Price: $420.00 Online
Battery: NP-FM500H Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
Flash: Flash sync 1/160 sec
Viewfinder: Optical, Eye-level fixed pentamirror
Timer: 10 sec / 2 sec
Tripod Socket: Nope
Memory: Compact Flash Type I/II / Memory Stick Duo
Aperture: Depends on lens, 0.3 EV steps
Shutter: Electronically-controlled, 30 to 1/4000 sec
Resolution: 10.20 Megapixels
LCD Size: 2.7 inch
Sony’s Alpha A200 is a relatively minor revamp to the electronics giant’s first digital SLR, the A100, which itself was a more significant step up from the Konica Minolta 5D. The Sony A200 is lighter and smaller than the A100, and a good deal easier to use.
Sony claims improvements to the Sony A200’s AF system that will make focus acquisition 1.7 times faster, thanks to the high-torque AF motor and improved AF sequence borrowed from the A700, and our test results do indicate a significant improvement.
Sony’s Alpha-mount lens system is the oldest SLR autofocus system in the business, going back 28 years, so there’s a broad and growing selection of lenses to choose from.
The Sony A200’s 10.2-megapixel sensor is the same resolution as its predecessor, but it’s said to let more light reach each pixel for lower noise and more detail.
Shaped to better match the sensor’s 3:2 aspect ratio, the Sony A200’s 2.7-inch “Clear Photo” LCD has an anti-reflective coating for easy viewing in the sun, and 230,000 pixels.
A new LCD-based function menu replaces the old dial-based function menu on the A100, and many of the menu functions and systems from the Sony A700 have made their way into the Sony A200.
New to the Sony A200 is a pop-up flash, rather than the old “pull-up” type. Now this consumer camera can deploy the flash in auto modes when necessary. Like most other digital SLRs, the user deploys the flash with a button on the left side of the lens mount housing, by the Sony A200’s big orange Alpha logo.
The old battery icon has been augmented with a “percent remaining” indicator on the Sony A200, which reads “100%,” in addition to displaying four bars to indicate battery status. Sony has created a new vertical battery grip (VG-B30AM) for the Sony A200 that duplicates many of the controls necessary for vertical shooting, and holds two InfoLITHIUM batteries, making the camera capable of shooting up to 1,500 shots.
Eye-start Autofocus, also from the A100, starts up the autofocus system so the Sony A200 is ready before you even match your eye up to the frame in most cases. Super SteadyShot sensor-based stabilization reduces blurry images with any lens mounted. Sony claims up to 3.5 stops of extra exposure with their body-based image stabilization system. Anti-dust is also built in, with a static-free coating on the CCD’s filter that is shaken each time the camera is powered off.
The Sony A200 kit (DSLR-A200K) comes with a DT 18-70mm (3.9x) f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens for an estimated US$600.
A separate Sony A200 kit (DSLR-A200W) includes two lenses: the DT 18-70mm mentioned above, and a 75-300mm f/4.6-5.6 telephoto zoom for an estimated US$800.