With incredible 14.2-megapixel detail, Sony's Alpha DSLR-A350 raises the bar. This model pushes the envelope, setting a new standard of excellence for step-up digital photographers shooting both family memories and fine-art photos. Live Preview in a large 2.7-inch LCD screen links you and your subject-and you'll have special features like super-quick AF response, continuous shooting at 2 fps while you see your subject in the viewfinder, Creative Style modes for quick recall of custom settings, and in-camera Super SteadyShot image stabilization that reduces blur for every Sony, Carl Zeiss and legacy Minolta a-mount lens.
Alpha DSLR-A350 Highlights
14.2-megapixel Super HAD CCD The highest pixel resolution in its class (as of January 2008), for spectacular image detail for making big prints and tight crops. An advanced APS-size CCD imager developed by Sony expands dynamic range and minimizes noise more effectively for clear, sharp photos even at high sensitivity setting (up to ISO 3200).
Live Preview of your subject The DSLR-A350’s Live Preview mode links you and your subject on a large 2.7-inch LCD screen, for a familiar point-and-shoot style -- with super-quick AF response and accurate exposure control to help you catch the perfect moment. In Live Preview mode, the camera bypasses the optical pentaprism mirror to create a live "eye-to-eye" view on the LCD of loved ones, children, pets and fast-changing scenes.
Tiltable, 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD Plus screen A large built-in screen with 2-way angle tilt provides a sharp, clear view of your subject and tilts up or down for low-angle or high-angle monitoring in situations where you want a child-level or overhead shot.
Continuous shooting while viewing The DSLR-A350 lets you shoot continuously at up to 2 frames per second while you see your subject in the large 2.7-inch LCD viewfinder, so you never lose track of the action. In JPEG mode, you can shoot up to the limit of your flash memory card; in RAW Burst Mode you can capture up to 4 shots, with intelligent buffer management to allow more shots to be captured without waiting for the buffer to clear.
Smart teleconverter 2x zoom At the touch of a button you can zoom in electronically on your subject, reproducing pixels on a 1:1 basis with no degradation in picture quality. One touch zooms in at 1.4X, the second touch advances to 2X zoom -- creating the 35mm equivalent of a 200mm telephoto effect with the DSLR-A350’s standard 18-70mm zoom lens.
Expanded ISO sensitivity A broad sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200 enables the DSLR-A350 to capture beautiful color images even in very dim light -- with High ISO Noise Reduction technology that reduces picture noise artifacts at high-sensitivity ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 settings by eliminating noise from RAW data after analog-to-digital conversion.
Super SteadyShot in-camera image stabilization Because image stabilization is built into the DSLR-A350, every lens benefits by an advantage of from 2.5 to 3.5 exposure steps. This allows you to shoot effectively with minimum blur even in low light without flash -- or adjust exposure control for smaller lens aperture to increase depth of field and bring both foreground and background into sharp focus.
Bionz image processor The "brain" of the a (alpha) DSLR-A350 is the advanced Sony Bionz Image Processor, using hardware-based Large Scale Integrated (LSI) circuitry to enhance images with rich tonal reproduction, improved white balance and exposure control, and expanded D-Range Optimizer capabilities. With 2-channel data transfer from CCD to processor, your camera can also respond faster.
1200-zone evaluative metering Information from the image sensor dedicated to Live View is divided into 1200 zones of luminance and RGB color information. In addition D-Range Optimizer technology contributes to judge the scene and then determine the optimum exposure to reproduce images with a more natural look.
Dynamic Range Optimizer To improve results with backlit subjects and recover details hidden in shadows or lost in glare, the DSLR-A350 provides Dynamic Range Optimizer at two levels: Normal DRO, to improve detail using standard gamma curves for fast shot-to-shot response time, or Advanced DRO, to adjust dynamic range area-by-area for the greatest precision.
Anti-dust technology Changing lenses in a DSLR can allow dust to enter the camera -- so to keep the CCD imager cleaner for better pictures, the DSLR-A350 utilizes both static-free anti-dust coating on the CCD filter and anti-dust vibration that automatically shakes the CCD to dislodge dust each time the camera is shut off.
Auto Pop-up flash The camera flash automatically pops up and fires when needed, to help first-time DSLR photographers shoot more effectively. Auto Pop-up works in Auto mode and some scene selection modes; Flash is cancelled in Landscape, Sport or Sunset modes and in "Flash Off" position on the Exposure Mode dial.
Eye-Start Autofocus System It begins precision autofocus adjustments the moment you raise the camera to your eye -- so unlike some DSLR cameras that don’t start focusing until the shutter button is half-pressed, the Sony DSLR-A350 never slows down your ability to catch fast action.
