The 10-megapixel Alpha 100 is Sony's first digital SLR since the acquisition of Konica Minolta and features in-camera, CCD-based image stabilisation and compatibility with Konica Minolta lenses.
Similarities to Konica 5D
While the A100 draws heavily from the Konica Minolta Dynax 5D, Sony has modernised the body and added some Sony ‘style’. The body is more curvy and the body finish is an attractive matt, as opposed to the 5D’s rather plasticky looking semi-gloss finish. Curves aside, the cameras do share a verisimilitude, particularly on the back with an almost identical layout. The button layout is very clean and simple, with a sparseness that fails to intimidate. Sony has improved the buttons and dials, in particular the control pad and top-plate mode dials, which share the same shiny, high-quality milled look of cameras such as the F828
and R1, though these dials are formed from plastic.
The right-side mode dial has the usual array of M,A,S,P and scene modes, while the left-hand dial offers quick access to oft-used functions such as metering, flash, focus patterns, ISO, WB, Dynamic Range and digital controls. A central function button then displays the chosen function on the LCD, while the forward control dial on the right side allows you to make the appropriate setting within that function. This is one of the unique features of the Alpha’s design, and is a nice system to use, keeping the whole camera neat and manageable.
The 2.5-inch LCD monitor has an anti-reflection coating to aid viewing in bright light, and is made up of 230,000 pixels for sharp and bright image viewing. This is one of the best screens I’ve used for a while. Apart from image previews, of course, the LCD displays the menu, in this case almost identical to the Konica Minolta system, but surprisingly less bright, which I found a problem, especially in sunshine. It also displays all the shooting information, when the camera is away from the eye, with aperture, shutter, remaining shots, WB, battery, exposure compensation, and more displayed. Again, this is dimmer than the 5D,
but still shares the same clever auto-orientation system: when the camera is turned to portrait format, the LCD information also rotates to make it easier to read.