Sony Alpha A100K 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 Lens
|Price:||$396.99 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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- 10-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality 18 x 24-inch prints
- Kit includes 18-70mm f3.5-4.5 lens
- In-camera image stabilization and anti-dust vibration systems; Eye-Start Autofocus system
- 2.5-inch LCD display; 9-point autofocus system; 40-segment multi-pattern honeycomb metering
- Powered by lithium-ion battery (supplied); stores images on CF I/II and Memory Stick Duo cards
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|Item Dimensions||4 x 3 x 6 inches|
|Item Weight||3 pounds|
|Shipping Weight||4.55 pounds|
From the Manufacturer
With advanced electronics, superb Sony and Carl Zeiss lenses, and amazing creative capabilities, the Sony α DSLR-A100 camera brings better pictures within easy reach. It introduces Sony imaging innovations like high-sensitivity shooting with Super SteadyShot in-camera image stabilization, Dynamic Range Optimizer to automatically increase detail in bright and dark picture areas, new Anti-Dust technology to keep the CCD imager clean for better pictures, and Eye-Start Autofocus system for faster camera response. It also builds on a two-decade legacy of Minolta photographic leadership, accepting millions of A-mount lenses sold worldwide.
Please note: The "K" in this camera's model number indicates that it is a kit version of the DSLR-A100.
Superior Electronics, Amazing Simplicity
In the revolutionary new Sony α DSLR-A100 camera, Sony digital technology takes you a giant step toward professional performance--with advanced imaging, image stabilization, and creative control functions, plus ease of operation that helps everyone take better digital pictures right from the start.
Advanced Lenses and Accessories
The Sony α DSLR-A100 camera is your gateway to an incredibly sophisticated array of lenses and accessories--including precision Sony standard and zoom lenses, Sony "G" Series lenses with advanced motorized autofocusing, amazingly bright Carl Zeiss T* coated lenses, professional-quality flash units, and compatibility with over 16 million Maxxum, Dynax, and A-mount lenses sold worldwide.
A large APS-size CCD imager with Sony's advanced Super HAD (Hole Accumulated Diode) design allows more light to pass to each pixel, increasing sensitivity, reducing noise, and providing greater detail when you make big prints or crop in close on your subject.
Super SteadyShot Optical Image Stabilization
When you shoot with high sensitivity, the shutter remains open longer--so to compensate for shaky hands or fast-moving subjects, the Sony Super SteadyShot system automatically reduces image blur. And because it works in-camera, you'll get the benefit of Super SteadyShot stabilization with every lens you use.
Sharp, Clear Photos that Preserve the Mood
With high-sensitivity (ISO 1600) shooting, the Sony α DSLR-A100 camera captures great photos without flash even in low light--which makes it an ideal system camera for shooting without a tripod or in locations (like museums and churches) where flash is prohibited.
(See larger image.)
Changing lenses in a DSLR can allow dust to enter the camera--so to keep the CCD imager clean for better pictures, the Sony α DSLR-A100 camera utilizes both static-free anti-dust coating on the CCD filter and anti-dust vibration that automatically shakes the CCD to dislodge dust each time the camera is shut off.
Dynamic Range Optimizer
To recover details in dark or bright areas of the picture, the Sony α DSLR-A100 camera provides two levels of Dynamic Range Optimization: Normal DRO, to improve shadow detail using standard gamma curves for fast shot-to-shot response time, or Advanced DRO, to adjust dynamic range area-by-area for the greatest precision.
Bionz Image Processor
At the heart of the Sony α DSLR-A100 camera is the advanced Bionz Image Processor, using hardware-based Large Scale Integrated (LSI) circuitry that responds ten times faster than software image processors--improving camera response time, handling Dynamic Range Optimization processing, and extending Stamina battery life.
Some DSLR systems don't start focusing until the shutter button is half-pressed--but that can slow down camera response. The Sony α DSLR-A100 camera begins its precision autofocus adjustments the moment you bring your eye to the viewfinder, to capture fast-action subjects other cameras might blur.
