Features & Controls (cont.)

Here we have the back of the camera, with the majority of real estate occupied by the large 3.0-inch LCD. Starting at the top left we have the OFF/ON power switch. Along the left hand side of the LCD are the MENU, DISPlay, DELETE, and PLAYback buttons. To the right is the AEL LOCK button with the METERING mode switch mounted around it. Continuing right is the AF/MF button and the rear control dial.

Next is the 5-way directional pad or "joystick", which is used for menu navigation, scrolling through stored images, and accepting selections when pressed inward. The final three controls include the Fn (Function) button, which pulls up a shortcut menu with access to various settings, the Custom button, and the SteadyShot ON/OFF switch.

Unlike their consumer level Alpha dSLR models, the A850 does Not offer Live View functionality. This means you have to use the optical viewfinder 100% of the time, unless you use the supplied A/V cables to output the live image to an external monitor. However, the A850 does still offer the Shooting Information display that we see on most all dSLRs these days. This screen display offers a wealth of exposure and camera setting information, that is also accessible when pressing the Fn button. This mode is also orientation aware, so when shooting in the vertical position it changes orientation automatically.


As you can see from the illustration above, whether you are holding it in the horizontal or vertical position, the shooting information display is easy to see and read.

On the grip we can see several controls. At the top we have the front control dial, with the shutter release mounted directly behind. The next five buttons all you to directly access exposure compensation, Drive mode, White Balance, and ISO sensitivity. The last button turns the "Display panel's" backlight on and off. This small monochrome Data LCD is used to quickly see changes to Shutter speed, Aperture, Exposure, White Balance, ISO, and Drive mode. There are also icons for batter life and number of frames remaining.

The Mode Dial is located on the top left, and has positions for Full-Auto, Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual, and Custom (1/2/3).

Images are stored on either Memory Stick Duo cards, Compact Flash type 1/2 memory, and Microdrives. They claim the A850 is UDMA (Mode 5) Compliant. Both can be loaded at the same time, and we recommend using Memory Stick PRO Duo and UDMA type CF cards with this camera.


Here we can see the main four I/O ports. On the let we have the REMOTE (use external remote shutter) and DC IN (use an external power source) ports, while on the right are the combination USB 2.0 hi-speed digital port and the Video Out port (selectable for NTSC or PAL television systems) as well as a HDMI type C minijack for High Definition output. Sony does supply a standard "RCA" type video cable, HDMI output requires an optional cable. On the front of the camera there is also the Flash Sync terminal (not shown above).


The DSLR-A850 uses a powerful Sony NP-FM500H 7.2v 1650 mAh "InfoLITHIUM" rechargeable battery pack. Sony claims the pack will allow you to capture approx. 880 pictures when using the CIPA Standard testing methods.

The supplied BC-VM10 battery charger requires approx. 235 minutes to charge a fully depleted battery pack or 175 minutes for a normal charge. You can also purchase the optional AC-PW10AM AC Adaptor to power the camera for extended use in a studio type situation.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.