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.
The first thing we noticed when we started to use the camera is the sound of the shutter: it’s not the quietest with a definite ‘ker-ching’ quality. In continuous drive mode at 3fps, it’s much noisier than many of its rivals are, so we wouldn’t want to use this camera if you want to be unobtrusive – during a wedding ceremony, say.
The continuous drive is, though, one of the camera’s strong points. We managed to rattle off a continuous burst for a full minute with no interruption at 3fps in highest quality JPEG on a SanDisk Extreme III card – no mean feat considering the file size. Even in RAW, the camera shoots at a reasonable pace over the minute, though it slows to around 2fps after the first 10 seconds or so. Again, this is impressive considering that the compressed RAW file is around 8-10MB in size.
AF and Eye-Start
Other departments turn out well, too. The AF is quick and responsive; only the usual flat, low-contrast subjects gave the AF any problems, when it began to hunt, as does almost every camera’s AF. What we like about the AF eye-start system is that as soon as the camera goes to the eye, the autofocus kicks in and the subject is in focus. What we don’t like is that if you have the camera on a strap over your shoulder or round your neck, and don’t turn it off, the camera keeps focusing as the sensors are activated. The only option is to turn the power off, or turn off the eye-start in the set-up menu – in which case why bother having it at all? Maybe an external button to turn it off would be good, but then that would also defeat the object.