Sony Alpha A230 Review
There's no shortage of entry level DSLRs in the market, and the Sony Alpha A230 is yet another one of them. Introduced in 2009, the A230 is a follow up to the A200 with a few extra features and changes.
We always suggest people hold a camera in person to see how well it holds in your hand, and with the A230, it's crucial that you do. Why? Because the grip is unusual. There's relatively little to grab hold of, and only the rubber coating prevents your fingers from slipping. Because of this, we're not big fans of the design. They do have a thumb rest in the rear of this camera, but that's about it. Complaints aside, we believe ergonomics is subjective and we really can't judge for you. You should just head to a camera shop and try holding it in your hands. Some people find it awkward, but some find the grip OK.
What we do like however is the fact that the A230 is lightweight and small. It's the lightest DSLR among all the Alpha cameras, the overall among all digital SLRs.
The build of the A230 looks a bit plasticky because of the shiny finish across the body's surface. Nikon, Canon and other brands usually use a textured finish. We think it's mostly looks because it certainly feels durable and solidly built - so no complaints here.
The controls for the camera are intuitive, and easy to learn. For the most part, we were happy with this feature as well. Since this camera is targeted for beginner and entry level buyers, it's important they made the controls easy to learn. We know many aspiring beginners who lost all interest in photographer because they were constantly frustrated with difficult menu options and controls. The A230 is user friendly and makes your shooting experience lots of fun.
Just to give you an idea of where the controls are located. The main dial is in the upper left of the camera. The ISO and drive mode buttons are in the rear, with the shutter release the lone button in the upper right surface.
The right hand of the screen contains most of the other controls. Like most cameras, you push up, down, left or right to adjust certain settings. Fairly intuitive.
The viewfinder is solid, delivering 95% coverage with .83 X magnification. While definitely not as huge and bright as high-end cameras, it's certainly one of the best viewfinders amongst similarly priced DSLRs in the market.
Sony added a few cool things to help the beginner. One of them is a help guide that will appear on the screen when you tweak a specific setting. For instance, if you're changing the aperture, and pause for a second, the camera will display a help screen that tells you what this setting does. If you're a beginner, you will really appreciate this.
The battery life is solid, and average at 510 shots, although we do recommend picking up an extra battery or 2. Highly we've heard complaints from users where the battery percentage isn't that accurate.
The A230 contains built-in stabilization, which is a huge plus in our books.
All in all, the Sony A230 is a fast entry level DSLR. Auto focus is extremely quick. Power on to first shot takes .4 seconds. Focus to shoot takes .3 seconds in good lighting, and .6 seconds in bad lighting - both solid numbers. Shot to shot takes .7 seconds for RAW and .5 seconds for JPEG. Flash shot to shot time is below average at 1.5 seconds. The continuous shooting speed is 2.4 frames per second. We actually tested the A230, and tried to shoot moving kids with it. Our experience is that the A230 is way too slow to shoot fast moving objects.
Let's move on to image quality. During our shots, we were satisfied for the most part with the image quality. All of our photos produced nice, vivid, accurate colors with a wide dynamic range. Noise is certainly not visible until you reach ISO 800 (and much more noticeable at 1600). Saturation, though remains excellent even at the high ISO's. If you find yourself shooting in dim lighting, try shooting in RAW rather than JPEG - you'll notice a difference.
Sharpness is decent with the 18.55mm lens. We recommend upgrading in the future, or at least setting the sharpening setting higher than the default. If you're a serious photographer, you should just buy the body, and buy a more powerful lens. Heck, even the Minolta lens are compatible with this body.
But the lens is not that bad. It handles chromatic aberrations extremely well. Flash exposure was incredibly accurate, and this is due to the ADI system that was brought in from Minolta. White balance is also considerably better in the A230 than in other cameras we've tested such as the Nikon D5000.
Thanks to the anti-shake technology introduced to this camera, you can also take sharp photos at a slow shutter speed. The difference is really noticeable when you take shots with anti-shake turned off, and turned on. The images are simply more sharper with anti-shake on.
A few last notes. You should consider buying the LCD cover from Amazon. If you don't, you'll end up smudging the LCD display.
- 10.8 megapixels
- In body image stabilization
- 2.7 inch LCD screen
- Pentamirror viewfinder
- Lithium battery powered
- No video capture
- Quick autofocus
- Viewfinder has high magnification
- Simple and easy to use
- Has wireless flash
- Has image stabilization
- Has useful anti-shake
- Grip is awkward
- Need to crank up the default sharpening
Though the A230 is missing a few key features such as live view, or HD video, or even a huge LCD screen, it does have many other redeeming features that make it especially great for the entry level beginner, such as image stabilization, extremely fast focus, a good view finder, an easy to use and intuitive user interface, and solid image quality.
If you're a more serious photographer, we suggest just buying the body, and investing in better lens and accessories to make this a more powerful DSLR for your everyday needs.
But if you're looking to graduate from a simple point and shoot to a more advanced camera, the Sony A230 is a good no-nonsense entry level DSLR that produces good photos without a bloated price tag.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Where to Buy It:
Lowest Price: Amazon for $379.72.
Note: This is a 15% off Amazon coupon and one of the best deals for the Sony Alpha A230.
If you're not ready to buy yet, bookmark this page so you can compare prices here and buy it for the lowest price when you are ready to buy this camera.
|Amazon||$379.72 (Cheapest Price)|
|Abes of Maine||$529.00|
Prices last updated on: Wed, 28 Jun 2017 00:15:24 PDT