Sony A290

Sony Alpha DSLR-A290 front
  • 14MP - APS-C Sensor
  • 2.7" Fixed Display
  • ISO 100 - 3200
  • Sensor based Image Stabilization
  • No Video
  • Sony/Minolta Alpha Mount
  • 549g - 128 x 97 x 86mm
  • Launched June 2010
  • Succeeded the Sony A230
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Lenses
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Sony A290 summary

Sony A290 is Sony's Entry-Level DSLR camera originally introduced on June of 2010. It includes a 14 MegaPixel, CCD APS-C sized sensor and has a max resolution of 4592 x 3056.

Sony brought out this camera to update the earlier Sony A230 (Read Full Comparison)

The A290 is rated #51 out of 80 in Entry-Level DSLR cameras & over all #425 out of 1465 for digital cameras in our collection. You should try our Advanced camera search to find camera results based on your personalized requirements.

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Here is a diagram of specific factors used in the rating system.

Sony A290 family

The Sony A290 has a history of related digital cameras. Down below, you can identify all older and latest models as well as important specs.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Sony-SLT-A68 front thumbnailSony A68
A290 vs A68
24MPAPS-C8.0 fps2015
Sony-SLT-A58 front thumbnailSony A58
A290 vs A58
20MPAPS-C8.0 fps2013
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Sony-SLT-A57 front thumbnailSony A57
A290 vs A57
16MPAPS-C12.0 fps2012
Sony-SLT-A37 front thumbnailSony A37
A290 vs A37
16MPAPS-C6.0 fps2012
Sony-SLT-A65 front thumbnailSony A65
A290 vs A65
24MPAPS-C10.0 fps2011
Sony-SLT-A35 front thumbnailSony A35
A290 vs A35
16MPAPS-C6.0 fps2011
Photography Glossary
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A580 front thumbnailSony A580
A290 vs A580
16MPAPS-C7.0 fps2011
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A560 front thumbnailSony A560
A290 vs A560
14MPAPS-C5.0 fps2010
Sony-SLT-A33 front thumbnailSony A33
A290 vs A33
14MPAPS-C7.0 fps2010
Sony-SLT-A55 front thumbnailSony A55
A290 vs A55
16MPAPS-C10.0 fps2010
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A390 front thumbnailSony A390
A290 vs A390
14MPAPS-C3.0 fps2010
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Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A290 front thumbnailSony A29014MPAPS-C3.0 fps2010
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A450 front thumbnailSony A450
A290 vs A450
14MPAPS-C7.0 fps2010
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A550 front thumbnailSony A550
A290 vs A550
14MPAPS-C7.0 fps2009
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A500 front thumbnailSony A500
A290 vs A500
12MPAPS-C5.0 fps2009
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A380 front thumbnailSony A380
A290 vs A380
14MPAPS-C3.0 fps2009
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A330 front thumbnailSony A330
A290 vs A330
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2009
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A230 front thumbnailSony A230
A290 vs A230
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2009
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A200 front thumbnailSony A200
A290 vs A200
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2008
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Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A350 front thumbnailSony A350
A290 vs A350
14MPAPS-C3.0 fps2008
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A300 front thumbnailSony A300
A290 vs A300
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2008
Sony-Alpha-DSLR-A100 front thumbnailSony A100
A290 vs A100
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2006

Sony A290 Pros and Cons

Below is a checklist of advantages and drawbacks of the Sony A290 based on criterias that are often considered essential in a camera.

above average minimum ISO (100)
built in image stabilization (Sensor based)
comes with phase detect auto focus
does have HDMI socket
flash built-in
has manual focus
interchangeable lenses (Sony/Minolta Alpha mount)
resolution is good (14MP)
sensor size is decent (APS-C)
supports face detection focus
supports RAW formats
bad battery pack (290 per charge)
can't record video
continuous shooting slow (3.0 frames per second)
does not offer selfie friendly display
lack of external microphone socket
lack of headphone socket
lack of Timelapse mode
no articulating screen
no liveview feature
pixelated screen (230 thousand dots)
screen is small (2.7 inches)
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Sony A290 Sensor info

The Sony A290 is powered by the Bionz processor. The measurement of the sensor on the Sony A290 is 23.5mm x 15.7mm (APS-C). The 369 mm² sensor has the ability to capture 4592 x 3056 pixels and aspect ratios of 3:2 and 16:9. The camera features Image Stabilization (Sensor based). Optical stabilization is preferable than digital stabilization since the latter might lead to cropping.

