New York Times Hands On with the Sony Alpha A300 DSLR

Back View of Sony Alpha A300 DSLR

New York Times technology columnist David Pogue has posted his first impressions of the still to be released 10.2 MP Sony Alpha A300 DSLR, describing the new camera as a huge technical breakthrough with its innovative Live View LCD.

David writes, “Sony’s perfection of Live View would be newsworthy even if it were the camera’s only notable twist.” In the A300, he said, “all state-of-the-art S.L.R. features are present, including a system that shakes off any dust that may have drifted onto the sensor during a lens change; a battery gauge with actual percentage numbers (“74%”) instead of four crude line segments; and an autofocus that begins to work the instant you hold the camera up to your eye, thanks to a proximity sensor.”

Sony Alpha A300 DSLR Camera

Another notable twist: Sony does not use its proprietary (and expensive!) Memory Stick in the A300 but instead accepts CF cards, the least expensive, most rugged, most capacious type available. Good move.

Are the pictures good? In good light, yes, says David; they look sensational. Colors are vivid, contrast is excellent, subjects are razor-sharp. But in low light, the pictures are not that good and he attributes this to Sony’s in-body stabilization system as against the in-lens systems on Nikon and Canon SLRs.

No, David. That’s because of the lens. The kit lens that comes with the A300 simply cannot soak up enough light indoors. They should have paired the camera with a prime lens instead to keep it within their target price and still offer great images right out of the box. The other alternative is to ditch the kit lens and buy a faster lens (at a higher price, of course).

The Sony A300, save for that under-performing kit lens, in my view, is the camera to beat in its batch of new entry level DSLRs which includes the Nikon D60, Canon 450D and Olympus E-420.


Published by Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.