After holding on to film photography for as long as I possibly could, I took the plunge and bought a digital SLR. I got a good deal on the Sony a200 with the 18-70mm kit lens and I'm so glad I went for it!
The camera feels great in the hands, it's a bit on the light side, but not worryingly so, and the shape is very comfortable to hold. The shutter release button is located nicely and the adjustment wheel (for changing aperture/shutter speed depending on setting) is easy to find and use without moving from the viewfinder. The camera feels generally very well put together and is more solid than its weight and price point would suggest. The mode selection wheel is on the left, keeping it out of the way of more commonly used features (mine hasn't left aperture priority in months).
It's quick to focus, and has built in shake reduction that doesn't rely on compatible lenses. The Super Steadyshot function is really quite effective, it's no match for a tripod or a solid wall to lean on, but will leave you feeling like you've got the hands of a surgeon, enabling the ISO to be dropped to reduce noise or stop down the aperture a bit for added DOF.
The included kit lens is more than capable of taking some great shots, and is as sharp as anyone could require above f/5.6, but with a maximum aperture of f/3.5 it's not ideal for low light environments and a brighter lens would be a good purchase. Modern Minolta lenses are compatible with the Sony Alpha mount so a nice lens can often be had quite cheaply when buying second hand.
There is really only one thing about this camera that bothered me, and that is the flash. It's just too low, which causes a shadow to be cast by the lens when shooting within a few feet of the subject. It's not an issue for telephoto shots, but if you're planning to do a lot of indoor shooting, a flash unit would be a wise purchase.
This is my first DSLR and i love it .. I was unsure as to go with sony initially as Nikon and Cannon seem to be the leaders in the DSLR market. After purchasing the Sony i am glad i made the decision i did.
The Sony A200 is the cheapest in the range and has just been replaced by the A230. The A200 is a well built camera which feeels sturdy and of high build quality as with most sony products.
Features of the camera are high with anti shake built in and a mechanism that cleans the inside everytime you turn the camera off.
Picture quality is very good and if your a beginer to DSLR you wont be dissapointed as he jump form a compact camera image is very noticable. Shooting in Auto mode can produce amazing pics straight from the box.
As with most DSLR's, the 18-70mm lens provided has its limits and i found i was frustrated very quickly with the zoom functionality and limited Macro oppertunity .. but i was aware of this limitation before. As Sony bought out minolta there are a wide variety of lens on offer to fit the alpha range.
The menu of the camera i feel is not layed out as well as the Nikon D60 but is still perfectly workable and shows the vital information and a great feature is the battery life in percentage instead of just bars shooting down.
The addition of liveview would be nice but this is not something you get with cheaper end dslr's so dont worry as getting used to the viewfinder is easy.
With some decent lens this camera can rival any for the beginer to internediate photographer ... you wont be dissapointed!!
The Sony Alpha 200k is a nice piece of kit for the first time DSLR buyer. When compared to the Canon and Nikon DSLR market theres no comparison on price and quality as nothing in this price range can beat it (the olympus entry level DSLR with pancake lens to me isnt a true entry level DSLR) and unless you want to spend £100 more for the Canon EOS 450D nothing can touch it. If you have never used a DSLR or an SLR then the first thing to note is its not simple by any means, but luckly enough theres a full Auto setting. The size of the camera is average for a DSLR and everythings where you would expect it to be. Build quality is a bit of a worry as it feels solid enough but is made from plastic. I would have expected better from sony. All in all its a great camera for someone wanting to test the water in the DSLR pond. Lenses options are unlimited as konica, tamron, sigma and sony lenses should fit as standard.
Picture quality....As with all DSLR i would put this down to the lense. The lense as standard (18-70) is good for everyday pics and amature photos. If your looking for the wow factor then invest in a telezoom and you wont go wrong.
Great buy at a bargain price, but dont expect to become David Bailey with this unit.
This is the first digital slr camera i ever purchased and i was not disappointed.
The camera *************
This camera offers an affordable move up from the compact to a digital slr. It incorporates a huge range of creative options plus brilliant picture quality.
