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Photoclubalpha Forum

Past Article Calendar

February 2008

Sony Alpha 200 – guided tour and overview

14 comments to Sony Alpha 200 – guided tour and overview

  • augustofretes

    I sense that your review made the A200 look lacking compared to the A100, even when the only lacking functions are DOFP and MLU, the first one being useless on a pentamirror and the other one being useless 90% of the time, even more if you say sony reduced the shutter vibrations.

    Spot metering is there, you only lost a shortcut, and tough it was certainly useful it just a matter of 2 seconds to select Spot metering in the menus (and some of us actually use the lock exposure when doing manual focus, since you can’t lock the exposure with the shutter!). The T-Mount may be useful for a lot of people, and sony could left and option to shot without lens, but, let’s face it, for 90% of the users it’s nothing important, even more because you can use the Manual mode to shot.

    DMF seems to be the only real breakdown, tough we barely use that, most of time you just use AF, and just that, or when working with things like macro shots, you just set manual, but it was a neat thing to have regardless of how often its use.

    And, as it was already said by karaatanasov, they’re all software looses, but IQ, which is, as you said, the most important thing has been improved, 1.7x faster AF seems a lot more useful than DOFP, MLU or T-mount (at AP or SP) together as well as a useful 800 and 1,600 and an emergency 3,200 ISO.

    However, I don’t want to sound badly, I liked your review and your articles in photo club alpha, they’re very informative 🙂 And I’m glad to have a place to read about all this.

    And we can always hope for sony re-implement some of them (but I don’t think they will).

  • SonyAlphaMale

    The explanation of this article is very simple, and can be summed up to entry users as follows: the A200 recently came down in price for a short period, and is bound to happen again, if not for the perpetual megapixel wars. The effective cost of the A200 body, minus the lens was $300, less $70 if you factor in the complementary battery. And yet it still has better IQ than the A100 before it, which was initially $900 for the body.

    The calculus is, then: are the criticisms leveled at the A200/3xx for omitted features (which Sony estimated that the average entry user was not using anyway) valid for a +/- $600 price difference? I would hardly think so. I plan to graduate to the A700 in any case. But thanks for the article. Now I’m thinking that the A200 is the not-too-hot nor cold porridge. Why pay more for live view, when Sony’s new entry line reduces so much fine control, as you argue? Why buy the older A100 when the newer entry Alphas feature better IQ- enough and sole reason to move on and up? Seems like the A200/A700 is a good way to go for a reasonably affordable semi-pro and backup setup. I don’t know.

    No ‘intermediate’ priced camera need exist between these two models; this is photography- not a hobby or profession for the cheapskate or sticker-shocked fainthearted…!

  • I have a Konica/Minolta 5D and I intend to add a Sony Alpha 200 soon. I have four lenses for the 5D and it is cumbersome to change lenses while photographing weddings. My lenses rang from 11mm to 300mm. I also, have two compatible strobe lights with stands which are wonderful using the wireless flash feature. Any comments or advice will greatly appreciated.

  • karaatanasov

    Seems like most of the removed features are software only – AEL button Spot Focus, MLU, Shutter Enabled with No Lens.

    DOF preview could probably too be added on some button – AEL? but I doubt this is useful. DOF preview is rarely useful – I had an example today when shooting near macro.

    DMF I will not miss, on my 5d, I found it sometimes ruins the focus when detaching the lens from drive.

    So there is slim hope Sony can resurrect some of them.

    The fun part is I hardly used any of these on 5D. While AF speed, flash performance and SSS (or the weaker implementation on my camera) are every day hurdles.

    So thanks a lot for the info. I am now completely in doubt if I need to get the A200

  • admin

    I have done a set of tripod shots from 1/50th to 2 seconds using the 2sec self timer and the results seem perfect. The CF card is reversed relative to the 5D and is now ‘the right way up’.


  • David,
    Thank you for this review. A couple of questions:

    1. Would the damped mirror lessen the need for MLU?
    2. Is the CF card now reversed from the label down position of the 5D?

    Thank you,


  • admin

    You are right – I had imported the images in a mixed batch from many cameras, and then opened A700, D3, D300, 40D, E-3, A100 files but not A200. It was happy to import them and discard the JPEGs as duplicates, while C1 Pro did the reverse – I was viewing the JPEGs not the raw files. I have now tested every converter on my machine and only Adobe products support the format, apart from Sony IDC. DNG conversions work fine with everything, including Aperture, though Auto Noise Reduction is disabled as there is no camera profile for it to refer to. I’ve just checked out 3200 ISO DNG conversions with Aperture are they are very sharp with well-defined structure to the noise/grain. Article now amended!


  • greconp

    I’ve got an Alpha 200 and I’m trying to use it with Aperture 2 shooting in RAW. It doesn’t seem to work for me, even though I’ve updated both to OS X 10.5.2 and using Aperture 2. Again, perhaps this is a question about Macintosh support, but I see that you wrote that you had no trouble. Is there a special setting on the camera to make this work?

  • AllanMarcus, the 2 sec timer will be very useful for someone like me who has not made a DIY shutter release cable, and not planning to pay a premium for the Sony made shutter release cable. 🙂

  • “Yes, I’ve said that in the article. Please note the other side of the lack of the firmware adjustment – you can’t stop the camera firing with no card installed, it shoots, you see a normal review screen with the words ‘No Card’ and you can even zoom in and check the photo – inserting a card does NOT rescue it!”

    Hmm, it didn’t look like I saw it the first read, but now going through it again I see. My apologies.

  • AllanMarcus

    Very good report! Other then the MLU, which I use quite often, the A200 sould like a great replacement for my A100. I find it odd that they justify the lack of MLU as something to simplify the camera. I think it’s harder to explain the need for a 2 second timer without MLU! I mean, of what use is a 2 second timer?

  • Nice report, DK. Not sure I will give up my KM5D for one of these as a backup to the A700.



  • admin

    Yes, I’ve said that in the article. Please note the other side of the lack of the firmware adjustment – you can’t stop the camera firing with no card installed, it shoots, you see a normal review screen with the words ‘No Card’ and you can even zoom in and check the photo – inserting a card does NOT rescue it!


  • David,

    T-mount, telescopes, and other no-CPU lenses can still be used in Manual mode (it disables the lens check), but not in aperture priority. So it’s at least possible to use them still, but not being able to use stop-down metering is a bummer.