Sony's latest additions to its Alpha range of DSLR cameras are designed for entry-level users. The A290 and A390 models are targeted at those who want to step up from compact cameras, but would, perhaps, find a leap to fully-spec'ed versions both daunting and too expensive.

The cameras each feature nigh-on identical specifications;14.2-megapixels image sensors, Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD memory card slots for storage, and mini-HDMI out for TV viewing. However, the A390 also has Quick AF Live View and a 2.7in tilt LCD, which marries live image preview with "speedy, accurate phase-detection autofocus".

The A290 is also only 456g (excluding battery) so is particularly light for a DSLR.

Novices will find the cameras' in-built Help Guide handy, as it offers concise explanations of camera functionality, illustrated by a sample image to show the results you’ll achieve.

Both of them will be available in "Summer 2010", but prices are harder to come by.