Sony takes aim at the novice snapper with A390 and A290 DSLRs

By Naomi Mackay,

Hot on the heels of Sony’s NEX range of interchangeable lens compact cameras comes a more traditional pair of DSLRs aimed at the novice snapper.

These 14mp entry-level DSLRs are pretty much the same, although the A390 features an LCD screen that tilts and folds, while the A290’s screen is fixed to the body. The A390 also features Quick AF Live View, which avoids squinting through the viewfinder – a boon for first-time DSLR users who are used to the screens on compact cameras.

Sony DSLR A390 290

While rumours have been abounding on the net about the new releases for a while, they have failed to excite camera buffs. That’s because the cameras are essentially just a step up from Sony’s A230 and A380 models, with the greatest difference being a new grip designed to make handling more comfortable and of course the image-stabilised 14.2mp CCD sensor.

Newbies, however, will be helped out by the intuitive graphic display that has been designed to enable the user to understand the relation between shutter speed and aperture, and the effects of your chosen settings on the final image. An onscreen help guide explains the camera functions and gives image samples to illustrate how the settings work.

Interchangeable lenses feature the Sony A-mount, which is compatible with Minolta and Konica AF lenses. One battery charge should get you 500 images, though be aware that using live view mode on the A390 will more than halve that.

Both cameras also include a mini-HDMI terminal for connection to an HD-Ready TV and support for PhotoTV HD has been designed to get even better image reproduction on Sony’s BRAVIA TVs. BRAVIA owners can also let you control slideshow and playback function using your TV remote.

The UK is still waiting for prices to be announced (the cameras will be released in the summer) although in the states the A390 will be hitting the shelves at around $600, the A290 at $500.