Tag Archives: sony

Link Roundup 05-17-2010

Book Review: Sony Alpha DSLR A300/A350 Digital Field Guide

Typically, the manual that comes with your new camera is less than satisfactory. Sure they tell you how to push all the buttons, but that’s about it. Third party camera manuals or field guides can be a great resource for specific camera model owners.

Tom Bonner recently published a Digital Field Guide for the Sony Alpha DSLR A300/A350. Since the two cameras are nearly identical, Tom wrapped up both cameras in a single book. Myself being a Sony Alpha user, Tom thought I might like to check it out.

The book is a combination of extended camera manual, general photography guide, and hands-on assignments. The flow is very logical and easy to follow. This is one book that A300/A350 owners will certainly benefit from.

The Sony Alpha DSLR A300/A350 Digital Field Guide (ISBN 978-0470386279) can be purchased directly from Wiley or through Amazon.com.


The Sony Alpha DSLR A300/A350 Digital Field Guide, by Tom Bonner, is 272 pages with a soft cover. The book is small enough to fit in your camera bag, but large enough to fit in your hands. It’s broken up into three parts and seven chapters, plus two very handy appendices.

Part 1 focuses on the two cameras and their various controls and menus. The A300 and A350 are so similar in construction that Tom covers both cameras simultaneously while pointing out the differences. This section of the book by itself could potentially replace the user manual that comes with the camera.

Part 2 starts with the basics of photography, including camera control, exposure, and composition. Then it goes into the specifics of lenses and other accessories, including various types of lenses available for the Alpha cameras. This section ends with a chapter on lighting — theory, application, and equipment.

Part 3 is more general in nature, covering subjects, types of photography, and digital workflow. Though this section is applicable to any camera, Tom constantly gives specific examples and tips for the Alpha photographer. I liked this section the best because it gives a lot of great examples and the content is structured in an academic manner with miniature assignments designed to explore and learn the A300 and A350.

The appendices are a good resource for Sony shooters. The first appendix is a listing of businesses and websites dedicated to Sony cameras. The second appendix is a troubleshooting guide specific to these cameras.


Tom Bonner is a 30-year Minolta/Sony camera enthusiast and photographer (my kind of guy!). He’s spent many years as a freelance photographer and writer. Some of his photographic experience includes automotive and motorsports subjects.

I’ve been following Tom for many months because of his blog, Alphatracks — a website dedicated to the fledgling Sony Alpha DSLR line. Being a Sony/Minolta user myself, the subject of his blog caught my attention. But Tom’s ability to write and teach is what keeps me going back for more.


This is a great resource book for the Sony A300 and A350 photographer. It covers just about everything you can find in your user manual, plus a whole lot of practical stuff. New users will benefit the most from this book, as the assignments in Part 3 will familiarize them with the camera in-use.

For those who aren’t A300/A350 users, it’s probably not a book you’d buy. The entire book is sprinkled with Alpha details and it would be frustrating trying to translate the features and functions. But, I’m sure that Tom wasn’t targeting Canon or Nikon photographers when he wrote it.

But regardless of which brand you use, I’d still go check out Tom’s blog. A lot of the stuff he publishes isn’t completely specific to Sony or Minolta.

The Sony Alpha DSLR A300/A350 Digital Field Guide (ISBN 978-0470386279) can be purchased directly from Wiley or through Amazon.com.

Sony Steps It Up With the A900

Sony DSLR-A900

Big news today for all the Minolta/Sony fans in the crowd. They’ve announced their “Flagship” dSLR model, the A900. Similar in appearance to their semi-pro model, the A700, the A900 sports some fancy upgrades. The big hype has been around the 24MP full frame sensor, but the new model also has dual processors, improvements on the viewfinder, autofocus, user controls, and some shiny new lenses to go with that full-frame sensor.

