Finally, the Sony Alpha 350 hits our shores!
This is the first Sony Alpha digital SLR with Live View, and Quick AF Live View, which focuses much faster without a lot of mirrors flapping or slow focusing like competitors. It works just like a digital camera would!
More on the difference here.
Note the Live View/OVF switch – it goes back and forth very, very fast, like it was entirely mechanical. This is unlike the Live View found on Canon and Nikon, which are hidden in dials or menus somewhere.
With my Minolta 70-210mm F4 “beercan” lens. The 2.7″ screen tilts up and then outwards.
Smart Teleconverter! It gets its own button to the right of the AEL button – it cycles between no crop, 1.4x crop and 2x crop. It does not matter if you’ve picked Small, Medium or Large – at 1.4x the camera always sets itself to Medium, and at 2x the camera always sets itself to Small.
This might confuse some people who choose Small, and then set Smart Teleconverter to 1.4x and find that the resolution is forced to Medium!
Also, oddly, you would think that you should get 100% coverage of the viewfinder when using the Smart Teleconverter instead of the usual 95%… but having framed with the Smart Teleconverter and then shot, the extra 5% comes in the picture.
It is also understandable why the Smart Teleconverter only goes up to 2x – the spherical matte surface of the A350 isn’t fine enough to show detail beyond that. However, after shooting, the image is a lot sharper and clearer than it is when looking at Live View with the Smart Teleconverter.
Logically, since the Live View sensor is looking at the viewfinder on your behalf, you do see the AF points on screen always. Also, when using the Smart Teleconverter, the AF points enlarge! Oddly, you can’t select focusing mode. I don’t know what mode it becomes though.
It can fold up quiiite high, though sadly, not sideways. Nevertheless this makes for a much sturdier screen.
Telephoto lenses held up with one hand will show that the Live View isn’t the fastest refreshing thing on the planet. You can actually see motion blur trails on the screen (which won’t appear in the picture.) However, put both hands on the camera and it looks alright again.
You could probably stick some notes in here, heh.
I forgot to check if Creative Styles, White Balance and Exposure Compensation show in Live View, though.
The Drive and ISO button feel easier to press than the Sony A200. I’m not sure because I didn’t have one to compare it with.
Speaking of Drive, the A350 does 2.5 frames per second (FPS), the A300 does 3 FPS, and the A700 does 3/5 FPS. However, in Live View, the FPS lowers considerably to about 1.5. Hey, at least it can do continuous AF!
Added 12:25pm: Another thing – I found the A350 viewfinder to be reasonably bright despite the lower magnification. Still very, very usable.
Also, the difference in 2.5 FPS and 3 FPS is minimal; you would not be able to tell the difference just by hearing it… unless you play the drums.