Here are some of the features that the camera offers
10.2 effective megapixel CCD sensor plus optimised BIONZ processor for enhanced picture quality, reduced image noise and responsive operation
High sensitivity up to ISO3200 with high-ISO noise reduction for successful handheld shooting in low light without flash
D-Range Optimiser adjusts brightness and contrast for beautifully-exposed backlit scenes
Enhanced SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilisation offers 2.5-3.5 steps anti-shake performance with all α-mount lenses*
Large 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD with easy-to-use function display and percentage battery life indicator
Improved 9-point centre cross AF with EyeStart activation for fast, accurate focusing
Continuous shooting at 3fps (JPEG Fine mode, limited by memory card capacity)
High-capacity InfoLITHIUM battery allows up to 750 shots between charges (CIPA measurement)
Dual anti-dust system protects sensor during lens exchange
SteadyShot INSIDE was previously known as Super SteadySho
Ok so what does all this babble actually mean and how does the camera handle i hear you ask. First off it fits nicely into your hand and it feels sturdy to the touch. The weight of the camera is only 532 grams which is what some compact camera weigh.
The lenses for the camera are what is known as a sony A-mount so its compatible with A-Mount bayonet lenses from Minolta and Konica Minolta. This means that there are lots of lenses easily available and you do not have to go out and spends £100's of pounds on special lenses to fit it.
It has inbuilt anti shake so it helps to keep your photos crisp and sharp even when shooting handheld with slower shutter speeds.
It comes with double anti dust which means every time you switch the camera off it gently shakes the sensors to dislodge any dust.
You can set the camera to full automatic, semi automatic or manual depending on your needs. It also has its own inbuilt pop up flash and also has a hot shoe for detachable flash guns to be fitted too.
The pictures i get with this camera are exceptional. You really do notice the difference in the sharpness of the photos. This is a great camera for learning how to use and master a DSLR.
Even at a high ISA setting the noise or speckles on the photos was not too bad. The controls on the camera are well placed and easy to to use and reach. The on screen menu has been made simple and easy to use enabling you to concentrate on getting that great shot.
It does not have live view on the back panel but i prefer to view through the view finder anyway so it was not something that concerned me. The main reason i brought this camera is the unbeatable price as well as the features included in the camera itself.
Unlike some low end slr cameras, sony have included a fairly high quality lens and this helps to provide you with exceptional pictures even in auto mode. There are lots of settings to experiment with and take your photography to a much higher level.
The only down side i could find with the camera is that the actual casing does make it look like a cheap camera, but this does not bother me as i would rather substitute flashy looks for the high technical features that sony have put in the camera.
I think i have said this before but its worth saying again, this is a very affordable camera that gives great results and will suite any kind of photography at amateur level you want to experiment with.
This was my firsgt move from a pocket digital into the world of SLR's. Having just has a baby I wanted to make sure I caught all the best moments and the continous shotting mode is perfect for this as he moves about a lot!. I went for the sony over the better known camera brands as it was much cheaper for all the features included, especially with the anti-shake in the body rather than the lens. The quality of the piccies is ace, even shooting on the auto mode which I do most of the time. My only concern was whether to get the version with the live view on the back. I opted not to in the end for price reasons and whilst there have been maybe 2 ocassions where it may have been useful, the reality is that an SLR is supposed to be used using the viewfinder and you end up using this most of the time.
interface with the computer is excellent and the controls on the camera are really intuitive and easy to find. very good buy for the cash. It has also won may awards, including best entry level dslr. nuff said.
I have recently purchased the Sony DSLR A200K and it is my first DSLR camera. I am currently studying for a degree in Fine Art and wanted to begin including photography in my work. I looked at several cameras and reviews to find out which would be best within my budget.
So I took a gamble and bought the Sony. It was definitely the best decision! This camera has been fantastic to use ever since getting it out of the box. It has a clear and easy-to-follow manual and all of the functions on the camera can be used with absolute ease. I am so pleased with this camera and think it is the perfect camera to ease me into photography.
As mentioned before, it is incredibly easy to use, as I am not wonderful with new gadgets; I thought it would take me time to learn how to use it. I was wrong, within a few minutes I was adjusting settings and taking great quality photographs. The battery life is also really impressive, lasting for hours. I would happily recommend this camera to any beginners who are about to buy their first DSLR. The only small disadvantage that I can find is that it is very slightly heavier than other DSLR cameras, but it more than makes up for it in all its other qualities. With ten mega pixels and an 18-70mm lense, you really can't go wrong for the money.
I purchased this camera after much research, my only other foray with an SLR format camera being a Canon T80. The Sony was to be a 'next step up' from my bridge-style Fuji S5700.
Build quality is better than I was expecting for a sub-£300 camera, and the controls are well laid-out, and the body well-balanced when fitted with the supplied lens.
My first thought was "what do you get in the box?". Well, just the camera body, a zoom lens, charger, battery, USB cable & neckstrap (oh, and a curious little device to drop over the eye piece to prevent stray light entering the camera when shooting self-portraits).