2.5-Inch Clear Photo LCD Plus Screen
The Clear Photo LCD Plus design of the Sony α DSLR-A100 camera's built-in screen makes it easy to read camera setup menus even in bright sunlight--and gives you a better picture when you use your screen to set up shots and check results.
Continuous Burst Mode at 3 Frames Per Second
To catch fast action more effectively, the Sony α DSLR-A100 camera offers continuous JPEG image capture up to the limit of your flash memory card--plus RAW Burst Mode (up to six shots) with intelligent buffer management to allow more shots to be captured without waiting for the buffer to clear.
18-70mm f3.5-4.5 Lens
The Sony α A100 kit includes a 18-70mm f3.5-4.5 3.9x zoom lens, equivalent to 27-105mm in 35mm photography.
Super-Accurate Exposure Control
A 40-segment honeycomb sensing system provides multi-pattern measuring for superior exposure control accuracy.
Flexible Exposure Modes
For greater creative freedom in a wide range of shooting conditions, the Sony α DSLR-A100 camera provides full manual exposure control as well as Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Exposure Compensation modes.
9-Point Autofocus Selection
The Sony α DSLR-A100 camera gives you all the focusing options you need for composing your shot with foreground, background or off-center subjects--including manual focus point selection, Spot AF, Continuous AF, and AF Lock.
Lithium Ion Battery with Stamina Power
A supplied NP-FM55H Lithium Ion rechargeable battery lets you take up to 600 shots on a full charge, recharges quickly with supplied battery charger.
Dual Media Options
The Sony α DSLR-A100 camera accepts both CompactFlash Type I/II media and optional Memory Stick Duo media (with supplied adaptor).
Top Customer Reviews
Overall I think the Sony is better than the new Canon EOS 400D Digital Rebel XTi. It is an amazingingly good value for your money and might suit your needs perfectly. BUT NONE HAVE BUILT IN ANTI-SHAKE. Only Pentax has the new K100D (which has anti-shake but lower 6MP resolution). All in all the Sony A100 is a winner and would get 5 stars if they fixed the noise issues.
First of all the PROS (Good Things)
1) Sony has used the best aspects of the KM technology including the built-in Anti-Shake mechanism, lens mount, exposure system, and menus, and improved them by its own new CCD sensor, image processing and LCD screens. Out of these, the Anti-Shake is the best feature. Allowing you to get Anti-Shake for every lens. This is one of the only cameras right now in the market after the KM5D and KM7D were taken out. Canon and Nikon have this feature not in the body like the Sony, but in some of the very expensive lenses. Of course this is a cash machine for Canon and Nikon and they charge a premium of between $300-500 to the cost of each lens... nice work if you get it !!! In my view, I think this feature is the best selling point of the camera and if you buy at least 2 or 3 lenses from Sony, you would recover the cost of the camera just like that.
2) The A100's 'Alpha' lens mount is the same as the older Minolta A-type mount, allowing it to work with all of the old Minolta A-Type lenses. Minolta has made some superb lenses over the last 20 years equalling or better than the Nikon or the Canon L series. Some of these you will find used for cheap.
3) Although the viewfinder uses a cheaper pentamirror than the ore expensive pentaprism used in the Nikon D80, the A100 viewfinder is still big and bright and looks a lot better. Likewise the 2.5-inch LCD screen (which on SLRs cannot be used for a live preview) is gorgeous with high resolution.
4) The A100 looks and feels excellent and looks vaguely like the Konica Minolta 5D, but the A100 is smoothly contoured. Overall the body has a black finish, except the front grip area which has a durable rubbery grip like the KM, and has a ridge to separate the middle finger from the ring finger for perfect alignment every time.
5) Flash. I have not tried the external flashes. I have heard good things that it appears to be wirelessly and remotely controlled by the A100. I am used to a Canon SLR system, and have always been envious of the free built-in wireless capabilities of the Nikon D200 & D70 control of the Nikon SB800 flash. Hopefully this works similar. I cant wait to test it.
Here are the CONS (BAD Things). Take this with a grain of salt. As you can tell by my 4 stars, the positives far outweigh the negatives:
1) Although build quality for the A100 is good, it is somewhat more plasticy that the Canon EOS 30D or Nikon D200. but this is not a big deal.
