Sony Alpha 100 (Sony A100)

Sony finally landed in the dSLR market with Alpha dSLR-A100 after collaboration with Konica Minolta last year. The later has now quit the scene and passed on the proven digital SLR technologies to Sony - most notably being the lens mount and anti-shake system.

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The Sony Alpha DSLR-A100, in short, the A100, is a 10.2 Megapixel, 3 frames per second SLR based on the MAXXUM 5D (a Konica Minolta dSLR) with a high resolution LCD display.

Take a look at some of the features:
  • 10.2-megapixel CCD sensor with 3,872 × 2,592 pixels resolution.
  • 2.5-inch rear LCD monitor (TFT color) for easy to read image & menu details.
  • Konica Minolta interchangeable bayonet lens mount. Sony now calls it the Alpha Mount.
  • Konica in-body Anti-Shake technology (Now called “Super SteadyShot” by Sony).
  • Varieties of exposure modes to play with.
  • Auto and manual focus.
  • Dual anti-dust technology.
  • Pop-up flash with different operating modes.
  • External, proprietary flash hot-shoe for Sony accessory flash units.
  • Super image capturing with adjustable ISO up to 1,600 equivalents.
  • USB 2.0 High-Speed interface for PC / MAC connectivity.
  • PAL / NTSC compliant video signal.
  • JPEG and RAW file formats.
  • High battery stamina with NP-FM55H Lithium Ion rechargeable battery ( approx 750 shots per charge).
  • and the list goes on.

A100, introduces many Sony’s proprietary technologies – Super SteadyShot®, Eye-Start® Autofocus, new Anti-dust technology and Dynamic Range Optimizer.

Super SteadyShot® is the anti-shake technology to produce stable images when you move around. This advanced function has been built inside the camera as against the conventional way of building inside the lens. This gives you a great flexibility to work with different lenses.

Eye-Start® Autofocus provides better and quicker camera response to capture fast-moving scenes that other cameras can miss out.

Anti-dust technology in Sony A100 is unique. It protects the sensor with an anti-static coating that helps to repel dust. In addition, it shakes off dust from the camera whenever it is switched off using auto-generated vibration.

Dynamic Range Optimizer helps the camera to recover details in dull and over-illuminated areas of the picture. It works in normal and advanced mode. In normal default mode, the camera automatically adjusts the contrast and brightness of the complete image. Whereas in advanced mode, the entire image is analyzed and selected areas are adjusted so as to create balance between shadow and brighter areas of the image.

The Sony camera integrates all the conventional exposure modes – Landscape, Portrait, Sports, Macro, Sunset and Night Portrait. There is full Auto mode which adjusts itself according to the conditions to make your photo shooting easy.

The A100 has smooth and nice contours with soft handling grip and most of the controls within easy reach of your fingers. The camera weighs only 545 grams and has a medium-sized body to give it sturdy and attractive aesthetics.

The camera promises to revolutionize the way photographs are shot. With ISO 1600, Sony A100 has the ability to capture sharp and clear photos even in poor lighting conditions. You can get excellent hand-held shots in places like museums and churches where one is not allowed to work with flash.

The camera comes bundled with an impressive list of accessories. You have Memory Stick Duo (or ProDuo Card) Compact Flash adapter to compensate for absence of memory cards. The battery is Sony’s proprietary NP-FM55H 11.5Wh lithium-ion battery. It has the capacity to produce 750 shots between two re-charges. The software is packaged on CD-ROM which includes drivers, Picture Motion Browser (PMB) for Windows and Image Data Converter SR. You also get a Body cap, Accessory shoe cap, Neck strap, a host of cables (USB & Video) and printed Sony manuals (“Read This First” guide and “User Guide”). You can have more at extra price.

With a low cost price tag, any camera is bound to have limitations. So has the A100. It makes a louder noise than the electronically-controlled system. However, the features and quality of output compensates for this drawback.

Sony’s venture into dSLR market has a great beginning with A100. It satisfies a beginners wish list as well as experts demanding features. With Konica Minolta’s technology, it is set to beckon the camera buffs around the world and ready to give stiff competition to Canon and Nikon.