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Sony Alpha SLT-A57K 16.1 MP Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor DSLR with Translucent Mirror Technology, 3D Sweep Panorama and 18-55mm Zoom Lens
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Overall score: 78%
See review summary and sample images
What is DPReview and its awards?
Digital Photography Review is the most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography site on the Internet. Our authoritative reviews have earned us the trust of photographers and camera buyers all over the world, for more than 15 years.
Gold and Silver Awards are given to products that deserve special recognition based on how well they perform relative to their competitors at the time of review.
- 16MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- Up to 12 FPS continuous shooting
- ISO 100-16000 (Auto 100-3200)
- 1080 24p / 60p HD movies in AVCHD format
- 3" Articulated LCD with 921,000 dots
- Focus peaking manual focus aid
- Stereo microphones and mic input socket
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|Auto Focus Technology|
|Battery Average Life||550 Photos|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||12 fps|
|Display Fixture Type||Fully articulated|
|Display Resolution Maximum||921000|
|Display Size||3 inches|
|Effective Still Resolution||16.1 MP|
|Expanded ISO Maximum||25,600|
|Expanded ISO Minimum||100|
|Exposure Control Type|
|External Memory Included||No|
|File Format||RAW, RAW + JPEG, JPEG Fine, JPEG Standard|
|Flash Memory Type||SD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/160 sec|
|Flash Type||Hot-shoe, Wireless|
|Flash Type||Built-In Flash|
|Focus Description||TTL 15-point Phase Detection|
|Focus Type||Includes Manual Focus|
|Form Factor||Compact SLR|
|HDMI Type||Mini Type C|
|ISO Range||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 16000 (25600 with boost)|
|Image Aspect Ratio||3:2, 16:9|
|Item Dimensions||3.86 x 3.19 x 5.2 inches|
|Item Display Weight||6 pounds|
|Item Weight||1.36 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Weight||4 ounces|
|Maximum Focal Length||62.5 mm|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000 of a second|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||4,912|
|Metering||Multi, Center-weighted, Spot|
|Minimum Focal Length||2.5 mm|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||30 seconds|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||16.1 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Photo Filter Thread Size||55 mm|
|Photo Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Remote Control Description||Optional|
|Sensor Cleaning Method||Charge protection coating on Low-Pass Filter and Image Sensor-Shift mechanism|
|Shipping Weight||5.16 pounds|
|Style Name||With 18-55mm lens|
|Supported Battery Types||Rechargeable NP-FM500H battery & charger|
|Video Capture Format|
|Video Capture Resolution||1920 x 1080 (60p, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p), 640 x 480 (30 fps)|
|Viewfinder Description||1440000 dots|
|Water Resistance Level||Not Water Resistant|
Review summary from DPReview
The A57 combines a high-quality 16 MP sensor, easy access to shooting parameters, and class-leading video performance. And does this while providing an equivalent shooting experience, whether composing images via the EVF or rear LCD.
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
Sample images from DPReview
Sample images for Sony SLT-A57
Translucent Mirror Technology
Other DSLRs can shoot. Or they can focus with the speed and precision of Phase Detection AF. They cannot do both at once. The SLT-A57, with Translucent Mirror Technology, directs light to both the image sensor and the Phase Detection AF sensor simultaneously.
Up to 12 fps Tele-Zoom High Speed Shooting
By capturing the center 2/3 of the image sensor (8.4MP), Tele-zoom high speed shooting brings the action closer with a 1.4x effective increase of focal length. Shoot up to an incredible 12 frames per second with continuous auto focus and auto exposure to capture the decisive moment.
Up to 10 fps @ 16.1MP capture
Shoot up to 10 frames per second in incredible detail with the 16.1 megapixel Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor, the camera achieves high resolution with no penalty in low-light sensitivity or sensor noise.
Clear Image Zoom
Utilizing Sony's exclusive By Pixel Super Resolution Technology, Clear Image Zoom increases the effective focal length of your lens up to 2x by digitally magnifying the center of your image with nearly imperceptible degradation. It virtually doubles the effective focal length of whatever lens you're using providing greater shooting flexibility.
Auto Portrait Framing
Simply photograph a person and Auto Portrait Framing will save an additional, optimally framed image in portrait or landscape orientation. Combining Face Detection and By Pixel Super Resolution technologies with rule of thirds, Auto Portrait Framing provides beautifully composed and appealingly balanced full resolution portraits.
Full HD 1080/60p/24p mov
From the Manufacturer
Sony Alpha SLT-A57K 16.1 MP Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor DSLR with 18-55mm Zoom Lens, Translucent Mirror Technology and 3D Sweep Panorama (2012 Model)
Experience the Alpha SLT-A57, Sony's newest addition to their Alpha DSLR series. As the successor to the SLT-A55, the new SLT-A57 includes advanced features such as translucent mirror technology, a 16.1 MP resolution and BIONZ processor, 12 fps continuous shooting1, Full HD movie at 60p (50p)2, and the world's first3 Auto Portrait Framing. Standard zoom lenses become like telephoto zoom lenses thanks to Clear Image Zoom, which realizes a high-resolution look even when shooting with digital zoom making it dramatically easier to get the best shot.
