Login  /  Register
Lastest Polls
Which Brand Printer Do You Use?
Advertisement on Facebook on Twitter Add To Google Toolbar RSS Feed Youtube Channel Bookmark Page Set As Homepage Search Digital Camera Reviews Search News Search Photography Tips
Home arrow Digital Camera Reviews arrow Sony > arrow Sony a230 DSLR Digital Camera Review
Sony a230 DSLR Digital Camera Review


Digital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker 

Sony’s Alpha 230 is one of the lowest priced entry-level digital SLRs on the current market (at RRP $949 for the single lens kit and $1,199 for the twin lens kit) and for those about to graduate to the DSLR realm, it may be an option to consider especially given its simple design and overall user-friendliness.

Whilst the differences between the a230 and its predecessor, the a200, seem fairly minimal minus some internal firmware adjustments and some external redesign, the a230 remains a good quality unit capable of producing pleasant images.

The 10.2 megapixel unit houses an APS-C sized CCD sensor and supports both JPEG and RAW formats along with dual slots for SD/SDHC and Memory Stick Pro Duo cards.

Sony’s SteadyShot technology is incorporated into the body of the a230 allowing for image stabilisation with all existing lenses and while its use is both beneficial and strongly encouraged, SteadyShot can be switched off as required via the internal menu system.

An extensive ISO range of 100-3200 is available although, as with many DSLRs, users would be best not to push beyond ISO 800 where possible in order to avoid the loss of detail and obvious visibility of colour noise that exists at ISOs 1600 and 3200.

As expected, ISO 100 produces the cleanest images and anything up to and including ISO 400 will also produce optimum results.

Some minor issues with white balance were noticed whilst testing the a230’s automatic settings. Slightly cooler than normal images were often produced outdoors under natural lighting conditions and the results were somewhat warmer than usual when shooting indoors and under artificial lighting.

Those shooting in RAW will be able to correct this quickly in post-production but given that the a230 is predominantly aimed at DSLR beginners, this may be an unfamiliar process and so learning to operate manual and semi-manual settings while shooting in JPEG format, may be the better option.

The a230 has a nine-point AF system that focuses quickly, especially under bright light conditions, and fairly accurately although becomes less efficient as the level of light decreases.

The built-in flash pops automatically if insufficient light is detected and proves to generally expose correctly (if not occasionally slightly under) and evenly across a variety of lighting situations.

An external flash unit (HVL-F20AM) is also available as an optional accessory for those looking for greater power and further throw.

The a230 is equipped with a 2.7-inch LCD screen which, while offering a clear and bright display, is relatively small compared to the size of the camera body overall.

Users will notice the general rounded design of the a230, which incorporates numerous curves and smooth lines across its body to help create an appealing aesthetic as well as offer better overall handling.

Unfortunately, the well-rubberised handgrip is slightly thinner and shorter than it could have been given its proportion in relation to the rest of the unit and users are likely to find themselves gripping the a230 with their thumb and fingertips alone as opposed to their whole hand.

Unlike its sister models, the a330 and the a380, the a230 doesn’t offer live view nor movie mode. For compact users looking to graduate to DSLR who are used to composing and reviewing images via their LCD screen, the need to compose via the s230’s viewfinder may initially be somewhat of a jolt to the system.

Having said that, graduating to a DSLR system can be slightly intimidating for the inexperienced at first and so keeping the a230 focused only on core camera functions and controls certainly has its benefits.

Remembering that the a230 is best-suited for DSLR amateurs, Sony have cleverly included numerous explanations, diagrams and mini lessons in-camera to help explain to users different features and functions that, previously being compact camera users, they are unlikely to be familiar with.

Essential facets of photography such as shutter speed and aperture are explained both in writing and in easy-to-understand diagrams throughout the a230’s internal menu system and screen displays.

Each of the 12 options on the command dial (including auto, no flash, program, shutter and aperture priorities, manual, portrait, landscape, macro, sports action, sunset and night mode) are also explained and defined when switched to and the shooting functions offered (including AF mode, AF area, white balance, metering mode, D-range optimiser and creative style) are also clearly defined to help beginners grasp new photography concepts.

One minor oversight has seen the in-camera guide often instruct users to push the ‘ok’ button and yet, there is no such button on the a230! Instead, users can push either the AF or the shutter button but to accept the command but this small mistake is likely to have many users initially quite confused.

For those who own a Sony Bravia television, once connected via the HDMI port, the a230 can be operated in playback via the Bravia’s remote control for seamless slideshow and picture viewing. Of course the a230 can be connected to any HDMI compatible TV but must be controlled via the camera itself in that case.

Image quality overall is as expected for a camera in this entry-level segment of the market. Sharpness is fairly good, again though at the lower end of the ISO spectrum, and once white balance settings have been understood and correctly set, colour reproduction is mostly accurate.medal-gold-r.jpg

Anyone previously experienced with DSLRs would probably not look twice at Sony’s a230. Having said that, anyone who is on the verge of making their first DSLR purchase would be foolish not to seriously consider this unit as an option.

It is very reasonably priced for the array of features and settings it offers and yet is a positively underwhelming unit in terms of its intimidation factor, which many entry-level DSLRs struggle with.

There are not too many buttons or dials to contend with on the a230 and the menu system, whilst brimming with options, is simply laid out and logical to navigate through.

All-in-all, Sony’s a230 is a highly accessible DSLR that is likely to get entry-level users really excited about their photography and at the end of the day, that is the most important thing.

Appearance rating 3.5 stars
Functionality rating 3.5 stars
Image quality
3.5 stars
Lens quality
3.5 stars
View finder / LCD screen 3 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) $999
Effective Pixels 10.8 Million mega pixels
Image Sensor
23.6 x 15.8mm (APS-C type) with RGB primary colour filter
Image Sizes 3 Sizes
Resolution Settings (Aspect ratio 3:2) L(10M):3,872 x 2,592; M(5.6M): 2,896 x 1,936; S(2.5M): 1,320 x 1,280
(Aspect ratio 16:9) L(8.4M):3,872 x 2,176; M(4.7M): 2,896 x 1,632; S(2.1M): 1,920 x 1,080
Manual Focus Yes
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds 1/4000 sec. -30 sec., bulb  
Exposure Metering System
TTL metering (Multi Segment, Center-Weighted, Spot)
Exposure Modes Program AE (AUTO, AUTO with Flash Off, P), Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual
ISO Auto, 100 to 3200 (in 1-stop increments)
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 3.0-inch (100% field of view), 921,600-dot TFT, hybrid type (Xtra Fine LCD)
Viewfinder Yes
Hot Shoe Yes
White Balance Auto plus 6 Modes (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash); +/- 3-step adjustable Kelvin temperature control (2500-9900k w/19-step Magenta/Green compensation).
Self Timer 2, 10, off
HD Movie Option No
Movie Sizes No
Video Out No
Storage Type Memory Stick Pro Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX, SD Memory card, SDHC Memory card
Still Image Format/s JPEG (DCF2.0, Exif 2.21), RAW (Sony ARW 2.0 format), RAW + JPEG
Movie Image Format/s  
Audio Format/s  
Connectivity USB2.0 Hi-Speed (mass storage mode / PTP mode)
Power Source AC adaptor - AV-PW10AM
Battery Options NP-FH50
Battery Life
Approx. 510 shots (CIPA measurement)
Dimensions (W) 128 x (H) 97 x (D) 67.5
Weight 450g (not including battery, memory card or accessories)



Banner Campaign
Tracking Image