Sony's new DSLR gets high marks despite its relatively low price.
Imaging: 10.2MP effective, APS-Csized CCD sensor captures images at 3872x2592 pixels with 12 bits/color in RAW mode.
Storage: Memory Stick PRO Duo, SD, and SDHC. Stores JPEG, ARW RAW, and RAW + JPEG files.
Burst Rate: Full-sized JPEGs (Fine mode): Up to card capacity at 2.5 frames per second.RAW: Up to 6 shots at 2.5 fps (12-bit).
AF System: TTL phase detection with 9 illuminated focus points (1 center cross-type). Single-shot and continuous with tracking. Tested sensitivity down to EV -1 (manufacturer rated to EV 0) (at ISO 100, f/1.4).
Live View: TTL Phase detection.
Shutter Speeds: 1/4000 to 30 sec plus B (1/3-EV increments).
Metering: TTL metering using 40-segment honeycombpattern evaluative, centerweighted, partial and spotmetering. EV 2-20 (at ISO 100).
ISO Range: ISO 100- 3200 (in 1-EV increments).
Flash: Built-in pop-up with TTL autoflash with ±2-EV exposure compensation (1/3 EV increments), GN 33 (ISO 100, feet), covers 18mm lens field of view. Flash sync to 1/160 sec. Dedicated Sony/ Minolta hot-shoe and wireless control of optional flash.
Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentamirror.
LCD: 2.7- in. TFT with 230,400-dot resolution.
Output: Hi-Speed USB 2.0, mini HDMI video.
Battery: Rechargeable NP-FH50 Li-ion, CIPA rating, 510 shots.
Size/weight: 5.1x3.8x2.4 in., 1.1 lb with card and battery.
Street price: $650 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Sony DT SAM lens; $850 with 18- 55mm f/3.5-5.6 and 55-200mm f/4- 5.6 Sony DT SAM lenses.
For Info: www.sonystyle.com.
Canon EOS Rebel T1i:
$800, street, body only; $900, street, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Canon EF-S IS lens
In the Pop Photo Lab and by the specs, this Canon beats the Alpha 330. It has significantly more resolution, thanks to its 15.1MP sensor. It focuses only ever-so-slightly slower than the Sony in bright light and just barely faster in very low light-but, more important, it can autofocus in extremely dim conditions where the Sony fails. The Canon also produces less noise across the ISO range and offers two stops more sensitivity by reaching ISO 12,800. Add to that the T1i's HD video capability, and bigger spenders have their decision made. Those of us on a budget, though, will end up thinking long and hard about the fact that the A330's dual-lens kit costs $50 less than the Canon's single-lens kit.
$600, street, body only; $700, street, with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens; $800, street, with that lens, plus a 40-150mm f/4-5.6 zoom
This Olympus shares much with the A330, including sensor-shift IS and sensitivity spanning ISO 100 through 3200. Both demonstrated Excellent color accuracy in our tests and scored Very High overall image quality at lower ISOs. The Olympus couldn't keep up with the Sony's speedy AF, though, nor could it match its low noise. The E-620 did maintain more real-world resolving power than the A330, and we like its tilting and swiveling screen. Bargain hunting? Sony's single-lens kit costs $50 less than the equivalent Olympus kit, but its two-lens kit costs $50 more than the Olympus version.