After 2 years on the market, the translucent mirror technology based pioneer DSLR, the Alpha 55 or SLT-A55 gets a replacement : Sony unveils the Alpha 57 or SLT-A57 with the same APS-C 16MP sensor, 1080p movie recording and 12 fps, and a nice swivel screen, enhanced built quality and handgrip, but Sony has let the GPS sensor down… too bad for travel photography.
Sony SLT-A57 : 16-megapixel CMOS APS-C sensor
The Sony A57 has a quality I have to point out first : its sensor. The Alpha 57 gets the 16-megapixel CMOS sensor we all praised for its stunning image quality, simply the best of all APS-C sensors (till the X-Pro1… which actually is based on this one but with dramatic changes). I love this sensor on my Nikon D7000 for its high ISO image quality and its huge dynamic range. It has been adopted by many cameras : the Nikon D5100 and D7000, the Pentax K-5 and K-01 mirrorless, the Sony NEX-C3 and NEX-5N… and the Sony SLT-A55, the successor of today’s SLT-A57.
Combined with its fast recording time, this sensor allows the Sony SLT-A57 to offer 1080:60p movie recording (the camera gets a mic connection), 12 fps burst rate with AF subject tracking, HDR mode, 3D swipe panorama….
SLT = no optical viewfinder
You may like it or not, SLT DLSR in Sony range receive an electronic viewfinder which gets the image from the sensor via the translucent mirror. This costs a few % of EV and all SLT cameras loose about 1/2 EV compared to other traditinal DSLR with the same sensor. So, the Alpha 57 has no otical viwfinder, but a 1.44 million dots EVF. That allows in to shoot at 12 fps, to offer WYSIWYG and 100% coverage view. That is perfect to check the white balance accuracy or the effect of the exposure correction for example.
Sony Alpha 57 price and availability
Sony assured me the Alpha 57 gets a nice built quality and handling, at least at the level of the Alpha 65, which is an improvement at this level. With 15 points AF (including 3 cross type ones), it will have to be fast (and furious ?) to compete with the D7000 which is now sold at interesting prices and even with mirrorless cameras like the NEX-5N which focus very very fast. The Sony SLT-A57 will be sold $699 body only, $799 with the 18-55mm kit lens and $999 in the double kit configuration with both he 18-55mm and the 55-200mm lens.
The SLT-A57 will be available early April 2012.
Sony SLT-A57 main techical specs
- - 16-megapixel CMOS sensor
- - Built-in image stabilization
- - Autofocus : TTL, à détection de phase, 15 points dont 3 en croix
- - Translucent mirror technology
- - ISO 100 – ISO 16,000
- - 1080p video recording
- - Micro line in
- - 12 fps burst rate with subject tracking
- - Built-in flash : guide number of 10, ADI support
- - Swipe panoramas (2D and 3D)
- - HDR
- - 12 digital filters
- - 1.44 million dots EVF
- - 3″ / 921,000 dots XtraFine LCD
- - USB 2.0, MiniHDMI Type C, micro line in , remote control port
- - Weight : 539 grams
- - Battery Life : 590 images in LiveView (screen) mode / 550images through the EVF