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Sony Alpha A330 - Sony Alpha A330

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


The overall build quality is about average for an entry-level DSLR, which is to say adequate but not brilliant. Admittedly I have spent a lot of time over the past few weeks using a variety of very expensive professional-quality DSLRs, but even so the A330 feels quite toy-like compared to many other APS-C DSLRs. The body shell is plastic and does feel a bit thin in places, although it's well finished and the controls are solidly and sensibly placed. A 490g body-only it's 40g heavier than the Canon EOS 1000D, one of its main competitors, but I wasn't too impressed by the build quality of that camera either.

The external hardware is also a bit on the average side. The monitor is no better than one would find on a good compact, with a diagonal size of 2.7 inches, 230,400-dot resolution and a viewing angle of about 160 degrees. The viewfinder is not so good. It is distinctly tunnel-like, with a very small viewing area even compared to previous Sony models.

One novelty is the unusual sliding hatch over the card slots and connector sockets, which include HDMI output. The A330 has dual card slots for both Sony's proprietary Memory Stick Duo cards and the more popular SD cards.

As with most current consumer DSLRs the controls bear more resemblance to those of a high-end compact than a traditional DSLR, no doubt intended to accommodate first time DLSR owners. The on-screen data panel offers tips for novices, as well as a useful chart showing the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and depth of field. The main shooting mode dial has the usual Auto and P/A/S/M manual modes, but also includes six scene programs. The Function button on the back brings up a brief menu with some creative options, but again they are no more sophisticated than one would find on a good compact. AF mode and area, metering mode, D-Range Optimiser setting and White Balance can be adjusted on screen, and there is some limited tonal control, with a range of presets that can be customised for contrast, saturation and sharpness. Adobe RGB and sRGB colour spaces are available, and the camera can shoot in Raw and Raw + JPEG modes, as well as Fine or Standard JPEG.


August 18, 2009, 2:50 pm

Was the previous Sony kit lens not 18-70mm rather than 18-55? :)

Thinking of picking up an A200 at the moment before they dry up, at ~£280 they certainly seem a better buy than the 230/330 @ ~£400!


August 18, 2009, 3:01 pm

It is indeed. I'll correct that.

I grabbed an A200 a couple of months ago because they were £270 with kit lens and free delivery from John Lewis. Nearly all other competing products were £100 more expensive. You just can't argue with that, even if Sony lenses are a bit more expensive and there is a greater choice of lenses in Canon and Nikon's lines.

Admitedly the kit lens isn't great - I had no idea quite how poor it was until seeing cliff's comparison shots, though - but its fine to start you off.


August 18, 2009, 3:17 pm

This seems like a step back in the ergonomics department. it just feels awkward to hold. One of the main reasons i got my a200 was because it was a big comfortable camera compared to the likes of nikon and canon.

Ed- remember you still have the back catalogue of konica minolta glass and unlike canon and nikon all the lenses will be stabilised.


August 18, 2009, 3:25 pm

Looks like the sacrificed range for quality on the new kit lenses. If you want to rummage through old Dynax/Maxxum/Alpha lenses for your your A200 Ed check out dyxum.com's lens section. You can find reviews of just about everything that have ever been attached to the front of an AF Minolta, Konika-Minolta or Sony.

FYI as for shrugging of its Minolta Heritage, the new Sonys look like retro remakes of the Minolta Dynax/Maxxum 5. Just google it and you will see the same grip and two tone paint job.


August 18, 2009, 11:18 pm

Chrispynutt is correct - the grip is taken straight from the (film) Dynax 5.

Cliff Smith

August 19, 2009, 5:34 am

I've got the A330 and the A100 - essentially an updated Dynax 5D - sitting in front of me now, and I have to say there is almost no similarity between the two other than both being generally camera-shaped. The only controls that are in the same place are the lens release and the AF/MF switch, and they have to be where they are because the Sony cameras use the Dynax lens mount.


August 19, 2009, 3:20 pm

Erm Cliff we aren't talking about the Konika-Minolta Dynax 5D, but the Minolta Dynax 5 which is a film camera. Here is the Minolta Maxxum 5 product page http://ca.konicaminolta.com...


August 19, 2009, 5:24 pm

I still think the A300 is the best of the cheap sonys. Its got all the same inners as the A350 except its only 10mp instead of 14mp and because of that it has a quicker frame rate and less noise than the a350 and its cheaper!


August 19, 2009, 9:15 pm

I also brought an A300 kit when it was cheap and a sigma 70 - 300 cheap (half the over priced RRP which made it about 33% off street price).

When I got from this review is. Get the lens but not the camera.


August 22, 2009, 2:50 am

if u wanna cheap and good stuff then u need to by any canon or nikon body and tamron 18-200 (or 250) lens (£600). if u have no £600 then buy new Ricoh CX1 or CX2 (upcoming) but don't waste money on that Sony thing.


August 23, 2009, 12:32 pm

Vacationer, that is just trash talk. It is Canon/Nikon brand bias (especially when you use "any"). The A330 may not be the best value at it's released price but if it drops to the price of the A300 (£350) for the kit it is in value territory for a dSLR starter. I brought my A350 kit + tamron 70-300 for £460 which is great value.


August 25, 2009, 1:42 pm

@Vacationer, yet another Canon/Nikon fanboy who does not know anything he/she is talking about. If you have not used it don't knock it. Chances are your Nikon has a sensor developed and manufactured by Sony as well.

To compare a dSLR to the Ricoh is just stupid.


September 30, 2009, 2:59 am

Funny that the A300, the best of the previous bunch of Alpha's fails to get a mention during this review, especially when the A330 is it's direct replacement. Personally I can't stand the new range of Alpha's; nothing new, paltry grip & no REAL improvement other than noise control (especially on A330), if you still can, get either an A300 or A350, they'll be cheaper, have a decent grip and won't be any worse, oh and battery life will be better too. The A500 & A550 are however worth a good look.

Ref vacationers comment; does the tammy 18-200 in Canon/Nikon mount come with I.S ?. I have an A300 and Sony 18-250 (a far superior lens) for under £600... Funnily enough Alpha's STILL have the best live view system on the market.

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