12 fps tele-zoom high-speed shooting
Every second, you can capture up to 12 dynamic close-ups of subjects in motion. Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE magnifies the center of the action 1.4x to bring subjects closer at a clear 8-megapixel resolution. You can also team Smart Zoom with 2x magnification for super zoomed shots (4MP, S size). The a57 also supports 10 fps continuous shooting at the camera’s highest resolution (16.1 megapixels)4.
15-point AF system with 3 cross sensor
The renowned precision of Sony’s 15-point AF system, previously reserved for higher grade models, ensures fast and accurate TTL phasedetection autofocusing wherever and whenever you shoot. Even when capturing moving subjects in dim lighting, the three vertically aligned cross sensors deliver accurate and reliable tracking. You can choose any of four AF area modes (Wide, Zone, Spot or Local) depending on your needs.
High sensitivity (ISO 100-16000) The large Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor provides an extremely wide sensitivity range of 7 1/3 steps. You can use AUTO ISO (100-3200) for outstanding results in most lighting conditions or manually raise sensitivity up to ISO 16000 when lighting is low. Even at high sensitivity settings, the a57 captures every detail with natural tonal gradations and extremely low noise. This makes the a57 perfect for shooting indoor athletes at high shutter speeds without a tripod or reproducing the mood of candlelit rooms without supplemental lighting.
Full-time Continuous AF Even at maximum continuous shooting speed and during live-view movie shooting, accelerated full-time continuous phase-detection autofocusing keeps your subject in sharp focus without the slightest delay. This remarkable AF performance, made possible by Translucent Mirror Technology, lets you effortlessly capture dramatic moments and expressions in all types of situations with professional-looking results.
Quick AF Full HD Movie
Even when shooting movies at Full HD resolution5, the a57 employs speedy full-time continuous phase-detection autofocusing. Most interchangeable lens cameras revert to contrast-detection AF that slowly hunts for the correct Full manual movie shooting focus when shooting movies. But the a57 delivers the same swift, accurate focusing as during still photography to capture even fast-moving subjects with clarity. You can even lock exposure, switch the focus point, enjoy digital zooming and more while shooting movies for expanded creative control.
16.1 MP resolution with Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ image processor Every detail of your scene is beautifully captured by Sony’s proprietary Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor. In addition to offering impressive 16.1-effective-megapixel resolution, the a57's extra-large dimensions deliver supreme sensitivity in low-light conditions and gorgeous background defocusing effects beyond the capabilities of conventional camcorders. Moreover, dual noise reduction and enhanced BIONZ image processing ensure smooth gradations with minimal noise in low-light conditions. This means you can add a cinematic sense of drama to virtually any scene.
Release time lag When you press the shutter button, the a57 responds in 0.05 second — a blazing speed that rivals professional cameras. Made possible by an innovative electronic front curtain shutter, this accelerated response lets you capture decisive moments with utmost confidence. The electronic front curtain shutter also produces less shutter noise and vibration than a mechanical front curtain shutter (which can be activated if desired through the MENU).
Enhanced Object Tracking Newly improved Object Tracking utilizes powerful predictive focusing algorithms, 15 AF points in a wide focus area, blazing-fast BIONZ image processing and Sony’s original subject recognition technologies to track subjects with speed and precision. When your subject is a person, it automatically switches between face detection tracking and object tracking, depending on whether your subject is facing the camera.
AVCHD Ver. 2.0 (Progressive) Full HD 60p (50p)2 movies Create movies of amazing clarity that play extra smoothly by recording them at Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) in the AVCHD Ver. 2.0 (Progressive) format — at the extremely high frame rate of 60 (50)2 fps. You can easily download the movies to your computer for editing and recording to Blu-ray media, which is highly compatible with the AVCHD Ver. 2.0 (Progressive) codec. Sony’s lightning fast Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and Full-time Continuous AF ensure flawless capture even at accelerated 60 (50)2 fp.
Full manual movie shootingThe a57 frees you to realize your creative moviemaking vision. P/A/S/M modes (Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual) let you flexibly adjust aperture and shutter speed to modify the depth of field and achieve effects like defocused backgrounds when shooting movies in the manual focusing mode. On-screen prompts provide assistance to make full manual operation quick, easy and comfortable.
Audio noise reduction Sound is captured clearly with minimal noise thanks to a high-performance stereo microphone on the mirror housing and advanced noise reduction that effectively suppresses AF lens drive noise via innovative NR algorithm.
24p (25p)2 cinema-like expression Movies played at theaters are traditionally captured at 24 (25)2 fps, creating a subtle but unmistakable look that film lovers everywhere associate with the cinema. Simply by capturing your movies at the same frame rate, in the progressive format at 24p (25p)2, you can recreate this look and endow your movies with an added sense of quality and drama. This feature, together with interchangeable-lens flexibility, exceptional image quality and advanced a57 capabilities, makes it easy to achieve your moviemaking aspirations.
Interchangeable-lens freedomLike a movie director, you can use whatever lens most effectively brings out the moment. Whether fisheye, telephoto, macro, fixed focal length or zoom lens, the a57 lets you take advantage of almost any system A-mount lens. Moreover, all of these lenses are compatible with the highspeed phase-detection AF system in the a57, enabling clear results in the most challenging conditions.
