Sony A230 Performance

Timing and Performance

Very good to below-average speed for a consumer digital SLR.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

0.6 second

Time it takes for camera to turn on and take a shot.

Shutdown

1.7 seconds

How long it takes to turn off.

Buffer clearing time

5 seconds *
after 24 L/F JPEGs

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't shut down until the buffer is cleared.

6 seconds *
after 8 RAW frames
7 seconds *
after 4 RAW + JPEG frames

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times.

Startup time is a little slower than average for an SLR, but shutdown is more noticeably slow (probably due to sensor cleaning). Buffer clearing time depends on the image size and quality, burst length and how fast the card can be written to. With a fast memory card the Sony A230's buffer clearing times were fairly quick.

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.2 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

1.1 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

0.2 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching is pretty fast for a consumer SLR, though switching from Record to Play immediately after snapping a shot was a bit on the slow side.

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single Area (center) AF

0.194 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with Sigma70mm f/2.8 prime).

Full Autofocus
Wide Area AF

0.204 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with Sigma70mm f/2.8 prime).

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF, Flash enabled

0.222 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with Sigma70mm f/2.8 prime), Auto Flash enabled.

Pre-focused

0.107 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Continuous AF
0.195 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.182 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Looking at of the Sony A230's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times, its speed is faster than average for a consumer model. The A230 required about 0.194 second for full AF using the center focus point. This increased slightly to 0.204 second in wide-area AF mode. Enabling the flash raised the lag to 0.222 second, still quite fast. Continuous autofocus mode lag time was 0.195 second and manual focus was only slightly faster at about 0.182 second. When prefocused, shutter lag dropped to 0.107 second. These times are almost identical to the SonyA330. The Sony A230 does not however support Live View mode, so the list above contains no lag time for that operating mode.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance. We also use the same Sigma 70mm f/2.8 macro with every camera (on all platforms except Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds and Nikon consumer models lacking an in-body focus motor), to further reduce variation, and because our tests showed that focus-determination time with this lens was close to the fastest, across multiple camera bodies from different manufacturers. Being an older design with a non-ultrasonic motor, it wouldn't be the fastest at slewing from one focus setting to another, but that's exactly the reason we measure focus determination speed, which is primarily a function of the camera body, vs focus adjustment speed, which is primarily a function of the lens.

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.48 second

Time per shot, averaged over 11 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.78 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW + JPEG

0.67 second

Time per shot, averaged over 5 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

YES
(except for JPEGs before buffer fills)

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.42 second (2.37 frames per second);
21 frames total;
5 seconds to clear
0.42 second/frame for 21 frames, then 0.52 second (1.94 fps) for subsequent shots.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.42 second (2.36 frames per second);
8 frames total;
6 seconds to clear

0.42 seconds for the first 8 frames, then 0.90 second (1.11 fps) for subsequent shots.

Continuous mode
RAW + JPEG

0.42 second (2.36 frames per second);
4 frames total;
7 seconds to clear

0.42 seconds for the first 4 frames, then 1.36 seconds (0.74 fps) for subsequent shots.

Flash recycling

4.2 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and other settings such as DRO or NR can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are pretty good, at 0.48 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, 0.78 second for RAW and 0.67 second for RAW + JPEG frames. Continuous speed is a bit slow for an SLR these days, at about 2.4 fps for any quality setting. Buffer depths are pretty good for a consumer model though, at 24 JPEG frames, 8 RAW frames and 4 RAW + JPEG frames. Buffer clearing times are also pretty fast, when using a fast memory card. The flash takes 4.2 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which isn't bad. Again, very similar times to the Sony A330.

 

Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

9,629 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are quite speedy.

Bottom line, the Alpha 230 is a very responsive camera when it comes to autofocus, but a little slower than average in continuous mode. Still, it should be fine for most family shots, including some fast action.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Slightly below average battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Optical Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
510

The Sony Alpha 230 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Since battery live is a bit below average, we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Sony Alpha A230 accepts SD/SDHC or Memory Stick Duo memory cards, and no card is included with the camera.

Image Capacity with
1GB Memory Card
Fine Normal RAW RAW + JPEG
3,872 x 2,592
Images
(Avg size)
243
4.2MB
328
3.1MB
62
16.4MB
49
20.7MB
Approx.
Compression
7:1
10:1
0.9:1
-
2,896 x 1,936
Images
(Avg size)
365
2.8MB
475
2.2MB
-
-
Approx.
Compression
6:1
8:1
-
-
1,920 x 1,280
Images
(Avg size)
529
1.9MB
649
1.6MB
-
-
Approx.
Compression
4:1
5:1
-
-

We strongly recommend buying either a large capacity SDHC, or a large capacity Memory Stick Pro Duo card, at least a 2GB card, preferably a 4-8GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

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