Product Type: Sony digital cameras
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Sony set new budget D-SLR benchmark
Sony a (alpha) DSLR-A200K
Member Name: sidthegeek
Sony a (alpha) DSLR-A200K
Advantages: Excellent picture quality, simple to use, feature-packed
Disadvantages: Disapointing software, problems expanding/upgrading later?
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.
Summary: Probably the best value Digital SLR on the market
|Ease of use:|
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