Sony's $700 dSLR looks like a contender

Sony's first real entry-level digital SLR has the right specs to take on veterans from Nikon and Canon.

Lori Grunin
Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Sony Alpha DSLR-A200K
Sony Alpha DSLR-A200K Sony Electronics

Though Sony's Alpha DSLR-A100 currently occupies the price slot of an entry-level dSLR, that's just an accident of time, a midrange model that stayed too long at the party. Sony's first true foray into the entry-level market arrives in the Alpha DSLR-A200, slipping into the market niche currently hogged by the Nikon D40x and Canon EOS Rebel XTi. Preliminary specs include:

  • 10-megapixel, 23.6mm x 15.8mm Super HAD CCD
  • ISO 100 to 3200
  • Super SteadyShot sensor-shift image stabilization
  • 9-point AF sensor with single cross-type sensor in center
  • 40 segment exposure metering system
  • 230,000-pixel 2.7-inch LCD
  • Maximum burst speed 3fps (unlimited JPEG, 3 frames Raw+JPEG, 6 frames Raw)
  • Viewfinder 95 percent coverage, .83x magnification

On one hand, the A200 seems to compare quite favorably to the Nikon and Canon competition--it delivers the same (D40x) or better (XTi) resolution and similar rated performance, but with the added attraction of the in-body stabilization, large LCD and user interface that I liked so much on the A700. But those models have been out in the market for a while already and likely due for a rev any minute now. (Given Nikon and Canon's histories, however, it's unlikely that either update would include in-body image stabilization.)

The $699 DSLR-A200K kit will include the f3.5-5.6 DT 18-70mm lens, while a dual-lens DSLR-A200W kit bundles an additional f4.5-5.6 75-300mm lens for $899. Both will ship in February.