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Sony Alpha 200 digital SLR

Surprise super snapper from Sony

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Sample shots
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You can take some nice close-up shots, but the camera struggled at times in the macro mode

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We adjusted the contrast with the supplied RAW software to make the water look black rather than the muddy version in the original

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We were impressed with the low noise level (clockwise from top left: ISO 100, 200, 400, 3200, 1600, 800)

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We liked using the A200 for landscape shots in particular

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Even when shooting in auto mode, you have a fair degree over the exposure level using the exposure compensation setting

The macro mode wasn’t bad, but the A200 struggled at times with close-up shooting and we often had to move a fair bit back from the subject to get a sharp image - or, in the case of auto mode, to get the A200 to even take a shot. We weren’t that impressed with the D-Range system either, which didn’t seem to make a lot of difference when we shot against a backlight.

But these gripes aside, the A200's image quality was very good indeed. We also liked the software that came with the camera – the Picture Motion Browser lets you organise your images on a calendar, as well as retouch, print or save to disc. The Image Data Lightbox offers a good way of displaying and sorting images on your PC, while the Image Data Converter is a neat way of displaying, editing and converting RAW images.

The software lets you tweak a number of parameters, including white balance, hue, saturation and contrast, and once tweaked, you can save the edited image as a RAW, JPEG or TIFF file. It’s quick, simple and very useful for various image adjustments.

Verdict

This is an impressive camera that is ideal for anyone starting on the road to digital SLR photography. It’s got a fair spec and performs well, but it’s in the handling department that this camera really shines. It won’t confuse you with lots of bells and whistles or confusing menu systems, but it will let you take good pictures with little effort.

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90%

Sony Alpha 200 digital SLR

A very good entry-level digital SLR with lots of friendly features and a very good performance.
Price: £349 / $683 RRP

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