Sony Alpha DSLR-A380 Review
Like the A350 but unlike every other current DSLR, the A380's live view system does not show the output from the main imaging sensor. Instead there is a second, smaller sensor placed up in the viewfinder tunnel.
The advantage of this layout is that, unlike any other current Live View system, the camera can offer live view with the reflex mirror down. This means it behaves just like a conventional DSLR when in Live view mode, only flipping the mirror out of the way when you press the shutter button to take the photograph. The result is a more responsive Live View mode that essentially offers the convenience of a compact camera with the speed of focus of a conventional DSLR.
Of course there are a few disadvantages as well. Using a dedicated live view sensor does not allow the use of the potentially more accurate and flexible contrast-detection autofocus system. Also the Sony system does not offer live view magnification or depth-of-field preview and only covers 90% of the frame which renders it virtually useless for some of the 'typical' live view applications such as macro or some types of studio photography.
Live view display modes
Pressing the DISP button while in Live View toggles between the three available display modes, each with differing levels of overlaid information.
|1: Live view with basic shooting information||2: Live view with detailed shooting information|
|3: Live view with basic shooting information and live histogram|
Live view AF video clip
You can see the camera auto-focusing (from infinity) in live view. Unlike every other DSLR currently on the market, the Sony A350 and A380 are able to perform this without flipping the reflex mirror down (because it's not had to flip it up to display live view). The first time the mirror has to move is when you press the shutter button. After the image has been taken you see the review image appear, this is also where the video ends.
Also, after the image has been recorded the camera jumps briefly back to the live view image, then the screen blacks out for a moment before the review image appears.
Overall handling and operation comments
The Sony DSLR-A380 has clearly been designed with those users in mind who want to upgrade from a digital compact camera and would like to use their DSLR in almost the same fashion as they used their compact. Therefore it makes sense to distinguish between 'traditional' viewfinder and live-view use when speaking about the A380's operation and handling.
The camera is smaller and lighter than its predecessor which is certainly good from a portability point of view but the camera's ergonomics seem to have suffered somehow. The hand grip is very small and almost everyone in the office, no matter the size of their hands, found it difficult to hold the camera in a comfortable way, especially with longer and/or heavier lenses. The viewfinder is the smallest one on any APS-C DSLR on the market and is simply not suitable for anything that requires manual focusing or precise framing. The protruding screen also makes it difficult to get your eye close to the viewfinder, especially if you wear glasses.
Presumably as a result of the reduced dimensions there are now also fewer external controls and their location is, at least in some cases, questionable. It's quite difficult to use the exposure compensation button for example while you've got your eye to the viewfinder. The A380 is now also the only camera in the current crop of entry-level cameras that does not come with an on-screen interface that let's you change settings on the LCD like on many compact cameras. All in all changing the settings is usually just slightly more time-consuming than on most of its direct competitors.
However, If you mainly use the A380 in Auto mode and live-view, the camera's ergonomics work much better. The Sony's live-view AF is fast and holding the camera away from your eye in live-view mode is more comfortable, especially when you tilt the screen up and hold the camera in a lower position, almost like a waist-level viewfinder on a medium-format camera. There are some limitations to this kind of use though that you should keep in mind. The screen can only be tilted on one axis and therefore waist-level or overhead framing does not work if you intend to take a photograph in portrait orientation. The screen is also quite prone to reflections which makes live-view shooting more difficult in sunny conditions. Most importantly the live image on the LCD only shows approximately 90 percent of the frame and cannot be magnified which makes very precise framing and focusing almost impossible.
All in all the A380's design is most suited for a live-view point-and-shoot style of photography. For photographers who change settings frequently and like to frame and focus their shots with precision there are better alternatives available.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Specifications
- 3 Body & Design
- 4 Body & Design
- 5 Body & Design
- 6 Operation & Controls
- 7 Operation & Controls
- 8 Operation (Live View)
- 9 Displays
- 10 Menus
- 11 Menus
- 12 Performance & IS
- 13 Photographic tests (RAW)
- 14 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 15 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 16 Photographic tests (DR)
- 17 Photographic tests (Kit Lens)
- 18 Photographic tests
- 19 Compared to
- 20 Compared to (JPEG)
- 21 Compared to (JPEG)
- 22 Compared to (JPEG)
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (RAW)
- 25 Compared to (RAW)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (RAW)
- 28 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 29 Compared to (Resolution)
- 30 Compared to (Resolution)
- 31 Conclusion
- 32 Samples
Aug 24, 2009
May 18, 2009
Aug 20, 2012
Aug 20, 2012
|And I'm feeling all fingers and thumbs by Dutch Newchurch|
from Your City - Coffee Break
|Stitch that - macro by Beatsy|
from Household objects- Macro only
|Fiddling Around by garyjb|
from Concert musician playing
|wet red by George Veltchev|
PDN sat down with Ahmed Fakhr, director of photography at RollingStone.com, to talk about how the famed publication is adapting to the changing photo and video needs of the modern era and how he 'evaluates the skills of potential contributors.'
