Customer Review

289 of 294 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value D-SLR and great quality, 5 Jun 2008
This review is from: Sony DSLR-A200K 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera + Zoom Lens Kit (18-70 mm F3.5-5.6) (Electronics)
I had been using my trusty Minolta 7000 film camera, which produces fantastic photos almost everytime, it is easy to use and feels quality. That said, it is getting on a bit, and the costs of developing film is prohibitive. So I decided to upgrade to a Digital SLR. I initially looked at the Nikon D60 and D80, and the Canon 400D and 450D, as both companies have good reputations, especially in the D-SLR market. However, upon talking to a helpful shop assistant in London Camera Exchange, he informed me that the Sony A200 used the Minolta lens mount, meaning I could use my old lenses.

I started to research the A200 more in depth, and found an excellent spec list, especially considering the saving over Nikons and Canons. The built-in SteadyShot means I can use any lens Minolta have produced in the last god-knows-how-many years - which will save me money in the future. The 10.2 Mp sensor is the same as used in the Nikon, also interesting to find out. So I decided to splash the cash.

Upon unpacking the box, charging the battery, and installing a CompactFlash memory card (not supplied - but look at the 4GB SanDisk Extreme III at only 17.99 on Amazon), I was away.

The initial feel of the camera was good, it sat well in my hands, despite being smaller than the 7000. I found the A200 much chunkier, which is good. All the buttons are well positioned and needed only a brief look at the user guide to get to grips with. I'm sure I will pick up more advanced features as and when I need them. The LCD screen is clear and bright, and displays lots of useful information, without being cluttered. The bundled 18-70mm lens is light and good to use. The camera focuses quickly, and shots are generally well exposed. The flash pops up automatically in AUTO mode, and my one criticism is it is probably a little bright for portraits - however, you can change settings in the camera to compensate for this, but be prepared to blind subjects! Overall an extremely nice piece of kit.

People complain about no Live View, but coming from a film camera I think the viewfinder is enough, and it makes D-SLRs seems more like compacts or camera phones by using it. I have used a couple of Olympus D-SLRs I didn't like using Live View, however the owner of those cameras loved it. I have also heard complaints about the volume of the shutter noise. You may have problems with candid photography but when a bloody big flash goes off they might notice anyway! I found the shutter noise to be quite reassuring and mechanical, rather than the sound effect you get with digital compacts.

Overall the camera is great value when compared to D60 and 400D. The build quality is good, it is easy-to-use, but also has a host of useful features as you get more used to it. It easily merits 5 stars. Good work Sony, I just wish I could fit my old 2800AF flash on to it.

Built-in SteadyShot
Compatible with all Minolta lenses.
Picture quality
Eye focussing - maybe a gimmick, but fun nonetheless.

Lacks some of the advanced features cameras twice the price and more have.
Flash bright when Red Eye turned off
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Jun 2008 11:33:40 BDT
Good Chap says:
Thanks for posting a thorough and detailed review. Reviews like yours help people make there minds up!

Posted on 29 Jun 2008 22:30:03 BDT
R. Moulds says:
Excellent review.

Posted on 24 Jul 2008 02:30:08 BDT
Excellent review 10/10 well done, good luck with your new camera.! best value dslr at under 300

Posted on 29 Aug 2008 17:20:24 BDT
I know that you can pick up flash converters for this camera that might work for you, try typing 'a200 flash' into a well known auction site. Great review I'm 99.99% on this camera...

Posted on 2 Nov 2008 17:01:08 GMT
mr james says:
does this cam have night vision ?
i saw one in joshn lewis and i carnt remember what it is i think its this

Posted on 13 Nov 2008 14:03:30 GMT
A great review covered all what I needed to know.

Posted on 29 Dec 2008 21:40:21 GMT
Thank You,

good review.

Need to buy one now!

Posted on 15 Jan 2009 11:46:24 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Feb 2009 12:03:34 GMT
Fishman says:
Yup, great review, it really is a fantastic camera, better than the Canon 350D I've used and considered buying as second-hand.

Totally agree about live-view, if you need it get the A300, but you are unlikely to need it except for macro work on a tripod, live-view on the Canon 450D is terrible! I much prefer the viewfinder, just like my old 35mm SLR and just like the Pro's did for years on theirs :)

For those thinking it may be complicated, put it on AUTO and it's just like a Point and Shoot, but a lot quicker and with stunning picture quality. You have to try shooting at night, it is remarkable how much light the lens captures on AUTO (no flash) while keeping the ISO down at 800, I was amazed. Also try continuous advance, you'll get around 3 pictures a second, perfect for capturing your kids playing, peoples expressions etc.

The cash back (apparently now extended up to 31st January 2009) meant I payed 240 for it. Bargain!

I can highly recommend the Sony HVL-42AM flash. Price is worth it, bouncing light off the ceiling made a huge difference to my pictures over the internal flash. Again with 30 cash back if bought before 31st January 2009, the price is closer to cheaper alternatives. Wireless flash is fun!

Posted on 19 Mar 2009 23:58:49 GMT
Thanks man for this review. You've made me want to buy one now. It'll be a significant improvement on my current digital camera believe me :D It's affordable to. No point spending too much on one of those much more expensive cameras, as to be honest i doubt i would notice the difference.

Sony should pay you a commission :D
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