A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Home > Equipment > Sony > Alpha A100

Featured Equipment Deals

Top Tips From Three [Framed] Award Winners Read More

Top Tips From Three [Framed] Award Winners

Get inspired by these incredible female photographers and recipients of the [Framed] Award.

Latest Equipment Articles

Lensbaby Spark Review Read More

Lensbaby Spark Review

This inexpensive gadget does indeed spark your creativity. Read on to see how.

Latest Learning Articles

26 Creative Photos of Water Drops Read More

26 Creative Photos of Water Drops

These absolutely amazing macro photographs feature a tiny elemental thing that can hold a lot of mystery. Take a moment to enjoy these photographs of water drops.


Sony Alpha A100 Review

by Bob Atkins, November 2007

photography by Bob Atkins and Hannah Thiem


The Sony Alpha A100 is Sony's entry-level digital SLR, competing with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel and Nikon D40x. It's an evolution of the Minolta DSLR line, which Konica-Minolta transferred to Sony in March of 2006. The A100 was introduced in June 2006.

The Sony Alpha A100 is compatible with all A-mount Minolta SLR and DSLR autofocus lenses and accessories. Note that the Sony A100 cannot accept Minolta MD-mount manual focus lenses. Though it doesn't directly address Sony cameras, newcomers to the world of DSLRs might want to start with the photo.net article "Building a DSLR system".

The Sony A100 is available in various packages from amazon.com:

Camera Controls

Like many other low-end DSLRs, the Sony A100 lacks a dedicated LCD for displaying image capture data. The large rear LCD is used for both image and data display. This results in a simpler user interface because there is only one place on the camera to look for information. There are two main control dials on top of the camera. The dial on the right controls the operating mode: Program, Aperture priority, Shutter Priority and Manual plus multiple idiot modes (Auto/Green, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Sunset and Night Portrait). The dial on the left of the camera controls a number of functions which change camera settings for White Balance, ISO setting, Metering Pattern, Flash mode, Dynamic Range control and Setting color mode, saturation, sharpness and contrast. The various options for each setting are displayed on the rear LCD and selected using a four-way controller or the main control wheel located just in front of the shutter release.

On the back of the camera is the 2.5" LCD used for both image and data display. To the right of the LCD is the main four-way controller with a center button, which can be used to select menu options or navigate within an image. At the bottom right is the switch to select "Super SteadyShot" mode, Sony's sensor-based image stabilizer. To the left of the LCD are the controls for displaying the menu, selecting which data are displayed, erasing images and recalling stored images. There are also dedicated buttons for exposure compensation (+/-) and Auto Exposure Lock (AEL).

a100_top_controls.jpg (23457 bytes) a100_back.jpg (22923 bytes)

Operating Speed

The Sony A100 is responsive. The camera is ready for use within 1 second of being powered on. General operation is fast with no sense of waiting for the camera to catch up. Transfer of images from the data buffer to the memory card is fast. Image playback is very fast for both JPEG and RAW images.

In continuous drive mode I was able to capture images at a rate of 2.9 frames/sec storing the images as JPEGs with the A100 set to ISO 100 and a shutter speed of 1/250s. With JPEG mode and a fast memory card, you can keep on photographing until the memory card is full. With RAW format, Sony specifies that the buffer will hold 6 frames. Using a Lexar Pro 133x CF memory card, I captured 9 RAW images before the frame rate slowed to around 1.7 frames/sec. High resolution JPEGs varied between 2MB and 5MB in size, depending on ISO setting and subject. Subjects with more detail and photographed at higher ISO settings yielded larger files. RAW files, which come out with a .ARW extension, are typically around 10MB each, though some were as large as 13MB. This would indicate that the .ARW files are compressed, presumably using a lossless algorithm.

The Sony A100 accepts Compact Flash memory cards, types I and II. An included adapter enables the use of Sony Memory Sticks.

Autofocus

The Sony A100 uses 9 autofocus zones. The center zone has a cross-type sensor, responsive to both vertical and horizontal detail. The remaining 8 zones are line-type sensors, which respond to detail only in one orientation. A sensor detects when an eye is placed against the viewfinder and starts autofocus. With this function enabled, by the time you get the camera to your eye, the AF system may already have acquired focus. With eye-start focus off, AF is initiated with a halfway press of the shutter release.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder is quite bright despite Sony's use of a pentamirror rather than a brighter (and more expensive) pentaprism. Part of the brightness may be due to the fairly low magnification factor (0.83x). Viewfinder coverage is 95 percent and there is a -2.5 to +1 dioptric adjustment. Though the viewfinder is on the small side, I did not find this a problem when using the camera.

