Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

Released June, 2010
  • 14 MP
  • APS-C 23.5 x 15.7 mm CCD
  • 2.7" LCD
If you're a Sony Alpha (or Konica Minolta) user that shoots mainly at base ISO, in live view and Auto mode the Sony DSLR-A390 is worth a look, and is definitely a more agreeable camera to use than its predecessor.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)
8.6 Out of 10

Camera Rocket Review Our evaluation of the Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

Image Quality

RAW image quality independent of lens

Alpha DSLR-A390
EOS 400D
DxOMark Low light, DxOMark Color depth and DxOMark Dynamic range


How fast and easily does the camera nail focus

Alpha DSLR-A390
EOS 400D
Focus lag, cross type focus points and focus points


How much delay is there between you and your photo?

Alpha DSLR-A390
Pentax K-r
EOS 400D
Focus lag and continuous shooting


What do the experts think?

Alpha DSLR-A390
EOS 400D
Reviews from and


Camera Rocket Score

Image Quality, Focusing, Responsiveness and Reviews

Alpha DSLR-A390
EOS 400D

Benchmarks Real world tests of the Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

Low light image quality Highest ISO setting that still achieves great image quality

Alpha DSLR-A390
607 ISO
1,385 ISO
1,131 ISO

Focus lag Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

Alpha DSLR-A390
198 ms
326 ms
Pentax K-r
105 ms

Continuous shooting Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

Alpha DSLR-A390
2.5 fps
8 fps
Pentax K-r
6 fps

Battery life How many photos per battery charge (CIPA)

Alpha DSLR-A390
500 photos
Alpha DSLR-A350
730 photos
700 photos

Color depth The number of variations of color the camera can capture

Alpha DSLR-A390
22.5 bits
24.3 bits
24.1 bits

Dynamic range Maximum range a camera can capture in one image from light to dark

Alpha DSLR-A390
11.5 ev
13.2 ev
13.2 ev

Photo Gallery Wallpaper quality closeups of the camera

Reviews Word on the street for the Sony Alpha DSLR-A390

The A390 is essentially an A380 with some subtle ergonomic changes, specifically a new, more substantial grip, and a reshaped top plate.

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight


The Sony Alpha 390 is a minor upgrade to its predecessor, and ultimately, the new model can be safely summarised as 'the same camera with a new grip.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)
However, Fast AF live view is less impressive in 2010 than it was when first introduced, and compared to a camera like the Panasonic Lumix DMC G2 (which at least matches and with some lens combinations beats the A390 in terms of live view AF speed) the Alpha 390 is bulky, slow and unrefined.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)
Also note that in our tests, the Sony Alpha 390 gives exactly the same image quality as its predecessor the A380 (any fractional differences are well within normal margin of error).
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)

Image quality

We test to confirm the image quality is identical, then concentrate the review on the differences between the two cameras.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)
That said, image quality at low ISO sensitivity settings is certainly good enough to satisfy the demands of small prints or screen-sized web galleries.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)
As far as its performance and image quality are concerned, the A390 is an exact match for its predecessors, which is to say that it was fairly respectable two years ago but now sits towards the bottom end of its large group of competitors.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)


Detail resolution in JPEGs is acceptable, but masked by an overall softness that sells the sensor rather short.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)
Things fall apart a bit above ISO 800 though, at which point images become very blotchy, even in small prints.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)
At high ISO settings the A390 gives adequate performance but it's nothing special, and it is roundly outperformed by competitive cameras like the Canon EOS 550D.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)


A coverage of 95% is low for modern DSLRs, although the penalty in coverage may mean very little in normal use except that the occasional tree branch or piece of trash might appear in your images without you noticing it when you pressed the shutter.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)
The A390 comes alive when the camera is switched into Live View mode, at which point the optical viewfinder is masked off (shown here on the right) and the LCD screen takes over.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)
The optical viewfinder is small and dim, and despite its 'TV at the end of a hallway' viewing experience, we found that when wearing glasses, the entire image area is still hard to see from a fixed eyepoint.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)


Whilst this ensures bright, punchy print-ready JPEGs, it can be frustrating if you want to capture a wider tonal range.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)
Left to its own devices, in bright conditions the A390 consistantly overexposes to an extent that it is often impossible to recover highlight detail in the captured images.
by DPReview (Jul, 2010)

Specifications Full list of technical specs


Type CCD
Megapixels 14 MP
Resolution 4592 x 3056
Size APS-C
Area 23.5 x 15.7 mm
Crop factor 1.5x
Pixel size 26.3 microns
Light sensitivity 100 ISO to 3,200 ISO
  1. RAW
  2. JPEG
Self cleaning sensor Yes

focus system

Type Phase detection
Focus points 9
Cross type focus points 1
Supports continuous No


Viewfinder mirror Opaque
Viewfinder Viewfinder
Type Pentamirror
Coverage 95%
Magnification 0.74x
Viewfinder size 0.48x


Max continuous shooting 2.5 fps
Battery life 500 photos
Continuous shooting 2.5 fps, JPEG
Focus lag 198 ms


Video None


Type LCD
Size 2.7"
Resolution 230 k dots
Has a touch screen No
Has a flip out screen Yes
Supports live view Yes


Min 30 s
Max 1/4000 s

form factor

Size 128 x 97 x 86 mm
Thickness 86 mm
Weight 549 g
Is weather sealed No


Includes a GPS No
Supports HDR No
Automatic panorama No
Create realistic 3D images No
Image stabilization Sensor shift
Report a correction


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