Sony A350 DLSR Camera Review – Why A DLSR Camera?

by Mike Holman

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Sony-DLSR-Camera-A350

As I discussed previously on a post about our Canon 200sx camera, our only camera up until about a year ago was an aging Canon PowerShot – a great camera in the day but now it was very slow and took very average shots unless the lighting was really good.  Three years ago, our first child was born which meant a huge increase in camera use.  At first the camera worked fine for us because he wasn’t mobile, but as my son started to crawl, walk and eventually run – the camera became somewhat useless because my son would not stay in one place for the several required seconds for indoor shots.  Outdoors (no flash) the camera performed better but it was still too slow.

Our solution was to buy a Sony A350 dlsr camera.  One of the big benefits of a dlsr camera over the regular point and shoot is the speed.  The dlsr is much, much faster.  If you aren’t using a flash then the difference isn’t huge since the point and shoot will probably operate with a reasonable speed but the dlsr is still noticeably faster.  Indoor shots however is a different story – our old camera would take forever and a day to take the shot whereas the dlsr still works at lightning speed.
As we found out after buying a new point and shoot – a good portion of the speed difference was because of the age of the old camera rather than the fact that it wasn’t dlsr.  However the dlsr is still significantly faster than our point and shoot (Canon 200sx).

While speed may have been our main motivator – another great feature of the dlsr is the ability to interchange lenses.  My wife has a pretty good Minolta lense from an old film camera that works great on our new DLSR.

Photography as a hobby

The dlsr we bought can be set to “automatic” which is how I like it.  It can also be set manually – my wife is a bit of a shutterbug and would like to learn more about photography so having a more advanced camera is a good tool for that.  This camera has room for expansion since you can buy different lenses and flashes for different purposes.

Picture quality

When comparing shots from our Canon and the Sony – for a lot of situations, the DLSR is definitely superior.  Inside shots in particular are almost always better with the DLSR.  The point and shoot gives a good challenge with outside shots with good lighting but the Soney (dlsr) still wins out.  The image stabilization feature is quite excellent.

Which DLSR camera to choose?

Since I’m not a camera expert, I can’t really comment on this other than to say that I really like our Sony A350.  It’s easy to use and takes great pictures.  For some better discussion on the differences between various DLSR cameras you should check out Consumer Reports.

Summary

We’re quite happy with our Sony A350 dlsr camera.  I will say however that for most situations we tend to use our smaller Canon 200sx.  We would like to use it more but with two young kids it’s hard to justify another piece of luggage when we go out somewhere.
If you have an older point and shoot and you want to upgrade but keep the same portability, I would strongly suggest just buying a new point and shoot rather than going to the DLSR since the DLSR is much bigger and a lot more expensive.  You will probably be very happy with the newer point and shoot.
If you want to really upgrade and take the best photos you can and are willing to cart around a much larger camera then the DLSR is a good choice.
If speed is a consideration then although the newer point and shoots are fast – the DLSR will be significantly faster.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 FFB

Though much more expensive than a point and shoot camera a DSLR has such better quality that if you are going to use it often it can justify the cost. I love my Nikon D40.

2 Traciatim

I’ve never like Sony very much as a company, they do make some pretty nice cameras though.

The main advantage of DSLR’s (and now EVIL’s or ILLO’s . . . not sure what teh real acronym for Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens and Interchangeable Lens LCD Only cameras ) generally is physical sensor size. Take your A350 vs your SX200. The SX200 has a 1/2.3″ sensor, meaning it is 0.28CM^2 to collect light. The A350 has a sensor that is far larger at 3.72CM^2, over 13 times larger. Since the pixels are larger they can collect more light and are easier to boost the sensitivity (ISO) without causing as much noise in the image.

I’m still shopping ofr a camera, and I thought the E-P1 from Olympus would be perfect, I just don’t have the cash for it yet. Hopefully there will be a newer version by the time i save up a grand for a camera :)

3 Mike

FB – I agree that the DSLR quality is generally better.

Traciatim – I knew you would leave a comment. :)
Thanks for the explanation of sensor size. That Olympus camera looks pretty darn good!

4 Al

You’ve got a nice setup there for cameras. A DSLR for around home or soccer games (when the time comes), and a high end point and shoot to throw in your pocket – just in case.

5 nobleea

I find the DSLR entry level pricing is now approaching the high end of the point and shoot pricing. In some cases, there is overlap.

I think a family should have both of them. Myself, I have a Canon DSLR that I use for the artsy/photo worthy shots. My wife has a canon P+S, which is good for the snapshots, groupshots, videos, etc.

6 Jesss

What about Canon Rebel XS(i)? That should be a good upgrade from your Canon point and shoot.

I got Canon powershot and Canon Rebel XS DLSR. Excellent cameras.

But for my next one would be Nikon D90. For DLSR, my choice for brand is only two, either Canon or Nikon. For point and shoot just Canon.

I looked at Sony DLSR but the quality is not as impressive as the Canon and Nikon DLSR specially at night shots.

7 Jesss

Here are sample night shot

Sony A350 http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews_sony_a350_2.php

Canon Rebel XS http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Canon_EOS_1000D_Rebel_XS/sample_images.shtml

I got my Rebel XS for only $500 including the Lense 18-55 mm

8 Mike

Al & Nobleea – Having both cameras is pretty good.

9 Brian

I bought a p&s Cannon SX120 IS. It is bigger than most p&s’ but it has a much longer zoom. It doesn’t handle high speed/low light settings as good as a dslr with a big flash though. But those things must be a pain to carry around.

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