The in-viewfinder LCD display is presented just below the image. It shows the usual stuff: flash exposure compensation, flash mode and readiness, focus confirmation, shutter speed and aperture, exposure compensation and/or metering, and the number of images that can be stored in the camera's buffer memory. What is unusual about this display is that it shows an indication of camera shake and the ability of the anti-shake system to compensate for it.

Super SteadyShot

The Sony A100 has built-in "Super SteadyShot" image stabilization. Sensors in the camera detect motion and move the digital imaging CCD sensor so as to compensate. This method of stabilization was pioneered by Minolta in the Maxxum 7D and a similar in-body stabilization scheme is used by Pentax.

There is some debate about the relative effectiveness of sensor-based stabilization vs. Nikon and Canon's lens-based stabilization. To get some idea of their relative performance, I tested the Sony A100 with a 16-80mm zoom set to 80mm and a Canon EOS 20D with an EF-S 17-85IS lens also set to 80mm. I obtained a number of images with each camera at shutter speeds from 1/80s to 1/8s. The standard rule of thumb is that a photographer should be able to handhold an 80mm lens on these cameras at shutter speeds of 1/125s and faster and get sharp images. At lower speeds your chance of sharp images should drop significantly. Photographing at 1/60s is 1 stop slower, 1/30s is 2 stops slower, 1/15s is 3 stops slower and 1/8s is 4 stops slower.

The results showed that the effectiveness of the Sony Super SteadyShot system was quite similar to that of the Canon lens-based stabilization system, at least at mid-range focal lengths. Giving numerical results is difficult because photographs can range anywhere from sharp to blurred - and all degrees of sharpness in between. However at 1/8s about 50 percent of the images were acceptably sharp with the Canon system and about 40 percent with the Sony system.

Whatever the relative merits of the two stabilization systems, it's clear that the Sony Super SteadyShot has the huge advantage of stabilizing all lenses mounted on the A100 body. In addition you only have to pay for stabilization once because it is built into the body.

Remember that any image stabilization system stabilizes camera motion, not subject motion. If your subjects are moving, e.g., at a sporting event, you need a fast lens (f/1.4, f/2, or f/2.8) and/or good image quality at a high ISO setting.

Noise Levels

The Sony A100 uses a 10 megapixel CCD sensor with an ISO range from 100 to 1600. Noise levels are pretty well controlled up to ISO 400, with noise becoming intrusive at ISO 800 and ISO 1600. The images below are 100 percent crops from images captured at ISO settings from 100 to 1600 with the Sony A100 and from ISO 100 to ISO 3200 with the Canon EOS 20D. The noise levels of the EOS 20D are very similar to those of the Canon Rebel XT and XTi and all three Canon DSLRs use a similar CMOS sensor.

noise.jpg (25982 bytes)

As you can see, the noise level of the Sony A100 is somewhat higher than that of the Canon EOS 20D. The 20D appears to have an advantage of one ISO level, i.e., the 20D noise at ISO 800 is equivalent to the Sony at ISO 400. This test (a grey card at 100 percent cropping) is designed to reveal noise. In a typical image printed at 8x12, both cameras would be fine up to ISO 800. Below are crops from images taken at ISO 800 and ISO 200. These are 50 percent crops, so if you are using a 17" monitor at 1280 x 1024 resolution (a typical system), they'd represent sections of a 12" x 18" print.

noise2.jpg (47709 bytes)

If low light photography with low noise is an important goal, look into a camera body with a full-frame sensor, such as Canon EOS 5D, (compare prices) (review).

Flash

Maximum shutter speed for syncing with flash is 1/160s or 1/125s with Super SteadyShot enabled. The built-in flash, which must be manually raised and lowered, has a useful range of about 10 ft. (guide number of 12 in meters at ISO 100; higher ISO settings result in longer flash range). The built-in flash can operate as an autofocus illuminator in low light conditions, but it has to be manually raised. The built-in flash covers the field of view of a 16mm lens (equivalent to that of a 24mm lens on a full frame camera).

