21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2008
Having been a Nikon D40 owner for a year I was very happy, that is until I bought a Sony A200 for my daughter for Christmas. I was instantly impressed by the ease of use, very easy to find menu settings and the modern, but just a little 'retro' look. Her present was sorted, however having done a bit of further research I found the A300 on Jessops web site at just £339 with a cash back deal worth £40. (making it £299).
The advantages over the A200 being the well executed live view, the tilting fold out screen and the electronic tele-converter. the 300 has the same resolution as the 10mp A200, if you need more pixels pay a little bit more for the A350.
So I ordered one and Jessops excellent partners Unipart logistics had it to me within 48 hours.
As soon as you open the box you can see you have in your hands a well made quality item - actually made in Japan!!! not Thailand like my D40. Even the box it came in was well solid, well put together cardboard packaging.. it's a good start.
So my other (youngest) daughter gets my D40, the other bits (bag etc etc) will do for my Alpha a300
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2008
Everything that I said about the A350 in my review applies to this camera, but the results from the A300 are more pleasing and require less post processing, altogether punchier results in my opinion
Excellent live view implementation, tilt LCD, live histogram, exposure simulation (LCD gains up/down as you adjust the EV)....dont worry about any stories about a poor optical viewfinder...its fine, certainly it is much better than even the best electronic viewfinder, so if you are coming from a digicam, you will love it
This can be seen as a super (if a little bulkier) upgrade from a fixed lens Point and Shoot or a bridge camera, the results with the kit lens are great
I could write more, but I will just say that the A300 is my favourite DSLR to date...and I much prefer it to the A350 (which I was not so keen on)...its considerably cheaper than the A350 too.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2010
If you are reading this now, you're probably thinking of picking up a second-hand A300, like I did. It's the second hand perspective I'm taking here.
Like me you are probably weighing this against several cameras competing for your cash.
Firstly, what I think are the positives.
A genuinely useful Live View.
Often derided by anorak 'real' photographers, Live view is a brilliant feature to have. For me it means taking pictures that I would otherwise miss, sometimes candid street shooting, sometimes getting that angle. Just using as a waist level finder is worth it in-itself, and shows why so many pros stuck to TLRs. No other manufacturer has really seriously implemented live view, compared to Sony. In all other DSLRs, it feels like a tacked on feature, if it's there at all. With all other systems Live View is laggy, slow focusing and hiccups for the shot. I even use it to preview how my shutter speed is. Even if you believe you'll hardly every use it (and I hardly ever do) isn't it better to have it?
Super Steady Shot
Sony uses in-body image stabilization. This means all lenses you attach, even 20 year old Minolta's, have image stabilization. With most other DSLRs, you pay through the nose to get this, one lens at a time. And it makes a real difference, maybe as much as two stops
That this camera is built on a Minolta pedigree is not to be sniffed at, Minolta were great camera makers, and hugely innovative. But it's the stacks of stuff out there that can be picked up for shirt buttons that's the biggest bonus of all. With-in a month of owning this camera I've bought one of Minolta's legendary 'Secret Handshake' lenses, two Sigma a mount lenses, a Minolta remote and a host of bits-and-bobs, for a price that's made my Canon owning friends green. Next on my list are a couple of Minolta primes, I hope to get both for the cost of one comparable Nikon Lens, with change.
Buying a DSLR, you are buying into a system, hopefully something that will sustain you for years. Sony are a big aggressive company that wants market share, and they are getting it. They are putting out a smorgasbord of cameras, seemingly all the time, from full frame pro to innovative entry level gear. When this camera was released there were just a handful of lenses, now there's an army. I am confident that with Sony's ambitions, you'll never run out of stuff to buy.
So that's the main positives, there's a heap of other stuff. The camera has a huge dynamic range, there's a fantastic Sony/Minolta user community on the web, great bang for buck and it's just fun to use.
But here are what I consider the negatives. It's worth pointing out that prior to buying, these negatives were a factor I was aware of, but still felt the camera was right for me.
Due to the Live View, this camera has a smaller viewfinder than many other DSLRs. I felt offset by the Live View, it was a price worth paying. I'm glad I felt that way, checking against My old Canon Film SLR, which has a larger than most DSLRs finder, the difference isn't huge, and in real world use won't handicap your use.
Not a great range on auto exposure bracketing, only .7 or .3, strange huh? But it is enough to do the real job of bracketing exposure, and that is to make sure the shot is properly exposed. It's just not quite enough for HDR. As HDR is something I only play with I decided I wasn't bothered. After all, HDR is impressive the first time you see it, but quickly looks gimmicky, overly processed and same-y. But... if you really want to do HDR, you should use a tripod, and once on a tripod you can manually bracket to your hearts content.
My only genuine worry with this camera was how it rated for noise. At ISO 1600 you might get away with it, at 3200 not really. 100-800 is usable with the degradation you might expect. What I've found is, real world, it's nothing like the problem you might expect. In reasonable light you can bump up ISO, as it only becomes apparent as light fails. In other situations there seems allot of elasticity with-in settings, maybe due to the increased Dynamic range or the in-camera image stabilization, compared to other DSLRs. Shooting statically in near total darkness at ISO 100 produces silky clean images. For social situations the flash offers allot of control with power options, slow and rear sync, so you can achieve very natural exposures.
