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Sony Alpha 380 | Digital Camera Review | Adjustments
Upon arrival of a Sony Alpha 380 test sample, it is tested in our DIWA Lab. The technical data of the rigorous tests are processed and translated into understandable data. Inside the lab, testing takes place in standardized circumstances. An environment in which cameras, both compact and system concepts can be compared without a problem. Besides that, the Sony A380 DSLR camera is extensively used in practice and evaluated as for operation and shooting in practice. This combination of lab tests and the testing in practice, results in a final conclusion that is carefully reviewed.
Sony Alpha 380 | Digital Camera Sony Alpha 380 | Digital Camera
Sony A380 color reproduction
Testing the Sony A380 in a lab under standardized conditions, makes it possible to compare the measured results with, for example, previous models such as the Sony DSLR A350. The color reproduction is standard compared to the calibrated color chart of the Gretag Macbeth Color Checker. Technical DIWA test results show that the Sony DSLR - A380 has an improved color reproduction compared to the A350, although the reproduction is less consistent. The most accurate color reproduction is found at 100, 200 and 3200 ISO with in between a marginal, nearly invisible to the naked eye, deviation. This is a good performance. Also when it comes to color depths, the Sony A380 does get more out of it than the Alpha 350.

Sony DSLR-380 white balance settings
Clearly improved and almost perfect is the performance of the white balance. If you want to get the most out of this setting, you have to go for the manual white balance. Over the entire ISO range from 100 to 3200 ISO, the white balance is both accurate and consistent without any negative erratic moves. The auto white balance shows a bit more color cast, in particular when working in an overflow of incandescent light, however, as said before; manual white balance solves this problem with ease.

Sony Alpha 380 image sensor
It's remarkable that on paper the Alpha 380 does not mention any adjustments to the image sensor. A resolution of 14 Megapixels is absolutely sufficient for this segment of DSLR cameras, but there is no word of it, or at least Sony doesn't find it worth mentioning that the image sensor has been improved or changed. However; from technical measurements, it turns out that the effective sensitivity of the image sensor has in fact been changed slightly. Whereas the A350 showed a more and less effective ISO over the entire ISO range, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A380 shows a more consistent sensitivity, which is 3.6% less than the claimed paper specifications. This is an accurate result, especially since we often find deviations of 20-25% instead of the results measured from the A380.

Signal / noise ratio
What we secretly hoped for, did not come true; an improvement of the signal/noise ratio. The Sony Alpha 380 starts off very well at low ISO values, however; the signal/noise ratio soon drops gradually. In practice, it means that digital photography up to and including ISO 400 doesn't suffer from annoying digital noise, however; from ISO 800 and higher, visible noise occurs. From ISO 1600 it is clear; noise takes over. Sony tries its best to keep noise under control with an effective working noise reduction system, but this causes loss of details and to the eye, loss of sharpness.

Sony DT 18-55

Dynamic range
When it comes to dynamic range, the Sony A380 does not give in to its predecessor, but is able to offer a slight improvement. This results in an excellent dynamic range up to and including ISO 800, and a good result for the higher ISO values.
The technical DIWA Labs measurements are carried out without activating the Sony D-Range Optimizer (DRO). This function optimizes the dynamic range artificially, resulting in less white-washed light areas in a picture. There is a clear improvement when DRO is activated. DRO is a very convenient function for the photographer mainly shooting in JPEG format. The RAW enthusiast is always able to increase dynamic range afterwards.

Sony Alpha 380 kit lens
The technical Sony Alpha 380 tests have been carried out using the two new lenses that also come with the camera as kit versions. The Sony DT 18-55 mm F/3.5-5.6 standard zoom lens (model SAL-1855) and the Sony DT 55-200 mm F/4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens (model SAL-55200/2).Both lenses feature an ED type element, ensuring high quality. The sharpness of the DT 18-55 mm lens shows a slight blur at the edges and in the center at maximum aperture in wide angle mode. At f/5.6 up to and including f/11 the sharpness is optimal at all focal lengths. Higher aperture values have slight to visible blur (f/32, f/36) in the center and towards the edges. A working aperture of f/5.6 or f/8 is recommended for those who want to get the optimal result with this lens when it comes to sharpness.

Sony DT 55-200

Sony DT 55-200 mm F/4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens
We are less satisfied with the Sony DT 55-200mm F/4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens. In particular telephoto mode performs poorly, with visible blur in the center and towards the edges. The technical tests show that aperture of f/8 for the start and middle focal length, provide an optimum result. The 55mm mode is able to manage very well up to f/22 and provides a sharp result. The middle focal point has to give up at f/11 and telephoto mode performs poorly over the entire aperture range. This clearly diminishes the Sony DSLR-A3870 kit2.

Sony DT 18-55 mm wide angle zoom lens
The wide angle zoom lens DT 18-55 only suffers from distortion at 18mm. The other focal lengths are fine. Slightly more distortion, yet still marginal, is found at the telephoto DT 55-200mm in telephoto range and middle focal length area. When it comes to vignetting, we find an optimal result for the DT 18-55 without any visible vignetting. It's only in wide angle and at maximum aperture of f/3.5 that vignetting is clearly visible. From f/5.6 vignetting is not visible at all at the telephoto zoom lens, only a mere trace at maximum aperture of f/4.

Sony A380 - Chromatic aberration
Chromatic aberration is an effect that is corrected in lenses for both hardware (lens elements) and software (correction inside the camera). Still, the technical tests of the Sony DT 18-55 F/3.5-5.6 standard zoom lens come up with visible chromatic aberration. Whether or not it proves annoying, depends on the subject and the composition, and also on whether the person viewing the picture is aware of it. And aware or not; at telephoto zoom lens, chromatic aberration, in particular in telephoto mode, will soon be considered a disadvantage. The telephoto of 200mm again fails to perform optimally, something that Sony really should be concerned about.
Sony Alpha 380 Sony Alpha 380
   
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