There are seven flash modes: Automatic, Fill, Red-eye reduction, Rear sync, Wireless, High-speed sync, and Slow sync. In wireless mode the built-in flash sends a series of optical pulses to an external flash. The external flash first fires a metering pre-flash, which the camera uses to determine exposure. The built-in flash then sends a second series of pulses, which tell the external flash how much power to use. Contrast this with the Canon system, which requires a hot shoe flash such as the 580EX II in order to fire and control a wireless slave such as the 430EX.

The Sony system currently offers several external flash units, the HVL-F36AM, the more powerful HVL-F56AM and the HVL-MT24AM macro twin flash.

A100 with HVL F56AM flash

A series of test images with the HVL-F56AM and were all well-exposed, both with the flash mounted directly on the camera and with it being controlled wirelessly. One somewhat puzzling feature of the HV F56AM is that there is a menu option allowing a flash ratio to be set. However, the manual states, "This indicator is displayed, but this function is not available. Use the OFF setting." Perhaps Sony is planning a multi flash system with ratio control in the future?

The zoom range of the flash is specified as 24mm to 85mm for full frame coverage, which means that it will cover lenses from 16mm to 57mm on an APS-C camera like the Sony A100. A fold down panel increases the coverage of the flash to illuminate the area covered by a 17mm lens (11.3mm on the A100).

The Sony HVL-F56AM Flash, (compare prices) supports Sony's ADI (Advanced Distance Integration) flash. This means that the flash power calculated to give optimum exposure may be adjusted based on the focus distance of the lens to compensate for unusual background or subject reflectivity. It's similar to Canon's ETTL II flash metering. Not all Sony lenses return focus distance information, and ADI is not available with the following Sony lenses: 16/2.8 fisheye, 20/2.8, 28/2.8, 135/2.8, and 500/8.

The F56AM has most of the features you'd expect in an advanced flash including high speed sync, manual output control, stroboscopic operation, auto or manual zoom head control and a tilt and swivel head. The flash measure about 3.1" x 5.3" x 4" and weighs just over 13oz.

The F56AM is available from amazon.com

Lenses

The Sony Alpha A100 can use any of the Sony or Konica-Minolta autofocus lenses. They range from the Sony 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 DT and Sony 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye to the Sony 300mm f/2.8 and the Sony 500 f/8 AF Reflex mirror lens. Tokina, Tamron and Sigma also make lenses that are compatible with the A100.


Current lenses available for the Sony Alpha A100 DSLR

Along with this review of the Sony A100, I've also written brief reviews of three lenses:

Sony Alpha A100 Specifications:

  • 10 MP CCD sensor, APS-C format (23.6 x 15.8 mm)
  • ISO range 100-1600
  • 2.5" LCD monitor, 230,000 pixels
  • 3fps continuous burst speed (maximum 6 frames in RAW mode)
  • Anti Dust system to shake dust off sensor
  • 40 segment metering system
  • Image Stabilization in body "Super SteadyShot"
  • Eye Start AF
  • 9 AF zones, 1 cross type, 8 linear type.
  • Flash sync 1/160s (1/125s with Super SteadyShot on)
  • 95 percent viewfinder (0.83x)
  • Uses Compact Flash memory cards
  • Shutter speeds 30s to 1/4000s
  • Weight 545 g

Conclusion

The Sony A100 is competitive in performance with the cheapest Canon and Nikon bodies. The Sony system of lenses and accessories is smaller than Pentax's and much smaller than Canon's and Nikon's. The A100's main advantage over similar priced bodies from Canon and Nikon is the built-in image stabilization. The A100's main weakness is objectionable noise at higher ISO settings.

Sony Alpha A100 Test Images

Sony Alpha A100, 1/320s @f4.5, ISO 1600, Sony 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 DT Carl Zeiss (review) @ 80mm

Sony Alpha A100, 1/500s @ f5.6, ISO 200. Sony 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 DT Carl Zeiss (review) @ 80mm

Sony Alpha A100, 1/60s @f8, ISO 200, Sony 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 DT (review) @ 70mm

Sony Alpha A100, 1/400s @ f5.6, ISO 200. Sony 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 DT Carl Zeiss (review) @ 75mm

Sony Alpha A100, 1/4000s @ f1.4, ISO 100. Sony 35mm f/1.4G (review)


Text ©2007 Bob Atkins; Images © 2007 Bob Atkins or Hannah Thiem

Article created November 2007

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Khris Lee , April 15, 2007; 08:04 P.M.

