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Sony Alpha A330 - Sony Alpha A330

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


In terms of performance the A330 is nothing too special. Like most DSLRs it starts up extremely quickly in about a quarter of a second, and shuts down again just as fast, although it does briefly run the sensor cleaning system on power-off. In terms of shooting speed, in single-shot mode it is pleasantly quick to use. The nine-point AF system is nice and fast, and with the focus points well spread over the frame it copes well with off-centre subjects. It focuses well in low light, using a pulsed flash as an AF assist lamp. However the pop-up flash itself is surprisingly underpowered and doesn't fill the corners of the frame in a normal size living room.

In continuous shooting mode the A330 isn't going to break any world records. It can maintain 1.25fps, which is pretty slow by comparison to most of its rivals, but it can maintain the same speed in Raw + JPEG mode and also in live view mode, which is more than some others can claim.

Picture quality is pretty much indistinguishable from any of Sony's previous 10.2MP DSLRs, which is to say that it's very good under most circumstances. The built-in sensor-shift image stabilisation system provides a reliable two to three stops of extra hand-held stability, which means sharp hand-held pictures even at around 1/20th of a second. Exposure metering is generally accurate and copes well with backlighting, and the D-Range Optimiser helps with very high contrast situations. Colour rendition is also very good, but where the camera has real problems is with image noise. Even at 400 ISO there is visible noise and loss of detail in the darker areas, and at 800 ISO there are major colour artefacts on areas of gradient tone.


Although it does feature an exceptionally well implemented live view mode on a decent-sized tilting monitor, the Sony Alpha A330 is distinctly an entry-level model, with a limited range of features and options. While those upgrading from a compact camera will feel right at home, more experienced photographers will find its limitations restrictive. Build quality is adequate and the camera looks good, but the new body design is awkward to use.


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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