Sony Alpha DSLR-A350
Sony A350 Viewfinder
The Sony A350 features a digital SLR design, so the optical viewfinder offers a true, through-the-lens (TTL) display. A dioptric adjustment dial accommodates eyeglass wearers, letting them adjust the viewfinder optics between -3.0 to +1 diopters. The viewfinder eyepiece has a fairly high eyepoint (specified at 20.8mm from the eyepiece, 16.7mm from the eyepiece frame with the dioptric adjustment set to -1 diopter), better than the A200's 17.6mm/13.5mm eyepoint. Magnification is lower though, at 0.74x for a 50mm lens and -1 diopter of dioptric correction, versus the A200's 0.83x magnification.
The Sony A350's viewfinder uses a pentamirror design. The advantage of a pentamirror is that it is lighter and less expensive, and in the case of the A300 and A350, it also allows for the unique, tilting mirror live-view mechanism; however an all-glass pentaprism design delivers more light to the viewfinder eyepiece, thanks to its more efficient internal reflection. As a result, the Sony A350's viewfinder image is not as bright as the A700's, which uses a true pentaprism.
The Sony A350's extensive information display is identical to the A200's, and features a series of focus and exposure target marks in the center of the view that highlight briefly when the AF system is activated. Camera information appears beneath the image area in a small strip, and reports all of the major camera settings, such as shutter speed, aperture, flash mode, EV compensation, etc. To the far right side of the strip is the Super SteadyShot (anti-shake) scale, indicating the degree of stabilization whenever anti-shake mode is activated. The information readout in the viewfinder activates whenever you half-press the Shutter button, and remains active for a few seconds afterward.
A pair of horizontal infrared sensors just below the viewfinder, which we've highlighted with a green rectangle, detect your eye as it approaches the viewfinder, and deactivates the LCD information display if you have the auto-display option enabled. Through the Custom menu, you can also set these sensors to enable the autofocus whenever your eye is in range of the eyepiece, which makes the A350's autofocus seem even more responsive.
Viewfinder Test Results
Good accuracy from the optical viewfinder, quite tight in Live View mode.
The Sony Alpha A350's optical viewfinder showed about 95 percent coverage accuracy with our Sigma 70mm f/2.8 prime lens. This is quite good for a consumer digital SLR, matching Sony's specification. In Live View mode the accuracy was not quite as good, with only about 91 percent coverage (a bit better than Sony's 90 percent spec.); probably limited by the amount of space available for the Live View sensor in the pentamirror housing. In both cases, the coverage appears to be tilted somewhat relative to the main imaging sensor.
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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.