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Sony Alpha DSLR-A390 and DSLR-A290: Entry-level Alphas

Sony's Alpha DSLR-A390 and DSLR-A290 are conventional entry-level snappers for novice lens-swappers

Sony has announced two new entry-level, 14-megapixel Alpha digital SLRs. The DSLR-A390 and DSLR-A290 are more traditional options for novice lens-swappers than Sony's new NEX range of interchangeable-lens compacts.

Both cameras are essentially the same, although the A390's 67mm (2.7-inch) LCD screen tilts and folds, while the A290's is fixed to the camera body. The A390 also includes speedy phase-detection autofocus, while the A290 uses slightly slower contrast-detection autofocus.

Alpha dSLRs are based on the A-mount lens format, which supports older Minolta and Konica Minolta AF glass. The new models have a tougher grip design with a revised button layout. Their bodies include a built-in flash, HDMI output and slots for both Sony's own Memory Stick Pro Duo memory cards, and SD and SDHC cards. Bravia Sync lets you attach the cameras to a Sony Bravia high-definition telly and control photo slide shows with the TV's remote control.

To aid beginners, the cameras include an on-screen help function that explains their features, with a sample image showing the effects of each one. An exposure guide graphic makes it clear how the aperture and shutter-speed settings relate to each other.

The A290 and A390 will be available this summer. Prices are yet to be confirmed.