Introduced with much fanfare last summer as Sony's first foray into the sub-professional DSLR market, how will the 10Mp Sony Alpha 100 fare in comparison with the newer models?
The Sony Alpha 100 is more plastic bodied than many digital SLR cameras – so opt for the black rather than silver casing as it's better disguised.
And with the lithium-ion battery inserted (good for up to 750 shots) the Sony Alpha 100 feels solid. Powering up in just over a second, the click of the Sony Alpha 100's shutter is reassuringly loud. Integral features, such as anti-shake built into the camera rather than the lens, plus an eye sensor that switches on the camera's viewfinder as soon as it registers your eye's proximity, are impressive.
The fact that the Sony Alpha 100's actual CCD moves to counterbalance any hand wobble means that any lens attached – including all of Konica Minolta's old lenses – automatically becomes image-stabilised. Sony's kit bundle offers an adequate 18-70mm zoom to get you started.
Simultaneous Raw and JPEG capture is offered. Thanks to the Sony Alpha 100's nine-point auto focus and 40-segment pattern metering system, a half press of the shutter button means the Alpha is swift to determine focus and exposure, although busy scenes can confuse the camera as to which subject it's supposed to lock onto first.
To avoid any dust attaching itself to the sensor when swapping lenses, the CCD automatically vibrates every time the camera powers down, so shaking undesirables free. Other useful features include the fact that the Sony Alpha 100's 2.5in LCD displays essential shooting information in capture mode and, if you turn the camera on its side, automatically adjusts the display for easy reference. So, though the Alpha 100 initially looks daunting, it's actually fairly easy to get to grips with.
With vivid and well-saturated colours, there's little need to embark on any Photoshop editing here. Although the Sony Alpha 100's anti-shake isn't 100 per cent effective, we've yet to come across a system that is, and, for the most part well-focused sharp images are the order of the day.