2) Does not have a small status LCD. The use of the main 2.5inch LCD for all functions as well as current status (rather than the small LCD screen in other models) might impact battery life.
3) The battery despite being an InfoLithium design, does not display the remaining time like all the other Sony cameras
4) Weak external controls. The older Konica Minolta 7D completely blows the A100 in ergonomics. Even the entry Canon rebel 350 and the Nikon D50 are a pleasure to use. I love it when any camera has direct dedicated input buttons for White Balance, ISO or Quality. Although arguably the Sony does have some direct buttons, it is made harder by some on the top dial, some on the back and using the LCD for everything.
Now for the more controversial items
5) NOISE: the A100 is noisier than any of it main cheaper rivals Canon 400xti. Even dirt cheap SLRs like the Canon 350 rebel, Nikon D50, and Pentax DL have exponentially lower noise. Noise on the A100 starts out at a low ISO400 and then goes up from there. Now I expected this.. with higher resolutions, when there is an increased pixel count without increasing the size of the sensor -less surface area for each photosite hence the signal to noise level is worse. However, some have compared the A100 to the Nikon D200 and D80 that uses the same Sony sensor and the noise is much more on the A100. A lot of folks seem to be confused by noise and the Anti-Shake. Anti-shake does not make high ISO redundant. For example, at a party or family gathering. It is important because to prevent motion blur in the normal actions of people, you need a min shutter speed of at least 1/60s. In a room lighted with bulbs or any interior during daytime, the light levels are such that you must push up the sensitivity to 800iso or 1600 (even with a fast lens, and more so with zooms). Thus, if you want good indoors pics without flash for family gatherings, kids. You have to use ISO 800 or even ISO 1600.
6) Dynamic Range Optimizer: I could not see the difference. This maybe more marketing hype. I took dozens of test pictures.
7) Anti dust system: Appears to be more marketing hype. I did not test this extensively.
8) Menus: recycled from the old KM menu system. Hard to use .. not as intutive as the Canon, Nikon or even the other Sonys.
9) Carl Zeiss: I have noticed that so-called prosumers are rabid about this (one more hyped up label to show off to their suburban neighbors). I have heard that the Carl Zeiss lens are only licensed coatings from CZ. Lens are supposedly made in the old KM factories or at Tamron.. I dont know.. these are the rumors circulating over the internet.
Bottom line. If you take most of your pictures outdoors-whats not to like. IT IS A GREAT CAMERA for the price-10.2 MP resolution, built-in anti-shake which works with all attached lenses, 2.5-inch high res LCD screen. No current production camera from Canon or Nikon even comes close. The final result is 10.2 MP digital SLR with built-in anti shake capabilities which work with every lens, an anti-dust system, long life battery, advanced image processing and a nice large LCD monitor. The price and specs are a great deal for about $900, you get a kit with 18-70mm lens. Again, this camera is in a class all to its own. Nothing really compares.
COMPARING THE A100 WITH THE 10 MP Canon Rebel 400 Xti. The A100 is shipping now. The A100 is around the same price currently but with a much better 18-70 mm lens, Anti-Shake, and better viewfinder. The A100 is also supposed to have better battery life.
COMPARING THE A100 WITH THE 10 MP Nikon D80. This competition appears to be stiffer: 1) The A100 is available NOW. The D80 will probably be shipping towards the end of the year. 2) The A100 is much cheaper but with Anti-Shake. 3) The Nikon D80 does NOT have built-in shake reduction and anti-dust. (However, I am in favor of the Nikon D80 kit with the new 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S IF-ED DX Nikkor Lens. However, I have heard that it is hard to find this combination. Plus the price is way too expensive. I would wait for this combo price to drop.) Sony has brought some serious competition which is good for all us consumers. However the Nikon D80 with 18-200 lens compared to the A100 with a similar lens will be about $500 or so More..
However if most of your pictures are indoors, at night clubs etc.. consider the new Pentax K100D which also has in-body Anti-Shake, sells for about $650 with 18-55 lens, but has an better ISO performance, but lower resolution at 6 MP.
PLEASE VOTE AND LET ME KNOW IF THIS REVIEW HELPED YOUR PURCHASING DECISION.
