Just bought a new 'toy' - the Sony Alpha 200 DSLR. Couldn't help myself, as it was going for an absolute song, brand-new, at a local electronics store. They were selling it without the lens (body only) so were basically giving it away. Picked up the body for $299NZ (about $200US).
Obviously based on the Minolta DSLR's of old (like the 5D and 7D - yes, Minolta had them before Canon did), the Sony is packed with all the features I like, and none of the features I don't like. For example - no Live View (yeah) and no Movie mode (double yeah). But it does have 10.2 MP (just about right I reckon), image stabilisation - Sony call it 'Steady Shot' - built into the body (yeah), a self cleaning sensor (double yeah), and a very sexy vertical grip that I will get eventually (triple yeah)! It's also compatible with all the Minolta AF lenses as well as the new Sony ones (of course).
Told you the vertical grip was sexy! I like more area to hang on to with any camera, but especially with the lighter, more plastic cameras. And the a200 is a light, plastic camera - but in a good way. Of course, I have to qualify all this by saying I actually haven't shot with it yet :-) The 35-70mm f4 hasn't arrived. But I do have the body in my hands - and I have used its younger sister, the Sony Alpha 100. I reviewed it for D-Photo when it was first released (about 4yrs or so ago), and really enjoyed the experience. Gave it a very positive review (from what I can remember). So I'm expecting as good, if not better things, from the a200.
I love the styling of the Sony (Minolta) DSLR's - with clever touches such as eye control AF (bring the camera to your eye and the lens begins to focus), a beautiful lcd display that automatically adjusts its orientation when you switch between portrait or landscape composition, and, of course, the in-built image stabilisation that means every lens you own is now an IS lens. OK, it's debatable as to whether in-lens or in-camera stabilisation is better - but at least with the Sony you get it ALL the time. With Canon and Nikon you pay extra to have it in the lens.
I'm looking forward to using it (this weekend), and posting some images, together with my initial shooting experiences. But as I said right at the start of this post, for $200US you can't really go wrong!?