A few weeks after the customary rumors spoiled everyone's surprise, Sony has confirmed the specs for its new entry level α290 and α390 digital SLR cameras. Both cameras feature a brand new grip design and share a host of features including a 14.2 megapixel sensor, SteadyShot in-camera stabilization, compatibility with Sony's Alpha mount lenses and user-friendly on-screen guides to help users new to digital SLRs. The α390 also benefits from a tilting LCD display with the option of live image preview.

Sony has tried to make things as easy as possible for those new to digital SLR photography. Both cameras now sport a brand new grip design and revised button layout for comfortable handling and on-screen help and user guides with sample images to show users exactly what to expect from chosen settings. The pair also share the ability to take Sony Alpha-mount, Minolta and Konica Minolta AF lenses.

The 14.2 megapixel CCD sensor, Steady Shot sensor shift image stabilization and ISO100 to ISO3200 sensitivity should help produce great shots in various conditions and being digital SLR, users get to mess around with all sorts of exposure settings thanks to P/S/A/M controls. Both cameras use the same TTL phase detection, nine point autofocus system and vertical-traverse, focal-plane type electronically controlled shutter.

JPEG and RAW image output is stored to SD/SDHC memory cards and users with compatible Sony BRAVIA televisions will appreciate the HDMI output socket and Sony BRAVIA TV sync, which allows control of camera slideshow playback using the TV remote.

Whereas the α290 has a fixed 2.7 inch 230,400 dot Clear Photo LCD display, the one on the α390 tilts and benefits from Live View. Using a pentamirror tilt system, the α390 offers users a live image preview on its LCD display. Using Live View does come at a cost though, continuous shooting is reduced from 2.5 frames per second to 2 and the battery life from about 500 shots between charges to 230.

The α290 is available for pre-order now for US$499.99. The α390 is also available for pre-order and will cost US$599.99.

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