Sony A230 Review

September 14, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 Glenn Fernandes

According to me, this camera has average features and design. It is not very impressive. 10 mp camera is good and so image and video quality is very satisfying. Performance-wise, its just average.

6:16 am - Tuesday, September 15, 2009

#2 EGr

I totaly agree with Glenn Fernandes… video qualité is very satisfying… cause there is NO video in this reflex ! And that’s how a reflex should go until any manufacturer can afford us a video mode with continuous and soft autofocus !
This alpha230 is just a budget reflex designed for whoever want to take pictures with. Just don’t ask him anything else, not at this price (425€ in France with the 18/55).
The Nikon D3000 offer nothing else (same sensor, viewfinder a bit under, just one memory card slot…) and his price is higher : 509€ with 18/55VR).
The price of the Canon 1000D is more aggressive at this time, but the viewfinder is under the two others, just one memory card slot too, and don’t forget the x1.6 sensor, so the real focale of the kit lens give you is a 29/88mm against a 27/83mm for the Sony and Nikon. 2mm is a real difference in wide angle.

What else ? Image Quality ? Good question, sure… I don’t know which body is the best… I’m just sure that each one offer enought IQ for common amateur use.

4:29 pm - Tuesday, September 15, 2009

#3 Cullen Guimond

Well i like the camera. Its alot better than my old pentax. Not as good as the D3 or D700. Its image quality is very nice for a starter, and 10mp is a bonus because these days MP is not what its all about.

10:31 pm - Sunday, October 4, 2009

#4 gadgets

Very patronising. There’s no reason why someone buying their first DSLR should not expect decent image quality. The camera should be judged alongside its peers and most if not all DSLRs (including entry level) are capable of excellent results….and first time DSLR buyers should be treated should be treated as someone who is interested enough in image quality and photography to want a DSLR.

2:20 pm - Thursday, November 5, 2009


My mum got this camera for me as my first dslr camera. It wasn’t an easy-to-use camera.
I had a problem with the grip….it was just so uncomfortable. But i guess it’ll be ok for those who are used to it. But for those who have used other dslr, this one would be very very uncomfortable.
I do like the user interface though.
The second thing that i dislike bout this camera is the way we have to delete the photos after we’ve taken them. its very inconvenient. We basically have to press three different buttons to delete it.
The eye start auto focus is rather nice to use but cn be rather annoying sometimes especially if ur lens is very noisy as it autofocus.

Sony has came out with good dslrs like the current a550. But sony hasn’t done a good job with the entry level dslrs. The button layouts of the entry level dslrs are similar to sony’s compact camera’s which, i think, is not suitable and very inconvinient.

My mum bought this camera coz i love sony products. But i have to say i’m dissapointed with this one and i sincerely hope that sony will do a btter job next time.

3:57 pm - Tuesday, November 10, 2009

#6 WlGee

When you can’t race on that rainy day track, blame the car. Schumacher had it conquered. It’s not the car, it’s the driver. Same goes to here. But it’s quite normal that people who couldn’t perform blames. Magnum photographers some uses a compact camera and produces award winning photos. I bet we’d still be sitting around talking how lousy this camera is. We should have a topic about models of human skill as well as camera. To talk about our skill quality, not just the Image quality. My god, are you guys good blamers.

4:07 pm - Tuesday, November 10, 2009

#7 Zip

Just got this camera as an early Christmas present.

I personally like the grip. However, I have incredibly long “piano-fingers,” so what’s comfortable for me is usually not comfortable for others. I lucked out with this make’s shape.

The controls seem confusing, and rather randomly scattered around. It could have been done better, but oh well. Granted, the most I’ve done with it so far really is figure out how to shoot, and to change the 18-55 to a 55-200 lens.

I’d say “Time will tell if it was worth the cost” but as this was a gift, I’m certainly not going to complain if the camera turns out to be sub-par.

4:57 am - Saturday, November 28, 2009

#8 J.Walls

Personally, I like this camera very much, as the user interface is very helpful indeed to us begginers, especially when for the last 5 years i’ve been using cheap digital cameras, a Minolta SLR witch takes film! I completely agree with WIGee and Zip, as surely you shouldnt always depend on expensive, high-tech cameras to get the shots you want. I have some stunning shots from my old cameras, and this is a big step up for me.