Like most pro/semi-pro dSLR cameras, the Sony A 200 uses a CompactFlash card (they have a faster access speed than SD card).
With a charged battery in place along with a (borrowed) 128mb CF card, it was time to have a play.
Anyone who has used multi-mode digital cameras will find all the usual modes available to them including 'Sport', 'Macro' & 'portrait'.
Unlike my S5700, the A200 has no 'live view', however this isn't an oversight, as trying to use a dSLR with a long lens whilst holding the camera at arms length is really not a good idea and holding the camera to your eye encourages the correct triangular stance that makes for good photos.
The screen on the back isn't just for viewing photos on though, it displays all the current camera settings including ISO ratiing & 'F' number. There are a few interesting tricks up the A200's sleeve, such as a 'settings adjustment wheel' which allows you to set the camera to match its automatically suggested settings prior to fully depressing the shutter, and a focusing wheel for adjusting the focus on the view finder so us spectacle wearers can use the camera without our glasses.
I would highly recommend the purchase of a UV filter to give protection to the lens without altering the light-colour in any way. I recently had the chance to go out and about to take some photos of bluebells and other woodland flora and fauna, I was extremely pleased with the end results, with the colours in the photos matching those of the subject exactly.
I haven't touched the software yet, as I use the GIMP for photo editing.
If you are looking for an entry level Digital SLR camera I would say that you can do no better than the Sony Alpha 200.
Recently I was looking to purchase a digital SLR after my Canon EOS 650 started to develop a sticky shutter. Looking around for a beginners Digital SLR, the choice for me was between the Nikon D60 and the Canon EOS 400D. I always thought my preference would be for the Canon. Looking around at prices, I found this, and £100 cheaper than the other two I had to take a look.
Sony themselves are relative newcomers to the digital SLR market, though they've been producing lenses for years in their camcorder range. Sony is a name everyone knows from other markets and look like they want to break in the the camera market and take away the lions share from the two big camera giants. One big factor for me when forking out quite a bit of money on a camera is the availability of other lenses, flash guns etc.
The camera itself is a good size, and feels rather comfotable in the hand with the moulded grip. Its a little bigger and less cumbersome to hold than the canon.
The camera itself is easy to use, no matter how new you are to SLR cameras. There are plenty of point and shoot modes for different situations, and these themselves give pretty good results. The menus are intuitive and easy to follow, though there are plenty of options there to get yourself confused over!
This camera doesnt have a Live View, which many of the D-SLR cameras seem to getting now. This should be less of a problem for SLR migrators than compact upgraders, though its worth nothing that you're not going to hold the camera quite so steady out in front of you, so it wasnt really a factor for me.
The quality of the lens that ships with it is really rather good. Canon themselves have been known to ship very poor quality lenses with their bottom end cameras, but no such trouble here. Image quality is excellent.
I found the battery life to be good, even when needing to use the flash. A sunny day out taking over 300 pics left me with more than 50% battery life, which is much more than the manual suggests.
For me one of the downsides was the fact this camera takes CompactFlash and not SD, but only because I have plenty of SD cards and CF tends to be a little more expensive. I'd recommend getting an SanDisk Extreme III, at least 4Gb as if you're storing RAWs your memory is going to go quite fast if you're trigger happy.
The software that comes bundled with the camera can be a little confusing, you seem to get three pieces of software that link to each other depending on what you want to do, but if you want to manipulate the RAW files then you have to live with it. Its not horrifically bad, I just felt that having all the options in one place like your Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop might be nice.
Overall I'm extremely happy with my purchase. I paid £270 at Dixons, which is an amazing price for a D-SLR of this quality. I would happily recommend this to anyone looking for an entry level Digital SLR. Its deliverys great quality shots, is simple to use for beginners with enough settings to play with for people trying to being more technical.
The Sony a (alpha) DSLR-A200 camera is perfectly positioned to carry a new generation of photographers into the creative world of DSLR performance. A DT 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 standard zoom lens is included here, as well as superb 10.2-megapixel imaging, high-sensitivity shooting, and Super SteadyShot in-camera image stabilization that reduces blur with a brilliant array of Sony, Carl Zeiss and Minolta a-mount lenses. It's also fast, lightweight and incredibly easy to operate, with a large 2.7" LCD screen, simple Function Guide menu display and Creative Style settings to fine-tune camera performance. The powerful Bionz processing engine is also included to increase response time.
Superb image quality gives you great DSLR shots right from the start, with a large APS-size CCD imager developed by Sony to expand dynamic range, minimize noise more effectively and provide greater detail for making big prints or cropping in tight on your subject.
