Conclusion: The Alpha 380 continues Sony’s trend of producing highly specified DSLRs to challenge those from Canon and Nikon. But while the Alpha 350 scored 90% and a Best Buy when tested in our May 2008 issue, the Alpha 380 doesn’t live up to its predecessor’s glowing review. There is litle wrong with the A380 and, bar my gripe about the handling, it's a decent DSLR. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer any radical improvements over the A350, yet there is a big difference in price.
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.
Pros: Good balance of shadow detail and highlights, Simple user interface, Articulating LCD, Dual memory card slots,
Cons: No HD movie recording, Relatively slow burst shooting rate, Noisy operation,
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.
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: 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
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: Thinking about upgrading from a compact to a digital SLR for the first time, or simply want a relatively lightweight and compact model as a backup? Though Canon and Nikon have long dominated the world of digital SLRs, Sony is fast gaining ground as a viable alternative.
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. This unit is one of three newly released DSLRs in the Sony range (alongside the a230 and the a330) and as its name...