Sony Alpha A290 Specification and review

At its heart the A290 employs a 14.2-megapixel APS-C sized CCD sensor and Sony's BIONZ image processor. In addition to the standard DSLR quartet of Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority and Manual shooting modes, the A290 also offers a fully Automatic point-and-shoot mode along with a number of specific scene modes. This gives the novice user the flexibility to learn the ropes by taking control of the camera, with the safety net of a point-and-shoot mode when required.

Full specification for Sony Alpha A290

Sensor 14.1 megapixels APS-C CCD sensor, 23.5 x 15.7mm
Output Size 4592 x 3056 pixels
Focal Length Mag 1.5x
Lens Mount Sony A-Mount (Minolta/Konica A-Mount compatible)
File Format Raw (Sony .ARW), JPEG, Raw + JPEG
Compression JPEG Fine or Standard, Large (14MP), Medium (7.7MP), Small (3.5MP) - all sizes approximate
ISO 100-3200
Shutter Speeds 1/4000–30secs, bulb
Drive Mode Single, Continuous, 10sec and 2sec timer, Self-timer continuous, Continuous advance AE bracketing, Remote commander
Viewfinder Type Fixed eye-level system with roof mirror
Field of View 95%
LCD 2.7in, 230k-dot
Live Mode No
Movie Mode No
Built-in Image Stabilisation Yes, Super SteadyShot sensor-based stabilisation
Dust Reduction Yes, anti-static coating and CCD shift mechanism
Focusing Modes Single shot, Continuous, Automatic, Manual
Exposure Modes P, A, S, M, Auto, Scene, Flash off, Macro
Metering System 40-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC
Exposure Comp Yes, ±2.0EV (in 0.3 steps)
Colour Space sRGB, Adobe RGB
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Florescent, Flash, Custom
White Balance Bracket No
Colour Temp Control No
DoF Prview No
Built-in Flash Yes, GN10 (at ISO 100)
Max Flash Sync 1/160th sec
PC Socket No
Cable Release Remote release
Memory Card SD/SDHC
Power Rechargeable li-ion battery
Connectivity HDMI (type C), USB 2.0 (standard mini connection)
Dimensions 128.1 x 97.1 x 79.6mm
Weight 508g (inc battery and card)
AF Points Nine (with one central cross-type sensor) 

Sony Alpha A290 cameras feature an attractive new grip design that allows more comfortable handling. Upper control areas of A290 models have also been revised with a clear, uncluttered new button layout. With an 18-55mm kit lens included, the DSLR-A290 is listed at $500 and currently selling at around $440. Here is the summary of review by NeutralDay, giving the Sony Alpha DSLR-A290 a rating of 64 out of 100:

"Overall image quality is pretty good, though we notice image noise even at lower ISO, and a general lack of sharpness. The A290 shoots both RAW and JPEG files, we prefer using RAW here at the site, but recognize many users will probably stick with JPEG. JPEG output is about average, there's less detail than the RAW files because of noise removal happening in-camera, and our feeling is that the JPEGs could use more "punch" to satisfy beginners, but there's no question the image quality from the A290 is leaps and bounds better than any compact, and with some post processing (sharpen, boost saturation/vibrancy) - the A290 is capable of some excellent image quality (improved further for sure by a better lens). The A290's low light performance is average and somewhat limited. ISO range tops out at 3200, a range that will make it tricky to get certain indoor shots without flash usage. Image noise is present from ISO 200 onwards (in RAW), but at least saturation is maintained enough so that with some noise removal, ISO 3200 shots are well within the realm of usability.

The Sony A290 is a solid camera for the first time DSLR purchaser. The feature list misses two big ones: Live View and video, and the specifications are a bit dated with an ISO range extending to just 3200, low-res LCD, and a burst rate of 2.5 fps. Still the A290 is fairly easy to use and takes a far better picture than any compact camera the user might have previously used. It isn't super exciting, and some creative options in-camera might make it more fun to use, but it is super affordable. As such it easily gets recommended for beginners, but more skilled photographers will need to look elsewhere."

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