Summary: The $699 Sony Alpha DSLR-A380 is an intuitive, inexpensive DSLR that also happens to take good photos. However, other similarly priced cameras (such as the $599 Pentax K-x) can shoot HD video and are generally faster. Don't want to shoot video? The Nikon D3000 ($549) is an even better deal. When it comes to ease of use, however, the A380 leads the pack.
Summary: Aside from its unique high-speed live view mode the Alpha 380 simply can't compete with the best of its peers in this fiercely competitive sector. Handling isn't great, nor is low-light performance, and unless you find one very cheap indeed, it's best avoided.
Pros: Good JPEG output at base ISO (but sometimes poor low contrast detail, improves visibly when shooting in RAW), Good JPEG resolution, Reliable metering, Fastest AF in live view (but see disadvantages below), Coherent ergonomics for live view operation, Probably the easiest DSLR to use for a compact camera user, Tilting screen useful for over-head or waist-level shooting (not in portrait orientation though), Effective image stabilization system (SteadyShot inside), Wirel...
Cons: Visible blurring of fine detail in JPEGs from ISO 200 upwards, High ISO performance not on the same level as direct competitors, Smallest viewfinder of any APS-C DSLR, Protruding screen obstructs use of viewfinder, especially if you're wearing glasses, Limited external controls, No on-screen user interface for changing of shooting parameters, Sometimes convoluted operation (AF-point selection, index-view), No magnification and only 90% frame coverage in live view make...
Conclusion: 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.
Excerpt: Facing tough competition from 12- to 15-megapixel DSLRs from Canon and Nikon, Sony's new 14.2MP Alpha 380 ($850, street, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM lens) comes up somewhat short. It has a couple of big strengths. Live-view shooting is the best we've used on any DSLR to date. It offers built-in wireless flash control-all too rare in consumer-level cameras. And its controls, from the placement of buttons to the made-for-beginners display interface, are very well designed.
Excerpt: When Sony released the Alpha DSLR-A350 , it stood out from the crowd primarily for its robust feature set at an aggressive price. A year later, everyone else has caught up, and its successor, the DSLR-A380 isn't quite so novel for the money anymore. The A380 is nearly identical to its cheaper sibling, the A330 . The only difference is the A330's lower resolution, 10.2-megapixel sensor.
Pros: Capable of shooting some very nice photos; fast Live View AF and single-shot performance; tiltable LCD; dual card slots; relatively simple, straightforward operation; built-in wireless flash and image stabilization.
Cons: Smallish grip; middling viewfinder; color shifts with default settings.
Summary: Sony’s Alpha A380 is the top model in the company’s consumer DSLR range, featuring 14.2 Megapixel resolution, built-in image stabilisation which works with any lens you attach, a quick Live View system and vertically-tilting screen. It’s a solid specification, although one which shares a great deal with its predecessor, the Alpha A350 – indeed as we mentioned at the start of this review, the internal specification is almost identical, with most of the changes being...
Pros: Built-in IS which works with any lens., Quick and fuss-free Live View., Vertically-tilting monitor., Beginner-friendly user interface.
Cons: More noise than rivals at high ISOs., Slow continuous shooting., No movie mode., Body shape may not be to all tastes.
Summary: That the Sony A380 is only a minor upgrade indicates one of two things. Either the entry-level user is already well-catered for, with everything they need to take the kind of images they would require, or a better-specified model which would sit a little higher up is in the pipeline.
Conclusion: It is important to note, however, that if Sony's past pricing strategy is anything to go by, the A380 will drop in price fairly quickly and get cheaper and cheaper the longer it has been on the market.
Summary: The Sony Alpha A380 delivers evenly exposed images with natural colours when left on its default settings. There are further pre-optimised Creative Style settings for those who prefer the more vivid look. We weren't convinced, however, that the supplied kit lens made the best of the sensor's high pixel count, with detail softer than we expected.
Pros: Good image quality in optimal settings, plenty of inbuilt features, user-friendly interface
Cons: Cheap plastic body, slightly overpriced, no video/movie mode
Excerpt: The Sony Alpha 380 follows directly from last year’s Alpha 350, and accompanies the new Alpha 280 and 330 (which will see limited distribution) as the flagship entry-level Sony DSLR. The headline features of the A380 are the same as the A350 - a fold-out LCD screen and a unique high-speed Live View autofocus system. This system works by shifting one of the (normally fixed) mirrored walls of the prism in the camera’s viewfinder assembly.