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2009.05.18

Just today, Sony announced 3 new DSLR models, to replace their 3 entry-level offerings. The Alpha A230 replaces the A200, the Alpha A330 replaces the A300 and the A380 replaces the A350. These new offerings are available for preordering immediately and will ship around July this year. The bodies of these new DSLR cameras have been redesigned to be smaller and lighter than previous models. Also, for the first time these new Sony Alpha models diverge greatly from their Konica-Minolta heritage in terms of appearance. The major difference being a redesigned grip that needs to be held at an angle, allowing it to be made smaller yet remain ergonomic.

The traditional entry-level mode, the A230 features a 10 megapixels sensor with CCD-shift stabilization, a sturdy 2.7″ LCD with eye-start sensor, ISO 100-3200 and shutter-speed range of 1/4000s to 30s. It has the largest viewfinders among it sibblings with 0.83X magnification and 95% coverage.

The A330 keeps the same sensor but adds 90% coverage live-view capability at the expense of a smaller viewfinder of 0.74X magnification and 95% coverage. In order to realize the live-view advantage of shooting at odd angles, the A330’s LCD is moveable. As with previous Sony DSLR cameras with live-view, the A330 does not focus slower in live-view because it uses the same focus sensors during normal focusing.

The A380 is a higher resolution version of the A330, with a 14.2 megapixels sensor. It keeps the partial coverage (90% still) live-view system with quick autofocus, movable 2.7″ LCD and small viewfinder with 0.74X magnification and 95% coverage. The Sony Alpha A380 and all its current siblings shoot continuously at 2.5 FPS, which is down from 3 FPS of previous models.

To round-off their camera offerings, Sony is simultaneously launching 4 new low-cost and light-weight lenses: 18-55mm F3.5-5.6,  55-200mm F4.0-5.6, 50mm F1.8 and an 30mm F2.8mm Macro. These new lenses promise to lower the total-cost of Sony DSLR systems by adding a bright light-weight prime and macro lens.

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