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Sony Alpha A330 - Sony Alpha A330

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


Even compared to previous Sony entry-level models the Alpha A330 lacks a few useful features. For instance the Alpha A100 had a 2-second self-timer with mirror lock-up. The mirror lock-up was dropped for the A200, but the A330 lacks even the 2-second self-timer. It also has no socket for the cheap cable remote that could be used with most of the previous models, although there is an optional £40 wireless remote control. One notable lack is a video mode, which is fast becoming the must-have feature for DSLRs this year.

One feature it does have though is Sony's excellent live view mode. This puts most other manufacturers' live view modes in the shade, offering as it does full nine-point phase detection autofocus without the need to flip the mirror down for focusing. It does this by using a second image sensor in the viewfinder/AF light-path to power the live view mode, rather than using the main imaging sensor. This probably accounts for the slightly bulky shape of the body, but it does produce a live view mode that works, providing fast, accurate autofocus and a faster shooting speed.

Another point worth noting is that the kit lens supplied with the A330 is Sony's new smaller, lighter 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 standard zoom, and I have to say it's a massive improvement on Sony's previous 18-70mm kit lens, which suffered from poor corner sharpness and chromatic aberration. The new lens produces image quality not far short of the superb but expensive (£550) 16-80mm Carl Zeiss T* f/3.5-4.5 that is also available for Sony DSLRs. I've included some test shots taken with these lenses for comparison.


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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