Review Camera: Sony Alpha 380

Camera Overview - Sony Alpha 380

The Sony Alpha A380 is a compact DSLR designed around a 14.2 (effective) megapixel, APS-C format CCD sensor, which utilizes a Sony BIONZ image processor to capture and process image files as RAW, JPEG, or RAW+JPEG at speeds of up to 2.5 frames-per-second (or 2 frames-per-second in Live View mode). The Alpha A380's body design is smooth and rounded, and features flush-mounted, yet easy to use camera controls. JPEG image files can be recorded in a choice of 3 compression ratios onto Memory Stick PRO Duo or SD/SDHC memory cards.

Two special features found on the Sony Alpha A380 include a tilt-mounted LCD Screen, which allows you to tilt the position of the camera's LCD (up 135° and down 55°) and Live View mode, which allows you to preview images from most any shooting or viewing angle on the camera's swivel-mounted LCD. For indoor snapshots or eliminating 'raccoon eyes' when shooting portraits outdoors on sunny days, the Alpha A380 has a built-in pop-up flash (Guide number 10 in meters @ ISO 100). There's also a hot-shoe for use with Sony dedicated TTL flashguns and other Sony-compatible flashguns.

For composing images the A380's eye-level pentamirror viewfinder shows 95% of the total image area. A rear-mounted 2.7" (230,400-dot) TFT Clear Photo LCD allows you to view 100% of the total image area. To facilitate sharp, well-exposed images, the Sony Alpha A380 utilizes a 9-point autofocus (AF) system that can be used in single or multi-shot mode. There's also an 'eye-start' mode which kick-starts the AF system when you raise the camera to your eye. For on-the-nose exposure readings the A380 features a 40-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC TTL metering system and Sony's D-Range Optimizer for balanced shadow and highlight details.

Other features of the Sony Alpha A380 include a Dust Reduction system, ISO settings that can be adjusted from a native 100 through an extended ISO 3200, a wide selection of shooting modes, an easy-to-read, easy-to-use menu interface, and Sony SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization system for sharper imagery when shooting under low-light conditions with all Sony, Minolta, and Konica AF-mount lenses. The Sony Alpha A380 powers off a Sony NP-FH50 lithium-ion battery, which can capture 500-plus images-per-charge, or 230 when using the camera's Live View mode.

The Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DT AF Lens is included and has an equivalent focal length of 27-82.5mm in a 35mm/ full frame camera. This is a good compact wide-angle to short telephoto zoom for general photography. For subjects in the distance the Sony 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens also included. When used with the Sony Alpha digital camera, the equivalent focal length (in 35mm terms) for this lens is 112.5mm to 450mm.

Small, Compact Design

The Sony Alpha A380 is contained in a rounded compact body that features flush-mounted, yet easy-to-use camera and menu controls

14.2 Megapixel CCD Sensor

A 14.2 (effective) megapixel APS-C format CCD imaging sensor captures sharp images capable of producing detailed, beyond-poster-size prints

Live View

The Alpha A380's Live View function gives you an alternative to the camera's eye-level viewfinder by allowing you to preview and review images using the camera's tilt-mounted LCD screen

2.7" Tilt-Mounted LCD

The camera's 2.7" (230,400-dot) TFT Photo Clear LCD is tilt-mounted to allow you to shoot and extreme viewing angles while taking full advantage of the camera's Live View mode. The screen can be tilted up upwards 135° and downward 55°

RAW, JPEG, or RAW+JPEG Capture

Image files can be captured in a choice of JPEG, RAW, or both simultaneously, depending on your needs, and JPEGs can be recorded as Large, Medium, or Small to best match your output and/or storage capacity requirements

Bright Reflex Finder / Bright LCD

You can compose images using the Alpha A380's reflex viewfinder, which features an adjustable diopter (-2.5 ~ +1.0) and review and edit them on the camera's 2.7" (230,400-dot) TFT Photo Clear LCD

Built-in TTL Flash

A pop-up TTL flash (with a guide number of 10-meters @ ISO 100) and enough coverage to light the field-of-view of an 18mm lens (APS-C format) does a swell job capturing party snaps as well as opening up the shadows when shooting outdoors on bright, sunny days. There's also a hot-shoe for Sony and other dedicated flashguns

