Next-Generation Entry-Level DSLR Alpha's

by Team Sony 05/18/2009

Hi- This is Todd Tieman, in Sony’s Digital Imaging Group-

One of the best parts of my job as an Alpha trainer at Sony is announcing new products.  I finally get to tell the world all the exciting details that we’ve been keeping under wraps. With today’s announcement of three new easy-to-use α (alpha) cameras (models α380, α330 and α230), four new lenses, a flash and accessories, never has there been a more exciting time for people who want to start taking better pictures by stepping up to a DSLR camera.  

DSLR cameras are very high in demand as people realize that while their point and shoot is fun and convenient to have all the time, they are limited by the speed, the lens range, the image quality, etc.  DSLR cameras are far faster when you press the shutter and can take multiple frames in a single second. With an imaging sensor that’s approximately ten times bigger than the sensor in a point and shoot the image quality is dramatically better too. Complete the system with a couple lenses and a flash and there is no limit to what you can create!

But many folks are still on the fence as they perceive DSLR cameras to be too complex, too big and heavy, and just too expensive.  We fully understand that at Sony and have an affordable solution that’s easy to use and all fits in a small gadget bag!

Easy, “Instant Expert” modes are available from the dial on the top of these cameras for instant access to six commonly photographed situations, each with a new user-friendly Help Guide and example photo to take the guess work out.  An intuitive new Graphic Display also helps folks to hone their photographic skills by making it much easier to understand how aperture and shutter speed adjustments will affect their results.

The incredible ease of Sony a Quick AF Live View makes DSLR photography more approachable for the person stepping up to their first DSLR.  With Quick AF Live View you compose your shots on the LCD monitor – instead of only in the optical viewfinder. And unlike the live view systems found on compact cameras and other SLR cameras, Quick AF Live View offers nearly instantaneous autofocus response. So it’s much easier to capture the magic moments that DSLR photography is all about. The LCD monitor can even be tilted up or down, making it easy to frame your subject even when taking high-position and low-position shots.  The system now includes greater LCD tilt and a brighter display with auto brightness sensor.  (α330 & α380 are equipped with Live View)

We know one of the concerns people have about buying a DSLR camera is their size and weight. So we focused on designing these new bodies to be smaller and lighter than the current lineup (α200, α300 and α350).  Approximately 15% lighter than the α200 camera, the new α230 is the lightest, most compact alpha DSLR camera body ever, and the α330 and α380 are approximately 16% lighter than their predecessors.  

Since a compact/light camera is important so too are compact/light accessories. Our new DT SAM (Smooth Autofocus Motor) lenses give people more affordable and lighter lens choices to compliment their kit lens. The new 50mm f/1.8 and 30mm f/2.8 Macro brings the world of fast-lens portrait and macro photography to everyone, and the updated 55-200 is an ideal mix of range, size/weight, and affordability.  Add the new compact flash which extends distance and can bounce light for more drama and you’ve got a complete system that’s affordable, and compact enough to all fit in a small gadget bag!

These new cameras are all equipped with two media slots, including Memory Stick PRO Duo, or Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC media (sold separately). With these versatile media options consumers can swap these mainstream cards between their point and shoot and DSLR.  Also included on each of these new cameras is a High Definition Media Interface (HDMI) output for viewing images on HD displays, and when connected to compatible Sony BRAVIA TV’s with BRAVIA Sync the TV remote actually controls the camera. (HDMI cable and BRAVIA Sync capable HDTV required, sold separately).

This is an exciting time for people to step-up to Sony α (alpha) DSLR cameras; we make them super-easy and fun to use for the first-timer, very affordable, and portable.

Check out photos of the new Alpha’s on the photo page or on Flickr


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  1. guest_user wrote: May 20, 2009 1:03am

    Great announcement Todd!!

    It sounds and looks like a hit! I like how an amatuer taking class or season veteran can use the camera and will be in the lap of luxury and have the latest features. The frames per second and the design are a winner with me!

    Another Reason To Love Sony!

