Sony DSLR-A100 Review

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Sony DSLR-A100

Camera Features & Controls

The DSLR-A100 has a magnesium-alloy front cover panel and bottom plate which are mounted on a die-cast magnesium front chassis to ensure the reliability and durability that experienced SLR users demand. High-quality materials and construction are featured throughout, and the outer body shell has a sophisticated black leather-tone finish that matches the camera's high performance standards.

Specifically designed to match the performance requirements of the camera's high resolution 10.2-megapixel CCD sensor, the built-in Super SteadyShot technology instantly and precisely shifts the CCD to compensate for camera motion. It's so effective photographers can shoot at shutter speeds up to 2 to 3-1/2 stops slower than what they could use without it. And because the mechanism is integrated directly into the camera body, it works with virtually any compatible lens - a major advantage for photographers when compared to bulky and expensive lens-based optical stabilization systems and software-based "digital correction systems" that can degrade image quality.

Sony DSLR-A100

Anti-Dust Technology - Changing lenses can allow dust to enter the camera -- so to keep the CCD imager clean for better pictures, the Sony DSLR-A100 camera utilizes both an indium tin oxide coating coating on the CCD filter and anti-dust vibration that automatically shakes the CCD to dislodge dust. Whenever the camera is turned on or off, the anti-dust feature is activated.

The DSLR-A100 is compatible with all Sony a Alpha series lenses and the existing line of Konica Minolta MAXXUM AF lenses. The focal length multiplier is 1.5x due the smaller size of the camera's imager versus a standard 35mm film frame.

Sony DSLR-A100

The DSLR-A100 system will include a total of 18 Sony lenses plus a 1.4x and 2x tele converter at its initial launch. These lenses are engineered to take full advantage of the latest optical technologies. Aspherical optics, for example, reduce the spherical aberration that can degrade resolving power, particularly on large diameter lenses. Aspherical elements also allow lenses to be made lighter and more compact, and provide excellent contrast even at the largest aperture setting. AD (Anomalous Dispersion) glass also helps improve contrast, and is particularly effective in reducing the chromatic aberration that can occur with high-power telephoto and zoom lenses.

Sony DSLR-A100

Sony is continuing its long-standing relationship with Carl Zeiss to deliver superior optical performance for the DSLR-A100 camera system. The two companies have co-developed three lenses, including an ultra-wide, 16-80 mm Vario-Sonnar T* zoom model and two fixed focal length telephoto models - a Planar T* 85 mm and Sonnar T* 135 mm.

Sony DSLR-A100

The high profile manual popup flash features ADI, Pre-flash TTL and Manual flash control. The flash guide number is 12 (in meters at ISO 100) / 17 (in meters ISO 200). It has coverage sufficient for 18mm lenses with a recycling time of approximately 3 seconds. Available flash modes are: Fill Flash, Flash Cancel, Red-eye Reduction (pre-flash), Wireless/Remote Off-camera Flash, Rear Flash Sync. and High Speed Sync. Flash output compensation is +/- 2 EV in 1/2 stop increments

ADI - Advanced Distance Integration is available with any Sony or Konica Minolta MAXXUM D-Series lens. By comparing information obtained from the lens' built-in distance encoder with pre-flash metering data, ADI calculates the optimum exposure settings and flash brightness needed to obtain a proper exposure -- even if the subject is standing in front of a very dark, light, or reflective background.

Flash Range

Sony DSLR-A100

Sony DSLR-A100

The DSLR-A100 supports full-featured flash photography with the built-in flash and external flash units such as the Sony HVL-F56AM, and HVL-F36AM (as well as Minolta MAXXUM 5600HS and 3600HS), allowing you to take advantage of wireless high-speed and TTL flash, rear-curtain flash synchronization, bounce flash and advanced off-camera setups for pro-level flash shooting.

Off-camera flash is possible with the FA-CS1AM Off-camera Shoe and FA-EC1AM extension, FA-MC1AM multi flash and FA-CC1AM Off-camera cables.

Sony DSLR-A100

The Sony HVL-RLAM ringlight (above) and HVL-MT24AM macro twin flash units are for perfectly illuminated closeup photography.

Sony DSLR-A100

The eye-level viewfinder uses a fixed pentaprism with a field of view of approximately 95%. It has a 20mm eye-relief from the eyepiece, the eyepiece cup is removable. If the Eye Start option is enabled the AF system is activated whenever you bring the camera up to your eye. The Eye Start also automatically blanks the LCD display.

The camera comes with a non-interchangeable Spherical Acute Matte focusing screen. The viewfinder magnification is 0.83x (with 50mm lens focused on infinity) and has a -2.5 to + 1.0 m-1 dioptric adjustment.

Optional viewfinder accessories include the Angle Finder FDA-A1AM, Magnifier FDA-M1AM and Eyepiece Correctors.

Sony DSLR-A100

Inside the viewfinder is a partial metering circle (spot), nine focusing points and the wide area focus frame marks. The active focus point(s) are illuminated so you know exactly which AF zone(s) has been selected.

Along the bottom is a digital status line that displays flash compensation, flash ready, manual focus, auto exposure lock, shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation / metered manual exposure indicator, anti shake indicator and continuous frames available. On the bottom right are five indicator bars that show graphically the amount of action being taken by the Super SteadyShot system to counteract camera movement.

Sony DSLR-A100

Sony DSLR-A100

The high-performance AF system offers exceptional accuracy, with 9 separate AF sensors for wide-area coverage that gives you great flexibility in how you frame your subject. To exercise even more control, you can use the focus area selector switch on the back of the camera to choose any of the nine sensors as a spot-focusing target -- the selected focus point will be indicated by a red mark superimposed on the image in the viewfinder.

High-speed AF data processing and lens drive systems assure instantaneous focus response, so you can more consistently capture the "magic moments" that SLR photography is all about. In addition, the AF system offers multi-dimensional predictive autofocus with auto- tracking focus-point display. It uses powerful processing algorithms to calculate the speed and direction of moving subjects in four directions, and significantly improves focusing accuracy during high-speed action photography.

Sony DSLR-A100

Four focusing modes assure optimum performance in a wide range of situations. There's AF-S mode for single-shot AF, an AF-C mode for continuous AF, and an AF-A mode that automatically switches from single-shot to continuous AF when it detects that your subject is moving.

Conveniently positioned for easy operation with your thumb, the AF/MF button allows you to instantly toggle between autofocusing and manual focusing -- without interrupting the flow of distance information to the camera's metering, Super SteadyShot, and ADI flash systems.

Another focusing option that is particularly useful for macro and portrait photography is Direct Manual Focus. When the shutter release is pressed halfway in this mode, the focusing mechanism's internal clutch is released as soon as the AF system locks onto the subject, allowing you to manually rotate the focusing ring to fine- tune the image. Combining the convenience of AF with the enhanced creative control of MF, it lets you enjoy the benefits of both without switching focus modes.

Exposure Metering

A high precision 40-segment honeycomb pattern metering system provides optimum exposure control for various lighting conditions. User selectable metering modes: Honeycomb-pattern, Center-weighted averaging or Spot metering. Metering range: EV 1 - 20 (EV 4 - 20 in spot metering)

The exclusive Zone Matching system ensures the best possible exposure control in even the most extreme of lighting situations. When ordinary dSLRs would produce a "white-out," the DSLR-A100 emphasizes highlights while retaining subtle tones. And it captures noise-free images in dimly-lit indoor conditions.

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