Sony Alpha A390 review

Review Date : Wed, 4 Aug 2010

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Does Sony's latest DSLR offer anything new over the previous A380 model? The What Digital Camera Sony A390 review investigates...

Pros: Live View, help guide, improved grip over previous design
Cons: No AF-assist lamp, small screen, no new technology over the previous a380 model

Adding to Sony's now bulging DSLR range, the A390 seems like a quick replacement DSLR for the A380 - the latter having received much criticism for its sunken grip that made it trickier to hold for extended use. The A390 adds the more traditional DSLR grip, aligning it with the other Sony DSLR range's style, but there's little else on offer. Does this make the A390 a worthy new addition to the Alpha series, or is it simply what the A380 always should have been...?


Sony Alpha A390 review - Features

The entry-level DSLR market has been awash with many affordable cameras for some years now. The A390 has a number of attractive features to attempt to make it stand out from the crowd: it's capable of capturing stills at a high-resolution 14.2 megapixels and the 2.7in, 230K-dot LCD on the back has a tilt-angle capability that allows for vertical angling to face upward or downward for waist-level or over-the-head shooting. Full time live preview, or live view, also features but has an extra sheen in the form of Sony's Quick AF Live View system that adds an additional sensor compared to competitors' models for much faster autofocus when in this mode.

 Sony Alpha a390 review sample image

Sony a390 review sample image - click for full size gallery

The Bionz processor sees images shot at a sensitivity of up to ISO 3200 at full size and there's even a sensor-shift based image stabilisation system - Sony's SteadyShot INSIDE - that ensures sharper images whatever lens is attached to the camera's front. Users of old Konica/Minolta DSLR models may be keen to know than the current Sony A-mount lens fitting is the very same and that old Minolta lenses can be used without the need for any adaptors (Sony bought out the company some years ago).

Sticking with its entry-level stance, the A390 is also geared towards making shooting for first timers less intimidating than it otherwise might be. An on-screen help guide can assist, and the visual display on the LCD's rear (when shooting using the 95%-crop viewfinder) shows the relationship between shutter speed, aperture and other settings to pare shooting modes down to their most basic - ideal for the beginner learning the ropes.

Elsewhere features are relatively ‘normal', with a lightweight plastic body housing all the technical gear and a standard Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens featuring as standard. All the above features were as standard in the A380 camera, with the only new features entirely cosmetic...

Available from Jessops, Warehouse Express, Argos and other good retailers.

Digital SLR Reviews

Price as reviewed



Design 17/20
Image Quality 17/20
Performance 17/20
Value 17/20
Features 17/20
Overall Score 85%