Sony Alpha A200
- Great interface, simple control layout, vibrant colours, strong noise performance
- Pictures are a little soft, some chromatic aberration
While its pictures are a little softer than those produced by some competing models, there is no denying the A200 is a great overall camera, with particular appeal to novice users who may be afraid to take the next step.
Price$ 1,399.00 (AUD)
With companies such as Pentax and Olympus ramping up their efforts in the entry-level SLR space, the market has never been more competitive, so Sony is doing its part to maintain the situation with the release of the Alpha A200. Replacing the first SLR product, the Alpha A100 this new model has made big improvements over its predecessor and while in terms of image quality it doesn't quite compete with entries from Canon and Nikon, it is probably the most user-friendly SLR we've ever used.
One of the big problems with the A100 was the relatively poor quality stock lens which resulted in some hefty chromatic aberration. That issue has mostly been rectified with this model. There was some minor haloing which was a little more prominent than we'd expect from an SLR, but it wasn't particularly problematic and was only really visible in areas of intense contrast.
Packing in a 10.2-megapixel sensor this model is competitive with other entry-level products in terms of resolution. That said, on the whole its pictures were a little softer than those of competing models. They weren't blurry or unclear by any stretch of the imagination and they were still sharp and detailed, but some finer edges definitely lacked the crispness we've become accustomed to and Imatest corroborated this. For most sized prints this won't even be noticeable.
Colour response was strong as usual with the A200 producing bright, strongly saturated tones and accurate hues. Our shots came out very vividly which should please outdoor and nature photographers. Of course there are several colour modes on offer in the camera's menu so this can easily be tweaked both on board and in post-processing.
Noise performance was impressive all the way up to ISO 1600 with minimal graininess and no noticeable loss of clarity. At ISO 800 some fine, colourful chroma noise begins to make an appearance but it isn't until the maximum setting of ISO 3200 that it becomes an issue.
In our speed tests the A200 was up to par, giving us the seamless user experience that is one of the hallmarks of a D-SLR. Its 0.04-second shutter lag, 0.5 seconds startup time and 0.4 seconds shot-to-shot time are all very speedy and in-line with our expectations. The burst mode also operates at a fairly quick 3.5 frames per second.
As we stated earlier though, the best thing about this camera is how accessible it is. For novice users who aren't yet comfortable with the idea of full manual controls and the host of other options SLRs offer, this may be the perfect choice. The interface is dead simple, with a function button handling the menu options and a dial on top changing modes. It still has some SLR-style features such as a scroll wheel for adjusting shutter speed and a switch to flip between auto and manual focus, but on the whole compact camera users will be on their way in no time with this model.
That isn't to say that it's lacking in features though. All the usual manual modes are present as well as Sony's Super SteadyShot image stabilisation which does a good job of eliminating handshake. Rather than going with lens based systems like several companies, Sony's stabilisation is sensor based, so it will be compatible with the company's full lens range. Also included is the Dynamic Range Optimiser which does a decent job of enhancing the balance between light and dark and bringing out detail in shadowed areas. Another nifty feature is the eye sensor that automatically begins focusing as you raise the camera to your face. Rounding out the feature set is dust reduction technology which shakes the sensor free of dust when powering up the unit.
Build quality is about what we'd expect with the A200 feeling a touch on the flimsy side. This is fairly standard for an entry-level SLR and despite the construction, the heavy rubber grip means it sits comfortably in the hands and has a nice weight behind it. As long as you treat it with a reasonable amount of care it will be sturdy enough for your needs. It comes in a dual-lens kit with 18-70mm and 75-300mm lenses.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Surface Pro 4
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
PCW Evaluation Team
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCCloud Infrastructure SpecialistNSW
- FTEnterprise ArchitectQLD
- FTC# / ASP.NET DeveloperSA
- FTSenior Java DeveloperQLD
- CCBusiness Analyst - ForecastingNSW
- FTTeam LeaderNSW
- TPSenior Project CoordinatorVIC
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Financial MarketsVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst - Infrastructure ProjectQLD
- FTField Services EngineerWA
- CCNetwork and Cloud SMENSW
- FTDirector, Centre for Cyber Security SolutionsVIC
- TPSenior Performance TesterQLD
- CCOrganisational Change Manager - Banking/Financial ServicesNSW
- FTProject Coordinator/AdministratorNSW
- FTSenior Technical Consultant - Microsoft / VMWareVIC
- FTSenior Automation Test AnalystNSW
- FTServer Engineer l Windows l VMWare l Active DirectoryNSW
- FTSecurity Support AnalystNSW
- FTDrupal Developer - SeniorQLD
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer (Mid level) - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCIT Project Scheduler- Port MacquarieNSW
- FTLevel 2 Technical Support OfficerQLD
- FTSenior IT Business AnalystNSW