The Sony a100 is a great camera!

Amir Hossein Heidarian , April 16, 2007; 01:34 P.M.

in this price i prefer to buy canon 400dSLR that has a lighter weight and stylish shape and very importent cmos sensor...cmos sensors has a very low noise in low light condition and high iso photography than ccd sensors .

Image Attachment: IMG_1965.jpg

Aaron Meyer , April 16, 2007; 04:29 P.M.

Amir: CMOS and CCD have roughly equivalent noise amounts. In fact, go back two years and you'll notice many people claiming that CCD is inherently better than CMOS in terms of noise.

Canon does have far superior in-camera noise reduction for JPG shots, but unprocessed RAW files from Canon, Nikon, and Sony's 10MP DSLRs all show roughly equivalent noise amounts.

Your example shot is excellent, but at the size posted (only 864 pixels in the longest direction) even most P&S camers wouldn't see a lot of noise.

All that said, the A100 is slightly noisier in RAW than the XTi, but roughly equivalent to the Nikons. If you're shooting JPG straight from the camera it may be a factor, but if you're shooting RAW, there's not really going to be an issue. In any case, there are no real "dud" cameras in the DSLR segment right now, which is a great situation to be in. :)

Josh Laverty , April 16, 2007; 08:08 P.M.

Having newly been stuck withan A100 due to a warranty replacement of my old sony, I have been pleasantly surprised. I've used the nikon d200 and d2x and while the build quality is far superior in the more expensive nikons, the features and ease of use make the sony a compelling camera for somebody on a budget. Some of the best lenses for it are the old minolta lenses and while they are in high demand right now, they are significantly less expensive than the sony lenses.

In its price range I found the build quality only matched by olympus and beat by nikon. But neither of those bodies will be having zeiss lenses made available for it, and unless you are one of the miriades of people that are hooked by canon, moving to the sony was comfortable, in all ways except some controls that are, in sony style, innovative.

The Dynamic range opimizer is unpredictable. you could take the same shot with the same settings three times and get three different exposures if the framing is just slightly different. At the same time, it does let you shoot without concern for backlit subjects. It does make the image flatter which can be good for portraits, but when you want the shadows you turn it off.

A lot of reviews have complained that the camera forgets its settings. This is not true, my settings are kept on all modes except auto until I choose to reset it.

I look forward to see what sony does in this industry this year or the next. Many other cameras already use sony sensors, so they will be able to be competitive. Also there is speculation that as they have not released many lenses that are aps-c format, they may be bringing out a pro-level body.

mark hemingway , April 17, 2007; 04:00 A.M.

The only time mine will lose it's setting is when it's on Auto mode. You can change settings in Auto mode but it will reset itself after each session. As I never use auto mode it makes no difference to me.

Matt Stegmeir , April 17, 2007; 01:37 P.M.

One nitpick Josh: Zeiss makes F-mount lenses too. Admittedly they're MF only and don't meter on lower-end bodies, but if someone's in love with Zeiss you can get lenses for Nikon too.

Amir: the Rebel's small size (and shape, particularly the thin handgrip) is a mixed blessing. I know I, for one, find them extremely uncomfortable to hold and operate compared to every other DSLR I've held (Canon 20D/30D, Nikon D40-D200, the Minoltas, Pentax *ist...). For some people the size is an asset, but for others, particularly anyone with large hands, the Rebels can get a bit awkward to operate.

Jonathan Perry , April 17, 2007; 06:43 P.M.

The Sony Alpha is a great camera, and you can use Minolta lenses you cant argue with that, i love it and will continue to use it.

Mark Roybal , April 20, 2007; 03:30 P.M.


foolin around in low light with some dig-alt....

Just bought mine and have no complaints...... the noise isnt an issue for me. Cant wait to buy some superior Zeiss glass!

Douglas Ferling , April 20, 2007; 04:27 P.M.

