The A380 is slightly smaller in every dimension than its predecessor and comes with a 'faux titanium' color top plate where the A350 was all black. The control layout has been slightly modified in some places. Most noticeably the dial has moved from just in front of the shutter button to the front of the camera and some of the A350's rear buttons have now moved onto the A380's four-way controller. The rubberized front surface feels good in the hand but overall the A380 leaves a slightly plasticy impression.
In your hand
Sony says the A380's 'intuitive control layout allows for easy single-handed operation'. Whether this statement is true or not depends a lot on how you define 'operation'. In particular photographers with larger hands will struggle to control most of the buttons when shooting with their eye to the viewfinder. The smallish grip doesn't help and overall operation of the camera can feel a bit fiddly. When shooting in live view the story is quite different, with most controls much more accessible and the grip feeling more appropriate for this way of holding a camera. Whatever technique you prefer the camera's low weight and small dimensions make it more suitable for smaller hands.
Side by side
The A380's dimensions and weight are roughly in line with the direct competitors in the 'upper entry level' segment. It's moderately sized and lightweight and therefore, in combination with the very lightweight kit lens, an ideal 'take-anywhere' DSLR. On the downside the camera will quickly feel unbalanced when mounting longer and heavier lenses. There is no optional battery grip available.
(W x H x D)
(inc. battery & card)
|Nikon D5000||127 x 104 x 80 mm (5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)||611 g (1.3 lb)|
|Sony Alpha DSLR-A380||128 x 97 x 71 mm (5.2 x 3.9 x 2.9 in)||540 g (1.2 lb)|
|Canon EOS 500D (T1i)||129 x 98 x 62 mm (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)||524 g (1.2 lb)|
|Olympus E-620||130 x 94 x 60 mm (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)||521 g (1.1 lb)|