We've had every reason to believe that these were real, but finally we're seeing Sony
itself pull the trigger on an official confirmation. Starting the week off in style, the company is introducing not one, not two, but three new Alpha models in its burgeoning DSLR range. Aimed primarily at first- and second-time DSLR buyers, the DSLR-A380, DSLR-A330 and DSLR-A230 are being launched alongside four new lenses, one new external flash and a bevy of accessories.
As the entry-level DSLR
landscape gets ever more crowded, Sony is dropping in three more that it hopes will lure consumers from the likes of Pentax, Nikon, Canon and Olympus. Sony's calling the new trio "smaller, lighter and easier to use," noting that they all offer "innovative expansion options not found in other systems." Starting things off is the 10.2 megapixel α230, which is said to be the lightest, most compact Alpha DSLR body ever at 15.9 ounces. The 14.2 megapixel α380 is also less burdensome than its predecessor (the DSLR-A350), and it -- along with the others -- boast Sony's SteadyShot INSIDE in-camera image stabilization. Both the α380 and α330 cameras offer Sony’s Quick Autofocus (AF) Live View technology, enabling owners to align their shots in the rear LCD much like point-and-shoot cameras have been doing for years. Through the use of a dedicated image sensor, Quick AF Live View maintains the rapid response of a DSLR, while avoiding the focus delay common to other live view systems.
All of these new Alpha models feature a 2.7" Clear Photo LCD screen that's easily viewable in direct sunlight, and the LCDs on the 380 and α330 models can be tilted up or down, taking a note from Nikon's new D5000. As for output, there's an HDMI terminal for playing back shots on an HDTV or computer monitor, and thankfully, Sony saw fit to make these compatible with its own Memory Stick PRO Duo / Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo format as well as the much more widely accepted SD/SDHC format.
Taking things one step further for helping the novice, the α380, α330 and α230 models are Sony’s first DSLR cameras to feature a graphical user interface (GUI) with built-in on-screen Help Guide. Naturally, all of these come with bundled lenses, and Sony's also introducing a new macro and telephoto lens for those looking for a bit more range. All three of the new DSLRs can be pre-ordered today at SonyStyle.com, while they should hit retail shops in July. The α380L, α330L and α230L will cost about $850, $650 and $550, respectively; the L series one-lens kit comes with the SAL-1855 standard zoom lens. The α380Y, α330Y and α230Y will cost about $1050, $850 and $750, respectively; the Y series two-lens kit comes with both the SAL-1855 standard zoom and SAL-55200 telephoto zoom lenses.
- The SAL-1855 standard zoom lens will cost about $200.
- The SAL-55200 telephoto zoom lens will cost about $230.
- The SAL-50F18 portrait lens will cost about $150.
- The HVL-F20AM flash will cost about $130.