Ever since I bought my camera, SONY A200 DSLR on 9th May 2009, I’ve shot nearly 8,000 photos, or I should say used up 8,000 shutter count in 4 months..
From that amount of photos, I have a lot of bad photos that includes blurry photos, white balance testing photos, and also shutter speed testing photos..
From those tests, I’ve never thought of doing a performance test on my camera..
So from now on, I’m going to do some performance test with it as a guidance for myself and anyone who wants to explore in SONY Alpha DSLRs, or just plain DSLR..
It is strictly warned that it’s just a very brief guide to DSLR noobs and those trying to get their hands on a DSLR as based on my knowledge ..
I would not say it’s a tutorial as I’m not qualified enough for a tutorial..It’s just a simple test on my camera..
My SONY A200, equipped with its kitlens, a SONY 18-70mm, is sufficient enough for beginners like me, but I’m looking forward to expand my lens range already, after shooting for 4 months..
First off, I’ll test the most basic and easiest performance of all, the ISO sensitivity..
ISO actually stands for International Organization for Standardization, yes, it’s the usual ISO that we commonly know of, such ISO 9001, ISO 9002, etc etc..
As for camera’s light sensitivity, it is based on ISO 5800 for measuring the speed of color negative film..
Okay, enough of geek facts..Let’s get down to real business of SONY A200 ISO performance test..
From here you can see the photo is considerably sharp as I’ve cropped it from its original size of 3872 x 2592, a full size of from the 10.2 megapixels body..
As you know, low ISO only works with good lighting and I took this pic with -0.3 BV (brightness value), shutter speed at 0.6 second, and F5.6 at 40mm focal length..
When I pumped up the ISO to 200, the photo seems a bit grainy (noise) already but it’s still okay when you are in low light condition..
Aperture stays at F5.6, focal length 40mm, -0.3 BV, and shutter speed 1/3 second..
More on ISO 400 and above..
When you are in darker place like a dim-light open air roadside mamak stall, I bet you can imagine the lighting, you can use ISO 400 and it’s getting noisy to a certain point but it’s still bearable..
I’ve maintained all of the settings (BV, focal length, aperture) and the shutter speed has doubled to 1/6″..
Under considerably good lighting, ISO 800 has never been a problem with noise, somewhat..
When you compare 800 with 200 or 400, the grains are quite visible when you view it at full size..If it’s low-light condition, it’s even more grainy than this..
Settings maintained, shutter speed reach 1/13″..You can see the pattern already..The shutter speed is double up when you double up the ISO..
One good thing about SONY Alpha DSLR, that is the built-in image stabilizer which is called Super Steady Shot (SSS)..
With other camera, at shutter speed of 1/13 you might already get a blurry shot if you have shaky hands, like me..
The SSS is very useful for users with shaky hands and long term wise, it’s pretty good when you want to expand your lens range..
The photo looks kinda distorted when you pump the ISO up to 1600..Shutter speed increased to 1/25″..
I’ve tried to use ISO 1600 in low light condition and it’s very noisy..But if you are just snapping for fun and resizing the photo to say 600 x 400, it doesn’t really matters coz the noise isn’t that obvious..
So make sure what’s your photos for, printing, or just to post in blog..If you want to print it out, noise reduction is very important..
Try to use low ISO but at the same time, shutter speed in very slow as well..You might end up with blurry photos..So know your purpose..
SONY A200‘s ISO can pump up to a maximum of 3200, but it’s not recommended because as you can see, it’s very noisy with all the grains and all..
Unless you use a noise reduction software such as Noise Ninja, ISO 3200 is almost unbearable..I’ve never tried to use 3200 for my shootings before..I can’t imagine the outcome..
With ISO 3200, my shutter speed could reach 1/50 seconds at F5.6, -0.3 BV, 40mm focal length..
Fast shutter speed is essential when you are at events shooting moving objects like human, vehicles, etc etc..
As for the SONY’s image stabilizer function, Super Steady Shot (SSS), I will explain in another entry..
Til then, enjoy you camera and explore the settings