A Trio Of Sony D-SLRs; The Sony A350, A300, And A200 Page 3
All of the new Alpha cameras are fast, easy to operate, and capable of generating beautiful images. Any of this trio would be a fine choice for first time D-SLR buyers and for many photo enthusiasts. The A300 and A350 provide Live View, a definite bonus because this feature has been very successfully implemented; it's likely to satisfy even those who are upgrading from a digicam. While the A350 provides the highest resolution, the 12-megapixel A700 (reviewed in the January 2008 issue) comes close. That very rugged semipro model is even faster and more versatile, though more complicated, so it remains most appropriate for the experienced, serious photographer.
Since unveiling their first D-SLR in June 2006, Sony has become a strong contender in this market by offering a wide range of high-performance cameras. Their line of lenses has expanded quickly, too, and the Alpha brand includes the other essential accessories. Two years ago, the A100 appealed primarily to those who already owned some compatible Maxxum lenses. Today, the system is succeeding on its own merits. Regardless of your budget or needs, you should be able to find at least one Alpha camera that's just right in terms of feature set, performance, and value.
|Sensor And Processor||10.2 megapixels effective (3872x2592); Bionz LSI engine with Dynamic Range Optimizer||14.2 megapixels (4592x3056); same processor|
|File Formats||JPEG, raw, and raw+JPEG||Same|
|Lens Mount||Alpha; compatible with Maxxum; 1.5x field of view crop||Same|
|Viewfinder||Penta-mirror; 0.74x magnification; Spherical Acute Matte screen||Same|
|Capture Modes||P, S, A, M, Auto, and seven Scene modes||Same|
|Metering||40-zone Evaluative (1200-zone in Live View, A300 only), Center-Weighted
and Spot only; exposure compensation and bracketing
||Same as A300|
|Live View||A300 only, on 2.7" extending/tilting 230,000 pixel LCD with Quick
AF (using a secondary sensor) or manual focus
||Same as A300|
|Framing Rate||3 fps (both) for six raw or numerous JPEGs; A300: 2.5 fps in Live View||2.5 fps, or 2 fps in Live View, for four raw or numerous JPEGs|
|Autofocus||Nine-point sensor, cross-hatched central point; automatic or manual focus
point selection; AF assist with flash; Eye-Start activation
|Stabilizer||Super SteadyShot (sensor shift); also provides sensor dust removal||Same|
|Other Features||Numerous WB modes, with fine-tuning and bracketing options; many Flash
modes; Wireless and High-Speed Sync flash with optional units; eight Picture
Styles (sRGB) and Adobe RGB with selectable Contrast, Saturation,
Sharpness levels; Dynamic Range Optimizer; high ISO NR on/off
|Storage||Compact Flash I or II; optional Memory Stick adapter||Same|
|Power||Rechargeable InfoLITHIUM battery; optional AC adapter and vertical battery
|Dimensions||5.2x3.8x2.7" and 5.25x4x3", respectively||5.25x4x3"|
|Weight||18.8 oz and 20.5 oz, respectively||20.5 oz|
|Street Price 18-70mm DT Zoom||$599 and $699, respectively||$899 ($799 body only)|
Note: THE A200 AND A300 ARE NOT SOLD AS "BODY ONLY."
For more information, contact Sony Electronics Inc., 16530 Via Esprillo, Ste. MZ 7104, San Diego, CA 92127; (877) 865-7669; www.sonystyle.com.
A long-time "Shutterbug" contributor, stock photographer Peter K. Burian (www.peterkburian.com) is the author of several books, including "Mastering Digital Photography and Imaging" and several "Magic Lantern Guides" to Pentax and Sony D-SLR cameras. He is also a digital photography course instructor with BetterPhoto.com.