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
|Llyod's Building Elevators by Jonathan Shapiro|
from Your City - Elevators
|Fire Lake by bbadgett|
|Tail Fins...1961 Cadillac Sedan DeVille by J Warren|
from Car Shows 2018
Nikon will cease offering Brazil-based customer service and technical support, though the company stresses that it will still offer technical assistance and warranty repairs for valid warranties.
Two years ago, CatLABS of JP announced a plan to save Packfilm from the dead. Now, it's announced it's giving up its efforts to better focus its resources elsewhere.
The GoPro Fusion is designed to make it easy to capture 360-degree video and stills. We took it out recently on a typically hot Seattle summer day to see what it can do.
We've got our hands on a full-production Nikon Z7 camera and have updated our gallery with additional samples.
A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures.
Think Tank Photo has launched a new lineup of six dual-access, water-resistant protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo.
Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the brand-new RF and Z mounts. Now that we've had some time with the cameras, we wanted to revisit our earlier predictions and take stock.
The devices' camera specs look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but under the hood a number of important improvements have been made.
Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with non-Raw video files.
Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, has announced the latest update for its mobile Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo for iPad.
The Atomos Ninja V external video recorder and monitor will be ready to ship at the end of this month. The 5.2in Ninja V is designed to provide a smaller option, while still offering many of the features of the larger 7-inch models.
Having shot with the camera, spoken to Canon and read the tea leaves, here's what DPR Technical Editor Richard Butler thinks the EOS R tells us about Canon and the RF's mount's future.
After last week's teaser, lighting manufacturer Profoto has announced its 'small big' new product. The B10 is designed to be used as studio flash head but in a very small body, and has a powerful continuous light source for videographers as well.
Konseen has launched Photo Studio, a new light box tent large enough to photograph people, as well as objects.
Seagate has introduced new high-capacity hard drives for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices: the 14TB IronWolf and 14TB IronWolf Pro HDDs.
The case was first announced earlier this year as a Kickstarter campaign and comes with a range of features aimed at iPhone photographers.
Manfrotto has introduced a new two-in-one tripod to its Befree lineup. Called the Befree 2N1, this new addition is both a tripod and monopod in one and is available with both of Manfrotto's locking mechanisms.
This new high dynamic range editing software comes with an AI-powered Quantum HDR Engine for improved photo merging.
Apple has unveiled the next generation of its iPhone X in the form of three variants: the 5.8" iPhone XS and 6.5" iPhone XS Max with OLED screens, and the 6.1" iPhone XR with an LCD and single rear camera.
Ahead of the launch of the CamRanger II the company has announced a mini version of its wireless remote control system that it says has a longer range than the original in a body half the size.
Lens manufacturer Sigma has announced a trio of fast cinema lenses for full-frame camera systems, that it says will also be available in the future in the LPL mount for Arri’s large format camera system.
LumaPod is a a new tripod being funded on Kickstarter that takes just four seconds to set up and uses patented tension technology to keep your shots steady in a compact design.
X-Rite ColorChecker Video XL is an oversized color target for wide-angle, long distance, and aerial shooting.
ExperimentalOptics has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its second lens design, a 35mm F2.7 lens it claims is the world's 'smallest fastest pancake lens.'
The new XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR and XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR are aimed at enthusiasts and professionals, and add considerable versatility to Fujifilm's growing XF lens lineup. We've been taking a look.
The Getty family is working to regain control of stock photo agency Getty Images, according to multiple reports published late last week.
The Phoneslinger line, a modular bag system for mobile photographers, has been launched on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform.
CamRanger has announced the impending arrival of its CamRanger 2 wireless tethering and trigger system, complete with redesigned apps, updated wireless features, and support for select Sony and Fujifilm systems.
As well as high-resolution stills, the new Nikon Z7 also shoots 4K video and 120p HD video. We recently spent two days with director Chris Hershman, shooting a music video on the Z7 for pop artist Emily Blue.