9-Point Center Cross AF Sensor A fast focus motor and improved focus control help bring images into sharp definition more quickly, with predictive focus control that automatically calculates the position of a fast-moving subject.
Scene Selection Modes Along with auto exposure, the DSLR-A350 gives you scene selection modes to optimize camera performance for Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Sunset and Night Portrait/Night View situations.
Creative Style Settings To express your creativity and personal taste, you can adjust contrast, saturation and sharpness settings for any of 8 finishing styles -- including Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Night View, Sunset, B&W and Adobe RGB modes.
Index and Slide Show Display To quickly review your photos, the DSLR-A350 can display 4, 9 or 25-frame index views -- or present automatic slide shows with fade-in/fade-out effect.
High-resolution thumbnails for PhotoTV HD viewing The DSLR-A350 automatically creates high-resolution thumbnail images for viewing on Sony’s BRAVIA HDTV in optimized PhotoTV HD mode, with image format adjustable for standard 3:2 or widescreen 16:9 display.
Function Guide Display On-screen menus are intuitive and easy to use -- and a simple Camera Function Display can be activated and operated with one hand using the "Fn" (Function) button and controller button to adjust Flash mode, Autofocus mode, White Balance, Metering mode, AF area and D-Range Optimizer.
Stamina Battery Power In optical viewfinder mode, you can take up to 730 shots3 on a fully-charged NP-FM500H InfoLithium battery -- and you’ll be able to see about how much power remains in percentage increments, so you can keep shooting in confidence.
High-Capacity Media Options For conveniently storing and sharing your images, the DSLR-A350 accepts CompactFlash Type I/II media and optional Memory Stick Pro Duo media.
Optional advanced lenses and accessories Sony’s Alpha system gives you everything you need to expand your creativity in DSLR photography: precision Sony DT zoom lenses and specialty lenses, Sony "G" Series lenses with advanced motorized autofocusing, amazingly bright Carl Zeiss lens designs, professional-quality flash units, and over 16 million Minolta a-mount lenses sold worldwide.
Very good camera, but buy a 18-250 or a 18-300 lens instead of the kit with two lenses
This is my first DSLR camera. I bought for a photography course. If you are thinking of buying the kit with two lenses, buy an 18-250mm or a 18-300mm lens instead. Sony, Tamron, and Sigma make pretty decent lenses for under $550.
Sony a350 over the Canon Rebel XSi? Depends on your preferences.
I chose the Sony a350 in a very close call over the Canon Rebel XSi. A friend bought the Canon, and we are both happy, so it comes down to preferences. Here is my personal experience with the Sony, with known differences compared with the Canon noted.
Please note that I am a hobbyist, rather than a professional.
Pros: takes beautiful, clear, and sharp pictures even with the kit lenses. If it were on picture quality alone, the a350 would get a definite 5. This is the most important point of the review. The picture quality is simply awesome.
The Sony has excellent low light performance because of the 3200 iso speed (the Canon only goes to 1600, which I have found makes a definite difference in these situations). There is some noise, but it is acceptable to me.
The tiltable LCD screen is a nice touch.
Battery life is good, and the controls are easy to use after a short learning curve.
While it has the highest resolution (14.2MP) of any camera in its class, I'm not sure how much of an advantage this is, since I usually don't need to shoot at that resolution, plus I've seen some reviews where the detail on the Canon in certain settings is actually better.
CONS: The biggest disappointment with this camera by far is the built-in flash which utilizes a pre-flash that causes the dreaded sleepy eye effect in most pictures taken in dark settings. I have young children, and they tend to be affected greatly by this feature. I can't seem to find a way to defeat the pre-flash. The problem is much less pronounced when it is used for fill-in in the daytime. This makes the 3200 iso much more important because I now elect to shoot at high speed and no flash. I get much better results this way. Apparently, the Canon does not have this problem quite as much, although it has pre-flash as well.
The continuous burst shooting speed is rated at somewhere between 2-2.5 shots per second, slower than the Canon (more in the 3-3.5 range). So far, it hasn't been that big of a deal for me, but I don't usually shoot sports or similar activities.
The Sony is a bit heavier than the Canon, but it would be hard to be cognizant of the difference unless you owned both cameras.
BOTTOM LINE: I am mostly satisfied with this camera, except for the annoying flash qualities. If you shoot sports a lot, go with the Canon. If you like the ability to shoot in low light settings without flash and shooting with the camera at different angles, go with the Sony.
I bought this camera after alot of research and I think I made a great decision. The camera works great I have taken about 300 pictures in a couple of weeks. It has worked great.