|With so many buttons, the Sony A-100 DSLR camera looks difficult to operate, but the opposite is true. Because there are lots of buttons, many of which only have a single function, you don't have to keep referring to the menu and it is quicker to change a setting. You have to get used to where everything is, but you will soon get the hang of it.|
|Sony Alpha a-100 digital SLR camera
If you have found the main switch, the Sony Alpha 100 is ready to take a photo within one to two seconds. It's not exactly a supersonic speed, but it's not bad either. The camera is quicker to get out of the slumber mode. The eye function is handy enough, but becomes irritating after a while. If I had the slung camera over my shoulder on standby, the screen kept going on and off. I was constantly aware of this flickering at hip level and it was very distracting. In the end, I just turned the monitor off. I had already turned off the automatic AF, because hearing the camera focussing all the time was even more annoying. The disadvantage of these functions is that they take their toll on the battery.
Sony Alpha SLR camera - LCD display
A lot of information is shown on the screen. There is no second LCD screen. You do not only see the exposure details and the number of pictures on the back, but for example, the used colour space, the white balance, the image quality and the focus. It's all very extensive. If you turn the camera, the letters on the screen turn also so that you can still read everything easily. This is a clever invention that was also included in the Konica Minolta.
Sony Alpha 100 DSLR - Switch button
If, like me, you look through the viewfinder with your left eye, it is a bit too easy to choose another focus point. Before you know it, you cheek or nose is pressing against the highly sensitive switch button. As a result, you have to continually pay attention to which point is being focussed on. I often selected the point furthest to the right by mistake. To choose the middle focus point you need to press the button in the middle. For the other points, push the switch button in the right direction, and this is very handy. It is possible to set the Sony Alpha 100 so that it chooses a point itself. It will then focus on the closest surface. This seems a bit arbitrary and I would advise against it. Maybe the subject is not even in the foreground. Keep a good eye on this.
Sony A100 digital SLR - Auto focus
The auto focus is dependant on the lens in the camera. Sony's 18-70 mm lens is not the quickest lens and this is demonstrated by the auto focus's performance. You can still work well with it and it is certainly enough for your average photo. Don't expect to use it for sports photography, however. For this, you will need to invest in better optics. Fortunately, Sony offers enough possibilities.
|Sony A100 D-SLR - Command dial & Mode button
The most important settings are met with the button on the above right of the camera. This is quite convenient. Turn the command dial to the correct setting and then press on the mode button. I had to get used to it, but it works well. I continued to experience difficulties with the symbols and abbreviations. The symbols for exposure, flash, ISP and white balance are clear enough, but it is more difficult to select Focus or a broad, spot or AF-field selection. It took me a while to work out that D-R stood for the dynamic range, but DEC didn't ring any bells with me at all. Apparently you can use this to set the contrast, colour saturation, the focus and colour space. You just have to know it and the instruction manual will help you out.
Sony Alpha-100 camera - Memory card
Sony claims that you can keep taking photos in JPEG format until the card is full, with RAW the buffer, according to the specification is limited to six pictures. Of course this depends on the flash memory card you use, but Sony's claim is realistic if you use one of the quicker cards. That data can be recorded so quickly is partly thanks to the processor. Sony has christened their processor Boinz. By giving it a clear, but rather peculiar name, Sony is following Canon's footsteps by emphasising the importance of the processor. Together with the sensor, the processor is the most important factor in determining the speed and quality of the camera.
Sony Alpha-100 SLR camera - Colour reproduction
Logically, the large 2.5 inch screen gives you a big advantage when looking back at the pictures. You can also zoom in far to judge the sharpness accurately. Unfortunately, the colour reproduction is far from perfect as it is much too saturated. Bear this in mind when you are experimenting with the colour settings, as you cannot rely on the screen for this. It is handy that you can quickly call up a histogram. Unfortunately, it's not a RGB histogram, although this is more for professional photographers.