Sony DSLR-A100 sample photos available!|
(Sunday, June 11, 2006 - 07:20 EDT)
Some sample shots from a near-production Sony A100 are now available for your perusal!
I just got back Friday from a press trip where we were able to shoot with a near production-level sample of the Sony A100 d-SLR, with several different lenses as well as with a couple of Sony's wirelessly-controlled external strobe units. Sony asked that we not post the photos till June 11, so we had to hold off sharing them with you until now. You can see them in our Sony A100 hands-on preview, under the "Samples" tab.
Over the course of two intense days of shooting with it, I was quite impressed with the performance of the Sony A100. Its anti-shake system worked quite well, and exposure accuracy and color quality were both quite good. It has a somewhat contrasty tone curve, to the extent that I look forward to playing with its contrast and saturation controls a little once we can get our hands on a full production sample, to see if I can tweak its tone and color to match my personal preferences a bit more closely. I also found it noisier at ISO 1600 than I'd like, here's hoping that Sony can tweak their noise suppression algorithms a bit before the final units hit the street. (To put this in perspective though, I'd have given my right arm (well, maybe the left one ;-) for "noise" (grain) this low on an ISO 1600 film, back in my film-based days.)
Minor niggles aside, the A100 proved itself to be a very adept picture-taking tool, and the lens technology that Sony inherited from Minolta is clearly first-rate. Even allowing for its slightly elevated high-ISO noise and my preference for lower contrast, this is a camera that I wouldn't at all mind owning, one that I'd be very happy to shoot with on a routine basis. Bottom line, I think it's safe to say that Canon and Nikon now have a very strong competitor to contend with, something that bodes well for the consumer. (Both competing companies will almost certainly be showing new models at Photokina in late September, but for the moment the A100's combination of resolution and very effective body-based anti-shake technology figuratively beat the pants off anything else in its price bracket.)
We'll of course be posting a full set of our standardized test photos once we can get our hands on a full production sample (probably by the end of July), but in the meantime the sample photos we do have should give you a good idea of the camera's capabilities and image quality. Enjoy!