I hope that's all been of some use, over-all I felt that weighed against the other cameras at around the same price point, this just offered more. Even the things considered negatives couldn't tarnished those five stars.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2009
I bought this product from Jessops about a month ago and have taken more than a 1000 photos since! I can't stop!!!! Coming from reasonable point and shoots (digital compacts) and superzooms, I expected an improvement going to a DSLR, and I wasn't disappointed. In fact I still surprise myself even after a month. Detail, colour, texture, hues. It's great!
First of all, the 18-70mm kit lens is great. It'll get you great pictures. I bought the Tamron 70-300mm zoom lens in addition, so I've got a good pair. However you soon realise that at the extreme ends, both lenses go soft. The camera is really good, and the quality limit is set by the lens, not the body. Your pictures are really as good as your glass (and of course the person behind the camera!!). I went to Stonehenge with a friend using a Nikon D200, and even though its a much more expensive and better camera, my pictures made him go green with jealousy. If you can compose your shots well, you'll get excellent results every time.
The battery works as well as described. In fact I'd advise that you get large CF cards, since you'll get into a habit of shooting away, and the limit becomes your memory card size rather than your battery!!!
The live-view feature makes it possible to hand the camera over to any passerby, who just clicks away, so you can also be in the picture sometimes. Really useful.
I'm going to add a Sony VCT-R640 tripod. I've borrowed one and it works great with my A300.
My only quirk with the Sony is that it's a bit more difficult to find lenses. I'd recommend you save and buy better lenses rather than cheap ones, since the glass really makes a difference.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 2008
A family member owns a Sony A200 and totally loved it so decided to go with A300 because of the live view addition. Being a total novice (my first dslr) it is very easy to use and the most important thing for me was getting fantastic pictures with hardly any effort at all.
It feels great, it's quick and I love it plus I get some great pics of the kids too. And when you register the camera on Sony website you get very simply explained online tutorials which I found very useful.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2009
Bought this camera after a great deal of research and countless reviews of other people's thoughts and experiences. Looked at several Nikon and Canon which seemed to be the initial obvious choices but on reading the spec that the A300 has to offer and excellent write ups of other delighted users, I opted to buy the Sony.
Glad I did. It feels of quality as soon as you put it in your hand. It has an array of features not found in other big brand name cameras and is great value for money. Ive taken quite a few photos and had them develpoed and I'm delighted with the initial results. Can't fault this machine at all. Purchased the Sony bag (around £60) as well and that too is great to house your camera, a host of lenses, flash and countless other goodies you may want to carry. Bag is well constructed and like the camera, feels of quality.
If you must buy a brand name to show people the badge, buy a cheap Nikon and be reasonably happy with your choice. But if you want quality above the competitors, invest in the superior Sony. You'll be very glad you did. Quite simply, it's the dogs bollocks !
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2009
My first entry into the DSLR market and the choices at my price point were the Nikon D60, Cannon EOS 1000D or this, and I'm very glad I went with this one.
First impressions are good, it has a nice sturdy feel to it, not quite as good a build quality as the D60, but much better than the Cannon. But it's a great size and not too heavy.
Feature wise it had everything that I wanted for an entry level DSLR and the image quality is fantastic, even in low lighting situations, although obviously noise will creep in with the higher ISO settings. 10.2 MP is perfect as well, it will look great printed out on to about A4 size paper, and the shots look fantastic on computer screen.
AutoFocus is nice and fast, not too noisy, and the live view is great, especially with the tilting screen (helps in sunny situations). I've taken thousands of pictures with it now and can't complain at all.
Picture quality is fantastic too, DP review did a lot of tests of the pictures against the cameras above and this edged it in all but the highest iso settings, but in these modes none of the cameras did particularly well, you need a much more expensive camera for this.
For an entry level DSLR I would thoroughly recommend it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2009
I just bought the Sony A300 today after a month or so comparing all sorts of digital SLR cameras. I have found a very good deal where this one was only £10 more than the same kit with the A200.
Charged the battery up straight away and after a couple of hours, I could go out for my first few shots.
It is so easy to use: auto focus or manual focus is just at a switch of a button. all the menus are easy to find. Exactly what I was looking for after years of using simple digital cameras.
Definitely get 2 sets of lenses: you usually have good deals at Jessops for that.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2009
I researched widely before buying this camera. Got it for £300. I can highly recommend this DSLR. I have rediscovered my love of photography and found that the viewfinder has encouraged me to properly frame shots and focus on the subject; therefore less duff shots. The only weak point is the glass on the screen is rather fragile, (mine cracked after a minor knock) it was fortunately covered by insurance; therefore recommend taking out insurance or getting a screen protector for £10. The quality of pictures taken with the lens provided is great both on close up portraits and landscape .
Delivered exactly as described. Superb deal.