Obviously, this being a DSLR camera, the pictures are crisper with better color. The image stabilization is effective enough to give me sharp pictures of birds taken from a kayak on moving water. While the 10 mp factor is usually (I gather) desirable from a printing standpoint, I find that it is helpful from a cropping standpoint. The zoom lens will only take me so close to a bird in a tree--cropping the photo enables me to, in effect, zoom in further on the picture itself, so the end result is that the little dot in the original picture can be cropped and zoomed to show up clearly and sharply as a belted kingfisher.
It's heavier than regular (non DSLR) digitals, a fact that put a friend of mine off it. It also has an unusually loud shutter noise (not the satisfying *click* of other models). I wish it used plain AA batteries instead of rechargeable--I am used to being able to replace the batteries on the go if necessary (instead of being SOL if they run out while I'm on the water).
But the fact is that you can't beat the price and I find the quality of the pictures I get with it to be excellent. It's my first DSLR and I am very pleased with it.
They had some additional positives, most notably the highest CF card throughput they've yet tested (even against top-of-the-line pro models). The biggest con listed was high noise at 800, and particularly at 1600. This might be a problem with anyone who's buying this camera primarily for low-light photography.
In conclusion, they gave this camera a "highly recommended" review, their highest mark.]
The Alpha 100 is a nice first step forward in the digital SLR field for Sony. For those unfamiliar with the demise of Minolta (later Konica-Minolta), Sony took over production of SLRs, while keeping compatibility with former Maxxum lenses and flash units. Therefore, the Alpha is a logical step for those with Maxxum lenses and flashes (although they must be the later "D" series flashes). But the beauty in the Alpha 100 is what Sony has done to this upgrade.
Although based on the Konica-Minolta 5D camera, the Alpha has both finer lines, and a more solid, quality feel (often referred to as "build"). Dials have been improved in grip and visability.
The most obvious "spec" improvement is the CCD sensor, now improved to a class (under $1K) leading 10 megapixels. Being the actual manufacturer of this sensor is a definate advantage, but even more so coupled with their new "Bionz" processor. Sony claims this new processor can help increase "dynamic range", which means that it can help capture those contrasty scenes that have very dark to very light areas (and those that actually like working hours on a computer can turn this off!).
Sony not only kept the best thing from the 5D, image stabalization, but took advantage of it's ability to induce shake and creating an anti-dust feature.
A bit about stabalization. First, what stabalization will not do for you. It won't help you a whole lot taking photos of your kid at nighttime sports activities. A stabalizer allows you to hold the camera/lens combo steadier at slower speeds. For night time sports, the speeds where the stabalizer can help are much too slow to help for sports. It can help a bit for daytime sports, but faster shutter speeds tend to help freeze the action anyway.
The stabalizer will help you in low-light candid no-flash photography, but just as important, WITH flash photography. Every get that cardboard cut-out look? You know, the people are fine, and the background went black? The stabalizer allows you to shoot at slower speeds, which helps give you more background detail, making the scene more like your eyes see it.
The stabalizer is also handy for long telephoto wildlife shots, even on a tripod (think "wind"), or in heavy woods.
The camera also has all the standard features you'd expect from today's modern SLRs, and a decent selection of lenses have been announced. Although I'm not a crazy "CZ" fan, the addition of Carl Zeiss optics (including a completely new 16-80 design) will add another option to the already plentiful Minolta optics (& third party) available.
No camera has everything, and here's a few options you might like/need that aren't offered on the A100: No wireless remote; no vertical grip/extra battery grip; new battery not "info" type (althought they say it last longer); noise (grain look) not quite as good as Canon; and, no PC Terminal for studio type lighting (and the Maxxum type shoe makes it difficult to adapt).
The Alpha 100 is the most compelling camera in its class. What might make you consider a different camera would be if you needed a heavier, more durable camera, and especially if you need 5 fps (frames per second) vs. 3. If so, look at the Nikon D200 and Canon 30D (keep in mind these 5-Star cameras are 1.5x to 2x the cost). If you need to save a bit of money, look at the Pentax K100D (solid 4-Stars).
Otherwise, get the Alpha 100. Period.
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