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CNET First Look
Sony Alpha DSLR-A330The Sony Alpha DSLR-A330 is a solid entry-level dSLR that will surely have its fans, but unless you really want Live View its cheaper sibling, the A230, is a better deal.
[ Music ] >> Lori Grunin: Hi, I'm Lori Grunin, Senior Editor with CNET and this is the Sony Alpha DSLR-A330. The A330 is Sony's 1 step up from the bottom entry level digital SLR. The A330 has a cheaper sibling, the A230, which differs by it doesn't have the same tilting LCD which can flip up or down if you like to shoot from various angles and the 230 doesn't support live view like the 330 does, which you switch by moving the switch for the optical view finder or the LCD. Cameras also have different view finders. The one of the A230 is actually better than the A330s with a bigger magnification. Other than that the cameras are identical. They have the same sensor, same kit lenses, so they produce the same image quality at the same speeds and what's really nice about these models is that they're fast. It has a very fast autofocus system which really helps. It is slow in some ways for instance its continuous shooting tends to be pretty slow for its class but for single shot shooting the autofocus is very fast, even in live view mood which is a rarity. Sony made some changes to the design of these models from the last generation. One of them is the grip is now 3/4 height. I didn't find it particularly comfortable or secure but you really want to try it before you buy. On the other hand it's got this texturized rubber which is really nice feeling and does add a little security to your grip. Sony also changed the design of the controls, the layout is different, but I find the controls a little flat without a lot of travel so you know you find yourself over pressing because you're not getting enough feedback. Also, Sony put the exposure compensation button in a place where you really have to shift your whole hand to press it with your thumb and I think that may discourage a lot of people from using it. The A330 does support a nice no brainer implementation of wireless flash, it's either on or it's off, and it has in body censorship image stabilization which Sony calls Steady Shot inside. One nice touch is that Sony put all of the ports and slots under a sliding cover. It has HDMI out in addition to the USB and very nice it has an SD card so you're not wedded to Sony's proprietary memory stick duo cards. The image quality is fairly typical for its class. It has good middle of the road, meaning ISO 400 to 800 noise profile but you really don't want to go to sensitivities above that. Although you can produce some really nice images with the camera you gotta watch out for Sony's default creative style which shifts the colors, for instance blues turn a little purple or vice versa. You really you know you look at it and you think the white balances off but really it's the creative style and Sony doesn't make the settings very transparent so you don't realize it because everything just is just set to 0. However if you're willing to go in and dial everything back to -2 then you may want to take a chance with the camera. However, if you're not the type who wants to go in and play with settings immediately then you should think about maybe trying another model. If you don't need the live view or the tiltable LCD I suggest looking at the A230 instead. [ Background music ] >> Not only is it cheaper but it has the better view finder. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Sony Alpha DSLR-A330.