Camera prices: 14.2 megapixels for under $1,500

The big boys of DSLR Canon and Nikon may be looking over their shoulders after today’s A350 news from Sony.

The 14.2 megapixel camera costs $1,399 for the body, or $1,699 with a twin lens kit - certainly not the cheapest DSLR on the market, but good bang for buck when compared with the competition.

On paper, the Sony won’t knock Canon’s 400D ($999 for the body) off its perch as our A-List DSLR camera. But it compares very well against cameras up the next rung of the price ladder. You can still pay more than $1,500 online for the 10.1 megapixel Canon 40D body (though the 6.5fps burst rate is handy), and Pentax’s 14.6 megapixel K20D is tentatively priced at $1,999.

Given that Sony only just announced the A200, you’re probably wondering what the 350 brings to the equation. The major additions include Live View, allowing you to view the image on the LCD while taking the photo, and the increased megapixel count (up from 10.2).

Interestingly, frames per second have dropped slightly from 3 to 2.5 – still one area where Sony’s entry level Alpha cameras trail the Canon 40D. You also get ISO 3200 and the usual features s like dust protection and image stabilisation.

No doubt Canon is watching today’s announcement with interest – its 12.2 megapixel 450D is scheduled to arrive in April, and if pricing is right, Sony could have a fight on its hands.