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CNET First Look
Sony Alpha DSLR-A380While the Sony Alpha DSLR-A380 is a solid inexpensive dSLR with a few nice features that will probably satisfy many shooters, it doesn't deliver quite enough on any front to outshine competitors.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Hi. I'm Lori Grunin, Senior Editor with CNET, and this is the Sony Alpha DSLR-A380. The 380 is almost identical to the A330, its less expensive sibling. The only difference between the two is that this one has a 14-megapixel sensor, and the other one is a 10 megapixel. The A380 is a perfectly fine, entry level SLR. And I say perfectly fine, meaning it's good, but there's nothing in particular about it that stands out relative to the competition. For instance, it goes up against the Canon EOS Rebel T1i, and the Nikon D5000. Both of those cameras are faster than this one. The T1i offers video and this one doesn't. The T1i is higher resolution, and both the T1i and the D5000 have better viewfinders. So that said, I don't think anybody who buys this will be disappointed with it. The body design is fine. It's lightweight. I'm not crazy about the grip, which tends to be a little low, and I never feel like I'm gripping it terribly securely, but I do like the feel of the rubber on the sides. So that's a tradeoff I like. This model has a tilting LCD. It tilts up and down. I did find the LCD kind of hard to view in direct sunlight, however. That may or may not be an issue because there is one strength that the Sony entry-level SLRs have very fast auto focus in live view. Sony now has dual card slots in its entry-level SLRs. That's because they pretty much only otherwise use memory stick duo. This way you're not stuck with that, and I highly suggest that if you do get a Sony camera, get an SD card instead. From a usability standpoint, the Sony SLRs are pretty easy to learn using their interactive displays, you can start on automatic and see what it does, and then sort of work your way up to experimenting with the settings and using it, really, like an SLR. One thing you have to watch out for on the Sony SLRs are the default setting for the creative styles. Sony really bumps out the saturation out of the box, so in a lot of the photos you get color shifts that can be quite jarring. If you want something more neutral, it takes a lot of experimenting to figure out what neutral is because of the way Sony implements the color styles. You can't tell what it's doing. You just have to play round. The camera is fine. There's just nothing, really, that stands out about it. So if you got one as a gift, you know, don't toss it back. I think you'll really like it. However, if you have a choice, I suggest you check out some of our coverage of competing models. I'm Lori Grunin, and this is the Sony Alpha DSLR-A380. ^E00:02:40