Sony A230 Viewfinder

The Sony A230 features a digital SLR design, so the optical viewfinder offers a true, through-the-lens (TTL) display. A dioptric adjustment to the right of the eyepiece accommodates eyeglass wearers, letting them adjust the viewfinder optics between -2.5 to +1.0 diopters, down from -3.0 to +1.0 on the A330/A380. The viewfinder eyepiece has a rather short eyepoint specified at 16.5mm from the eyepiece, and 10.9mm from the eyepiece frame at -1 diopter (also down from the A330/A380's 19.7mm and 14.1mm respectively). Magnification is better than the A330/A380's 0.74x though, at 0.83x with a 50mm lens and -1 diopter. This is due to the extra space needed for the Live View sensor on the AA330/AA380 (the A230 does not offer Live View mode). Coverage is the same for all three cameras, specified at 95%, typical for non-pro SLRs.

Like the Sony A330/A380, the A230's viewfinder uses a pentamirror design. The advantage of a pentamirror is it's lighter and less expensive; however an all-glass pentaprism design delivers more light to the viewfinder eyepiece, thanks to its more efficient internal reflection.

The Sony A230's information display features a series of focus target marks in the center of the view that highlight briefly when the AF system is activated. Note that the line-type AF-Point displays from previous generations of Sony SLRs have been replaced by boxes, however only the center AF sensor is a cross-type. Markers are provided for 16:9 shooting area, as well as the general AF area.

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. The only difference in the Sony A230's information display compared to the A330/A380 is the lack of an Autoexposure (AE) Lock indicator.

A pair of horizontal infrared sensors just below the viewfinder detect your eye as it approaches the viewfinder, and deactivates the LCD information display if you have the Auto Off w/ VF option enabled in the Custom menu. (Note: our camera picked-up the IR beam in the image at right. The beam is invisible to the naked eye.) You can also set these sensors to initiate autofocus whenever your eye is in range of the eyepiece (Eye-Start AF), which makes the A230's autofocus seem even more responsive.

 

Viewfinder Test Results

Coverage
Good accuracy from the optical viewfinder.

70mm, Optical

The Sony Alpha 230's optical viewfinder showed about 95 percent coverage accuracy with our Sigma 70mm f/2.8 prime lens. This is average for a consumer SLR, matching Sony's specification of 95%. The resulting image, however, is shifted relative to the CCD image sensor, which unfortunately is also more common among cameras we test than we might wish for. The Sony A230 does not support Live View mode like its more expensive siblings, so there's no separate LCD-based viewfinder accuracy shot here.

 

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