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The CCD sensor has 14MP and features a native ISO range of 100 to 3200. RAW photos are supported which means that the user has wider room to maneuver in post.

The picture below shows the A290's sensor dimensions when compared to other common sizes. The A290 sensor has a crop factor of 1.5 and is pointed out in green.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A290 sensor size Body cameras now worn by bakery staff to deter stealing

To get an understanding of specific aspect ratios, you can refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Sony A290 dimensions

Sony A290 weighs about 1.21 lbs (549 gr / 19.37 oz) & has outside size of 128mm x 97mm x 86mm (5.0" x 3.8" x 3.4"). The weight of typical Entry-Level DSLR camera is 540 gr and the Sony A290 is very much the same as compared with various competitors.

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Listed below is a visual of the Sony A290 with a softdrink to help you get a sense of its scale.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A290 dimensions scale

The top view below will highlight the button layout on the A290.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A290 topview buttons dials

Sony A290 Lens info

The A290 uses the Sony/Minolta Alpha mount and has 145 lenses that are available. Below is a small number of the lenses we have in our collection which will work with the A290.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Tamron-SP-15-30mm-F2.8-Di-VC-USD-Sony-Alpha lensTamron SP 15-30mm F2.8 Di VC USD15-30mmf/2.8 1100g
Sigma-50mm-F1.4-EX-DG-HSM-Sony-Alpha lensSigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM50mmf/1.4 505g
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Sony-500mm-F4-G-SSM lensSony 500mm F4 G SSM500mmf/4.0 3460g
Sony-DT-16-105mm-F3.5-5.6 lensSony DT 16-105mm F3.5-5.616-105mmf/3.5-5.6 470g
Sony-DT-35mm-F1.8-SAM lensSony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM35mmf/1.8 170g
Sony-50mm-F2.8-Macro lensSony 50mm F2.8 Macro50mmf/2.8 295g
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Sigma-18-50mm-F2.8-4.5-DC-OS-HSM-Sony-Alpha lensSigma 18-50mm F2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM18-50mmf/2.8-4.5 395g
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Sony A290 Connectivity

The A290 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Digital cameras which have NFC and Bluetooth support can be used wirelessly via smartphones. You are able to send pictures and oftentimes adjust settings without connecting straight to the camera.

Some applications even provide a Liveview and hit the shutter if you are not near the camera. If the camera includes a HDMI port, it can be connected to an external display. Most cameras will allow you to recharge the battery pack using the USB socket.

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Sony A290 Video info

Sony A290 does not capture video. If you are searching for a camera to take only images, this is not a problem.

Photography Glossary

Sony A290 Weather Sealing

Sony A290 does not include environment sealing so rainy conditions might ruin the camera.

Sony A290 Display and Viewfinder

The Sony A290 includes a 2.7 inch fixed display screen supporting a resolution of 230 thousand dots.

Unfortunately the display screen is not a touch screen.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A290 screen and viewfinder Photobucket discusses licensing 13 billion images with AI firms

The View Finder specs for Sony A290 are below:

  • ViewFinder Optical (pentamirror)
  • Coverage 95%
  • Magnification 0.55x

Viewfinders are pretty handy in bright outdoor situations which might make the camera display washed out and very difficult to see.

Sony A290 Shutter info

Sony A290 continuous shooting speed is 3.0 frames per second. The highest shutter speed is 1/4000s.

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Sony A290 Flash and Hot shoe info

Sony A290 features both integrated flash together with external flash support. The max flash sync speed is 1/160s.

Sony A290 Autofocusing info

Sony A290 features both Phase Detect AF plus Contrast Based AF. Phase Detection focusing is a lot more faster & exact in comparison with Contrast Based focusing. The camera includes Face detect which is valuable for taking photos of people.

The AF system includes 9 focus points to pick from. Sony A290 can use manual focusing when required in low light scenarios or you need to have more accurate control on focusing.

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Sony A290 Battery life

The battery pack (NP-FH50) in the Sony A290 is made to last for 290 clicks as per the CIPA standards making it lesser compared with it's competition. The usual Entry-Level DSLR camera battery life is 589. Pentax K-x has the maximum (1900) battery life in this range of cameras.

Following is a listing of Entry-Level DSLR cameras which have the best battery life:

ModelVisualizeBattery LifeRAWNFCBluetooth
Body cameras now worn by bakery staff to deter stealing
Canon-EOS-Rebel-SL3 front thumbnailCanon SL3
A290 vs SL3
1070 yesnoyes

Sony A290 for varying styles of photography

The following bar chart shows a summary of the Sony A290 for varying styles of photography. To look at more, scroll to the specific paragraph below.

