We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Cameras Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Sony Alpha a330 review

£399 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Sony

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

With a petite size and a relatively low price, the 10Mp Sony Alpha a330 builds on the strong foundation laid by its predecessor, the a300.

With a petite size and a relatively low price, the 10-megapixel Sony Alpha a330 builds on the strong foundation laid by its predecessor, the a300. Although this camera is clearly intended for the same new-to-digital-SLR crowd that the a300 targeted, this model is not enough of an upgrade to entice existing owners.

The Sony Alpha a330 is small and lightweight. The a330 is not an upgrade for owners of the Sony Alpha DSLR-A300. This camera is aimed squarely at the smaller-is-better crowd. Its light weight is quite convenient, but its grip is consequently smaller and may feel less comfortable and secure in larger (or even average-size) hands. With no LCD on top, the a330 instead has incorporated more functions into its buttons and control dial.

The Sony Alpha a330 still has a hot shoe for an external flash, in-camera image stabilisation, and a lovely tiltable live view screen. Fortunately, Sony's adjustments to shrink the a300 have not dented the ease of use we enjoyed on that model. We seldom had to consult the manual to find an option, and the mode dial has incorporated clean, readable scene options (such as landscape, portrait, and sports) for when you're shooting fast and loose.

In our hands-on evaluations, the Sony Alpha a330 was almost unbelievably fast to autofocus, with varying but generally correct results. The camera includes several multiweighted focus modes in addition to manual focus, and also offers multiple metering modes.

Camera reviews and digital photography advice

However, high-quality JPEGs from our tests often looked a little soft, likely due to the Sony Alpha a330's built-in noise reduction algorithm. While sharpening in Photoshop improved edges somewhat, shooting RAW and working on pictures on the PC achieved better results. Unfortunately, this approach is counterintuitive in a camera aimed at amateur DSLR users who may not want to spend time in an image-editing app perfecting every little detail.

The Sony Alpha a330 produced excellent, detailed macro shots using its 18-55mm kit lens. Colour was also accurate to the naked eye - vibrant but not unnatural, even with vivid reds and violets, which are often hard to render correctly. If you're looking to dial things up or down, the Sony Alpha a330 has several filters, including landscape, natural, and vivid, as well as a sunset mode. In addition, the dynamic range optimiser works well; in our tests, the feature helped render more shadow detail and also helped a little with highlight clipping (although you can't expect miracles from a high-contrast scene). In terms of digital noise, the a330 performed admirably, holding down the ugly chromatic noise until ISO 400, and much of the time, even ISO 800. (The camera offers an ISO range from 100 to 3200.)

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

PCWorld.com

Sony Alpha a330 Expert Verdict »

Sony Alpha DSLR-A330L with 18-55mm lens Scores 9.1 out of 10 based on 43 reviews
10.2MP SLR
2.7in screen
3x optical zoom
max resolution: 3,872x2,592
aperture: f3.5-f5.6
shutter speed: 1/4,000
built-in flash
minimum focus: 0.25m
Lithium-ion battery
ISO 100-3200
compatible with Memory Stick Duo, SDHC
Mini-USB
490g
126x81x96mm
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Seeing as the Sony Alpha a330 contains a nearly identical feature set and the same imaging chip as its predecessor, this camera is not worth an upgrade, nor is it hearty enough to take on the latest models from Nikon and Canon. But for consumers new to DSLRs and looking for a camera with advanced features that's easy to tote around, the inexpensive Sony a330 meets its mark. It's very simple to handle - and it offers the added benefit of live view.

  • Sony Alpha DSLR-A300 review

    Sony Alpha DSLR-A300

    The Sony Alpha DSLR-A300's smooth Live View handling makes this model worth consideration for anyone graduating from a point-and-shoot camera.

  • Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 12Mp SLR camera

    Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 12Mp SLR camera

    The Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 digital SLR is a complex, well-made camera with tons of controls. The A700 takes exceptionally sharp, well-exposed shots.

  • Sony Alpha 100 digital SLR camera

    Sony Alpha 100 digital SLR camera

    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?

  • Sony Alpha A900 review

    Sony Alpha A900

    Sony sees the 24.6Mp Sony Alpha A900's market as the semi pro, identical to Canon's equally pixel festooned 5D Mark II.

  • Sony Alpha A380 digital SLR camera review

    Sony Alpha A380 digital SLR camera

    Neither bottom-of-the-range DSLR nor semi-professional tool, the Sony Alpha A380 is aimed squarely at family users and enthusiastic amateurs.


IDG UK Sites

Samsung Galaxy S6 release date, features and specs rumours: When will the Galaxy S6 come out?

IDG UK Sites

Why people aren't upgrading to iOS 8: new features are for power users, not the average Joe

IDG UK Sites

Free rocket & space sounds: NASA launches archive of interstellar audio on SoundCloud

IDG UK Sites

iPad Air 2 review: Insanely fast and alarmingly thin. Speed tests, camera tests, beautiful...