The Sony A290 is a fantastic value. At $419, it's only a buck more than the cheapest camera we researched but it includes a lot of features users will love. The A290 is a cinch to use and delivers sharp photos with bright, vivid colors, according to a Sony A290 review on Wired's U.K. site. At Ritz Camera, shutterbugs write in Sony A290 reviews that this is a perfect DSLR for beginners, thanks to the camera's user-friendly features.
The Sony a290 uses a CCD sensor, which you'd normally expect to find in a more expensive camera. You can use Sony's line of lenses, of course, but the a290 is also compatible with lenses from Minolta and Konica. The A290 has in-camera image stabilization, and its 14.2-megapixel resolution is the highest of any we looked at. As a Sony product, the A290 is also the only model on our list that can use Memory Stick Pro Duo memory cards. It can also save photos to SDHC cards, if that's what you prefer to use. ISO settings range from 100 to 3200 and shutter speeds range from 1/6000 of a second to 30 seconds.
The Sony A290 is all about value. Like the Canon EOS Rebel XS, the Sony A290 takes great photos and operates fast. We also like the fact that this camera includes in-camera image stabilization (something the Rebel XS, our other pick for best digital SLR camera, doesn't have), and yet it's about as cheap a DSLR as you can find.