Fast 9-Point AF System

The Alpha A380's 9-point AF system can be used in single-shot, automatic, or continuous mode and configured to 'read' the scene in a choice of Wide, Spot, or 9 Local area modes. Other AF features include Focus Lock, a Predictive Control function, an Eye-start function that starts up the AF system as you raise the camera to your eye, as well as an AF Illumination feature to aid focusing under lowlight conditions. You also have the option of focusing manually with a simple flip of a switch

Advanced Metering

The Sony Alpha A380 uses a 40-segment honeycomb-pattern TTL metering system that can be configured to read the image in a choice of segmented, center-weighted, or spot meter settings

Image Stabilization

Sony's SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization system, which is built into the camera body, allows for sharp imagery under low-lighting conditions with all Sony, Minolta, and Konica AF-mount lenses

Dual Dust Reduction System

To keep your image files clean (and reduce post-capture retouching time) the Sony Alpha A380 employs a combination of rapid image-sensor shift and anti-static coatings on the camera's low-pass filter

Scene Modes / Creative Styles

You have a choice of multiple pre-set exposure modes to best meet the needs of your subject matter and/or lighting conditions including Portrait, Close-up, Landscape, B&W, Sports, Sunset, and Night Portrait/Night View modes. To maintain optimum highlight and shadow details when shooting in contrasty lighting conditions, the Alpha A380 features Sony's D-Range Image Optimizer

Dual Memory Card Slots

The Alpha A380 records images onto your choice of Memory Stick PRO Duo or SD/SDHC memory cards

500-Plus Exposures-per-charge

A lithium-ion battery provides about 500 exposures-per-charge (or about 230 images when shooting in Live View mode)

Optics

Includes the Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DT AF and 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 giving you a wide range of shooting options

Sony Alpha 380 Latest Price



Camera TypeDigital SLR Camera
Imaging
ResolutionEffective: 14.2MP, Recorded: 14.9MP
Sensor23.6 x 15.8mm APS-C format CCD sensor
Bit DepthNot Specified By Manufacturer
File FormatsRAW, RAW+JPEG
File SizeNot Specified By Manufacturer
Color SpacesNot Specified By Manufacturer
Creative Color ModesStandard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Night view, Sunset, & Black/White
Image StabilizationOptical Image Stabilization (Sony SteadyShot INSIDE)
Crop FactorNot Specified By Manufacturer
Optics
Lens18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6
Zoom18-55mm: 3x, 75-300mm: 4x
Lens MountSony a lens, Minolta and Konica Minolta AF lens
Focus TypeAuto and manual
Focus Range18-55mm: 0.82' (0.25m) to infinity, 75-300mm: 4.9' (1.5 m) to infinity
Accessory Lens/Filter Mount18-55mm: 55mm, 75-300mm: 55mm
Shooting Controls
SensitivityISO 100-3200
Shutter Speeds1/4000 second - 30 sec, bulb
MeteringTTL metering w/ 40-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC
Exposure ModesAuto, Auto Flash Off, Program Auto, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual
White BalanceAuto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, Custom
Mirror Lock-UpNot Specified By Manufacturer
Burst CapabilityNot Specified By Manufacturer
Self TimerYes
Interval RecordingNot Specified By Manufacturer
Remote ControlSony Remote Commander RMT-DSLR1 (Not included)
Flash
Built-in FlashYes
Effective Flash Range10 meters
External Flash ConnectionHot Shoe
Dedicated Flash SystemSony TTl Dedicated Flash System
Max Sync Speed1/160 second
Memory
Built-in MemoryNo
Memory Card TypeMemory Stick PRO Duo, SD and SDHC memory cards
Still Images per GBNot Specified By Manufacturer
A/V Recording
Video RecordingNo
Video ResolutionN/A
Video Clip LengthN/A
Audio RecordingNo
Viewfinder/Display
Viewfinder TypeFixed eye-level, penta-Dach-mirror
Viewfinder Coverage95%
Display2.7" LCD
Connectivity/System Requirements
ConnectivityUSB 2.0, HDMI mini connector (Type C)
System & Software RequirementsPC: Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, XP SP2, Vista
Mac: OS X(v10.1.3) or later
Environmental
Operating/Storage TemperatureOperating: 32 - 104°F (0 - 407°C)
WeatherproofingNot Specified By Manufacturer
DurabilityNot Specified By Manufacturer
Power
Battery TypeNP-FH50 Li-ion
Power AdapterNot Specified By Manufacturer
Physical
Dimensions5 x 3.8 x 2.8" (128 x 97 x 71.4mm)
WeightBody only: 17.3 oz (491 g)

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