Coming in under £600 means the Sony a57 could be the perfect first DSLR, but how do its features stack up?
The Sony a57 represents what could be the next generation of DSLRs. It is in fact an SLT (single lens translucent) camera, so it uses a fixed translucent mirror that allows extremely fast shooting speeds. The a57 features a 16.1MP sensor powered by the Bionz processor, and the ISO range covers an impressive 100-16,000. The 3in LCD screen on the back is extremely clear thanks to a whopping 9216k dots. Images here are bright, vibrant and sharp, so using Live View is a pleasure. Full HD video is available at 25fps and 50fps, with both full tracking AF and manual focus for more creative control. Perhaps the jewel in the a57’s crown is the Sweep Panorama function commonly found on compact cameras. It’s very easy to use and the results are really quite good, although it helps to pan slowly and smoothly to avoid poor image joining.
Handling & performance
The Sony is a chunky yet rounded camera that feels solid in the hand. It has a bit of weight to it but it feels right for a camera of this size. Something that takes a little getting used to is the electronic viewfinder, especially if you’re used to an optical viewfinder. On the plus side, it is clear and bright, which makes composing in low light a breeze. The a57 has a number of direct access buttons on the top and back of the body, offers 15 focus points and an absolutely staggering shooting speed of 12fps. A handy Help button on the back of the camera offers help and advice for shooting different types of subjects and using the camera’s controls.
- Street price: £284 (Secondhand price as of July 2016)
- Resolution: 16.1MP
- Sensor type: 23.5x15.6mm CMOS
- Crop factor: 1.6x
- Autofocus: 15 points
- ISO range: 100-16,000
- Metering: 1200-zone evaluative
- LCD size: 3in 9216k dots
- Shooting speed: 12fps
- Video: Full HD (1080p)
- Sensor cleaning: Yes
- Card type: Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, SD, SDHC, SDXC
- Weight: 539g
- Size (wxhxd): 132x98x81mm
- Visit: www.sony.co.uk
This review was first published in the Spring 2013 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.