Sony has announced the successor to its first digital SLR camera offer at CES 2008.

The Sony Alpha A200 follows the previous A100 model, but we found it more similar to the recently released prosumer Sony Alpha A700. It features a 10.2-megapixel APS CCD sensor, Sony's proprietary Bionz processing engine, and a crisp 2.7-inch LCD screen.

Sony told us the Sony Alpha A200 is faster, lighter and easier to use than the previous model, something we'd agree on. It's a thrill to use - the function button takes care of all major settings, so you find yourself not needing to access the proper menu system that often.

More compact, lighter

It fits snugly in your hand, as it's more compact than its predecessor. It's a lot lighter than the Sony Alpha A700, which we've tested extensively and are very happy with. Obviously we haven't had a chance to test the photo quality in depth but we have no reason to have any doubts about it.

The DSLR stores RAW and JPEG images on CompactFlash cards, and there's also Sony's D-Range Optimiser for sharper images, and the Super SteadyShot system for non-blurry photos.

The Sony Alpha A200 is set to go on sale in February for $700. That price includes a DT 18-70mm, f3.5-5.6, 3.9x zoom lens.