Battery / Battery Compartment
All the current Alpha range now use the NP-FM500H InfoLITHIUM. The battery charges in around 175 minutes (235 minutes for a 'full charge') using the supplied charger. Battery life is quoted as 750 shots (CIPA standard). Although these figures can sometimes appear to be slightly optimistic in the A200's case our real-life experience approximately confirms the CIPA number (we had Super Steady Shot switched on most of the time but did do very little image reviewing or in-camera editing).
On the A200 the battery level is displayed as a percentage which appears to be fairly accurate (in contrast to many other cameras on which the indicated battery level appears to be no more than a rough estimate).
Compact Flash Compartment
The A200 features a single Compact Flash slot - the Memory Stick Duo option has now gone (although you can purchase a CF-MS Duo adaptor if you have heavily invested in the format). The card compartment door is located on the right side of the camera and forms part of the hard grip. This compartment is also home to the combined USB/AV connector.
The A200's other connectors are located on the left side of the camera (looking from the rear) under a rubber flap. After pulling it open, underneath you'll find a connection for a wired remote control and an (optional) A/C adapter.
On the bottom of the camera you'll find the metal tripod socket which is aligned exactly with the center line of the lens. Although there's no rubber foot there is plenty of 'real estate' available for a stable location on a tripod mount.
The A200 has rather small pop-up flash but it offers the same 12m range (at ISO 100) as the majority of cameras in its class and covers a maximum angle of 24mm focal length (35mm equiv.). Due to the lack of a dedicated AF help light the flash doubles as an autofocus illuminator which strobes to assist focusing in low light. It does the job but the strobing can be slightly unpleasant for your subjects.
As its name suggests, the Alpha 200 is built around the Sony Alpha mount (functionally identical to the Konica Minolta mount). As usual there is a red indicator dot for aligning the lens which locks by rotating clockwise. Just like other Minolta AF SLR's the camera goes through a priming process when a lens is attached by spinning the focus motor connector to ensure it has connected correctly to the lens. This mount supports either body-driven focus or lenses with built-in focus motors.
Annoyingly, the camera will reset the focus when it is turned on, even in manual focus mode. This is worth remembering when working on a tripod - all your careful focusing will need to be re-done if you make the mistake of turning the camera off.
Box Contents (body only)
- Sony Alpha A200 digital SLR body
- NP-FM500H Lithium-Ion battery
- Battery charger
- Eyepiece cup
- Body cap
- Shoulder strap
- Video and USB cables
- Software CD-ROM
- Manual, Warranty