Sony Alpha 100 + DT 18-70 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (approx. EUR 700)
By acquiring Konica-Minolta's photography department, Sony got their hands on some excellent technology and the chance to enter the DSLR market. Of course, Sony are well aware that there are a lot of Minolta users out there, probably as many as Canon and Nikon users. The Konica Minolta 7D and 5D cameras were already feature packed. They were the first to use sensor-based image stabilisation.
Sony refined the system, while adding a few interesting features to their first camera. However, despite their wish to capture a large market share, Sony initially priced Alpha 100 way too high. When I first tested the camera, I concluded that the price was somewhat justified. However, Sony’s brand recognition as a maker of DSLRs was very low, making it hard to compete with established brands, such as Canon and Nikon.
Nevertheless, Sony learned from their mistakes. They slashed the camera’s price considerably, making it affordable to those who want a very capable camera at an entry-level price. In my opinion, Sony Alpha 100 has the best price-performance ratio of all 10 MP entry level DSLRs. Why? Well, the Alpha 100 is very well built, has sensor-based image stabilisation, IR sensors for turning it on or off, dynamic range settings and simple yet powerful menus. At the same time, it takes all Minolta AF mount lenses, as well as a few Sony lenses, along with some new Carl Zeiss lenses.
Major pros: Sensor-based image stabilisation, dynamic range adjustment, infra-red sensors.
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By Matjaž Intihar. Translated by Jože Svetičič.