Sony Alpha A290 and A390 budget DSLRs get official

Sony has outed a pair of new entry-level DSLRs, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A290 and DSLR-A390, each packing 14.2-megapixels, HDMI outputs and BRAVIA Sync compatibility. Both get a 9-point autofocus system, 40-segment auto-exposure and a 2.7-inch TFT preview display; the Alpha A290 also throws in Quick AF Live View and a tilting mount for that display.

Storage is via either Sony's own MemoryStick or SD/SDHC card, and there's optical image stabilization, USB 2.0 connectivity and an integrated pop-up flash.  Both can be used with Sony's A-mount lenses, or Minolta and Konica Minolta AF lenses.

Despite the HDMI connectors it doesn't look like the two DSLRs can shoot HD video; the outputs are just for displaying still photos on your HDTV.  No word on pricing, but the Sony Alpha A290 and A390 should both go on sale this summer.

Press Release:

More style and value by Sony for first-time DSLR users Easy-to-use DSLR-A390 and DSLR-A290 with 14.2 megapixels

• DSLR-A390 with 14.2 megapixels, Quick AF Live View and 6.7cm (2.7-inch) tilt LCD; DSLR-A290 with 14.2 megapixels

• Compact, stylish body with new grip design and revised button layout for comfortable handling

• Quick AF Live View with tilt LCD (α390) for live image preview with fast, accurate autofocus

• Friendly on-screen Help Guide and Graphic Display

• HDMI output and BRAVIA Sync

The α (Alpha) digital SLR range from Sony grows further with two stylish, affordable new entry-level cameras.

Ideal for first-time DSLR users, the DSLR-A390 (α390) and DSLR-A290 (α290) offer a dramatic step up in picture quality and creative options from point-and-shoot compact cameras. Just as importantly, they're beautifully easy to use, even if you've never handled a DSLR before.

With a resolution of 14.2 effective megapixels for flawless, low-noise images, both cameras offer the speedy shooting responses that are prized by DSLR users. The α390 adds the extra benefit of Quick AF Live View. This unique system teams the convenience of live image preview on the tilt-angle Clear Photo LCD with speedy, accurate phase-detection autofocus.

The most affordable new DSLR from Sony, the α290 offers the same 14.2 effective megapixel resolution as the α390 in a compact body that weighs just 456g (excluding battery and media).

Both cameras feature an attractive new grip design that allows even more comfortable handling. Upper control areas of both models have also been revised with a clear, uncluttered new button layout.

Even DSLR novices will find it brilliantly simple to explore the generous creative features of both new cameras. The intuitive Graphic Display makes it easy to understand the relation between shutter speed and aperture, plus the effects of your chosen exposure settings on the final picture. The Help Guide offers clear, concise explanations of camera functions, illustrated by a sample image to show the results you'll achieve. Quick access to shooting and playback function menus is streamlined by colourful on-screen icons.

The α390 and α290 include a mini-HDMI terminal for direct connection to any HD Ready TV (requires optional cable). Support for PhotoTV HD ensures even better-looking still image reproduction on compatible BRAVIA™ models. BRAVIA™ Sync allows control of slideshow and other camera playback functions in comfort using your TV remote.

The stylish, easy to use new α390 and α290 digital SLR cameras by Sony are available from summer 2010.