Summary: The Sony Alpha 390 isn't a bad camera, but there are so many better options on the market that it is hard to recommend. Ultimately, so little has changed, compared to its predecessor, that its specifications and performance now look very out of date. The A390 has some cool tricks up its sleeve in the form of SteadyShot INSIDE and DR+, but they aren't enough to make it stand out from its DSLR and mirrorless competitors.
Pros: Good RAW resolution, Reliable metering (most of the time - see 'cons'), Fastest AF in live view among 'traditional' DSLRs (but see disadvantages below), Coherent ergonomics for live view operation, Much improved handgrip over A380 (but still less comfortable than A350), 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 (Stead...
Cons: Soft JPEGs at all ISO settings, 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 95% frame coverage in live view make precise framing and selective ...
Excerpt: When we tested Sony’s Alpha 380 last year, we hated the grip and noted that its 14.2MP sensor could’ve provided more resolving power. Now, Sony has replaced this entry-level model with the new 14.2MP Alpha 390 ($600, street, with 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 Sony DT SAM lens). It’s extremely similar to its predecessor, but has a completely redesigned grip, a notable improvement over the old one. The rest of it? Well. . .
Excerpt: To my considerable delight, we now find ourselves surrounded by a multiplicity of options when facing a choice of camera, especially in the interchangeable lens division. You want it small? Go for the Micro Four Thirds models or Sony’s NEX duo or Samsung’s clever NX… and it appears Canon will soon dive into this pond too! However the true DSLR territory is not forgotten either. The Sony A390 model ticks many boxes and hits the market at a gang-busting price too!
Summary: Make no bones about it: the A390 is the previous A380 model wrapped up in a new - and, it must be said, better - body, with no other changes to speak of. It's important to highlight this for any A380 users considering upgrading, though for brand new users bypassing the A380 will be of little consequence.
Excerpt: The Sony A390 is virtually identical to the previous A380 model, with the exception of its restyled handgrip and relocated shutter release and On/Off buttons. Therefore most of the comments that we made in our A380 review apply equally to the new A390.
Sony's DSLR-A390 captures clear and vibrant images, but doesn't feel good to use
Good Gear Guide.au
4 December 2010
Summary: Sony's DLSR-A390 is capable of capturing vibrant and clear images, but its body could use some work. For starters, we'd like a dedicated button for the flash and for zooming in on photos in playback mode, and it's awkward to change the aperture in manual mode. The camera also lacks video mode. If you don't care about video and just want a good quality D-SLR, then the DSLR-A390 is worth considering, but it will take time to get used to it.
Pros: Good clarity, vibrant images, menu system provides helpful hints, uses SD in addition to Memory Stick Pro Duo, ships with good quality 55-200mm lens, good Live View implementation
Cons: Feels uncomfortable, needs more and better placed buttons, no video mode
Excerpt: Sony's A390 sits at the top of their entry level SLR range boasting a 14.2 megapixel CCD sensor. In this review Gary Wolstenholme takes a look at whether those megapixels have been put to good use.
Pros: In body image stabilisation, Quick AF during Live View, Articulating screen, Compact, lightweight design, Support for SDHC and Sony's own Memory Stick Duo cards
Cons: Noise at higher sensitivities, No video, Limited exposure compensation range
Conclusion: The A390 is essentially an A380 rewrapped in a new body. Grateful though we should be for this - as the new, more substantial grip is essential for extended use of a DSLR camera - it fails to offer much "new". Of course, for those first time buyers this will be of little consequence as the A390 is an affordable, well-specced DSLR that takes decent pictures of good, usable quality throughout its entire ISO 100-3200 range.
Pros: Affordable, Quick AF Live View is class-leading, the grip makes a return to form
Cons: It's no more than an a380 in a new body, AF not always quick and accurate, no AF-assist lamp