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Record mode display

Note: As the Sony DSLR A200 and A350 often behave identically some elements in this section have been taken directly from the A350 review.

Like all previous Sony Alphas (and Konica-Minolta DSLRs), and most current entry-level DSLRs, the A200 does not feature a top-LCD and uses its rear screen to display all relevant shooting information instead. Unfortunately you can't 'interact' with this screen and directly change settings. Only the shutter speed, aperture or selected autofocus point can be changed without navigating away from the info screen.

You can switch between a simplified and more detailed version of the recording mode display by pressing the DISP button. The simplified screen is less cluttered and therefore more easily readable but you might find some information that's important to you exclusively on the detailed version.

Simplified recording mode display Detailed recording mode display

Using the direct access buttons

The A200 features a range of direct access buttons for the most frequently changed settings. This includes ISO, exposure compensation and AEL buttons. Once you press any of these buttons you leave the shooting display and are taken to a separate screen for each setting.

Function button

The six functions not given their own direct access buttons are grouped together on a screen accessed using the 'Fn' button on the back of the camera. It's a solution often applied on compact cameras, giving quick access to important setting without having to delve into the full menu. On a DSLR it does demand that you take your eye away from the viewfinder, so you should make sure you've chosen your desired settings before taking the camera up to your eye.

The parameters reached via the 'Fn' button are those that you're likely to want to change semi-frequently: Flash Mode, Autofocus mode, White Balance, Metering mode, AF Area and Dynamic Range Optimizer.

Record review / Play display

The A200 has four different record review (instant playback) / play displays; Image only, Image & information, Image & histograms (including blinking highlights/shadows) and a hybrid filmstrip/image view (shows last 5 shots as thumbs across the top). Record review will use the last selected play mode display format. During record review you can press the delete button to delete the image or the magnify button for a quick close-up view (useful for checking focus / blur). Note that blinking highlights / shadows are only shown in the histogram display mode (which is a pity).

Image only Image and basic information
Image, full shooting data and histogram (note there are now RGB and Luminance histograms) 'Film strip' thumbnails + image

Magnification

Press the 'magnify in' button to display the image at the previously used magnification level. Use the controller to scroll around the image, the magnification buttons (AEL and exposure comp.) to zoom, the center button (on the controller) to switch to loupe mode (example below) and the control dial to browse through images while remaining magnified.

Initial magnification (7.2x) The zoom in button the magnifies the view up to 14x
Press the button in the center of the controller for loupe mode. This allows you to navigate around the image. You can use the zoom in and out buttons to expand and contract the area included in the loupe view.

Thumbnail index

The play mode menu allows you to select between 4, 9 or 25 thumbnails in index view. You can scroll through the pages using the four-way controller or you can jump from folder to folder (if you have more than one folder created) by pressing the button at its center.

Four image index view Nine image index view
 
Twenty five image index view  
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