Sony DSLR-A200 Review

Sony DSLR-A200

First Look posted 3/3/2008
Conclusion & Samples posted 3/26/2008

Click to take a QTVR tour of the A200

The a (alpha) 200 or DSLR-A200 features upgrades influenced by the recently-introduced, enthusiast-class DSLR-A700 camera and replaces the former Sony DSLR-A100 model, which was Sony's first model in the dSLR category.

The DSLR-A200 is designed to be faster, lighter and easier to use. Upgraded features include a wider, 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD screen for easy playback viewing, a more compact body and an easily-accessible mode dial, an easy-to-use function menu (camera function display), improved noise control for higher quality images, 1.7x faster AF speed than the DSLR-A100, improved predictive control performance, quieter shutter sound, automatic pop-up flash, and a battery life indicator that displays the percentage of battery life remaining.

As seen in all a (alpha) camera bodies, the DSLR-A200 camera incorporates Super SteadyShot image stabilization in the body to allow shooting at shutter speeds of 2.5 to 3.5 steps slower than otherwise possible - a benefit realized with every compatible lens attached to the camera. Compatible lenses encompass all Minolta Maxxum mount lenses, in addition to Sony a (alpha) lens lineup - including Carl Zeiss lenses.

With its 10.2-megapixel (effective) APS CCD image sensor, the DSLR-A200 camera continues to offer high-quality images. Clean, reduced- noise signals are sent from the image sensor to Sony's BIONZ™ processing engine, which processes picture information at high speeds and reduces picture noise in the RAW data stage before in-camera JPEG conversion. The results are high-resolution, detailed images with rich tonal reproduction. The DSLR-A200 model supports JPEG and RAW file formats. It has a slot for CompactFlash™ Type I/II media cards, and there is an adaptor for Memory Stick Duo™ media cards sold separately as an accessory.

In addition to Super SteadyShot image stabilization, the new model incorporates Sony's D-Range Optimizer (DRO). It helps you capture well exposed images, especially when shooting high contrast or backlit scenes that often lead to loss of highlight and shadow detail. Sony's DRO modifies the range from highlights to shadows, including gain and contrast, through its in-camera hardware processing to produce more natural, evenly exposed pictures. The camera's image analysis technology studies the captured image data and instantly determines the best exposure and color tonality for the image before JPEG compression.

Sony is providing a full line of accessories for the DSLR-A200, including flashes, rechargeable battery packs and several carrying cases. There's also the VG-B30AM ergonomic vertical grip equipped with controls for portrait orientation shooting. It also allows for the use of two InfoLITHIUM® batteries (sold separately) for up to 1,500 shots on a single charge. Like the DSLR-A100, the DSLR-A200 also features eye-start auto focus, which starts focusing your picture before you even press the shutter.

DSLR-A200 Features

  • 10.2-megapixel APS CCD sensor with 10M/5.6M/2.5M image sizes
  • Sony Alpha/Minolta-A bayonet lens mount
  • Recording choice of JPEG, RAW, or RAW+JPEG
  • Shoot at normal 3:2 or 16:9 (HDTV) aspect ratios
  • Super SteadyShot anti-shake system with viewfinder indicator
  • D-Range Optimizer for greater highlight and shadow detail
  • Anti-dust system automatically shakes dust off the imager
  • Large 2.7-inch TFT color Clear Photo LCD Plus
  • Penta-mirror viewfinder with 95% coverage and Eye Start AF
  • 9-point AF with Wide, Spot and Local Area Selection
  • Eye-start Auto Focus, starts the focus process when you put your eye up to the viewfinder
  • Shooting modes: Full-auto, Programmed AE with program shift, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual and Scenes
  • TTL metering: 40-segment honeycomb-pattern, Center-weighted or Spot
  • White Balance: Auto, 8 presets and Manual color temperature
  • Unlimited Continuous 3fps shooting Large/Fine JPEG images, up to 6 RAW
  • Shutter speeds: 30 to 1/4,000 seconds, 1/160 sec. flash sync
  • ISO Range: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 equivalent
  • Built-in TTL popup flash with red-eye reduction (auto popup when using full Auto)
  • Hot shoe for Sony/Minolta Program Flash units
  • CompactFlash I/II card slot, Microdrive and MSDuo/MSDuo Pro compatible (with optional adapter)
  • Video Out with selectable NTSC or PAL timing
  • High capacity (1600 mAh) lithium-ion battery pack and charger included
  • Exif Print, PRINT Image Matching III, PictBridge compatible

The DSLR-A200K kit includes the camera body and a DT 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 3.9x zoom lens for about US$699. The DSLR- A200W kit includes the camera body, the DT 18-70mm lens and a 75-300mm f4.5-5.6 lens for about US$899.

