Sony Alpha a450 review
Image Quality & Value
Sony a450 review - Tone & Exposure
Exposure in general is good, though tonally can seem a little flat at times. Additional in-camera D-Range Optimiser and HDR do offer additional ways to adjust final exposure too, though these results are obviously entirely separate from a standard exposure. The rear AEL exposure lock also came to the rescue on a number of occasions to maintain exposure levels in compromising conditions.
Sony a450 review - RAW/JPEG
When using the bundled Image Data Converter software it's possible to output the ARW Raw files as Jpeg or Tiff formats. In unprocessed form the original Raw files are similar to the Jpeg counterparts, the most notable difference being the level of noise - the Jpeg files seem less noisy but slightly softer due to increased noise reduction processing.
Sony a450 review - Colour & White Balance
In the ‘standard' mode colour can be a little on the flat side. In evening light or with fill-flash, auto white balance did occasionally produce cool blue/cyan results that looked a little ‘bleached-out'. However a variety of other Creative Style shooting modes - b&w, Sunset, Landscape, Portrait and Vivid - are also selectable in-camera for other colour effects.
Sony a450 review - ISO Sensitivity & Image Noise
Although ISO 12,800 is available it's not likely to be an everyday setting. Its use is limited due to focusing issues in low light, and the image noise level is significant, even when viewed on the LCD screen. From ISO 200-400 images are very smooth and low-noise, with a gradual increase in colour noise from ISO 800 and above. Real-world use to ISO 1600 is consistent.
Sony a450 review - Sharpness & Detail
Considering the high-resolution of the sensor the image detail is good, though this does deplete due to the high ISO noise reduction that softens images for sake of partial noise removal. The main issue with sharpness is the 18-55mm kit lens which is a little soft, plus produces visible chromatic aberration, in particular to the corners at the wider end. Although not unexpected, to get the most from the a450, or indeed most DSLR cameras, putting a variety of lenses in your kit bag is an ideal solution. Something like the prime 50mm f/1.4 will provide superb portrait results without breaking the bank.
Sony Alpha a450 review - Value
For a penny less than £500 the a450 is an affordable DSLR. However, by stripping out the Quick AF live view, one of the stronger features of Sony's range lacks. Of course, for a buyer not fussed by live view the a450 is then perhaps an ideal proposition.
However the similar spec and price-point to both the a500 and a550 models may only assist in confusing prospective buyers as to which is the model to go for - plus the lower-spec a380 model can be found for nigh-on the same price as the a450, as close as £20 difference.