I must admit though, the 18-55 lense doesnt seem to be capable of much compared to my Minolta, witch also runs an 18-55 lense!...odd. Maybe ill have a play with these new functions a bit more, as i’ve only had the camera a few weeks.

Enjoy shooting, J.Walls

11:55 am - Sunday, December 20, 2009

#9 C.Bale

After many years of 35mm SLR photography (last 27 with Canon A1 + 28 to 300mm lenses) and a compact digital camera for the last 5 years, this is my first DSLR, a gift frmo my family.  It helps to know all the aspects of exposure and depth of field etc. but there are still many clever control features to be found in this camera - plenty for me.  I have got some very good action and static shots and think the image quaility is very good although I am a little concerned at image marks (dust?) that I noticed on day 2 (about 200 images since Christmas day)

6:53 pm - Friday, January 1, 2010

#10 Tim

Is it possible to use the large LCD as a viewfinder?

11:01 pm - Saturday, January 2, 2010

#11 J.Walls

Hi Tim, Unfortunately no, you cannot use the LCD as a viewfinder on the a230, this is a feature they brought in on the a330, along with the screen tilt. You are not missing out on a lot, as I actually have the a330-not the a230, my mistake on reviewing the wrong camera 8-0 lol. The quality of the real-time viewfinder isn’t great whilst being used, and also uses a lot of battery life, so I have reverted to using the OVF mode instead, which is exactly the same as the a230. I would consider the only advantage of it to be if you had the camera in an awkward place.
Happy Shooting!

Hey C.Bale,
As regards to the dust/grease, i’m not sure if the a230 has a self-cleaning option… even if it does, its best to use static wipes for the dust and a slightly damp cloth to reove grease. If there were kids around, playing with the camera, check for grease/fingermarks on both ends of the lense, and also inside on the mirror. If this fails, you may want to see your lense isnt damaged! Not much more I can reccommend.
Happy Shooting!

12:54 pm - Sunday, January 3, 2010

#12 sayshh

IMHO the review & few comments mentioning the downside of the Sony a230 are justified. The reviewer especially has given valid points why the changes made to this camera put it behind its predecessor in terms of usability, leave alone improving on it. Sony is bucking the trend & how!?

@WIGee: Unfortunately, your analogy does not apply correctly in this case. Its more about changing the controls on the car without improving on its performance. Like for e.g. how about gear change button moved inside a box below drivers seat? Or clutch control behind drivers seat? Or traction control button removed, and put somewhere in the menu?

Are you saying you will still expect the driver to give best performance without voicing it out? C’mon. Give us all a break. Just because you like Sony does not mean you try to put off people on forums who voice their genuine concerns with a product.

6:20 pm - Saturday, February 6, 2010

#13 glory

Just got this camera and appreciate all the comments. I think that for a dslr this camera is very easy to use. its a great beginners camera. If u need better,  remember the sane u get what u pay for… come out the pocket people. the price was very good especially for a kit combo… good luck with all who have it and post some pics you have taken.

8:14 pm - Tuesday, May 4, 2010

#14 Rose M.

Hi I just bought this cause it was the only one I could afford as a beginner photographer. I think its okay but I am really confused…like the F5.6 is that just to mark the middle of the aperature scale or is that what Im set to? if i can change it, how do i do that? I read all the comments and they were really helpful.

3:26 am - Sunday, June 27, 2010

#15 Ashley

I am wondering the same thing as Rose…how do you set the aperature lower than 5.6?  I’m guessing it depends on what mode you are in??

1:58 pm - Thursday, July 22, 2010

#16 sayshh

The aperture value depends on the mode you are in and the focal length set on the lens. For e.g. you can freely change aperture value in A and M, (Aperture priority and Manual) modes. To check if any other modes allow you to change the aperture value, you should check the manual.

However, the kit lens is 18-55 mm, F3.5-5.6. So at 18 mm you can set F3.5 (not any lower), and at 55 mm you can set 5.6 (not lower).


3:50 pm - Thursday, July 22, 2010

#17 mk

I’ve just bought this camera in double kits. A230 is very-very cheap and It is Sony quality. I’m beginner in DSLR, so I must explore this camera with two lenses.

6:45 am - Sunday, September 19, 2010

#18 Rose M.

