditions can easily damage the camera.

Sony A500 Display and Viewfinder

The Sony A500 features a 3 inch tilting display screen boasting a resolution of 230 thousand dots.

Unfortunately the display screen is not a touch screen.

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The ViewFinder details regarding Sony A500 are below:

  • ViewFinder Optical (pentamirror)
  • Coverage 95%
  • Magnification 0.53x

In those bright outdoor conditions which make the camera displays washed out and difficult to view, viewfinders are pretty valuable.

Sony A500 Shutter specifications

Sony A500 continuous shooting speed is 5.0 frames per second. The highest shutter speed is 1/4000 seconds.

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Sony A500 Flash and Hot shoe specifications

Sony A500 boasts both built-in flash plus external flash support. The max flash sync speed is 1/160 seconds.

Sony A500 Autofocusing specifications

Sony A500 boasts both Phase Detect Autofocus and Contrast Based Autofocus. Phase Detection autofocusing is a lot faster & exact compared with Contrast Based autofocusing. The camera features Face detect which can be handy for portrait photography.

The Sensor features 9 focus points to select from. Sony A500 can use manual focusing if required for low light scenarios or you want to have more accurate control on focusing.

Photography Glossary

Sony A500 Battery life

The battery life (NP-FM500H) for the Sony A500 is fashioned to last for 520 shutters based on the CIPA benchmarks making it lower as compared with its competition. The average Entry-Level DSLR camera battery life is 589. Pentax K-x has got the best (1900) battery life for this group of cameras.

Following is a number of Entry-Level DSLR cameras with the strongest battery life:

Sony A500 for various forms of photography

The following graph shows a rundown of the Sony A500 for various forms of photography. To read more, visit the specific paragraph below.

Portrait photography with Sony A500

The Sony A500 receives a points total of 63 which is above average, meaning that it is a respectable pick for portraits. Shooting portraits favors heavily to sensor resolution, support for RAW files together with the option to use off-camera lighting.

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manual focus
sensor size is decent (APS-C)
has face detect focusing
exports RAW files
low megapixels (12MP)

Sony A500 Street photography info

Having a very good points total of 74, the Sony A500 is a fine fit to buy for street photography. A very good street photography camera has a fine balance of image quality plus portability.

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has a tilting screen
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
good sensor size (APS-C)
delivers RAW files

Sony A500 Sports photography advice

A reasonable sports photography points total of 51 suggests the Sony A500 is relatively acceptable for taking pictures of sports. A camera needs good tracking and fast continuous shooting for sports photography.

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has image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is decent (APS-C)
supports phase detect autofocus
low frames per second (5.0 frames/s)
low megapixels (12MP)
terrible battery life (520 shots)

Sony A500 Travel photography highlights

Portability is extremely critical in picking a camera for travel. Over-all, the Sony A500 gets a terrible 43 for a travelling camera which makes it not suitable to take with you on your vacations.

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flash built-in
does not have Timelapse function
not so great battery (520 CIPA)
low resolution sensor (12 megapixels)
screen is not selfie friendly

Landscape photography with Sony A500

For anybody planning to buy a digital camera for landscape pictures, the biggest factor will be image quality. The Sony A500 at it's moderate score of 60 for a landscape camera is fairly acceptable amongst its competitors.

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manual focus
change lenses (Sony/Minolta Alpha mount)
nice screen size (3")
image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is decent (APS-C)
exports RAW formats
megapixel count low (12 megapixels)
not so great battery power (520 CIPA)
does not have Time Lapse mode

Vlogging with Sony A500

A camera for vlogging should really have a moving screen, microphone port and if possible image stabilization. Taking everything into account, the Sony A500 is not suitable for vlogging as it receives a terrible rating of 9.

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no video recording

Sony A500 Alternatives

If you are interested in alternatives to the A500, here is a list of the highest placed cameras that fall into the category of Entry-Level DSLR.

The chart followed below offers you a bird's eye view of the A500 compared to it's top scoring competitors listed earlier.

There are more cameras you may take a look at as alternative options. To go through a full comparison, visit the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Sony Alpha DSLR-A500
Entry-Level DSLR
Physical type
Compact SLR
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Sensor dimensions
23.5 x 15.6mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
12 megapixels
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
3:2 and 16:9
Max resolution
4272 x 2848
RAW pictures
Max native ISO
Lowest native ISO
Manual focusing
AF touch
Continuous AF
AF single
AF tracking
Selective AF
AF center weighted
AF multi area
AF live view
Face detect AF
Contract detect AF
Phase detect AF
Total focus points
Lens mount type
Sony/Minolta Alpha
Amount of lenses
Focal length multiplier
Type of display
Display sizing
3 inches
Resolution of display
230 thousand dots
Selfie friendly
Touch operation
Viewfinder Information
Optical (pentamirror)
Viewfinder coverage
Viewfinder magnification
DXO scores
DXO Overall rating
DXO Color Depth rating
DXO Dynamic range rating
DXO Low light rating
Minimum shutter speed
Fastest shutter speed
Continuous shutter rate
5.0 frames per sec
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Expose Manually
Exposure compensation
Change WB
Image stabilization
Inbuilt flash
Flash distance
12.00 m
Flash settings
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, High Speed Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in, Wireless
External flash
Auto exposure bracketing
White balance bracketing
Fastest flash synchronize
Multisegment exposure
Average exposure
Spot exposure
Partial exposure
AF area exposure
Center weighted exposure
Video features
Max video resolution
Mic support
Headphone support
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental sealing
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
630g (1.39 lb)
137 x 104 x 84mm (5.4" x 4.1" x 3.3")
Battery life
520 photographs
Style of battery
Battery Pack
Battery ID
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec)
Time lapse feature
Storage type
SD/ SDHC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Card slots
Retail pricing