Sony Alpha A200 Digital SLR - Sony Alpha A200

By Cliff Smith



  • Recommended by TR
Sony Alpha A200 Digital SLR


Our Score:


In terms of overall performance the A200 is a definite improvement over the A100. As with most DSLRs the A200 starts up in well under a second, and shuts down again almost instantly on power-off. The AF system is now much faster and more accurate, and is noticeably better at locking on quickly to low-contrast or poorly lit subjects, something that was a bit of a problem for the A100. It also spends a lot less time hunting backward and forward when focusing at longer zoom ranges. As a result of this and the improved Bionz sensor the overall shooting speed is significantly faster, averaging approximately 0.6 seconds from shot to shot in single frame mode. Continuous shooting speed is also much faster, able to maintain a consistent three frames a second to the limit of card capacity, which is comparable to the EOS 400D and Nikon D60. The improvements to the image stabilisation system are hard to spot, but Sony's claim of an extra half-stop of stability seems to hold water. I was easily able to take hand-held shots using an 80mm lens at 1/10th of a second, which is about three stops lower than the unstabilised recommended speed.

Improvements to overall picture quality are somewhat harder to quantify. As I've noted before, barring differences in lens quality there's not a lot of variation in the level of fine detail between any of the leading 10MP digital SLRs, and the A100 was definitely no slouch in this respect. For the A200 the Dynamic Range Optimiser feature has been slightly improved, producing a wider range of highlight and shadow detail in high contrast shots, but since the A200 uses the same sensor as the A100, not surprisingly there isn't much difference in total quality. Where there is a difference however is in high-ISO noise control. Early sample shots seen on the internet from the Chinese launch of the A200 in early January seemed to suggest an almost miraculous lack of noise in 3200 ISO shots, but as my test shots on the following pages will show, it's not quite that good. It's got nothing to be ashamed of though, producing virtually noise-free shots and 400 ISO, and only a tiny amount of mid-tone noise at 800 ISO. At 1600 and 3200 ISO noise is visible, but colour balance and exposure remain accurate and the shots are far from unusable.

The software supplied with the A200 is the latest version of Sony's Picture Motion browser and Image Data Suite. I've used the former before and find it to be reasonably easy to get along with once you've beaten it into submission by turning off the default calender-based browsing. Image Data Suite, used for image processing and converting the camera's RAW files, is also reasonably good, and certainly a lot better than some other manufacturer's efforts. It can also output directly into Adobe Photoshop, which is even better.


The Alpha A200 is an important model for Sony, since it is now the entry model for a growing DSLR system. It ticks all the right boxes, with an attractive and easy-to-use design, brisk performance and good picture quality. Its feature set will leave advanced amateurs and semi-pros wanting more, but that's pretty much the idea of an entry-level camera. For the price it offers a comprehensive package for the first-time user with very few problems. Could Sony overtake Nikon this year?


February 7, 2009, 5:02 am

I am thinking of buying either the Sony Alpha A200 or the Nikon D60 and I am finding it difficult to decide. I see from the picture of the A200 that it has a Carl Zeiss lens, but the Sony A200 that I have seen for sale does not come with this lens. The reviewer has given image quality at 10 points. I am new to SLR cameras but I do believe that the image quality has a lot to do with the lens used. If the review has been written using the Carl Zeiss lens then doesn't that give a slightly false rating? Or should this camera come with a Carl Zeiss lens? As I said before I am new to photography and would appreciate any feedback on picture quality in relation to the camera used. Thanks.

Cliff Smith

February 7, 2009, 11:25 pm

You can buy the A200 with the Carl Zeiss lens shown, but it would be a lot more expensive. It normally comes with a standard Sony 18-70mm kit lens, which is obviously a lot cheaper. The quality of the Sony kit lens is actually pretty good, certainly better than some other manufacturers' kit lenses. I used the kit lens, the Zeiss lens and a Sony 70-300mm telephoto zoom when testing the A200, so my score for the image quality was based on the camera, not the lens, when compared to other cameras of similar price.


April 14, 2009, 5:39 am

You can now pick a sony alpha 200 with sony's kit lens for under 𧶲 which on reflection is a brilliant buy. However, having just bought one and taken my various test shots I take with all my new cameras. In my opinion if you are on budget save yourself 𧵎+ and buy a FujiFilm S5800(or similar)!


May 13, 2009, 7:03 pm

Hello Mr. Smith and others!

Please, could You tell me which dslr camera is the best buy solutions? (seeing parameters: picture quality and performance):

-Sony A200 (KIT 18-70mm)

-Nikon D60 (KIT 18-55mm) or

-Canon EOS 1000D (KIT 18-55mm)

I decide that is 9AF (sony) and 7AF (canon)advantageous against nikon, but is it crucial?

But nikon and canon has better reputation than sony, is it relevant, or sony is a good choice regarding a lower price? Please, tell me your opinion?


May 21, 2009, 2:05 am

im looking to start photography at school and of course need a fairly cheap dslr, i ahve spent alot of time looking around and this seems too pop up as the best. but i have been recommended quite strongly to go for a canon or a nikon. the only similar one too this camera is the canon 1000d for around £350 whereas i found this for £250. basically shall i listen to those chums who recomend the worse nikon's and canon's or just go take the risk with the sony ?

john whale

June 18, 2009, 7:41 am

I have a Sony A200 and a Nikon D40, even though the Sony has more pixels I find the Nikon to produce crisper pictures and a better focusing system, although I have to admit I am no expert and these are only my own opinions.

rob 10

June 27, 2009, 11:23 pm

i have just bought a sony a200 i have found it very easy to use and very light to hold i have allready been out using it and i find the quality very very good and clear i would recomend this camara to others my brother is know looking to bye one

Chris Lyons

July 21, 2009, 9:09 pm

I have just also bought a A200 and it is by far the best camera on the market for the money, the only trouble and downside is there is no live view, but hay hoe you do get what you pay for and for £250 you cant go wrong, if you are a beginner then look no further, a great investment.

Tim 12

August 28, 2009, 2:19 am

I'm struggling to find this and a lense kit for £250, any pointers?

Geoff Richards

August 28, 2009, 3:26 am

£300 seems to be the going rate these days... I certainly can't find anywhere selling it near £250 either


September 6, 2009, 2:08 am

asda have it for £247


October 7, 2009, 5:56 pm

Hi guys Argos are selling the camera and lense kit for 225 as a managers special only available in Store. I know as I just managed to pick one up : )

Neeraj Deneeraj

December 14, 2012, 4:32 pm


Neil Tuttle

September 13, 2014, 8:55 pm

i have one of these 200, i do believe its one of the worst cameras on the market, i dont claime to be a super picture taker, but i have used this camera for over 8 years, and to this day, using ever setting, i know, i cannot get this camera to shoot a clean clear picture. no matter the pic quality sucks big time... i wanted a camera that would talke sports pics at inside arenas , etc with enouhg speed for stop action.. this camera will not get the job done.. shooting inside at sports areas is useless. i have a nikon cool pic that takes better pics... my advise simple, you dont want this piece of crap, .. i made a mistake and listen to a sales person whom i though had some knowledge of cameras.. spent a lot of money at that time for nothing.. i wrote sony a letter years ago explaing that this camers would not do what they said it would do. never heard back from them, as of that time, i dont buy sony any more.. i will stick with canon or nikon.... my advise is stay away from sony cameras.

Neil Tuttle

September 13, 2014, 8:56 pm

dont take the risk, this is the sorries camera on the market,, you will not like it ,,

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