OK new question…i want an external flash and polarizing lense, and i checked the sony website…do they all fit the A230? and is there any other sites that offer better cheaper prices on these things? thanks

8:58 am - Sunday, September 19, 2010

#19 sayshh

@Rose M. - The external flash that you saw on Sony website should work with your A230 as long as it is a flash for a (Alpha) DSLR camera like the HVL-F58AM.

You must mean polarizing filter, these typically attach in front of your lens. You can get good ones from Tiffen or Hoya. Be sure to buy the ones that match your lens diameter, for e.g. 55 mm (will be marked in front of the lens).

7:16 am - Monday, September 20, 2010

#20 John B.

I just bought the a230 as my first dslr…I’ve wanted one for a few years.  I knew after the first day that I also needed a 55-200 lense, so I went back and bought one. 
    Truthfully, I have been having a blast with this camera.  I had no idea how easy it is to use.  Many experienced dslr users might have complaints, I suppose, like the way you delete photos (a bit of a pain, I admit), but overall I find it to be point-and-shoot easy.  I am thrilled with the image quality, and the autofocus seems to me to be quite quick.  The camera is a little small, but it feels good in my hands, and I don’t mind it being fairly light when lugging it around for a good period of time. 
    The more I experiment, the more I learn what this camera will do… and I’m already planning what gear I need next for some more serious photography.  Excited to finally be in the dslr family…

7:52 am - Monday, November 22, 2010

#21 Theeda

I bought this DSLR as first time user. I don’t know how to set the LCD for cliking the shots. In fact the LCD is available for only displaying the photos. I don’t want to use the optical view finder for shooting, Please someone suggest me how to set it (LCD) for shooting the photos like any other Digital cameras.

12:33 pm - Saturday, March 26, 2011

#22 Helena

I bought this cam because i wanted a DSLR and have no more money. And I learned very much from it. It is a very good teacher with that bars about exposure time and aperture in the LCD, and forcing you to take the photos using the optical viewfinder. The ISO, hidden in the mainstream of compacts, is now in front of you, and the FN button leads you to some basics settings that compacts dont show to users. I like the grip, i am a girl with little hands, and that compact-like is ergonomic with little primes and short zooms, for everything else is awful. My conclusion is that this cam is a “guide to DSLR for beginners” which offers what it costs, no more, no less. I have a feeling for this cam.

1:34 pm - Sunday, April 10, 2011

#23 cheryl

How much should I pay for a used sony a230

5:23 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#24 Brian Eager

I have used my A230 with it’s 18-55mm kit lens for a little over a month now - the review made by the above three journo’s is spot on. I have problems with the on-off and jog wheel when trying to change an EV etc as I tend to switch off the camera instead, the lack of AE-L is a serious blight and the faffing around with the focus points is not worth it so the advice to go to Spot is a brilliant idea in this case. But all that said and done it is a good camera in terms of output (unless you are sports or wildlife orientated, the legacy lenses from Minolta are some of the best if not cheapest to pick up to start with and something like a Vivitar 2x converter can be picked up for £60.  Yes I can’t grumble at £249 for the camera and kit lens and it will be a well used item I would have liked a Battery Grip but that will have to wait for my next purchase in 5 years or so as this camera doesn’t have one. In my opinion a Great review.

5:20 pm - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

#25 Michael McGrath

Unlike most Canikon today my copy of this camera and lens are Made in Japan. You get this feeling from it too, although plastic it’s very well made.? The lens scores highly on, higher than either the Canon or Nikon kit lenses with four stars granted in the field - this is very high , only reserved for some Canon L and the best of Nikon expensive lenses, so there. I have great landscape shots of the ancient sites and cathedrals of Ireland with this light , small and portable camera.

3:48 am - Friday, November 23, 2012

#26 Fabien

I’ve had this camera for 2 years and quite frankly I have have no issues with it. The picture quality is good enough and I was able to print very beautiful pictures out of it.

When it comes to build quality, the body is light and really sturdy! I never felt like it was fragile or anything and I took it everywhere!

Sure it’s a simple camera with very little tools but it does its job well and it’s a great way to progress!

5:58 am - Friday, January 4, 2013

#27 Charles Chilaka

My Sony a230 camera internal flash gun fails to fire even after I compensated the flash exposure to +2. Please what do I do to get the flash working?

5:19 pm - Thursday, July 25, 2013

Entry Tags

sony, beginner, DSLR, 10 megapixel, alpha, entry, 2.7inch LCD, dslr-230, a 230, a230, Sony A230 Review

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