Is It A DSLR Or Not- The Sony Alpha SLT-A37 Review

The Sony Alpha SLT-A37 digital camera is a mini entry level DSLT with 16.1 megapixel APS-C sensor based on the Sony Translucent mirror technology. Although the size of camera is smaller than the DSLR, the trait followed by the Sony in its previous camera A55 and A35.

 

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Since many of you are confused about the DSLT? Or more importantly you are not able to find any relation of this with the well renowned word DSLR. So don’t get surprised because there is no much difference between the two. Both these technology are similar in many respect ,Only the difference is the lens .The lens used in the DSLR is the reflex mirror which doesn’t allow light to pass through it, whereas in the DSLT the translucent mirror is used which allow light to partially pass through it

 

 

Single lens translucent mechanism

 

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Camera is loaded with the powerful BIONZ image processor for recording HD video and taking HIGH quality shots. The camera is having Sony Alpha Lens mount for changing between the lenses. The translucent technology in the camera does not allow for the Optical viewfinder but Sony has put mini LCD display in place of it. Since the camera came in an affordable range, let see what camera has more to offer.

 

Quick Specification:

Imaging Sensor: Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor (23.4 x 15.6 mm)

Lens Mount: Alpha A Lens Mount

Processor: BIONZ image processor

Effective Pixel: 16.1 mp

Color Filter System: RGB primary color filters

LCD Display: 3inch screen, 921k dots

Viewfinder: Electronic viewfinder, 1.15 million dots

Video Recording: Full HD video with stereo sound

Video Format: AVCHD Ver. 2.0 / MP4 compliant / MPEG-4 AVC (H.264)

Focus Point: 15 points (3 points cross type)

Focus System: TTL phase detection AF (CCD line sensors)

ISO: ISO100 – ISO12800

Microphone : Built-in stereo microphone

Exposure Compensation: +/- 2 EV in 1/3 steps

Image Stabilization: Steady Shot INSIDE in-body image stabilization

Dimensions: 4.8 x 3.5 x 3.3″ / 124.4 x 92 x 84.7mm

Weight: 17.8oz / 506g (with battery and memory card)

Image Processor and the Sensor:

The image processor in the camera is the BIONZ image processor whose key feature are to luminance noise and color reproduction. Producing the image with rich tonal compensation, amazing color production and the unbelievable depth in the photograph. The sensor is Exmor CMOS sensor which work on the “common parallel A/D conversion technique”. The sensor combine the advance image sensor technology developed during the development of CCD and the speed of the CMOS sensor.

 

Ease of use and Body Design

Design of the camera is very much alike of the A33 and A55, A very less difference you will see in hand Grip design .Its slightly bulge out and finger cut is little deeper for comfortable shooting for long period of time. Camera is small in size as compare to the average size of a DSLR but the built quality is excellent. Camera is not weather and shock resistant. If you see the front view of the camera, Sony has not done much experimentation and designed it very plain characterized by the lens release, AF assist lens and the dial for exposure. The buttons are well placed but being a Camera in entry level range its quite surprising from the Sony that the direct access button are very less.

 

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The top of the camera is loaded with the on /off switch , menu button for switching between the mode, digital zoom function and a button to switch between the Electric viewfinder and the LCD Screen. Back of the camera is loaded with the fairly small LCD screen of 2.64 inch 230k dot LCD but well-articulated. The screen can be moved up till 90 degree and 45 degree in bottom with the help of the tilt hinge.

 

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Overall the design wise the camera is excellently built with better grip and smaller and compact size but there is a chance of improvement in Display resolution.

Storage, connectivity and battery:

The camera don’t have internal storage but camera support for various High Speed Data Card proves to be handy .Camera support for the Memory Stick Pro Duo, Memory Stick PRO HG-Duo ,SDSDHC, SDXC. Power for camera is given by the 1x NP-FW50 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, supplying 7.2VDC and the storage capacity of 1080mAh.Camera could have the support for USB 3.0 in place of USB 2.0.Also the HDMI port in camera can be productive to enjoy your pictures in leisure time.

Performance:

By use of SLT fixed motor design the camera has removed the complex mirror mechanism. The autofocus performance in continuous shooting and video recording is quite impressive as camera mirror don’t have to reset and focus measurement again and again .Although the use of translucent mirror has reduced the image falling on the sensor, but the after effect are not so bad and downgraded the image with a very little noise in increasing exposure. The switching time between the EVF and the LCD is not very fast. The lens coming with the camera has inbuilt Smooth Autofocus motor for focusing the object smoothly and cleanly. The flexible focus range coming with the lens is well enough to take the wide angle, mid-range and telephoto photography. But for a novice it can cause some pain as menu are little complicated and need some time to research and shoot.

Image Quality:

The images delivered are bright colorful and sharp under the ambient light condition .The level of detailing is even good at the corner also and well saturated and sharp images delivered from the camera are same as seen on the back screen. Since the camera works in translucent technology, some part of light didn’t get to the sensor, so noise level were little high as compared to the DSLR. The ISO sensitivity of camera is 100 minimum and 1600 maximum. Till the 1600 there is very rare sign of graininess and only after the 3200 ISO the noise comes out, hence the camera performance under low light condition is fairly good. Sometimes there are chances of purple fringing when dark object photograph taken in featureless white sky. Also in spite of the 15 focus point camera struggle to take focus of moving object in the automatic mode. The performance with the flash is pretty good even the noise level is very minimal at the sensitivity of ISO 800 and the detailing is well preserved. Macro photography with the kit lens is limited to the 25 cm which is fair. Macro result produced are with shallow details of field, with the focus subject with a great sharpness. And color retention is absolutely great.

Video Quality:

The video recording is 1920 x 1080p at 50 fps and 25 fps. The video result are very great with crisp detail and rich color. Sound associated with the video is recorded very crisp clear and distinguishable. The video performance in 1080p at 50 fps sometimes used to get interlaced but performance for 25fps is really nice. Camera video recording has an awesome feature for compensating the light and steady shot function in the camera maintained the autofocus and exposure when you are wobbling. Overall the video photography results are quite satisfying.

Conclusion:

Sony alpha SLT a37 overall a nice camera loaded with the excellent feature. In the terms of performance, leaving two or three things aside camera produce excellent photography result in the ambient light and low light, also the video photography result are far better than many camera in the range. The design of the camera is quietly robust and not chunky. In terms of weight on your pocket, camera does not overburden you .But camera can be more delightful if the LCD resolution of the screen would be of more pixel and Electronic View Finder Performance under continuous shooting would be better.