Physical Views

Sony DSLR-A200

Sony DSLR-A200

Sony DSLR-A200Sony DSLR-A200

Sony DSLR-A200

Sony DSLR-A200

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Sony DSLR-A200 Specifications

Imager 10.2 (effective) APS CCD Sensor; 23.6 x 15.8 mm; RGB primary color filter
Lens Mount Sony a Alpha/Minolta A-type bayonet
1.5x focal length multiplier
File format RAW, JPEG (DCF2.0 compliant, DPOF (ver. 1.1), Exif 2.2)
Number of recorded pixels 10M Large
5.6M Medium
2.5M Small
Image quality Standard, Fine, RAW, RAW+JPEG (Fine)
Autofocus system Through-the-lens (TTL) phase-detection system, CCD line sensors (9 points, 8 lines with center cross-hair sensor)
Autofocus area 9-Point Wide Focus Area
Focus area is selectable between Wide, Spot, and Local
Focus modes Single-shot AF, Continuous AF (with predictive focus control), Automatic AF
Focusing sensitivity 0 - 18 EV (at ISO 100 equivalent)
AF illuminator Range: Approx 3.3 - 16 ft. (1 - 5 m)
White-balance control Auto plus 8 Modes (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, Color temperature/Color filter, Custom), each with +/-3 adjustable step.
Exposure metering TTL metering using 40-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC (40-segment Honeycomb-pattern/Center-weighted/Spot metering)
Metering range: 1 - 20 EV (3 - 20 with spot metering)
* at ISO100 with f/1.4 lens
Exposure Compensation ±2EV (1/3 EV increments)
D-Range Optimizer Advanced, Standard, Off
Shutter Type: Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
Shutter Range: 30-1/4000 second, Bulb (1/3 EV step)
Flash sync speed: 1/160 second
Super SteadyShot IMage sensor-Shift mechanism with indicator in viewfinder
Super SteadyShot Compensation capability: Approx. 2.5 to 3.5 EV decrease in Shutter speed (varies according to shooting conditions and lens used.)
Anti-Dust System: Charge protection coating on Low-Pass Filter and image sensor shift mechanism.
Exposure mode Auto, P (Programmed AE with program shift), A (Aperture priority), S (Shutter priority), M (Manual)
Scene mode Night Portrait, Beach, Sports, Close-up, Landscape, Portrait
Drive modes Single, Continuous 3fps, 10 second self-timer, Single bracket, Continuous bracket, WB bracket
Continuous Shooting Up to 3 fps
JPEG: Unlimited number of frames
RAW: 6 frames
RAW+JPEG: 3 frames
Sensitivity AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 ISO equivalents
Creative Style modes Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Night view, Sunset, B&W, Adobe RGB
Exposure bracketing 0.3/0.7 Ev increments; Number of brackets: 3 frames
Flash Flash metering: ADI, Pre-flash TTL
Guide number: 12 (in meters at ISO 100)
Coverage: 18mm
Recycling time: Approximately 4 seconds
Flash modes: Auto (Built-in Auto Pop-up), Fill-flash, Rear flash sync, Slow Sync, High Speed Sync, Wireless off camera flash (with Flash HVL-F56AM, F36AM)
Viewfinder Type: Eye-level system with penta-mirror
Focusing screen: Spherical Acute Matte
Field of view: Approximately 95%
Magnification: 0.83x (with 50mm lens focused on infinity)
Diopter control: -2.5 to + 1.0 m-1
Eye-relief: 17.6mm from the eyepiece, 13.5mm from the eyepiece frame at -1 diopter (-1 m-1)
LCD monitor 2.7-inch TFT color LCD with Clear Photo design
Total pixels: 230,000 (approx.)
Recording media CompactFlash Type I and Type II, Microdrives and Memory Stick Duo/PRO Duo with adapter.
Self-timer Approx. 10 seconds / 2 seconds
Printing output control Exif Print, PRINT Image Matching III, PictBridge
Interface USB: High-Speed with a USB 2.0 compatible computer, Video output NTSC / PAL (selected on the camera)
Power Sony NP-FM500H 7.2V 1600 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery
Condition indication: 4-stage indicator when camera is turned on
Life using CIPA standard: Approx. 750 pictures
Dimensions (W x H x D) 5.15 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches (130.8 x 98.5 x 71.3 mm)
Weight 1 lb 2.8 oz (532g) (without battery, lens and recording media)
Operating temperature 32-104 °F (0 - 40 °C)
Standard Accessories DT 18-70mm f3.5 Zoom lens (27 - 105 35mm eq), NP-FM500H rechargeable battery, BC-VM10 battery charger, Video and USB cables, Shoulder strap with eyepiece cap and Remote Commander clip, Body cap, Software/USB Driver CD-ROM
NOTE: No Memory Stick media nor adaptors are included.
(Specifications as provided by the manufacturer)

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