Sony Alpha SLT-A57 16.1 MP Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor DSLR – Product Description:
Even when shooting in challenging conditions, the cutting-edge Sony Alpha SLT-A57 DSLR camera with Translucent Mirror Technology ensures beautiful results. Capture the decisive moment with up to 10 fps with continuous auto focus, and lock in every detail with the 16.1MP Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor. Whether you’re stepping up to your first DSLR, or an avid enthusiast adding to your arsenal, discover the pleasure and creativity of class-above interchangeable lens photography and 1080/60p/24p AVCHD moviemaking. Also features: Tilt/swivel 3″ LCD screen, Eye-Level Electronic Viewfinder, SteadyShot INSIDE stabilization, 15-point Auto Focus, Sweep Panorama Mode, and much more. Includes an all-purpose SAL 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DT Zoom Lens, excellent for snapshots, portraits, interiors and more.
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Sony Alpha SLT-A57 16.1 MP Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor DSLR – Customer Review:
GREAT STEP UP FROM THE A100!
I purchased this from another retailer before it was available from Amazon. I needed it in a hurry because my A100 failed. The a57 is a very good camera but it took some getting used to.
This is my first SLT so I found the LCD viewfinder to be a bit strange at first when using a DSLR. It is very bright, and has a bit too much contrast when shooting in very bright sunlight. The LCD multiple angle live/playback/menu screen is great. Easy to see even in bright daylight. Being an SLT (single lens translucent mirror) camera, the a57 is extremely quiet when taking pictures. I use the Intelligent auto mode or the P mode most of the time as opposed to the Superior mode. I don’t want the flash to pop up on its own when shooting in low light, which it does very well. All my older Minolta AF A mount lenses work well with the camera, including my Sigma 28 f2.8 macro lens. My older HVLF36am flash is completely compatible with the a57 as well.
The camera body is the same size as the a100 although a bit lighter in weight. It has a comfortable grip with room for all my fingers (no pinky hanging off like with earlier Sony DSLR models). The controls are layed out logically. There is one minor problem…it is possible to hit the movie button by accident. I would prefer a slide switch to start a movie as opposed to a button. You can eat up your memory card without even knowing what happened if not careful.
I am still a guy who misses film (I had my own color darkroom) I shot mostly 200 ASA negative film and 400 ASA in very low light conditions. So at 16 MP I feel that the A57 takes very sharp pictures in all conditions. I took a look at the a65 with its 24 MP and its brighter OLED View Finder but really did not see enough advantage to the camera to spend an extra 200 bucks. I think Sony had that in mind when they replaced the a55 with the a57. If you really want the extra MPs then 200 bucks is not bad, but you don’t sacrifice much if you go with the a57. As a matter of fact you get a couple of new features with the a57 not available with the a65. One is Auto Portrait Framing. When taking a picture that captures a face, you can center and snap and the camera will automatically save a second image, re-frame the shot using the rule of thirds. Pretty cool I think. Also, if you are willing to shoot at a smaller picture size, the a57 will fire at 12 frames per second. At the largest pic size it will shoot at 10fps. Not bad for action shots. Last the a57 will shoot at 16000 ISO which for all of us old film buffs translates to a lot of pushing in the darkroom.
Not having used an SLT with electronic viewfinder before, I found out that there are things I like… such as the level indicator, and things I don’t like..like too much info cluttering up the viewing area. Fortunately info displayed is optional and you can change how much you want to see.
The a57 uses the larger M size battery, the same newer battery for the a100. The a55 which the a57 is replacing uses a smaller battery, which doesn’t last as long and tends to get hot as well.
The Pros of this camera are many….sharp pictures even in low light. Records movies easily (also a con)
Terrific number of auto shoot modes for all kinds of conditions including portrait re-framing and auto HDR along with multi frame exposure for low light conditions.
Uses the large M batteries.
Bright LCD multi angle live/review/menu screen.
Cons (keeping the camera from getting a full five stars)
View Finder screen has too much contrast when shooting in bright daylight, .
Easy to hit the movie button by accident…with a finger or against your chest.
The camera has some fun things I have not used yet..such as the panorama sweep mode, both 2d and 3d. Not having a 3d television I doubt that feature will get used much.
All told I look forward to using this camera for a long time to come. I will say this…I still like looking through an optical VF so my a100 is going in for repair. Using the a57 and the a100 together should allow me to do just about anything including shooting HD movies.