Summary: The Sony Alpha DSLR-A300's smooth Live View handling makes this model worth consideration for anyone graduating from a point-and-shoot camera. That this model offers advanced features in a fun-to-use, uncomplicated form should only make for more photographic joy.
Summary: Sony’s latest DSLRs, the A300 and A350, double the Alpha range and illustrate Sony’s commitment in the market. Indeed by discontinuing the original A100 and introducing four brand new models in as many months, Sony has been more aggressive than any other DSLR manufacturer.
Unlike rival manufacturers, Sony is also interestingly now applying the same strategy to its DSLR range as it has with compacts for years – that is, producing a base model (in this case the A200), then...
Pros: Built-in anti-shake - works with any lens., No-fuss Live View with quick AF., Tilting monitor., InfoLithium battery gives accurate feedback.
Cons: Relatively small optical viewfinder., Noise levels not much better than A350., Live View not 100% accurate., Anti-dust system not 100% effective in our tests.
A Trio Of Sony D-SLRs; The Sony A350, A300, And A200
1 August 2001
Excerpt: Earlier this year, Sony became the most prolific D-SLR manufacturer by announcing four cameras within a two-week period. This included a pro model, due later this year, that had scant specs available at press time. I was able to extensively test the other three, which are quite similar in that they all start from the same "base": the entry-level 10-megapixel A200, which replaced the A100. The A300 adds Live View and a vertically tiltable LCD monitor.
Summary: The Sony A300 is certainly a fun camera to use, owing to its zippy Live View performance, tilting screen and advanced feature set. While plastic, it is well made, looking and feeling like it was built to last. The control interface is largely intuitive and easy to use, although allow yourself a bit of time to get used to it if you are switching from another brand. If I had to pick one of its many features, I would cast my vote in favour of Manual Exposure Shift.
Conclusion: Sony’s photo expertise was developed in compact cameras and this shows all too clearly in the A300 . It’s certainly well built and festooned with fancy features: a good SteadyShot image stabiliser, powerful batteries (700+ shots between charges) and an anti-dust system. Sadly, while it’s ahead on technology, it’s behind in two crucial areas: shooting speed and image quality.
Pros: The A300 tries to make the transition from compact camera to SLR as smooth as possible, thanks to a unique dual-sensor system that lets you use Live View framing during focusing and even burst shooting (up to 3fps). It also has a big 2.7-inch screen and a kit lens with more zoom power (3.8x) than its mostly 3x rivals.
Cons: The Sony shares some of compact cameras’ less appealing habits, too. Soft, grainy 10-megapixel images are only average, plus the A300 suffers from some of the most sluggish focusing and unresponsive menus we’ve seen on a digital SLR. If you don’t want to use the Live View function, the optical viewfinder is rather cramped.
Summary: While some competing units may be better for more advanced users, Sony's Alpha A300 is a compelling option for first-time SLR buyers with its combination of image quality, features and an intuitive menu.
Pros: Best Live View implementation on the market, good image quality, sensor-based stabilisation, intuitive interface
Cons: Images come out somewhat soft with default lens, resolution a little lower than some of the competition