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Compared to...

As we've said before, things are getting more and more cramped in the 'entry level' segment of the DLSR market. On the one hand that gives the consumer plenty of choice, on the other hand it becomes increasingly difficult for manufacturers to make their product stand out in the sheer mass of affordable SLRs. No doubt the differences between models in this sector of the market are narrowing all the time. There are maybe 5 or 6 cameras competing with the Sony DSLR A200, for the purpose of this comparison we've narrowed the field down to a slightly more manageable three; the Olympus E-420, Nikon's D60 and the brand new Canon EOS 1000D.

Let's start with a quick look at how the competitors line up:

Camera Kit price Live
view
LCD Anti
Shake
Sensor
(effective pixels)
Sony DSLR A200 $460 No 2.7" / 230k pixels In-body 10.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop)
Nikon D60 $660 No 2.5" / 230k pixels Lens option 10.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop)
Canon EOS 1000D $n/a Yes 2.5" / 230k pixels Kit lens 10.1 MP CMOS (1.6x crop)
Olympus E-420 $500 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels No 10.0 MP LiveMOS (2.0x crop)

Up until now, most camera companies have offered a single 'entry-level' model aimed mainly at first-time DSLR buyers. Sony was one of the first manufacturers to change that strategy by launching three entry level cameras (almost) at the same time, offering something for everybody - the A350 for the feature-loving photographer on a budget, the A200 for those whose number one criterion is value for money and the A300 for bargain hunters who want a balance of the two.

The A200 is a bargain, even in the entry-level segment, and thus it'll directly compete with cameras such as the Olympus E-420 and the new Canon 1000D. It does not quite offer the same (relatively) extensive feature set as those two cameras (most notably there is no live-view on the A200) but then again it's a few bucks cheaper. Let's see how our candidates battle it out in the studio on the following pages.

A200 advantages

  • Price
  • Large viewfinder (0.83x magnification, 95% coverage)
  • 9 area AF
  • Eye-start AF
  • Battery life percentage display
  • Comprehensive 'in box' software suite

A200 disadvantages

  • No live-view
  • Exposure compensation only +/- 2.0 EV
 
Sony DSLR-A200

Olympus E-420

Nikon D60

Canon EOS 1000D
Price (US/UK)
(body only)
$465/£260 [check price] $470/£340 [check price] $660/£345 [check price] $ /£400 [check price]
Price kit (US/UK) $460/£300 $520/£390
$615/£390 (VR lens) $/£450 (IS lens)
Sensor • 23.7 x 15.6 mm CCD
• 10 million pixels
• 17.3 x 13.0 mm LiveMOS
• 10 million pixels
• 23.7 x 15.6 mm CCD (DX)
• 10 million pixels
• 22.2 x 14.8 mm CMOS
• 10.1 million pixels
Dust reduction • Anti-dust materials
• Low pass filter vibration
• Supersonic Wave Filter • Low pass filter vibration
• Airflow Control System
• Dust reference image
• Anti-dust materials
• Low pass filter vibration
• Dust reference image
Native image size 3872 x 2592
(3:2 ratio)
3648 x 2736
(4:3 ratio)
3872 x 2592
(3:2 ratio)
3888 x 2592
(3:2 ratio)
Pixel density 2.7 MP/cm² 4.0 MP/cm² 2.7 MP/cm² 3.1 MP/cm²
Lens support • Sony Alpha
• Minolta A-type
• Olympus and third party 4/3
• 4/3 standard lens mount
• Nikon F-mount
• Includes DX lenses
• AF only AF-S or AF-I lenses
• Canon EF mount
• Including EF-S lenses
FOV crop 1.5x 2.0x 1.5x 1.6x
Body shake reduction Yes No No No
Live view No Yes, Contrast detect or Phase detect AF No Yes, Contrast detect or Phase detect AF
File formats • RAW (comp. lossless)
• JPEG (2 levels)
• RAW (comp. lossless)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (compressed)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (comp. lossless)
• JPEG (2 levels)
RAW+JPEG RAW + JPEG Fine RAW + JPEG (any quality) RAW + JPEG Basic RAW + JPEG Fine
Auto focus • 9 area TTL
• Cross-type at center (F5.6)
• Range: 0 to +18 EV
• 3 area TTL
• Range: 0 to +19 EV
• Contrast detect AF (11 point selectable)
• 3 area TTL
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• 7 area TTL
• Cross-type at center (F5.6)
• Range: -0.5 to +18 EV
• Contrast detect AF (approx 950 selectable areas)
AF illuminator Flash strobe, must be raised Flash strobe, must be raised Built-in lamp Flash strobe, must be raised
Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB (2 modes)
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Metering sensor • 40 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
• 49 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
• 420 pixel RGB sensor
• 0 - 20 EV working range
• 35 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
Metering • Multi segment
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
• Digital ESP
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
• Highlight based spot
• Shadow based spot
• 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
• Evaluative
• Partial
• Center-weighted average
Exp. comp. +/- 2.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV
EV steps 1/3 EV 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV 1/3 EV 1/3 or 1/2 EV
Sensitivity • ISO 100 - 3200 • ISO 100 - 1600 • ISO 100 - 1600
• ISO 3200 with boost
• ISO 100 - 1600
Auto ISO

