Sony SLT A57 Complete Review

Over the last few decade, Sony has created a name for its unique inventions. One of them is the very unique Single Lens Translucent Technology offering high speed and the compact size in camera. Earlier Sony has launched this technology in the Alpha series with two models Sony alpha A33 and Sony alpha A55. Grabbed by the overwhelming response from the enthusiast and photography pro, Sony brought A57 SLT in the market with various numbers of upgrades and tweaks over its previous predecessor. The Sony SLT A57 price in India is Rs.41290.

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The new camera launched is with the 16.1 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, powerful BIONZ image processor built over the DSLR resembling design featuring impressive 12fps burst shooting mode, 15 autofocus point with 3 cross sensor, ISO range of 100 – 1600 and full HD recording at 50fps. The 3 inch LCD in the camera is supported by the electronic View Finder for 100% high coverage. Camera is the successor for the A55.

So let’s go through the new updates in the Sony A57 which meets the various technology needs:

· Better Shooting rate of 12fps at reduced resolution (8 MP) as compare to the 10 fps of the predecessor.

· The maximum light sensitivity is increased from 0.3 f stop.

· Camera dynamic range is increased from 12.4 to 13 EV and camera depth of color recognition is increased from 23bit to 23.4 bit

· There is better power in battery, and can last to 500- 550 shot as compare to the 300 – 330 shot in Sony alpha SLT A55.

· Enhanced video filming rate at higher resolution of 1080p to 50 fps.

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Quick Specs:

Imaging Sensor: Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor (23.5 X 15.6mm)

Processor: BIONZ image processor

Pixel Gross: Approx. 16.7 megapixels

Effective Picture Resolution: Approx. 16.1 megapixels

Color Filter System: RGB primary color filter

Lens Mount Type: Sony A-mount

Aperture (Max.): f/3.5 – 5.6

Aperture (Min.): f/22 – 36

Focal Length (35mm equivalent): APS-C 35mm eqv. 27mm to 82.5mm

Focus Points: 15 points (3 points cross type)

AF Modes: Single-shot AF, Automatic AF, Continuous AF, Manual Focus

Metering Modes: Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot

Metering Sensitivity: -2EV to 17EV (at ISO 100 equivalent w/ f/1.4 lens

Image Stabilization: Steady Shot INSIDE image stabilization

Media Type: Memory Stick PRO Duo/Pro-HG Duo™ media; SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card

LCD Type: 3.0” TFT Xtra Fine LCD (921,600 pixels) w/TruBlack technology

Battery Type: LITHIUM NP-FM500H (7.4V)

Image Sensor, Processor and the lens:

Sensor used in the camera is an EXMOR APS HD CMOS Sensor which produce high resolution image quality even at the low light condition, where the EXMOR is the technology invented by the Sony for performing two phase noise reduction and analogue /digital signal conversion parallel in the column of the sensor. Whereas BIONZ image processor converts the raw data from the CMOS to the data to be store in the memory card. The camera lens mount accept all type of Sony lenses plus a mount bayonet lenses from and the Konica Minolta.

Body and Ease of Handling:

The camera according to design is more much alike to more expensive model A65. Model is quite robust well designed and compact, but lacks weather protection, shock resistant and glossy metal body which is quite high to expect with the camera in this budget range.

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The camera is well built with a nice curvy grip to avoid the mishandling during the photography. Camera design and the on body keys are very nicely and cleanly laid for the novice user. Menu setting are easy to control and the user have the dedicated key access of the main feature such as HD movie mode, White balance, ISO and exposure compensation in camera. Also those features which are not accessible through the keys can accessed through the FN button in the camera. The button labeled is an onscreen guide there to help the novice user to understand the functionalities in the camera. Sharp and brilliant LCD is of the 3 inch and 921k dots and provide full live view integration accompanied with the Electronic view finder of 1.4m dots which is with the infrared Proximity sensor that main function is to switch the EVF view when the eyes is placed behind the EVF.

Battery, Storage and Connectivity

The Sony SLT A57 comes with the ‘Info Lithium battery’ and it can take the 520- 570 shots at one charge, which is not bad. Info Lithium battery differs from the normal rechargeable lithium in terms of providing information about availability of power in the battery. So with info lithium battery user will always be aware of camera’s remaining battery. Storage in the camera is external through the Memory Stick PRO Duo / PRO-HG Duo; SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards. And the camera provide the HDMI out and USB 2.0 connectivity.

Performance:

The auto focusing in camera is quite good and has 15 point auto focus point with three cross type sensor, which has increased the camera auto focusing capability in difficult situations. Camera’s Auto focusing speed is almost instant in normal day light condition and in even in dim lights it doesn’t take more than 1.2- 2.5 sec. Also its SLT technology has credited burst mode in camera to be super-fast and camera can take photograph in 12fps at 1.4x digital zoom. Camera boot mode is on the slower side and camera almost takes 2.6 sec to boot. Auto Framing mode the first of its kind performs quite excellent, Once user has clicked photograph the Sony innovative technology will analyses the data through the rule of third and automatically crop, orient and remove the signs of unskillful handling of camera. Camera also has clear image zoom feature that is provided by the pixel super resolution technology. Clear image zoom has added 2x digital zoom in the camera by enlarging crop back to 16 MP. On the whole camera performance is good with lots of new tweaks but sometime, image get over exposed due to the unsuitable photography condition.

Image Quality:

Photo shot out of camera at 16MP are quite good with a beautiful color rendition with shallower depth of field most of the time. Camera noise sensitivity is quite good and there is no sign of noise in 100- 800 ISO. Image start to grain little bit from 1600 – 6400, even at the high ISO 12800 the result are acceptable. Auto Exposure mode is brilliant and most of the time photo comes out of the Camera are well exposed except of few exception in wide angle shot where photo sometime get overexposed. The bulb mode of 30 sec and anti-shake mechanism in the camera offers a great scope for the creative photographer in night. Sony came out with the lots of filter in camera to set your photo according to your mood. Macro photography is excellent, with details in photograph easily distinguishable and bit sharper with minimum focusing distance to be 21cm.

Video Quality:

The camera records the video in AVCHD (1,920x 1,080 50p) and MP4 (1,440×1, 080 25fps) format. The auto focus and auto exposure works extremely brilliant and give user to keep carefree attitude while recording. Color contrast balance is quite punchy and lots of details are captured while recording. Interlacing is brilliant and fully manual video recording feature such as controlling aperture and the zoom of camera allows you to customize you video in your own ways .

Conclusion:

Every camera comes into the market with its own pros and cons, so does the Sony SLT A57. But comparatively if see Sony A SLT 57 has more reason to joy rather than regret. Since camera comes with well-built durable body, capability of taking high quality of picture in any type of mode. New and innovative feature such as Auto Framing mode to make your picture well composed in any circumstances, easy operating mode for the novice user and 12 fps burst mode which is really awesome in this price range. The absence of GPS in the camera compared to earlier version of it which had, is little disappointing. Good EVF which can replicate the true image are the only few things camera lacked.