Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sony Launches 3 New DSLRs

Sony wants a piece of the DSLR market. Launching 3 new cameras at the same time is rather bold. I can't remember Canon or Nikon releasing 2 cameras at a time. They typically have a 12-18 month release schedule and it's typically only 1 at a time.

Sony is targeting the consumer market right now. Although, they did makes some waves with the release of the A900, a full frame 24.6 megapixel camera under $3,000. So who should consider the new A230, A330 & A380, well if you're looking at stepping up from a point and shoot, you should at least take a look. The A230 & A330 are both priced well under $1,000 and that's with a 2 lens kit (18-55 mm & 55-200 mm). If you're just shooting family pictures and not doing any pro-work, these lenses should suffice your needs and at 10 megapixels, you'll get some nice sized prints, more than enough pixels for a 4x6 print.

The only difference between these 2 cameras is that the A330 has Live View and a tilt-able LCD screen. I've got Live View on my Canon, but it's slow to focus, which means most of my shots have been out of focus. I've typically used this feature when shooting above people's heads at a press conference trying to frame the shot with the LCD screen. Not an easy task considering the angle your trying to view it from. In which case the tilt-able LCD screen would have been helpful. I'm seeing the tilt-able screen pop up on other cameras, most recently on the Nikon D5000. Not a big reason to buy, but helpful. I just don't know how durable the screen will be. The more moving parts, the greater the chance for failure. The only only difference between the higher end A380 is it's a 14.2 megapixel camera.

As for the performance of these cameras, well, the jury is still out. I just checked and they only had the press release and no official reviews. But check back with them if you really want all the technical specs and tests. I'm really interested in how they'll compare to the Canon Rebel and Nikon models. Their earlier models scored modest results, behind Canon and Nikon. But for what you're getting, like I said, you should at least take a look. As always, go to your local camera store and get it in your hands. It's important to go through the menu interface and make sure it feels comfortable in your hands. Some people like having every control available on the camera without having to dig through menus to change a simple setting. If you have to go through a menu for simple changes, you're not focused on what's happening in front of the lens and you'll miss the shot.

If you plan on expanding lenses and buying additional gear for your Sony Alpha, you might want to reconsider. There is still a limited amount of lenses available compared to Canon and Nikon. However they do have their own line of flashes and other accessories to complete your gear, so don't feel like you're missing out. If you plan on expanding your gear or think you want to make a career out of photography, you should look at Canon or Nikon. It gets expensive when you have to replace your camera and every piece of glass if you decide to switch later on.

I'm hoping that Sony's introduction of new products puts some pressure on Nikon and Canon (especially Canon) to release some improved products. I'll go into my thoughts on Canon at a later post (I love my Canon, but it can be better).

I'm not a reviewer and I won't be posting tests on specific cameras, not even my own. There are plenty of other reviewers with a lot more time and resources.


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