Sony Alpha A230L 10.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with Super SteadyShot INSIDE Image Stabilization and 18-55mm Lens


  • 10.2-megapixel APS-size CCD image sensor for ultra-fine detail
  • Included SAL1855 18-55mm standard zoom lens
  • SteadyShot INSIDE in-camera image stabilization; Eye-Start Autofocus
  • 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD Plus display
  • Compatible with high-capacity Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC media (sold separately)

I found a deal on a new Sony A230 that was too good to pass up (I really wanted the new kit lens). Knowing the comments I have read on the internet, I was skeptical on its performance and especially its ergonomics.

Let’s talk about the ergonomics first. It feels very solid and well made to me. I owned the A200 previously and actually think the A230 has a better build quality. It just feels more solid. The grip is different for sure but I find it is manageable for me by placing the right side of the camera against my palm. Plus it’s lightweight and this helps with the grip. You really cannot get an understanding of the grip by holding it in a store like Best Buy or Target where you cannot hold the camera by itself. I am not saying it’s my favorite grip by any means but it is manageable.

My main complaint in general usage is the lack of dedicated buttons. Many functions are menu driven. However in my case the main 2 options I change regularly are exposure compensation and ISO. There are dedicated buttons for these.

Simply stated, the new kit lens is quite an improvement over the 18-70. I am no expert but the overall image quality was noticeably sharper across the entire range. It is still entry level in feel though. The thing that stands out to me as an improvement over the A200 is the auto white balance. It is very good and a definite plus for new DSLR users. I actually compared it indoors to my Nikon D5000 and the white balance of the A230 was noticeably better. The Nikon tends toward a warmer white balance in general and this drives me nuts honestly.

Another aspect of the image quality that surprised me was its low light performance and noise performance. I tried last night to get it to take pictures without flash inside in a very dark room without flash. I changed to manual mode and raised the ISO to 1600 and then 3200. With the quality as JPEG fine, the noise was well controlled but noticeable, especially at ISO 3200. Then I changed to RAW and the difference was significant. I normally shoot JPEG but shooting RAW will make a difference when a special shot is needed or when the lighting is not optimal.

One area the Nikon noticeably performed better was in low light auto focus. The Nikon can focus quicker than the Sony. However the A230 usually did not give up and could eventually focus.

I personally do not use AEL or Kelvin white balance so Sony removing these features did not impact my decision to buy it. Each person will have to make his/her own opinion on the importance of certain features.

In the end, the A230 won me over for its great out of the box image quality, fantastic auto white balance, excellent kit lens and reasonable price. I definitely recommend it.

this is just about the perfect entry-level DSLR.

It has everything that you need to get great shots out of it, without the high price tag or a bloated feature set. I’d definitely recommend it. It’s not the best, technically, but it’s a great learning tool, performs well under stress, and an expert can get great shots out of it across the ISO range and in all lighting conditions. I would say that this will become legendary for its value as a DSLR. It’s the closest thing to a “throw it up and shoot” cheap little box film camera that you can get in a DSLR. But it still takes great photos, it’s very fast, nice and small, obviously cheap, and very easy to use.

I have to say I’m very happy so far with my choice, and this camera is my first DSLR Camera. The auto focus is fast and accurate. The shutter response is quick. The image quality is very good with lots of detail. The exposures have been very accurate with a minimal number of photos with blown highlights. The image stabilization kicks butt. The dynamic range optimization really does pull highlights out of the shade.

Pros:

-In-body Stabilization

-Compatible w/ Minolta lenses

-Smallest and lightest DSLR

-Very simple to use

-Vivid and good image quality

-Its high ISO (3200) low light performance is increbible

-Price

Cons:

-New Sony lens are expensive

-Some noise at high iso.

Just got this camera for couple days, will update more soon…My title is rather pessimistic, I know, but I’ve been playing with this camera now for a couple of hours, so I’ve had a chance to get a feel for what consumers are going to probably like, and not like, about this lens kit.

