Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 Review
The A100 features a new NP-FM55H 1600 mAh Lithium-Ion battery, although a similar size this isn't the same as the NP-FM50, it does have the InfoLithium circuits but the A100 can't read this. Note that the A100 isn't compatible with the NP-FM50.
Compact Flash Compartment
The first Sony digital camera in recent time not to feature a Memory Stick slot, instead the A100 has a Compact Flash compartment (although it is supplied with a Compact Flash Memory Stick Duo adapter). The Compact Flash compartment is located on the right side of the camera (from the back) and makes up part of the hand grip. The door hinge is spring loaded and flips open once slid back. Inside is the Compact Flash Type II card slot which can accept Type I or Type II cards (including FAT32 cards). Also inside the compartment is the combined Video Out / USB connector. The A100 does not power down when the CF compartment door is opened.
Connections / Accessory shoe
The A100's connectors are divided around the camera; (in order as shown below) on the left side we have the DC-IN connector (Sony type), on the rear is the remote socket (Minolta type), on the right behind the CF compartment door is the combined Video Out / USB connector (Minolta type) and on the top of the camera is the Minolta standard accessory shoe. The A100 supports USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (up to 480 Mbps).
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 A100 has a pop-up flash on the top of the viewfinder prism, it is opened manually by flicking it up. When raised the flash is approximately 90 mm above the center of the lens, which is about 20 mm less than the Konica Minolta 7D. The built-in flash unit has a guide number of 12 and a maximum sync speed of 1/160 sec (1/125 sec with AS on). In a low light situation with the flash raised the camera will strobe the flash to act as an assist lamp for the AF system (it must be raised manually to perform this function).
No surprises here, a standard Minolta A-type bayonet lens mount. As usual a red indicator dot for aligning the lens and lock by rotating clockwise. Just like other Minolta AF SLR's the camera goes through a priming process when a len 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.
Shutter Release Sound
In some of our digital SLR reviews we now provide a sound recording of a continuous burst of shots. Below you can see waveforms of a recording made of the DSLR-A100 and then EOS 350D shooting continuously for 30 seconds in JPEG and RAW. The storage card used was a SanDisk Extreme III 1 GB Compact Flash (Type I). As you can see from the waveforms the A100 manages to shoot continuously in JPEG mode and manages twelve frames in RAW mode before slowing slightly. Noise wise the A100 certainly sounds louder than the EOS 350D with more of a physical slap.
JPEG continuous, 30 seconds
|Sony DSLR-A100 JPEG Fine - 85 frames (2.8 fps continuous)|
|Canon EOS 350D JPEG Fine - 49 frames (2.9 fps initial burst of 28 frames)|
RAW continuous, 30 seconds
|Sony DSLR-A100 RAW - 57 frames (2.8 fps initial burst of 12 frames)|
|Canon EOS 350D RAW - 32 frames (2.9 fps initial burst of 6 frames)|
Box Contents (body only)
- Sony Alpha A100 digital SLR body
- NP-FM55H Lithium-Ion battery
- Battery charger (full charge time approx. 175 minutes)
- Eyepiece cup
- Body cap
- Shoe cap
- Shoulder strap
- Video and USB cables
- Software CD-ROM
- Manual, Warranty
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