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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Textured body

SD card spoken here

Flip out LCD

Simple controls

Typical mode dial

Grip

One of the nice design touches on the new entry-level Alphas is the use of a textured rubberized material not only on the grip, but also on the opposite side of the body. The manual focus ring on the new DT series of lenses also has a rubberized feel.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
All the connectors and slots sit under a sliding door on the left side of the body. There are dual SD card and Memory Stick Duo slots with a physical media selection switch, a mini HDMI connector, and USB port. Having the card slots on the left side of the camera takes some getting used to; in most cameras they're either on the grip side or in the battery compartment.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The LCD can rotate up perpendicular to the body as well as tilt down by about 55 degrees. However, it seems a bit small and difficult to view in direct sunlight.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
There aren't that many direct-access controls on the body; you get to frequently used options like AF mode, AF area, metering and white balance via a multiple-choice display brought up by the the Fn button. Though the camera has a modern information display, it's not interactive.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
There are no fancy new modes on the dial. The menu button, as well as most of the other buttons, feel a bit too flat with minimal travel.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Though the camera's grip is a lot lower than most competitors', it's still comfortable to hold because of the texture.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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