Geared to compete with Canon’s 5D and Nikon’s D700, the price is also set in the same arena at $3000 for the camera body. I’m a Sony user, but I won’t personally be upgrading from the A700 to the A900 anytime soon. If I were a professional who relied on my equipment to make a living, I certainly would.

What do you guys think of this new camera from Sony? What did they get right? What did they miss?


Preview at Digital Photography Review
Preview at Photography Bay
Preview at Imaging Resource
Preview at CNET

What’s Your Choice Brand for Digital Cameras?

It’s interesting to revisit some of the old polls after 6 to 12 months — we ran one very similar to this back in August. This time, however, we’ll limit our choices to digital cameras.

As photographers, we’re typically very brand loyal because of the incompatibilities between different brands of equipment. I’m curious to see the poll results after some time has gone by and Sony is more of an upcoming competitor. I’d also like to get some numbers based on more than 100 votes, so join in!

Nikons vs. Canons
Creative Commons License photo credit: penmachine

If you use multiple brands of cameras, choose the one that you’re most invested in or the one that you’re most likely to continue using. If you shoot only film… um… I suppose you can vote for the brand that you could envision yourself using.


I’ll post last week’s poll results tomorrow as a feature article — it should be good; we had some great written answers to my question. And don’t forget to check the poll results from a few weeks back when I asked “What’s Your Favorite Film?” It’s looking like Velvia, XP2 and Tri-X are the winners.

Link Roundup 02-02-2008

Yes, I’m still alive. It’s been a busy week for me, and I thought it was kind of funny (though reassuring) that a few of you emailed me to see if everything was alright. I’m still around, I just had to take a mini-break from the blog to catch up on some other stuff. So while I finish catching up with my stuff, you guys can catch up on your reading. And before we get to the links…

PHOTOPHLOW GET TOGETHER THIS SUNDAY — Be there! I need a screenshot of our voting process for a guest-post I’m trying to finish and I can’t really do that without some help from you guys. So if you’re on photophlow and you’ll be near a computer, come join in for a bit… the whole thing will probably be around 2 hours.


  • February Challenge
    Join Trevor and I in the February Challenge by photographing a different color each week. As with the December Challenge, I’ll be posting my daily adventure here on the blog and on Flickr.
  • PROJECT: The View From Below
    Neil Creek
    As a photographer, it’s important to think about the uncommon perspective, and get out of the habit of shooting from the same height all the time. This photography project asks you to take and submit a photo from less than 30cm (12in) above the ground.


  • Howto: Create Higher Dynamic Range With Bracketed Exposures
    A lesson in dynamic range and how to work with bracketed exposures to achieve a higher dynamic range with your photos (without using HDR software). This method also works with dual-processed RAW images.
  • Introduction to Metering Modes
    digital Photography School
    An overview of how the basic metering methods work with your camera.
  • Snow – How Many Ways Can I Describe You
    My Camera World
    A great little exercise in create thinking from Niels. When we think of snow we tend to think in terms of white and then whiter. But snow when shot at lower light setting can display some brilliant and vibrant colors that you would not normally associate with snow.
  • 27 Photoshop Tutorial Sites
    Photo Projectz
    A great list of sites that offer Photoshop tutorials on a regular basis.
  • Sony Develops 24MP Full Frame CMOS Sensor
    Sony Global
    Check out what Sony’s been cooking up! A 24MP full frame sensor to compete in the high-end dSLR market.
  • DPReview Launches Lens Reviews
    Digital Photography Review
    DPReview’s new lens reviews are the result of months of intense research, development and testing, including the development of new test charts and proprietary analysis software designed to overcome the limitations of existing systems.
  • Video of the Week – I showed this once before, but I felt the need to share again. I think I’m going to pick up one of these a700′s from Sony in the very near future. It’s not my ideal camera, but it’s the closest thing to the KM 7D right now. Plus, I don’t feel like waiting another year for the flagship model to come out only to have to drop 5 grand on a new body and all new glass (since it’ll be full frame). So I’ll likely be shooting with the a700 for another year or two until I can justify more expensive gear.