Making the decision to go A100 after coming from an old Canon AE-1 system was easy for me.

My friend at work watches in horror as UPS drops me off package after package of inexpensive, sharp Minolta lenses that are ALL stabilized, and he stares online at the Canon IS lenses for his Rebel XT, wondering when he's gonna make the jump to buy just ONE.

Granted, the new Sony lenses are priced a bit high, but getting used Minolta glass and having in-body stabilization is what drew me into the Sony camp. My buddy mentioned to me the other day that he wished he could afford a great Canon 70-210 lens at around F4, and I just smiled. Can't wait for those new bodies!

Alexandru Caciulatu , April 21, 2007; 02:42 A.M.

my experince with alpha 100

Few things which are not present in reviews about this camera. The "standard" model Lens zoom 17-80mm 3.4-5.6/f is not very impressive, 3.5/f is very short and 80% from lens range is 5/f to 5.6/f and also has image distortion on both ends of rage.

Battery life is good and you can enjoy to play with your camera long time until to need to charge it again. LCD is getting dirty very easy and you need to take care to keep it clean.

The "on board" image stabilizer is a very nice option and can let you to take clear pictures in low light conditions. As an advice, pay attention to WB settings some time is better to do few manual adjustments instead of using default settings, but is not a big pain.

I used this camera with my old 3600ADI Minolta flash and the results are very good. ADI option worked and all pictures taken to a kids party has a nice and warm fill-in light form flash, colors are very natural and no bad shadows or highlighted zones.

Not very funny but Sony removed that auto focus start sensor from grip which is a little bit anoing because auto focus starting to work when camera is "on" but not in use. Minolda Dynax 7 has a sensor on grip which would not let the auto focus to run if hand's off camera.

Control dials keep the format from Dynax 7 and has the same role with few changes to cover new introduced digital settings.

Build-in flash is ok but you can have shadows on images corners for pictures taken indoor with wide angle lens 17mm for example.

About menu, simple and easy to use no unknown option or hard to understand what each click is doing. A minus for the firmware is when you will use your Minolta Lens. Firmware is not able to adjust the Lens size according to the CCD size. 50mm Lens is reported as 50mm but the sensor size is APC.

The software provided with camera is very basics you will get an image browser and RAW editor. "Image Data Converter SR" will let you to edit RAW pictures only for JPG or other formats you need to use your own software.

Printing pictures taken with my new toy was a really nice experience, especially because the output was above my expectations:) The printed copy has the same aspect like on computer screen, I have not use any screen calibration tools, maybe I was just lucky. It was a "what you see what you get process" with no editing. I used a hp photosmart all-in one with photo ink and paper. Not cheap per copy but exciting results for a home made job.

I think it's a very good camera which would not disappointing you, if you learn how to use it.

Cheers, alex

Josh Laverty , April 22, 2007; 11:55 A.M.

Alexandru, I agree with your feelings on the kit lens. If I had the coice I would buy the body only and pursue good glass. On the other hand, I haven't seen anything in the price range with a better kit lens. With APS-C conversion (1.5) cameras, you will always gain, not lose some of the range of a non digital lens due to the multiplication factor. ie. 18-70 (a range of 52 mm) becomes 27-105 (a range of 78 mm)

You also mentioned a body's ability to adapt the lens to APS-C, I've never heard of this. If it exists, I'd like to know where. I have heard of cameras needing to know the lens for propper metering.

Oh and I'm happy to know zeiss makes f-mount, Id like to get a 100mm zeiss lense for a nikon. Cheers.

Alexandru Caciulatu , April 26, 2007; 09:27 A.M.

Josh, it looks my explanation about how firmware is reporting old lens was not very clear. The idea is that when I used for example, 50mm Minolta lens, camera reported those lens as 50mm not 75mm as it should be. Not a drama but our world now is full with gadgets able to do a lot of useful or useless things.

About Zeiss lens :)) I wish you to get your 100mm lens and don't forget to let us know how it's.

alex.

Dariusz Malanowski , April 27, 2007; 07:32 A.M.

Fairest has from all digital cameras design

Dariusz Malanowski , April 27, 2007; 07:33 A.M.

Fairest has from all digital cameras design

Image Attachment: cpd00001.jpg

Josh Laverty , April 27, 2007; 06:56 P.M.