  2. guest_user wrote: May 22, 2009 12:50am

    congratulations for the introduction of new cameras to the lineup. I wish you all the success with new cameras. I am a user of Sony A200. I am happy to see Sony introducing new capable cameras but at the same time i am very disappointed that Sony abandoned the owners of A200,A350.. Even after several requests from A200 user community there are no firmware upgrades for the camera. There are certain improvements which can be offered to A200 users like mirror lockup, Noise control at high ISO settings,improvement in JPEG processing engine, wider bracketing etc. I know new firmware may not fit your business strategy but I am sure its not too much A200 community is asking. This is just a small thing for sony but for us the A200 users, Its will make a huge difference. This will definitely bring a lot of smile on our faces. Choosing Sony over conventional Nikon/Canon was indeed a huge commitment from A200 owners. Right! Its an emotional appeal on behalf of all the Sony A200 users that please do work in this direction and please fulfill this small wish of all the Sony A200 users across the globe Just add one more reason to love Sony…

  3. guest_user wrote: May 25, 2009 3:48pm

    Hi Todd,

    Good to see you reaching out on the blog and spreading the word about the new cameras. Hopefully the word will be spread about the new concept and design through multiple channels, including new types of advertising that will reach mainstream buyers.

    Cheers, and congrats on the new releases.


  4. guest_user wrote: May 26, 2009 7:12am

    Glad to read about developments in your dSLR line up. I’m sure the new models will be attractive to new users ‘moving up’ from point and shoot cameras – being smaller, lighter and having on-screen guides which explain how changing various parameters will affect image output. I note that these new models appear to use the same sensors as the previous generation – and if initial postings of high-iso images from them are to be believed, you seem to have refined/improved the high ISO noise handling from these sensors. It would be nice to think that Sony cares enough for its existing customers to pass on any such improvements to owners of the A200/300/350 series via a firmware update (I have an A300). Of course making such a gesture would no doubt help engender brand loyalty – something I’m sure you’re keen to encourage. Thanks

  5. guest_user wrote: May 26, 2009 8:26pm

    So any chance of a replacement for the A700?

  6. guest_user wrote: June 3, 2009 1:18pm

    Good to see Sony is now putting help menus and lessons in the camera to help new users learn to use them. For the target market, I think this is great.
    How about a tutorial DVD with the entry level cams? The manuals don’t show a newbie squat on how to use all of these features in real shooting, and who likes reading manuals anyway? A short but well produced instructional video that shows you what all these fancy new features do and how to use them and heavily promote it on the box. It would be easy to produce and cost practically nothing to include.
    People I’ve talked to who use P&S cams say they would like to know more about how to use their camera to take better pictures but never make the leap of getting off ‘Auto’ mode. Mostly because they don’t know what the other modes do and with nobody to show them won’t make the effort on their own. People are most gung-ho to learn about a new camera the moment they buy it. After the new thrill wears off learning more is not as exciting. Giving new users the tutorial DVD would be something to watch while waiting for the battery to charge.

  7. guest_user wrote: July 9, 2009 11:01am

    Dear SONY:
    Why is A900 out of stock for over a MONTH now at SonyRewards??

    SonyRewards is the redemption site for the loyalty points earned on the SONY VISA and through other venues. But this customer loyalty seems not worth much if the points can’t be redeemed, is it?
    All the regular stores in US that carry A900, have it in stock. Can you please make sure A900 is in stock on SonyRewards. It would be good to see more of your lenses available there also.
    Thank you

  8. guest_user wrote: July 12, 2009 8:23am

    Have to agree with Satya
    As an A300 user, many of us had expected Sony to offer a firmware update. This has not arrived, and the many suggestions for improvements have fallen on deaf ears. Users have been ignored.
    These new models are also downgrades compared to the last gen of entry models, which is questionable to say the least.
    Not a good situation for Sony users who don’t have the money to buy the more expensive models.

  9. guest_user wrote: July 13, 2009 4:10pm

    Unfortunately as you note, Sony Rewards does not have any Alpha A900 units in stock. However, if you are a Sony Card member you can purchase the camera at retail and redeem your Sony Reward Points for a credit to your Sony Card account.

  10. guest_user wrote: July 16, 2009 8:11am

    Jen- Thanks so much for promptly responding to my post below regarding products (e.g. A900) being out of stock on SonyRewards. The added issue is that my 20% discount coupon for SonyRewards is expiring July 31 and Sony Rewards staff isn’t aware of how to either issue a rain check for A900 in view of it being out of stock, or re-issue the coupon with the long enough expiration time for A900 to become available, or transfer the coupon to SonyStyle or any local or online authorized dealer, or convert it to equivalent amount of credit, etc. They have no idea when A900 will be in stock on SonyRewards, either. Overall they’re not making a great impression in terms of available options to help a loyal (by definition) customer in this particular situation, and that is why I posted here – this is definitely the area for improvement. I am hoping and would appreciate if someone could look into this situation.

  11. guest_user wrote: August 9, 2009 12:53am

    i’m interested in the A700 but have decided to wait and see if there is an upgrade coming up any time soon….. is that going to happen?


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