Broad sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200 enables the a (alpha) DSLR-A200 to capture beautiful color images even in very dim light - with High ISO Noise Reduction technology that reduces picture noise artifacts at high-sensitivity ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 settings by eliminating noise from RAW data after analog-to-digital conversion.
A high-performance sensor detects vibrations and the image stabilization system automatically compensates. Because image stabilization is built into the a (alpha) DSLR-A200, every lens benefits - and with an advantage of from 2.5 to 3.5 stops, you can shoot effectively at higher shutter speeds even in very low light with minimum blur from shaky hands or fast-moving subjects.
The "brain" of the a (Alpha) DSLR-A200 is the advanced Sony Bionz Image Processor, using hardware-based Large Scale Integrated (LSI) circuitry to enhance images with rich tonal reproduction, improved white balance and exposure control, and expanded D-Range Optimizer capabilities. With 2-channel data transfer from CCD to processor, your camera can also respond faster.
To improve results with backlit subjects and recover details hidden in shadows or lost in glare, the a (alpha) DSLR-A200 provides Dynamic Range Optimizer at two levels: Normal DRO, to improve detail using standard gamma curves for fast shot-to-shot response time, or Advanced DRO, to adjust dynamic range area-by-area for the greatest precision.
Changing lenses in a DSLR can allow dust to enter the camera - so to keep the CCD imager cleaner for better pictures, the a (alpha) DSLR-A200 utilizes both static-free anti-dust coating on the CCD filter and anti-dust vibration that automatically shakes the CCD to dislodge dust each time the camera is shut off.
In Auto or some scene selection modes, the camera flash automatically pops up and fires when needed to help you shoot more effectively. Flash is cancelled in Landscape, Sport or Sunset modes and in "Flash Off" position on the Exposure Mode dial.
Eye-Start Autofocus System begins precision autofocus adjustments the moment you raise the camera to your eye - so unlike some DSLR cameras that don't start focusing until the shutter button is half-pressed, the Sony a (alpha) DSLR-A200 never slows down your ability to catch fast action.
A fast focus motor and improved focus control help bring images into sharp definition more quickly, with predictive focus control that automatically calculates the position of a fast-moving subject.
A 40-segment honeycomb sensing system provides multi-pattern measuring for superior exposure control accuracy - and you can also select center-weighted or spot metering modes. You'll also have 6 preset White Balance control settings and RGB Histogram display to check color balance.
Along with auto exposure, the a (alpha) DSLR-A200 gives you scene selection modes to optimize camera performance for Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Sunset and Night Portrait/Night View situations.
To express your creativity and personal taste, you can adjust contrast, saturation and sharpness settings for any of 8 finishing styles - including Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Night View, Sunset, B & W and Adobe RGB modes.
A large built-in screen with anti-reflective coating makes it easy to read camera setup menus even in bright sunlight and improves image quality when you check your shots.
To quickly review your photos, the a (alpha) DSLR-A200 can display 4, 9 or 25-frame index views - or present automatic slide shows with fade-in/fade-out effect.
The a (alpha) DSLR-A200 can also create high-resolution thumbnail images for viewing on a Sony BRAVIA HDTV in optimized PhotoTV HD mode, with image format adjustable for standard 3:2 or widescreen 16:9 display.
On-screen menus are intuitive and easy to use - and a simple Camera Function Display can be activated and operated with one hand using the Fn (Function) button and controller button to adjust Flash mode, Autofocus mode, White Balance, Metering mode, AF area and D-Range Optimizer.
To capture action more effectively, the a (alpha) DSLR-A200 offers continuous JPEG shooting up to the limit of your flash memory card - plus RAW Burst Mode (up to 6 shots) with intelligent buffer management to allow more shots to be captured without waiting for the buffer to clear.
You can take up to 750 shots on a fully charged NP-FM500H InfoLITHIUM battery - and you'll be able to see about how much power remains in percentage increments, so you can keep shooting in confidence.
For conveniently storing and sharing your images, the ± (alpha) DSLR-A200 accepts CompactFlash Type I/II media and Memory Stick PRO Duo media via an optional adaptor.
The Sony a (alpha) system gives you everything you need to expand your creativity in DSLR photography: precision Sony DT zoom lenses and specialty lenses, Sony "G" Series lenses with advanced motorized autofocusing, amazingly bright Carl Zeiss T coated lenses, professional-quality flash units, and over 16 million Minolta a-mount lenses sold worldwide.