Camera News
by Brad Soo on May 18 2009

Sony announced three new digital SLR cameras today - the new Alpha A230, A330 and A380 cameras are incremental upgrades of last year’s models, announced a little over 16 months ago. From what it seems, the changes are mostly cosmetic and user interface changes; the rest of the specifications sheet remains the same. And Sony also claims that they’ve revamped the image processing area of the cameras… so hopefully these guys will produce good image quality once I get my hands on them for review:

sony a230

Sony Alpha A230
(Entry-level digital SLR camera)

  • 10.2 megapixel CCD sensor (1.5X crop factor)
  • Sensor-shift image stabilization
  • Dust reduction
  • Sony/Minolta Alpha lens mount
  • Viewfinder with 0.83X magnification, 95% frame coverage
  • 9 point AF
  • 2.7 inch fixed LCD
  • NO live view
  • Full manual controls with hotshoe and RAW
  • 2.5 FPS burst mode
  • Dual memory card slots for Memory Stick Duo and SD/SDHC cards
  • Uses a lithium-ion battery
  • Available in July for $550 (18-55 mm kit lens) or $750 (18-55 mm + 55-200 mm dual lens kit)

sony a380

Sony Alpha A330 & Alpha A380
(Entry-level digital SLR camera)

  • Alpha A330: 10.2 megapixel CCD sensor (1.5X crop factor)
    Alpha A380: 14.2 megapixel CCD sensor (1.5X crop factor)
  • 2.7 inch LCD that can be tilted to face up/down
  • Live view; autofocus via secondary image sensor in the viewfinder area
  • Smaller viewfinder: 0.74X magnification, 95% frame coverage
  • Alpha A330: Available for $650 (18-55 mm kit lens) or $850 (18-55 mm + 55-200 mm dual lens kit)
    Alpha A380: Available for $850 (18-55 mm kit lens) or $1050 (18-55 mm + 55-200 mm dual lens kit)

In addition, Sony announced four new lenses and a low-end external flash. The new lenses are:

  • 18 - 55 mm, f3.5 - f5.6 DT SAM; available for $200
  • 55 - 200 mm, f3.5 - f5.6 DT SAM; available for $230
  • 50 mm f1.8 DT SAM; available for $150
  • 30 mm f2.8 Macro DT SAM

Note that all of them are DT lenses (which Sony says are “APS-C sensor optimized”) and feature something new called SAM (Smooth Autofocus Motor), which is a fancy name for in-lens focus motor drive with silent operation. Sony also comments that these lenses are targeted at “first-time digital SLR users”, thus their low prices.

There’s also a new flash unit, called the HVL-F20AM and priced at $130, which has an adjustable head for bounce flash and a guide number of 20 meters.

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