Sony’s always trying to be different, take its own course, run against the tide. It’s refreshing. You know, except when it goes frustratingly, unnecessarily wrong. Anyone remember ATRAC?
OK, we’ll stop being sensationalist – there’s nothing so fundamentally wrong with the A200, just a few off choices. For instance, how has Sony managed to find the cheapest-feeling plastic around, giving the impression of such terrible flimsiness?
If you dropped it, you’d probably cry the moment it left your hand – that’s how certain you’d be that it won’t survive a fall.
You probably won’t be overwhelmed by the A200’s 10megapixel photos, either. They’re just very average. There’s more grain at ISO 100 than we’d like, the ISO 3200 setting is just there for show – it’s ridiculously noisy – and the autofocus, though fast, gets it wrong rather too often.
Colours are good, though, and the in-body image stabiliser, which is a real boon at this price, is very dependable. It’s also nice to see a dedicated ISO button on an entry-level camera.
The kit lens, too, is more versatile than most, with a zoom range of 18-70mm (around 28-105mm in old money). Shame it feels so cheap.
Slot in the arm
There are also two card slots – one for CompactFlash, one for Memory Stick PRO Duo. It’s nice to have options.
Our real problem with the A200, though, was the lack of eye relief on the viewfinder. You have to really squash your face up against the back of the camera to get a full view of the frame.
And the shutter button is a bit too far back on the body to promote a comfortable grip, which can lead to blurry pics. So, so infuriating.