First, if you are a serious photographer, you are going to be better off buying the body of this camera separately from the lens. It isn’t that the 18-55mm, 3.5-5.6 aperture lens is bad: it just isn’t great for inside work, as far as I can tell. The kind of “meh” aperture range means you’ll struggle a bit in “normal” indoor lighting to get hand-held shots that don’t really want flash, and the problem with the flash is it is straight-ahead flash, so that your attempts at head shots are going to potentially have a deer-in-the-headlights quality about them. This will be because even zoomed in to 55mm, you’re going to need to be close to a subject for a portrait shot–closer than you really would like to be. Getting the two-lens kit, for a couple hundred dollars more, might be a really good alternative here, because I think the longer telephoto in that kit can go out to 200mm, giving you more flexibility in where you need to stand for shots. I was pretty sure when purchasing the kit that I was going to quickly need a really solid prime to go with it, and the Sony 50mm f 1.4 has already proven itself a valuable addition.

The good news is that, aside from the “adequate-but-kind-of-meh” lens, everything else on this thing mostly rocks! I was a bit nervous because I had seen other reviews in which some reviewers chewed on the ergonomics a bit, but I’m not really finding that to be a problem so far. The battery door, the door to the memory cards, etc., are rigid and open happily and confidently. As far as the battery goes, my advice would be to pick up an extra battery, because after charging mine the first time, I was down to roughly half power without having taken that many photos (maybe 75 RAW out of what I was being told was a 500-image total available. I didn’t expect the battery to make it for 500 shots, but it looks like I would have gotten about 150 shots out of the charge, and I can definitely see situations where a photographer would run into trouble from that.)

One thing that may not be immediately obvious from pictures is that the right-hand grip is quite comfortable, and there is a design feature on the back (basically a bit of a “hump” that provides the right thumb a place to get a kind of secure purchase so that you really shouldn’t ever feel like the camera is in danger of slipping out of your hand. I always put my left hand under the bottom of a camera anyway, so that I can adjust the focus ring easily, and even though this camera and its lenses have auto-focus, that’s still a comfortable place for the left hand.

Many of the features and details of the camera are things that you can find in other reviews or in detail lists for this product, so I won’t repeat all of that. I will state that I had no problems with the placement of the shutter button. I had seen some criticism on line suggesting that the reviewer felt like he was putting a lot of stress on a couple of fingers while firing the shutter button, but I really just didn’t find that to be the case.

All of the controls are really pretty intuitive. I turned the feature off that shows the pictures of what various things mean. If you are stepping up to a SLR from a point-and-shoot, do yourself a favor and learn what aperture is, and white balance. The joy of this camera is taking a photo with “automatic” settings, and then going to manual, taking the same shot, and realizing how completely screwed up your own sense of the shot is! Actually, this is kind of valuable, in that the digital nature of the camera means that you (and I) can get a real lesson about what happens when changing aperture or shutter speed, even sometimes by very small amounts.

In many ways, this camera is an ideal camera for a serious hobbyist (I’m not going to go hyperbolic and say “professional,” because the limitations of this camera are the sort that wouldn’t be tolerated by a professional being pushed to the limits of digital photography. It isn’t that a professional shot can’t be taken on this camera, but that there are digital bodies that would make a professional’s life much easier than the a230 would).

It is going to pretty much meet all of my needs for awhile, at least with the better lens on the front, and maybe a really good zoom to give me a bit more range of options.

The build quality seems fine to me. Nothing is jiggling. Lenses go on and off with no problems. Definitely buy the LCD cover that’s available from Amazon. Otherwise, you’ll discover that basically everything smudges the LCD display. It isn’t the end of the world, but your nose will constantly be pressed against the display, so there will always be a bit of oil and moisture smudged on, otherwise.

This isn’t a bad camera at all, and if you are JUST looking for a system that will give you some flexibility to take “normal” shots of the variety that other people make you sit through after they’ve fed you dinner, then you are going to be immediately happy. The camera will do many of the things that you need for it to do automatically, and can easily take better shots than you would take, if you knew nothing or little about photography, and had no interest to learn. But like many things, if you DO know something about photography, you will be pleasantly surprised about the sorts of things that you CAN do with this rig, as long as you are willing to make an investment in accessories that will give the body a chance to show its stuff.

It blurs even slow moving objects in sports mode. My child was just walking by and his face is blurred…big time….I bought the camera because it focused so quickly..DON’T BUY IT unless all of your subjects will be sitting still.

Price: $549.99   Buy This Camera