Ah I see Alex, that would be a nice feature as I am often figuring out the math later on in order to compare results with other cameras.

Jerry C , April 30, 2007; 08:53 P.M.

look what i found!

http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/13359/sony_alpha_dslr_cameras/

Jeff Pinkerton , May 01, 2007; 12:29 P.M.

Yes, I've seen that article. Apparently, they are prototypes, but the word is that they will be releasing one of them as a final model in June or July. Not many details on it yet, but as a long-time Minolta user, I'm very excited that Sony will be continuing the A-mount body. It has been rumoured that the Pro level camera will be the first to come, and if that's true, I think we will see a full-frame, full-featured camera, that will be awesome (if you can afford it). We can all keep our finger crossed, as this is all speculation at this point.

Peggy Sherman , May 13, 2007; 06:20 P.M.

I've been using this camera for a while now to photograph wildlife from a kayak. I typically use a 300mm lens for this and have been pleased with the results (website url is on my basic info page). A few months ago I bought the 500mm lens for photos taken off the water. Everyone told me I would need a tripod to get sharp photos with that lens. I was a Sony fan before, but the fact that I can get sharp, clear photos with that big lens as a hand-held really impressed me with their anti-shake technology! I wouldn't mind a slightly quieter shutter sound, but you can't have everything...

Jessica C , May 15, 2007; 10:43 P.M.

I purchased the camera back late last year and have been gaining experience using it over the last few months. I have enjoyed the results with my Minolta AF 75-300mm F/1.5-4.9ft Zoom Lens and my Sony 18-70MM F/3.5-5.6 lens.

My issues are: * VERY noisy as it is focusing, even with a lens cap on. * Macro photos? Anyone can help me with this with settings. I have tried to take some with no luck. Any suggestions?

My wonderful experiences: * Anti-shake is a great feature * I have been able to photograph several concerts indoors, very few lights on, and I didn't have to use a flash. I've gotten some of my best concert photography shots with this camera. * Large view finder was a major plus * Camera works with my Minolta lens that I originally used with my old Minolta camera. Based on the experience with that camera and the fact with the lens, I purchased the Sony Alpha.

Would like to hear from others on this...click on my profile and click on my email and let me know any tips or tricks with this camera or any advice.

Thanks! Jessica

Munzer A. Bachour , May 16, 2007; 12:50 P.M.

No doubt that the in-body steady shot, dust removal, continuous shooting with memory card limitation and 750 shoots battery life with that price is relay amazing. All our lenses became IS ?Image Stabilizer? lenses isn?t great? I like it very much even I'm a "Leicaholic" photographer

James Niles , May 21, 2007; 11:21 P.M.

I recently purchased this camera, namely because I had some AF lenses. I have a Leica digilux, which I mainly used as a kind of Polaroid substitute, but this Sony 100 is a marvel. It carries lots of info, the controls are simple and intuitive. In short, it has not only changed my attitude towards digital photography, but I feel like I had recaptured what led me into photography in the first place. I like not having to carry a tripod everywhere and the quality of some available low light images is stunning. People again see the camera and ask me to frame them and/or their environments. The onboard flash isn't perfect but great for synchro-sun portraits and some interiors that need some help. Wow, I like this camera and the way it feels, maybe better than the Nikon SLR's. I don't function well without a viewfinder living on my eye and this is bright and informative.

Henry Richardson , May 22, 2007; 12:27 A.M.

The photo.net front page has this listed as a review. I'm wondering if some of the review pages are missing? It looks like basically just an incomplete list of features.

wf martin , May 23, 2007; 10:05 A.M.

I've been using the Sony A100 for about three months now. An excellent camera. I purchased it because I wanted an inexpensive alternative to the EOS 30D, which I also have. Sony lenses for this camera are quite expensive but Sigma has solved some of that for me. I did have one issue with the memory card slot and had to send my camera for repair. Other than that this camera rates 9.5 out of 10 for me.

Image Attachment: volley.jpg

Henry Richardson , May 24, 2007; 02:14 A.M.

