Sony Alpha A230 review
The Sony Alpha A230 sits at the low end of its latest range of digital SLRs, but compare the specifications with its bigger brother – the Sony Alpha A330 – and you could be forgiven for thinking there was some mistake. Both cameras look very similar and each boasts a 10.2-megapixel sensor for creating 3,872 x 2,592 images.
Further similarities include Sony’s in-body image stabilisation, the unusual ability to accept either SD or Memory Stick Pro Duo cards via twin memory card slots, as well as a rather fussy sliding plastic screen to cover them. The layout of the controls is also nearly identical.
Both cameras feel the same, which is to say slightly too small for our hands; cameras from Canon and Nikon feel slightly more natural and less likely to get away. And the viewfinders are similarly slightly small: hold your eye to them at anything other than dead-on and it’s difficult to see the whole frame.
There’s little difference in image quality, too. Both the A230 and the A330 come with a sharp 18-55mm lens, which performed well in our tests. Chromatic aberration is kept to a minimum, although the results at high ISO levels are not the best we’ve seen in a budget DLSR.
There are a few differences between the two models. The A230 lacks the A330’s extendable screen, for instance. This isn’t a feature we’d describe as a must-have on a DSLR just yet, but it’s handy for beginners and handier still if you want to get a stranger to snap a picture of you, as is the live view mode – another feature missing from the A230.
The 2.7in, 230,000-pixel screen is good, although the menu system doesn’t compete with the established excellence of either Nikon’s or Canon’s menus. Its orange-on-white colour scheme isn’t particularly high contrast either and can be tricky to see in bright sunlight.
The A230 doesn’t lack much, which is impressive considering its price, but it’s a little too close in value to its big brother, the A330, for a recommendation. There’s no arguing with the A230’s value, but the race at the budget end of the DSLR market is incredibly tight, and at this price the A230 is a little slow off the mark.
|Camera megapixel rating||10.2mp|
|Camera screen size||2.7in|
|Camera optical zoom range||3x|
|Camera maximum resolution||3,872 x 2,592|
Weight and dimensions
|Dimensions||128 x 68 x 97mm (WDH)|
|Battery type included||Lithium-ion|
|Battery life (CIPA standard)||510 shots|
|Aperture range||f5.6 - f3.5|
|Camera minimum focus distance||0.25m|
|Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)||27|
|Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)||83|
|Minimum (fastest) shutter speed||1/4,000|
|Bulb exposure mode?||yes|
|RAW recording mode?||yes|
|Exposure compensation range||+/- 2EV|
|ISO range||100 - 3200|
|Selectable white balance settings?||yes|
|Manual/user preset white balane?||yes|
|Progam auto mode?||yes|
|Shutter priority mode?||yes|
|Aperture priority mode?||yes|
|Fully auto mode?||yes|
|Burst frame rate||2.5fps|
|Memory-card type||Memory Stick Duo, SDHC|
|Secondary LCD display?||no|
|Tripod mounting thread?||yes|
|Data connector type||Mini-USB|
Manual, software and accessories
|Full printed manual?||yes|
|Software supplied||Sony Data Converter SR 3, Image Data Lightbox SR|
|Accessories supplied||Shoulder strap, USB cable|