Kudos to Canon. Earlier today, the camera giant announced that it had produced its 90 millionth EOS camera and 130 millionth EF-series lens.
The ROV Slider is a portable, motorized slider that promises to bring 'beautiful cinematic video and time-lapse' shooting to anybody with a smartphone, GoPro or DSLR that weighs less than 5lbs.
The new Surface Book 2 laptops come with Intel's 8th generation quad-core processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 and 1060 GPUs. In other words: they pack a serious punch.
Leica is resurrecting a portrait lens from the 1930s: the Thambar-M 1:2.2/90. This lens features just 4 lens elements, and was famous for its spherical aberration that creates extremely soft images.
Google's Visual Core is an Image Signal Processor designed to power and accelerate HDR+ processing and other imaging tasks in the new Pixel 2 devices (and beyond).
The Google Pixel's camera is among the best we've reviewed, and its successor has already been hailed as class-leading. With expectations set high, the Pixel 2 has nonetheless left a very good first impression on us as we shot some initial sample images.
Leica is one of the oldest names in photography, and has long been one of the most prestigious. Recently, we had the opportunity to visit Wetzlar, to see for ourselves how Leica's lenses are put together.
Canon went and put an APS-C sensor in a G series compact. The result is a mighty tempting camera for travel.
Google Photos is adding a few pet-friendly features that will make it easier to find photos of your favorite pooch. Now, you can organize your pet photos by facial recognition, and you can even search your library by breed.
Colorful tripod maker MeFOTO has launched a new tripod... and a whole new brand name. Meet the GlobeTrotter travel video tripod, the first product to be released under the MeVIDEO brand.
If you own a Moto Z, you'll soon be able to attach a Polaroid instant printer to it. Check out the unreleased Moto Mod, which was leaked earlier today.
DJI has developed a technology called AeroScope that allows law enforcement to identify and track airborne drones that are breaking UAV regulations, while simultaneously addressing privacy concerns.
The Nikon D850 is a 45.7MP full-frame DSLR with an autofocus system lifted wholesale from the pro-sports focused D5. 4K capture, continuous shooting at 7 or 9 frames per second make it sound like the ultimate all rounder. Is it all that these specs suggest?
The Mate 10's Kirin 970 chipset with integrated AI processing allows for object recognition, motion detection and automatic scene selection in the camera app.
DxO has announced version 3.0 of the iOS app for its 'One' connected camera. It adds support for multi-camera Facebook Live broadcasting and both time-lapse still and video capture. Android users will be pleased to hear that a One for their platform is on the way, as well. Several new accessories are available, including a battery pack.
Canon has introduced the PowerShot G1 X Mark III, which borrows the 24MP APS-C sensor and Dual Pixel AF system from the company's recent mirrorless and DSLR cameras, adds a 24-72mm equiv., F2.8-5.6 lens and puts them into a lightweight body – but it'll cost you quite a bit.
It's not often that we see a genuinely interesting compact camera, and the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III is one such beast. We've pulled out the top features of the camera and tell you why they matter – and put the Mark III up against the competition.
Apple's HDR effect in the iPhone 8 Plus is on by default and more aggressive than in previous generations. It's also good enough to convince DPR contributor Jeff Carlson to leave it on all the time.
Canon's 28mm F2.8 IS USM may be small in size, but it's big on fun. We wrote about our experience using it as our only lens in Big Sur, California, but in case you missed out on our full gallery, take a look to see what this little lens can do.
Travel photographer Elia Locardi tells the story behind this gorgeous (and rare) panorama of the Dubai cityscape draped in fog.
Bison, drift cars, horseback riders, antelope – from the beach to the race track, the Sony 100-400mm G Master is one versatile piece of kit.
"Wildlife photography in Yellowstone National Park is an incredible opportunity, yet some bad photographers are giving all photographers a bad name by not following the rules."
Casio's bionic-looking new action camera, the GZE-1, is built with extreme sports in mind. The little camera is drop-proof, freeze-proof, dust-proof, and waterproof to 50 meters.
Yashica recently released the digiFilm Y35: a camera that tries to simulate the "experience" of shooting film... and it's just the worst.
Western Digital has revealed some interesting new technology that, it claims, will allow them to develop 40TB hard drives by the year 2025.
Photographer Micael Widell wanted to see just how affordable it could possibly be to get into digital photography—so he bought a full DSLR kit with battery grip and 50mm lens on eBay for just $80.
Confused about DxOMark's scoring system? This straightforward video by Marques Brownlee breaks down how DxO gets its scores, and why you should always look beyond that "overall" number.
It's not exactly a revolutionary device, but the iPhone 8 Plus does promise some evolutionary updates in the camera department. DPR contributor Jeff Carlson has been putting the 8 Plus to the test in some everyday shooting situations – take a look at how it fared.
This week in Hollywood, DJI introduced its new Zenmuse X7 camera, a Super 35 format cinema camera of its own design that can also capture 24MP still images in APS-C format. Is it time to start thinking of DJI as a camera company?