I also have a Canon 30D and added a Sony A100 too. I like each for different reasons. I bought the Sony A100 for the in-body image stabilization which gives me stabilization with many kinds of lenses that Canon doesn't even have with IS. Overall I like the A100 quite a bit, but there are a few things about the design that bother me. For example, there is no way to really separate metering from AF in the way that you can by using CF4 on the Canon. I love that Canon feature. Also, the sleep mode has a serious design bug. It is designed so that the A100 can *never* sleep if the camera is on a camera strap around your neck or over your shoulder. The eye sensor detects your body and keeps the camera awake. The design should require the operation of some control to keep the camera awake.

£ukasz Kruk , May 25, 2007; 07:13 P.M.

What lens would you recommend as a replacement for kit? I've heard mostly bad things about the 18-70. I'm considering Tamron 16-50/2.8, Zeiss 16-80 is a bit too pricey. Any other suggestions, or should I get Tamron?

Erol Uner , June 14, 2007; 11:29 P.M.

Henry, You can shut the eye sensor off in the menu.

Henry Richardson , June 16, 2007; 12:35 A.M.

Erol, I assume you are referring to eyestart which can be turned off in the menu. I am not talking about that. I am talking about the sleep mode.

Margaret LANE , June 23, 2007; 12:23 A.M.

Sony Alpha 100 I have used the Minolta 3xi for well over twenty years. I liked it and I liked what it produced for a film camera. I really like the Sony Alpha. I have had mine for just a few months. Haven't tried a whole lot of it as I am at best still an amateur who would love to sell some photos. The cmaer is so easy to use.I waited until Minolta had a camera I could afford and would take my lenses. They quit making cameras before I could buy one. I was so glad to hear that Sony had taken over from Minolta. M Lane

reg horseman , July 20, 2007; 07:52 P.M.

Re sony a100. After years using a Minolta Dynax 5000i 35mm camera and then trying point and shoot Dimage z20 & Panasonic dmc-fz5 cameras I have know gone dslr and bought a sony a100 and although i am no expert, for the price i think it is an amazing piece of kit. At the moment i am using the Sony 18-70,Tamron 18-250 and the Tamron af f2.8 macro lenses and the results are superb.As i say i am a relative novice and any advice would be appreciated. Regards Reghorse

Dan Eastman , July 29, 2007; 02:07 P.M.

A great camera! I did however shut off the auto start feature, the lens was continuously adjusting. It was annoying, drew attention, and probably shortened battery life. I saved a lot of money not having to invest in a lot of new glass. Waiting for the FA-ST1AM adapter to become available in the US.

Rod PFORR , July 31, 2007; 02:48 P.M.


da Vincis' Vision

I would like to say that the Sony 100 is the best camera in any class up to $2000 US. There are three essential elements you have to get right in any image: color, contrast and density. The Sony is far quicker to get a custom white balance with than with either canon or Nikon. The Minolta expoures systems are a long time leader in the industry. The dynamic rang control and the ability of the camera to create custom contrast settings is excellent. The anti shake body coupled with any prime lens produces superbly shape images.

There are things that I dislike, however they can be found on any camera. Having conducted classes with students using all makes and models I would put the Sony a first in the gold medal stakes, Faster to get to set. less errors and sharper across the image.

The focus points in the viewfinder are placed in a pattern conforming to the golden section and are invaluable for composition.

Just imagine what Sony will do with their Pro camera when it will be sold. Canon will have serious issues to address. I'm just sitting around waiting for a full frame sensor, Zeiss lenses, anti shake, a bigger view finder that takes all my old AF stock for the last 20 years. Then I have a real camera.

Rod PFORR , July 31, 2007; 03:04 P.M.


Da vinci's Vision

I would like to say that the Sony 100 is the best camera in any class up to $2000 US. There are three essential elements you have to get right in any image: color, contrast and density. The Sony is far quicker to get a custom white balance with than with either canon or Nikon. The Minolta expoures systems are a long time leader in the industry. The dynamic rang control and the ability of the camera to create custom contrast settings is excellent. The anti shake body coupled with any prime lens produces superbly shape images.

There are things that I dislike, however they can be found on any camera. Having conducted classes with students using all makes and models I would put the Sony a first in the gold medal stakes, Faster to get to set. less errors and sharper across the image.

The focus points in the viewfinder are placed in a pattern conforming to the golden section and are invaluable for composition.

