Sony Alpha A380 Review
The Sony Alpha A380 is pretty much identical in many aspects to the A330. The A380 has a better resolution, and you can choose to get the Sony Alpha A380 in 2 kits: one with the 18-mm lens (which we're using for this review), and a dual-lens kit with a 55-200mm lens. At the time we wrote this review, there's no body only version of this camera in Amazon, or anywhere else.
Let's talk a bit about the design. The A380 falls in the middle in terms of weight - neither too heavy or too light. The grip is not as comfortable as we would have hoped. It just doesn't very secure; full-height grips would have served much better. The texture is solid though, and makes the camera body feels quite sturdy and durable.
The mode dial is located to the left of the viewfinder. The switch for the live view and viewfinder is to the right of the mode dial. In the top right is the button of smart teleconverter - a feature that produces results similar to cropping.
The controls in the back are what you'd expect - they're similar to most DSLRs. If you've used advanced point and shoot cameras, you'll find it familiar. There's a 4-way navigation switch below the indented thumb rest. You can change setting such as flash, ISO sensitivities, display options, and drive mode settings. On top of the navigation switch is a Fn button. With this button, you can change into several common shooting settings such as autofocus mode, D-Range Optimizer, creative style and white balance.
All in all, the DSLR A380 has an user friendly interface. Menu options, buttons and settings are where you'd expect them to be. Nothing is really buried deep into the menu. Of course, there aren't a ton of options available, compared to high-end DSLRs too.
This camera has a live view, and it's the one feature we absolutely adore. As we mentioned, there's a dedicated button to enable it. You can rotate the LCD up or down. Metering was excellent, no matter what the lighting conditions were. The image stabilization was useful in low light. It provides up to 3EV of shutter speed. Overall, if you've been a P&S shoot user, you'll find that the live view is quite similar to the P&S shoot experience, and you'll feel right at home.
Using fast-phase detection focus is incredibly fast, and makes it suitable for quick shots. In good lighting, autofocusing is pretty fast. However, in dim lighting conditions, we found it performed mediocrely - somewhat of a hit and miss. Using flash is much more effective in low light since the DSLR A3870 uses the flash as an AF illuminator.
The viewfinder though is a weakness we need to point out. It's good, but it's a bit too small, and as a result hard to see the focus dots blink. Small viewfinders are common among DSLRs in this price range, so we can't complain too much.
Let's look at image quality. Looking at the test shots we took, the DSLR A380 certainly delivered very natural colors, especially in good lighting. In dimmer lighting, the colors cooled off. The colors, overall were accurate, and chromatic aberration was low.
We were surprised at how well the A380 delivered in low light. We saw accurate colors using long exposures, and didn't notice any noise up to an ISO of 400. Even after 800, the noise level was kept at a reasonable level, and it only starts to become glaring at ISO 3200. If you use flash at an ISO of 3200, you will barely see any noise. But sharpness will obviously deteriorate the higher the ISO.
The image quality didn't improve much from the Sony A350. But it's still much much better than any point and shoot camera in the market.
The performance is solid. It takes .5 seconds from power on to first shot. Shot to shot is .4 seconds without using flash, and 2.5 seconds with the flash. Shutter lag is .2 seconds on average. The time to took and process + store a JPEG was just 4 seconds (4.3 for RAW, and 4.5 for the pair).
Continuous shooting is a bit lacking, with speeds of 2.5 frames per second. Good enough for most people, but some may find this a bit underwhelming.
You can choose to use either SD memory of Memory Stick Pro Duo, as they have slots for both (with a switch to choose between these two).
- 14.2 megapixels
- ISO: 100 to 3200
- Supports Sony Alpha, Minolta, and Konica Minolta lenses.
- No Video capture
- Has Live View
- 2.7 inch LCD screen
- built-in image stabilization
- Shoots good photos if you have skill
- Live view AF is great
- LCD screen can be tilted
- Dual Card slots
- Simple to use
- Image stabilization is built in
- Grip is too small
- Viewfinder not big enough
- Continuous shooting speed not very fast
- May see some color shifts on occasion
The Sony DSLR-A380 is a solid, cheap, "high" entry level DSLR that will is suitable for people looking for a light DSLR, and want an upgrade from an advanced point and shoot. If you love to use live view (play around with it in stores), the A380 delivers one of the best live view experiences. It's perfect for those that want to learn more about photography as it has many controls and settings to play with.
Since the continuous shooting speed is sub-par, if you plan to shoot many actions shots such as running children, and pets, the A380 will underperform.
If you love to shoot video, we also recommend buying another DSLR camera. The Sony Alpha A380 doesn't have video capture. If you also do a lot of close-up shots, the A380 will also disappoint. But for everyone else, it's not a bad upgrade from a P&S camera.
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Where to Buy It:
Lowest Price: Amazon for $649.00.
Note: This is a 22% off Amazon coupon and one of the best deals for the Sony Alpha A380.
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|Amazon||$649.00 (Cheapest Price)|
Prices last updated on: Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:27:29 PDT