Auto (100 - 400) P,A,S Mode
Varies in other modes

Auto (100 - 1600) User definable maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed Auto (100 - 800)
Custom ISO NR Yes (on or off) Yes (4 levels) No Yes (on or off)
Shutter speed • 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/160 sec Flash sync
• 60 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/180 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
Continuous
shooting
• 3 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/Fine frames
• 7 RAW frames
• 3 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/HQ frames
• 7 RAW frames
• 3 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/Fine frames
• 7 RAW frames

• 3 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/Fine frames
• 1.5 fps, 5 RAW frames

White balance • Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Seven presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
Image params • Eight preset creative styles
• Sharpening: 7 levels
• Color: 7 levels
• Saturation: 7 levels
• B&W cntrst/shrp: 7 of each
• Four preset looks
• Sharpening: 5 levels
• Contrast: 5 levels
• Saturation: 5 levels
• Monochrome: 5/4 levels
• Gradation: 3 levels
• Six preset looks
• Sharpening: Auto, 6 levels
• Tone: Auto, 5 levels, cust.
• Color: 3 modes
• Saturation: Auto, 3 levels
• Hue: -9° to +9°
• Six preset picture styles
• Three user sets
• Sharpening: 8 levels
• Contrast: 9 levels
• Saturation: 9 levels
• Color tone: 9 levels
• B&W filter/tone: 5 of each
Embed comment No No Comment set in-camera Owner name set via software
Flash Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up
Viewfinder • Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.83x
• Spherical acute matte
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 16 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.92x
• Lumi-Micron Matte screen
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.8x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte Mark V
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 19 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.81x
• Precision matte screen
LCD monitor • 2.7 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• 2.7 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• 2.5 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• 2.5 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
Mirror-lockup No Yes, custom 1 - 30 sec No Custom function
Other features • Wireless flash control
• Dynamic Range Optimizer
• Eye sensor
• JPEG edit (inc. shadow adj.)
• Wireless flash control
• RAW development
• Wireless flash control
• In-camera retouching
• Active D-Lighting
• RAW Development
• Eye sensor
• Stop motion movies
• Multi-shot self-timer
• Image verification data
• Auto Lighting Optimizer
• Remote Live view shooting (via USB)
• Eye sensor
• DOF preview
Storage Compact Flash • Compact Flash card
• xD Picture card
SD/SDHC card SD/SDHC card
Battery NP-FM500H (7.2V 1650 mAh) PS-BLS1 (7.2 V, 1150 mAh) EN-EL9 (7.4 V, 1000 mAh) LP-E5 (7.4 V, 1050 mAh)
Battery status Battery life (percentage) Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (4 stage) Battery life (3 stage)
USB USB 2.0 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
Vertical grip VG-B30AM (option) No No BG-E5 (option)
Software • Picture motion browser
• Image Data Converter SR
• Image Data Lightbox SR
• Olympus Master 2.0
• Olympus Studio 2.0 (trial)
• Nikon Transfer
• ViewNX
• Nikon Capture NX (trial)
• Canon DPP
• Canon PhotoStitich
• Canon ZoomBrowser EX
• EOS Utility (Remote Capt.)
Dimensions 132 x 99 x 75 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 2.8 in)
129.5 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
126 x 94 x 64 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
Weight (no batt) 532 g (1.4 lb) 380 g (0.8 lb) 471 g (1.0 lb) 475 g (1.0 lb)
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