Just imagine what Sony will do with their Pro camera when it will be sold. Canon will have serious issues to address. I'm just sitting around waiting for a full frame sensor, Zeiss lenses, anti shake, a bigger view finder that takes all my old AF stock for the last 20 years. Then I have a real camera.

Return to

James C. Turner , August 03, 2007; 01:56 P.M.

I went to the local camera shop to get my daughter a new digital camera, and had high hopes for the Sony 100 (Alpha), but thought it felt junky, and was not impressed with how it felt in the hand.

steve lambert , August 04, 2007; 02:02 P.M.

I bought it months ago in Jacksonville at Ritz and I love it because I have two lenses for it already! I post my pics on memorablepics.com. Here is the bad/odd news. I went into Ritz Nashua to buy a more powerful zoom. The guy stated that Ritz is recalling them and not selling them!!!! I saw one for sale and asked why it was there but chalked it up to their ignorance. I called today the same store and was told that they didnt sell lenses or bodies because of a recall. Why wouldnt a registered owner be told this? I have to wait until monday to call Ritz HQ and see if they are correct. Anyone else seen/heard this? I love my Sony Alpha and see nothing wrong.

Junce Martin , December 21, 2007; 09:10 A.M.

I think I got a bad one. This has been a horrific experience with Sony customer service. At first they said there was nothing wrong after I complained of horrible low light shots rarely able to catch my kid or right white balance Then after sending it again they said it was a bad shutter. Instead of sending me a new one, they did something that made all outdoor shoots too bright. To make a long story short, this together with a bad dscs -40 camera,they would not fix, a bad minolta they would not fix, a 5700 chip that they supposidly made and Nikon fixed, and the shutter problem with their h series cameras, I would never buy a Sony product again . No big deal I saw the light. Truthfully I like their point and shoots ( except the dsc-650) but not their dsl s!

Here you can find more reality reviews: Sony A100 video reviews

Francois Spenard , December 22, 2007; 08:31 P.M.

I?ve been a Minolta user since the 70?s, I own an SRT-100, SRT-101, SRT-102, Maxxum 9000, and 90% of my lens are Rokkor made. When Sony purchase Minolta?s technologies, and introduce the A100 I was very happy to learn that I could use my AF lens from the MAXXUM series.

Recently I purchase an adaptor to finally use my non AF Rokkor lens, and with good result on the A100, up to f8; past that f-Stop I get a white spot in the middle of the photo?but I can easily live with this small flaw, since I have access to some of the best lens Minolta has ever made.

All in all the A100 is not a perfect digital camera, but for the price it is selling and what can be done with it, I?d say it is a very good camera.

Sure there are certain thing that bugs me with the A100, such as access to all the feature program option easily, noise past ASA 800 is very visible as compare to the Nikon D80, even if Sony pretends that the anti-dust technology cleaning works very good, I still find it gathers to much dust for my taste since I often change lens and, I have to buy a new flash because my older MAXXUM/Minolta does not fit on the new Sony hot shoe.

I could still come up with a couple more flaws, but for the usage I make of the A100, just like recuperating all my older lens, in my opinion it make for a fine camera. Finally I?m not into large format enlargement, but at 10.2 megPix I get stunning result up to 12x18 prints

Cheers, Francois Spenard

Richard Harris , January 17, 2008; 02:16 P.M.

Discontinued!

Sharon Murphy , January 31, 2008; 11:31 P.M.

Only discontinued because they came out with the A700.

Matt Kennedy , April 01, 2008; 01:30 P.M.

No, it's discontinued because they came out with the A200.

Howard Vrankin , August 29, 2008; 11:39 P.M.


Doe and Fawn, Dusk. 18-70 kit lens

Hey, I'm way at the end of the train. -Just bought an open box A100 with the kit lens and it's making way better photos than my old D70 did. I think it's beautifully made. The controls and menus are intuitive. The newer Sony models are probably quite improved, but for me this is good enough and for under $400 the price is right! I was waiting for this deal.

Art Magin , March 18, 2009; 01:10 A.M.

Great review it's nice to see a100 get due, thank you bob!

Though I have an a700 I find I still reach often and am going for the a100. It has more of the old minolta feel that I really cherish.

If it's of interest there's an updated sony a100 review with the v1.4 firmware.

personally I don't anticipate ever getting rid of my a100


Add a comment



Notify me of comments