The Sony A330 is one of the new entry-level Sony Alpha DSLRs, replacing the revolutionary A300. The standout feature in the A300 and A330 is the fast-autofocus Live View display. One step behind this awesome feature is the fact that the screen articulates. These features are solid and, frankly speaking, put Nikon and Canon’s efforts of Live View in a DSLR to shame.
However, fancy features mean nothing if image quality is not up to snuff. In today’s digital imaging world, a big component of overall image quality focuses on low light performance – and that means clean images at high ISO. The Sony A330 and A300′s max sensitivity setting is at ISO 3200, while the Canon Rebel T1i and Nikon D5000 cover the sensitivity range up to ISO 12800 and ISO 6400, respectively. Sony’s A700 has a max sensitivity up to ISO 6400.
I’ve been shooting with a Sony A330 alongside the A300 and A700 for a while now. While I am saving my overall impressions of the new camera for the full review that will be coming shortly, I put together a little ISO comparison between the A330, A300 and A700. Here’s the rundown on the test setup:
- The images were shot from a tripod in a tungsten lit room with auto white balance engaged.
- The A330 was set to Program mode, while the A300 and A700, both of which underexposed as compared to the A330, were shot in manual mode to match the exposure settings of the A330.
- The new 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM kit lens was used on all cameras at a focal length of 55mm.
- The 100% crops below were taken from the center of the frame as 100px X 600px sections.
For those of you who would like a closer inspection of the full files from each of the 100% crop samples, links are below each ISO sample to the respective original JPEG files. Simply right click the link and choose “Save as…” Please note that some of the full image files are rather large. These images are provided for personal inspection only and may not be republished elsewhere without prior written consent, which may be obtained via email correspondence. If you want to republish the images, use the contact form to get in touch.
ISO 100 Reference Shot from Sony A330
100% Crop Samples at ISO 100
100% Crop Samples at ISO 200
100% Crop Samples at ISO 400
100% Crop Samples at ISO 800
100% Crop Samples at ISO 1600
100% Crop Samples at ISO 3200
Sony A330 vs. A300 vs. A700 ISO Comparison Conclusions
Sony is a big mover and shaker in the DSLR world since the introduction of the A100 in 2006. Sony has also managed to show a bit of restraint in the A330 by not pushing the ISO speed to unmanageable levels. While it does not appear to perform at the levels of the new Canon Rebel T1i and Nikon D5000, the A330 still has respectable low light performance. Images captured at ISO 1600 and 3200 will probably be acceptable to most consumers moving up from a point and shoot (the obvious target market) for web use and 4×6″ prints .
Your Turn . . .
What conclusions do you draw on the noise performance of these cameras?
What about metering and exposure issues?
Your questions, comments and remarks are welcome. Fire away in the comments below.