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Jan. 6, 2008 - Sony today announced the α (Alpha) DSLR-A200, the replacement to its freshman digital SLR, the A100. The 10.2-megapixel DSLR features Sony’s Bionz image processor, in-body
Super SteadyShot image stabilization, a quieter shutter sound, an expanded ISO range, and a dust-reduction system. The A200K comes with an 18-70mm kit lens and will retail for $700, and the A200W comes with the 18-70mm and 75-300mm lenses for $900. Both will ship next month.
"With the DSLR-A200, we are helping consumers capture high-quality images with advanced technology that’s practical and easy to use," said Phil Lubell, director of marketing for digital cameras at Sony Electronics.
The entry-level A100 was released in 2006, less than a year after Sony partnered with now-defunct Konica-Minolta to develop DSLRs. Like the A100, the A200 touts many of the same features found in Konica-Minolta cameras, including a coated CCD filter to prevent dust and static. In addition, the dust-reduction system dispels dust by gently shaking the sensor each time the camera is powered on.
The A200 retains many of its predecessor’s features, including a 10.2-megapixel count and APS CCD sensor (23.6 x 15.8mm). The 5.25 x 3.75 x 2.87-inch camera body features a large hand grip and weighs 1 pound, 3 ounces without battery or lens.
The A200’s 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD is slightly larger than the A100’s 2.5-inch LCD, but keeps the same 230,000-pixel count. While 230,000 pixels is the current industry standard, the DSLR-A700, Sony’s prosumer model, is known for its 3-inch screen and chart-topping 920,600 pixels. The A200’s LCD features an anti-reflective coating to prevent solarization, and automatically switches from landscape to portrait view when the camera is turned.
As in the A100, the A200 features a Bionz image processor with Sony’s dynamic range optimization system (DRO), which recovers details in highlights and shadows to produce evenly-exposed pictures before JPEG compression. DRO is offered in Normal and Advanced, with Advanced allowing users to adjust specific areas of a photo for greater accuracy.
The A200 features a 9-point Eye-Start autofocus system, which Sony claims is 1.7x faster than the A100’s autofocus system. The autofocus system focuses on the subject even before users press the shutter button down halfway, cutting the time it takes to capture a shot.
The A200 features a 40-segment honeycomb metering system, shutter speeds from 30 to 1/4000 of a second, and a maximum sensitivity of ISO 3200. It captures JPEG and RAW format, features eight preset white balance modes, and the following Scene modes: Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Sunset, and Night Portrait/Night View.
The A200K and A200W feature an 18-70mm, f/3.5-f/4.5 kit lens, a slightly wider aperture at the telephoto end than the A100’s f/3.5-f/5.6 kit lens. The A200W comes with an additional 75-300mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 lens.
The A200 has a 3 frames per second (fps) burst at full resolution, and can shoot continuously until the memory is full in JPEG shooting. In RAW + JPEG shooting, the burst can capture images at 3 fps for up to three frames, and up to six frames in RAW shooting. This is the same rate touted on the A100, although in our testing we could only get the A100 to burst at 2.5 fps.
Sony keeps the A100’s optical viewfinder on the A200, a pentamirror lens with 0.83x magnification and 95 percent coverage.
The A200 runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts 750 shots. Like the A100, the A200 features a CompactFlash I/II memory card slot. Unlike the A100, the A200 doesn’t accommodate Memory Stick media; an adaptor for Memory Stick Duo media can be purchased separately. The A200 is compatible with all Minolta Maxxum mount lenses and Sony α (Alpha) lenses, including Carl Zeiss lenses.
Sony has a number of accessories compatible with the A200. The VG-B30AM ergonomic vertical grip helps for portrait shooting, and the camera is compatible with two InfoLITHIUM batteries, which allows for up to 1,500 shots with a single charge.