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  DSLR Tips

Sony Alpha DSLR-A300 Gordon Laing, May 2008
Sony Alpha DSLR-A300 Gallery

The following images were taken with a Sony Alpha DSLR-A300 running version 1.0 firmware and fitted with the Sony DT 18-70mm kit lens. Sony has asked us to describe this unit as pre-production, although supplied in retail packaging and running Firmware version 1.0, we’re confident the output is close or even identical to what you’ll get with final production units. We will update this page with samples from a retail A300 when one becomes available.

The A300 was set to Large Fine JPEG quality, Auto White Balance, Multi-segment metering and Standard Colour mode. High ISO NR and the D-Range Optimiser were set to their default On and Standard settings respectively. Super SteadyShot was enabled for all handheld shots here.

The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset. The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Note: you may wish to open our Sony Alpha DSLR A350 Gallery for a direct comparison of detail and noise.

Landscape: 3.46MB, Program, 1/250, f10, ISO 100, 18-70mm at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  This first shot was taken with the A300 and 18-70mm zoomed-out to an equivalent of 27mm. It was bright and the sensitivity set to 100 ISO, so this represents ideal conditions.

As you'd hope for the conditions, the crops show plenty of detail and no noise to worry about.

Like the A200 and A350 though, the A300 displays a modest amount of sharpening with its default settings. This can be boosted without detrimental effect at lower sensitivities.

Landscape: 6.49MB, Program, 1/125, f10, ISO 100, 18-70mm at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  Another shot taken at 100 ISO under direct sunlight with the kit lens zoomed-out.

As before, the A300's modest in-camera sharpening can handle a boost here if desired. There's certainly plenty of detail in the crops.

Landscape: 3.69MB, Program, 1/400, f13, ISO 200, 18-70mm at 55mm (equivalent to 83mm)

    Our next shot was taken of an approaching boat. The lens was zoomed-into its maximum focal length, the AF set to continuous and the sensitivity increased to 200 ISO.

The A300's AF tracked the approaching boat with no problems.

Despite bright sunlight shining against a predominantly white hull, the A300 resisted the temptation to under-expose and (unlike the A350) the increase in sensitivity hasn't had a detrimental impact on quality.

Portrait: 2.77MB, Program, 1/160, f16, ISO 200, 18-70mm at 70mm (equivalent to 105mm)

  For this portrait shot we kept the sensitivity at 200 ISO and the lens at 70mm, but manually popped-open the built-in flash to fill-in any harsh shadows from the Sun.

The A300 has done a good job of balancing ambient light with the flash and produced a natural-looking result, although the low flash height can increase the risk of red-eye in low light.

Again the crops reveal lots of detail which can handle additional sharpening.

Macro: 4.73MB, Program, 1/125, f6.3, ISO 400, 18-70mm at 70mm (equivalent to 105mm)

  For this macro shot we increased the sensitivity to 400 ISO and positioned the camera as close at it would focus with the kit lens fully zoomed-in.

We shot his in Program mode, but a larger depth of field could have been achieved in Aperture Priority.

The increase to 400 ISO hasn't had an adverse effect of the quality, with the crops revealing lots of detail and little noise or processing artefacts to speak of - although this subject can be forgiving.


Indoor: 3.86MB, Program, 1/40, f4.5, ISO 400, 18-70mm at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  Our first indoor shot was taken with the A300 at 400 ISO.

Many cameras meter a little dark in this location, but the A300's exposure is fine.

Unlike the previous example, a smattering of noise is visible if you look closely enough.

But there's little to complain about and we'd be happy using the A300 at 400 ISO, although some rival models are producing cleaner results at this sensitivity.

Indoor: 4.04MB, Program, 1/10, f3.5, ISO 800, 18-70mm at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  Our second indoor shot was taken with the sensitivity increased to 800 ISO. Like many cameras, the A300 metered low for this shot, so we applied +1EV compensation.

Texture from noise and processing has become apparent here, but there's still a fair degree of detail recorded which will be fine for smaller prints.

That said, 800 ISO is where the A300's quality takes a bigger drop and again several rival 10 Megapixel DSLRs are capable of delivering cleaner results.

Indoor: 3.37MB, Program, 1/40, f4.5, ISO 1600, 18-70mm at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  Our final indoor shot was taken with the sensitivity increased to 1600 ISO.

The crops reveal a significant increase in processing artefacts, smearing ultimate detail. .

The A300 at 1600 ISO is acceptable for small prints, but doesn't stand-up to close examination at 100%.

Ultimately the A300 does deliver slightly lower noise than the A350 at higher sensitivities, but like the A200 and A100, it was already performing worse than some rival models.


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