Record mode display
Like most current DSLRs the A380 uses its main LCD to keep the user abreast of the settings they've chosen. However, unlike most of its direct competitors, there's no option to interact with this screen - you can't scroll around it to select or change settings. Only changing the shutter speed or aperture can change the info screen without navigating away from it. At the time the A380's predecessor, the A350, was launched this was the standard in the entry-level DSLR segment but now, more than one and a half years later, not being able to change settings in the status screen appears slightly anachronistic.
You can switch between the new Graphic display and the Standard display by pressing the DISP button on the four-way controller. The Graphic display offers, unsurprisingly, a graphic illustration of shutter speed and aperture but less information than the Standard display which gives you a good overview of all important shooting parameters.
|Graphic display||Standard display|
Using the direct access buttons
Each of the direct access buttons brings up its own settings screen, rather than representing the changes directly on the info screen.
|Flash mode||Exposure compensation|
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 settings without having to delve into the full menu. On a DSLR it does demand that you take your eye away from the viewfinder, giving the impression that the A380, like the A350, is designed around the use of live view, rather than the optical viewfinder.
The parameters reached via the 'Fn' button are the following: AF Mode, AF Area, Metering Mode, Dynamic Range Optimizer, White Balance and Creative Style.
|Shooting Function Menu||With the Help Guide Display enabled the A380 displays a help text for each setting.|
|Creative Styles can be customized in terms of contrast, saturation and sharpness.||The AF area can only be modified by entering the Fn-Menu.|
Record review / Play display
The A380 has three different record review (instant playback) / play displays; Image only, Image & information and Image & histograms (including blinking highlights/shadows). 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.
|Image only||Image and basic information|
|Image, full shooting data and histogram (RGB and Luminance)|
Pressing the 'magnify' button on the rear of the camera will initially display a 7.2x magnified version of the image. Use the controller to scroll around the image and the control dial to zoom in and out. In the top right corner you can see a thumbnail version of the image with the magnification area indicated.
|Initial magnification (7.2x)||The smallest magnification level is 1.1x|
|9.4x magnification||The zoom in button the magnifies the view up to 14x|
On every single camera I have tested in my almost two years at dpreview you can get to the thumbnail view in magnification mode by zooming out (usually with the control dial) further than 1x. We can't see why anyone would want to change this but Sony decided to do so. You now have to enter the Fn-menu in play mode, select the Image Index option and then in a final step choose from a 4, 9 or 25 images thumbnail view. You can scroll through the pages using the four-way controller or the control dial but you cannot change from a four image index to the nine or 25 image variant without going through the Fn-menu again. Real progress looks different.
|After entering the Fn-menu and selecting the Index option you can choose from a 4, 9 or 25 images thumbnail view.||Four image index view|
|Nine image index view||Twenty five image index view|