Sony A290 Portrait photography factors

The Sony A290 receives a score of 65 which is nice, and means the camera is a respectable choice to use for portraits. Photographing portraits favors greatly towards sensor dimensions, support for RAW files in addition to the flexibility to utilize off-camera flash.

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you can focus manually
megapixel count decent (14MP)
good sensor size (APS-C)
offers face detect focusing
delivers RAW files
doesn't have liveview

Sony A290 Street photography advice

Having a above average points total of 66, the Sony A290 is a fine option to buy for street photography. A decent street photography camera has a perfect balance of image quality plus portability.

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has image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is decent (APS-C)
exports RAW files
no moving screen

Sony A290 Sports photography highlights

A decent sports photography points total of 55 suggests the Sony A290 is relatively suitable for taking pictures of sports. A camera really should have excellent focusing plus fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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has image stabilization (Sensor based)
good megapixels (14MP)
nice sensor size (APS-C)
has phase detect autofocus
doesn't have liveview
painfully slow continuous shooting (3.0 frames/s)
terrible battery pack (290 per charge)

Sony A290 Travel photography advice

Portability is very critical when picking a travel camera. All round, the Sony A290 gets a average 53 as a travelling camera which is reasonably acceptable to purchase for your trips.

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decent MP (14MP)
built-in flash
lack of Timelapse recording
bad battery pack (290 CIPA)
does not offer selfie friendly screen

Sony A290 Landscape photography info

For anyone who is looking to buy a digital camera for landscape photographs, the biggest factor will no doubt be image quality. The Sony A290 with it's decent grade of 58 as a landscape camera is relatively acceptable amongst its competitors.

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focusing manually
swap lenses (Sony/Minolta Alpha mount)
built in image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor resolution is decent (14 megapixels)
good sensor size (APS-C)
delivers RAW files
small screen (2.7 inch)
does not have liveview
not so great battery life (290 shots)
missing Timelapse mode

Sony A290 Vlogging details

A vlogging camera really should come with a articulating display, mic port and if possible image stabilization. Considering everything, the Sony A290 is simply not good as a vlog camera as it comes to a low score of 9.

Photography Glossary
can't record video

Sony A290 Alternatives

If you are trying to find replacements to the A290, here is a range of the highest placed cameras that fall under the class of Entry-Level DSLR.

The chart below will give you a bird's eye view of the A290 versus it's highest rated competitors shown earlier.

Here are a handful of other cameras you may regard as alternate options. To check out a extensive comparison, visit the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Sony Alpha DSLR-A290
Entry-Level DSLR
Physical type
Compact SLR
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Powered by
Sensor size
Sensor measurements
23.5 x 15.7mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
14 megapixels
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
3:2 and 16:9
Max resolution
4592 x 3056
RAW support
Max native ISO
Min native ISO
Focus manually
AF touch
Continuous AF
AF single
AF tracking
Selective AF
AF center weighted
AF multi area
AF live view
Face detect focusing
Contract detect focusing
Phase detect focusing
Total focus points
Lens support
Sony/Minolta Alpha
Number of lenses
Focal length multiplier
Display type
Fixed Type
Display sizing
2.7 inches
Resolution of display
230 thousand dots
Selfie friendly
Touch screen
Viewfinder Information
Optical (pentamirror)
Viewfinder coverage
Viewfinder magnification
DXO scores
DXO Overall rating
DXO Color Depth rating
DXO Dynamic range rating
DXO Low light rating
Min shutter speed
30 seconds
Max shutter speed
1/4000 seconds
Continuous shutter rate
3.0 frames per second
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manually set exposure
Exposure compensation
Change WB
Image stabilization
Built-in flash
Flash distance
10.00 m (at ISO 100)
Flash options
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, High Speed Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in, Wireless
Hot shoe
AE bracketing
White balance bracketing
Max flash synchronize
1/160 seconds
Multisegment exposure
Average exposure
Spot exposure
Partial exposure
AF area exposure
Center weighted exposure
Video features
Max video resolution
Microphone port
Headphone port
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental sealing
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
549 grams (1.21 pounds)
128 x 97 x 86mm (5.0" x 3.8" x 3.4")
Battery life
290 photographs
Battery type
Battery Pack
Battery ID
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec)
Time lapse feature
Type of storage
Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo, SD/SDHC
Card slots
Retail cost