The Sony A100 is the first foray into the DSLR realm for Sony. The A100 comes from a blend of Konica Minolta’s experience of several decades of camera building. After Konica Minolta quit the camera business, Sony bought what was left of its DSLR business and carried on with the A100 as a rebuffed Minolta DSLR with a dash of Sony’s style. At 10.1 megapixels, the A100 delivers quite a punch for an entry-level DSLR, especially with the Super Steady Shot sensor-based shake reduction technology.
For me it’s a fairly comfortable Highly Recommended, the A100 is a very capable camera with a wide feature set, a good range of manual controls and some unique developments. The built-in Super SteadyShot provides you with that little extra comfort level at slower shutter speeds and the ability to use longer lenses with more confidence.
The Sony DSLR-A100 is a very responsive camera to shoot with. Startup is only average, but AF speed and shot to shot times are very good. The camera also has a nice, large buffer memory, and clears shots to a fast CF card very quickly. A solid performer overall.
With more than a little help from Konica Minolta, Sony has successfully entered the digital SLR arena with their Alpha DSLR-A100. With a high resolution 10.2 Megapixel sensor, built-in image stabilization and dust reduction systems, and super-fast performance, the A100 gives the competition a run for their money. Despite a few annoyances, the A100 offers quite a lot — and it earns my recommendation.
In color accuracy, the A100’s Excellent Rating rivals that of the Canon 3OD and Nikon D200. At lower ISOs (from 80 to 800), it held down noise rather well. But we were disappointed with the Unacceptable noise level at ISO 1600.
It’s interesting to note the A100’s also noisier than the Nikon D200 at high ISOs, despite them sharing essentially the same sensor. To be fair, most people will shoot below 400 ISO, where the A100 performs well, but one of the key selling points of a digital SLR is low noise at high sensitivities.
Aiming a product at DSLR beginners, as much as existing Konica Minolta users, means ease of use and a stress-free transference of skill sets are required, and on those two counts the Sony A100 delivers. That start up time of just over a second, mere 3fps capture, and loud shutter may not be good enough to please the pros, but it’s a performance that’s more than adequate given it’s a DSLR intended for mass market consumption.
Sony’s Alpha DSLR-A100 deserves consideration whether you’re looking for an alternative to Canon and Nikon, you already own a selection of Maxxum AF lenses, or you’re looking for your first digital SLR.
Sony’s first venture into the digital SLR marketplace may bear many hallmarks inherited from their acquisition of Minolta’s photographic assets, but credit is due to Sony for the addition of an excellent 10.2 megapixel sensor that produces images of quality beyond those of the competition, at a tempting price point.
I think the Sony A100 is competitive in general performance with similar cost Canon and Nikon bodies, though the noise level is slightly higher at high ISO settings. However for most users I think the built-in stabilization system may often more than makes up for that.
The Sony ? (alpha) A100 is a good value for users who want stabilization, dust control and 10 megapixels, but don’t mind a clunky interface and slow operation. It’s a snapshot camera with some very appealing bells and whistles, and it will be a very good fit for casual photographers who want a DSLR, but don’t need one.
All in all, Sony has come up with a decent camera in the Alpha 100. A good beginning is half the battle. Consider the price/quality ration in the current market and you will see that the well known DSLR manufacturers have suddenly been confronted with a competitor to be afraid of!
For many, Sony’s Super Steady Shot feature will be a tie-breaker. Amateur dSLRs are generally outfitted with inexpensive amateur lenses having relatively small apertures and no image stabilization; the A100’s Super Steady Shot feature allows you to enjoy low light hand-held shooting with every lens in your kit, while the competition requires the purchase of relatively expensive image stabilized lenses for equivalent low light shooting.
An extremely impressive debut from a new player in the digital SLR market, the Sony Alpha ?100 is pitched at the consumer end of the market, but is actually a better camera than most of its mid-range rivals too. It bristles with clever technology, but is very easy to use and produces consistently excellent results. It would be a good camera for a newcomer to SLRs, but more experienced users will also find it very satisfying to use.
General camera performance is excellent with quick focusing and good color rendition. The few niggles we had with the Alpha 100 during our tests are really small beer and should not be serious enough to put you off buying one.
At work I shot with the Cannon XT for 2 years and wasn’t happy with hand held shooting. Anything below 1/60 was soft so I looked into the a100. I used the a100 at a shoot and saw an immediate difference. With the super steady shot I was easily able to get 1/25. With practice watching the camera shake bars I am able to get quarter second shots.
To my eye the Sony Alpha 100 gives images with exactly the kind of punch and tonal range that I associate with the very best compact cameras but with all the flexibility and expandability of a complete system DSLR. That may seem a very strange comparison to make but I expect more first time DSLR users to be delighted with the Sony on day one than with an entry level offering from the other players.
Where to Buy
First off, consider going to your local camera store (and I don’t necessarily mean Wolf Camera at the mall). By going to your local camera store, you’re supporting your community and you just might build a lasting relationship with people you can rely on when you need some help or answers. If you’re buying online, I recommend sticking with Amazon, B&H Photo or Adorama. These three vendors are reliable, trustworthy and generally have the best (legitimate) prices. Additionally, purchasing your camera through these links helps support this site.
[tags]sony, a100, reviews, ?100, alpha[/tags]