Over the past six weeks, I've been contemplating the purchase of an additional camera body. I began researching because I want to be thoroughly convinced that I won't later regret the purchase.
My initial DSLR purchase several years ago of the Sony a100 rather than any other brand was influenced by the "Super SteadyShot" in-camera image stabilization. This feature allows the purchase of telephoto lenses, which are smaller, light weight and less expensive compared to the other brands requiring lenses with a built-in image stabilization system. Except for the Sony 18-70mm kit lens that was horribly soft and I can't sell off, I've had no complaints about the camera itself. So now I'm only considering a new Sony body that will be compatible with my current lenses.
One fact I know will always come into play on any purchase is that the technology will be outdated in short order. You know how that goes with the ever-changing and improving technology. I'm not one to jump at something that is totally new because there are sure to be bugs; however, (you knew that was coming) I liked what I read about the Sony a33 and a55. These two new models have a fixed translucent mirror (also referred to as a pellicle mirror), thus the SLT (Single Lens Translucent) designator on the new models. On these translucent mirror cameras, the mirror is fixed in place and doesn't swing away. Keeping that in mind I understand this has a slight effect on the percentage of light passing through to the imaging sensor.
On the a100, I only had the option of focusing through the viewfinder, taking the photo then viewing it on the fixed LCD screen. The a33 & a55 offer photo composition with the view finder and the Tilt/Swivel 3-inch LCD screen (180°) which makes it great for framing an image while shooting from normally difficult high and low angles.
So yesterday, when I read that the Sony a55 was voted Camera of the Year by the editors of Popular Photography I took a small sigh of relief. I'm still wavering between the two new "SLT" models but I'm also a bit more confident that the approximate $100 difference for a larger sensor, 10fps continuous shooting and other upgrades (not so much the built in GPS) is worth it.
I don't want to spend extra if I think the more expensive model is giving me something that I really don't need or won't use. In this case the price difference isn't that great so I think (maybe) I'm closer to making a decision.