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Sony's dSLR's - Continuing The Konica / Minolta Legacy

When Konica / Minolta went bust in 2006, Sony took over their dSLR division - so when you see a Sony dSLR don't be fooled into thinking that these are the new kids on the block - Sony is continuing a proud legacy of cameras that's been around for over 100 years.

Let's take a look at the current Sony range, which now includes entry level models, right up to a full-frame pro spec model with industry leading resolution. So if you've got some auto-focus Minolta Lenses hanging around, or fancy a look at some of the best value for money SLR's out there, Sony are definitely worth a consideration.

Sony DSLR-A200K. Let's not beat around the bush here, you can grab an Alpha 200 from Amazon right now for £260 - only beaten in price by the much older Nikon D40, so as an entry-level dSLR what do you get for this unbelievable price?

The A200 can ship with the 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 Kit Lens - offering more reach than the normal 18-55 that comes with it's rivals. 10.2 Megapixels, in-camera image stabilisation (instead of in the lens), 9 point AF system, 3 frames per second maximum shooting speed, and a dual type anti-dust system. Few!

That is an amazing spec for less than £300, and unlike the D40, the A200 offers exposure auto-bracketing - really helpful if you're into HDR's. OK, it doesn't have live view on the 2.7" LCD, but at this price it isn't really missed.

Sony DSLR-A300X. Sony have been quite clever with their dSLR camera range - offering really simple and obvious advantages as you move up the range.

Offering the same 10.2 Megapixel Sensor as the a200, in-camera image stabilisation, dual anti-dust protection, 9 point AF, 3 fps, etc - but the a300 also offers live view, and importantly a 2.7" LCD screen that tilts. That's right, you can swivel the screen out to look down on it, or look up into it too, brilliant for macro work.

Sony dSLR A350K. Continuing Sony's simple approach to the features for cash equation, for around £400 the alpha 350 adds higher resolution - 14.2 Megapixels vs it's cheaper siblings 10.2.

We still have the in-camera Super Steady Shot image stabilisation, 9 point AF, dual anti-dust control, maximum speed drops to 2.5 fps, but we've got the live-view and fold out LCD screen from the a300.

Sony DSLR A700. Sony's high-end enthusiast camera, the alpha 700 offers their new Exmos sensor, rated at 12.2 Megapixels, plus a whole host of other goodies for around £600, body only.

The a700 has Super Steady Shot in-camera image stabilisation, 11 point Auto Focus, dual anti-dust (sensor coating and sensor shake), 5 frames per second maximum shooting speed, and comes with software for remote camera operation.

Sony Alpha 900 SLR Full Frame Camera. This is Sony's letter of intent to Canon and Nikon. Sony's saying that they want to be a player at the big boys table - and their ace is the full frame sensor toting A900.

The a900's full frame sensor (the same size as 35mm film, great for wide-angles) is rated at an industry leading 24.6 Megapixels, the highest resolution SLR digital camera available.

We also get a 100% coverage view finder, in camera image stabilisation, 3" LCD, 9 point AF, and 5 frames per second maximum shooting speed. All this is wrapped up in a dust and moisture sealed magnesium alloy body - Minolta would be proud! (Oh, it's around £1800, body only!)


My apologies for just skimming over the features of the current Sony dSLR range, but hopefully this short article will bring you up to speed on what's out there, and what you might be interested in.

Cheers, Rob.

Reader Comments (2)

I could happily ignore the Nikon and Canon reviews, and now you get me with the Sony Alpha.

I'd heard that all the Minolta AF gear should work on the Alpha, so walked into my old camera store that I used to work in. Quick 'hello' all round, asked to see the Alphas and produced a couple of lenses from my bag. 'Click' mounted straight on, turned on the camera, 'bleep-bleep' AF lock. Boy, was I thrilled and gutted at the same time!

I've got several Minolta AF lenses and a couple of Sigmas, let alone the macro extension tubes and other goodies - and they all work! OK, there's the crop factor to consider, (except the a900), but all that gear that I thought was wasted has now turned out to be pretty precious.

Only problem now - how to raise the cash for an Alpha!!
They are very impressive cameras and fantastic value for what you get. As you mention, Minolta would be proud.

Oh, you and your wish lists - Puts this straight back on my wish list after dismissing it for monetry reasons!
Now, I wonder how much the kids will fetch on the black market? :)

October 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVictor

Hi Victor!

As you've got those AF Minolta lenses, the Sony's are a must - you've got the glass - time for a car-boot sale!

Cheers, Rob.

October 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

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