Sony A380 digital SLR camera
To introduce the Sony DSLR-A380 as the successor of the Alpha 350 is definitely a logical step. Although the 'spec driven' fans were rather disappointed upon getting hold of the technical specifications, it's not fair to take it out on the Sony A380. Considering the current market, a 14 Megapixel digital SLR is completely in place, there is by no means a relapse of specifications and on top of that, it's an entirely new design. The Sony Alpha 380 is a digital SLR camera that you would expect to find in the current DSLR market. Still, we can imagine the consumer had expected just that little extra on some points. This is also how we feel after the technical tests and test in practice.
Sony Alpha 380 frame speed
For example, the frame speed of 2.5fps (unchanged compared to the A350) is somewhat scanty looking at the rivals. It's also a pity the AE lock has disappeared, which is an item that is highly appreciated by the enhanced photographer. The change of the battery type negatively influences the amount of pictures that can be taken. Certainly when Live View is used frequently, and this is what we expect, considering the small format optical viewfinder, the battery capacity is rather limited.
Sony Alpha 380 kit lens
More comments we have on the tiny optical viewfinder. Whilst the A350 was not too blessed with a reasonable size viewfinder, Sony did not find it necessary to improve things. This is a clear sign that the use of Live View is expected. And although the kit lenses are not the best in town, and the sales price is below average, we would have expected a reasonable quality. Certainly since it is in Sony's own interest to sell Sony lenses as accessories. However; we are not satisfied about the telephoto zoom lens that comes with the Sonly DSLR A-380 kit2. There are too many measurable and visible points decreasing the quality. This requires looking to purchase a different telephoto zoom lens.
Live View Quick AF function
Live View remained unchanged, just as we expected. Sony's Live View Quick AF function belongs to the fastest and is perhaps even the fastest AF among Live View Digital SLR cameras, something with which Sony really stands out from the crowd. The application of a new user-friendly user interface is something we can only cheer about. It's this item in particular that is often underestimated. However; witness the many questions beginning DSLR photographers ask, and you will see a built-in HELP guide is very valuable. The support for SD/SDHC format is logical and will only promote making the switch from a compact camera (SD is standard in this segment) to a DSLR. The image quality stands strongly and is at least comparable to that of its predecessor. Certain items such as the dynamic range have slightly improved, while the performance of the white balance metering has even clearly improved. And although the Sony A380 does not show an improved signal/noise ratio, we are still satisfied with the overall final result.
Sony A380 SLR camera for the enthusiast amateur
To be fair; the Sony DSLR-A380 is a digital SLR camera you'd expect to find in the current DSLR market. The aim was clearly to create a genuine Sony Look&Feel and a user-friendly graphical user interface. And in doing so, Sony has proven successful. The only thing is that it came at the cost of a few details; of which the main disadvantage is the battery capacity. From a technical viewpoint and for image quality, there is a slight overall improvement compared to its predecessor. As a buyer, we would not go for the Sony Alpha 380 kit 2. But for body and kit version 1, the Sony DSLR-A380 is an appealing DSLR camera for the beginner and the enthusiast amateur alike.
Sony A380 - SDHC & Memory Stick Duo
Support of two different types of memory cards provides a huge storage capacity. SDHC alone provides a capacity of maximum 32GB, while the Memory Stick Duo provides another 16GB and will possibly grow to a maximum of 32GB. This means that a photographer shooting in JPEG is in a very comfortable position, since a JPEG picture does not even reach 5MB. The two cards provide room for almost 10,000 pictures in the highest JPEG quality and resolution. For RAW this is about a fifth, yet still offering room to 2200 pictures.
Considering 2GB of storage capacity:
14 Megapixels - RAW + JPEG - 4592 x 3056 pixels - 73 pictures
14 Megapixels - RAW - 4592 x 3056 pixels - 90 pictures
14 Megapixels - JPEG - L - Standard - 4592 x 3056 pixels - 396 pictures
14 Megapixels - JPEG - L - Fine - 4592 x 3056 pixels - 552 pictures
(The resolution in 16:9 format and the remaining resolution settings, 3408x2272 and 2288x1520 pixels, in 3:2 as well as in 16:9 format are not included in the camera's manual. Therefore we are unable to mention these.)