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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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.
Excerpt: Most D-SLR makers have switched to using contrast-detection AF in live view which works from the main imaging sensor, but is comparatively slow… some would say painfully slow. Sony’s solution is to employ a dedicated sensor for the live view duties which is located inside the optical viewfinder,...
Conclusion: 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.
Pros: Good image quality in optimal settings, plenty of inbuilt features, user-friendly interface
Cons: Cheap plastic body, slightly overpriced, no video/movie mode
Conclusion: Though not an inexpensive option for the first timer, the A380 looks better value when its high resolution is considered, plus the fact that when buying the kit lens it’s still £80 cheaper than a D5000 body.
Excerpt: The 14.2-megapixel tilt-screen Alpha 380 is the new and improved version of Sony’s a350 DSLR which, being originally released onto the market in January of 2008, was due for a minor upgrade given that in DSLR terms anything 18-months and beyond is practically considered old.