One-touch movie access With one press of the Movie button, the a57 is ready to roll. The camera immediately enters movie recording mode even if you were shooting photographs continuously or in single-frame mode. It’s the quick and easy way to capture every moviemaking opportunity.
Auto Portrait Framing Simply photograph a person and new Auto Portrait Framing — the world’s first feature of its kind3 — will save an additional, optimally framed image in the vertical or horizontal orientation. The feature even recognizes the direction your subject is facing and captures more of the scene in that direction to create a more appealing balance. Auto Portrait Framing employs face detection technology and the “rule of thirds” principle to achieve this amazing feat. It also applies Sony’s proprietary By Pixel Super Resolution Technology to Clear Image Zoom to ensure trimmed images feature the same number of pixels as the original. Even close-ups provide great results thanks to highly dramatic trimming.
Clear Image Zoom
Dramatically enhanced Clear Image Zoom utilizes proprietary By Pixel Super Resolution Technology to zoom the center of your image up to 2x with nearly imperceptible degradation. It virtually doubles your zooming range to that of zoom lenses when using a standard lens or to that of super telephoto lenses when using a telephoto lens. So you can create dramatic “close-ups”, enjoy greater shooting flexibility and take more advantage of the brightness of compact single focus lenses.
Face Detection, Smile Shutter and Face Registration You can always capture faces at their best with the a57. Face Detection technology ensures that facial features are clearly focused and skin tones are accurately reproduced by fine-tuning parameters such as exposure, white balance, flash and D-Range Optimizer. Smile Shutter captures smiles at just the right moment by automatically releasing the shutter when smiles reach the desired level, while Face Registration lets you register up to eight people for the camera to prioritize when detecting faces in groups.
Creative Style Give your photos and movies a creative look with Creative Style settings. Depending on the scene and your creative intentions, simply select any of 6 customizable settings (Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, or Black & White) and the camera will adjust color and other image parameters accordingly. You can also fine-tune contrast, saturation6 and sharpness to suit your personal preference and achieve just the right finishing touch.
Picture Effect Ordinary scenes become extraordinary photos and movies with Picture Effect. Choose from 11 customizable modes and 15 effects that significantly increase visual impact by adjusting camera parameters and applying advanced processing techniques. Settings include HDR Painting, Richtone Monochrome, Soft Focus and a Miniature mode that makes subjects look like miniature models. You can even monitor most effects in real time while shooting.
Enhanced new Tru-Finder The Tru-finder electronic viewfinder delivers class-leading viewing ease thanks to sharp 1440k-dot (SVGA) resolution, a 23.1mm eye-point, and a notably wide 31.9-degree viewing angle that leaves competing optical viewfinders behind. A 100% field of view combines with faithful effects previews to ensure that what you see in the viewfinder is exactly what you see in your photos and movies. So you can fine-tune every aspect of your image with confidence and achieve desired results. On-screen displays keep you informed of current camera settings.
Sweep Panorama / 3D Sweep
Simply sweep the camera to capture breathtaking vistas. The 57 automatically records and seamlessly stitches a sequence of photos to create a spectacular image. 3D Sweep Panorama records separate right- and left-eye images to bring scenes alive when viewed on an HDMI-compliant 3D television8.
Auto HDR Capture more details in the shadows and highlights by activating Auto HDR. With one press, this instant High Dynamic Range mode takes three exposures at different settings and composites the best details from each — in the highlights, mid-tones and shadows — to create a single image with wider dynamic range than any single exposure could possibly capture. You can even shoot without using a tripod. The resulting HDR image is simply breathtaking in its detail, rich color and impact.
Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO)DRO uses proprietary Sony technology to bring out details in the highlights and shadows and deliver naturally bright images. It can be used during continuous shooting and provides five userselectable levels of compensation.
Superior Auto mode Relax and enjoy the convenience of point-and-shoot operation. Superior Auto mode automatically detects and analyzes shooting conditions and adjusts camera settings accordingly to achieve optimal results. It also activates advanced functions like continuous shooting if subjects are moving fast and Auto HDR if details are getting lost in the shadows and highlights. Active settings and functions are displayed on screen for easy confirmation at a glance.
Software and cloud servicePowerful, intuitive bundled software and a cloud service help you make the most of your photos and movies. Enjoy editing, file management and more.
2. NTSC (PAL)
3. As of Decemeber 2011. Among inter-changeable-lens digital cameras.
4. Continuous shooting speed may be slower depending on shooting conditions. In Continuous Priority AE and Tele-zoom Continuous Priority AE modes, the aperture is fixed at F3.5 or the maximum aperture of the lens, whichever is smaller. Continuous shooting speed (fps) lowers when high ISO NR function is on.
5. 1920 x 1080, 60p/24p/60i (NTSC) / 50p/50i/25p (PAL).
6. Not available when B/W mode is selected.
Style: With 18-55mm lens
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Handling of the camera is excellent and the way better than any competitor.
Its design and built quality are simply perfect, it fits in hand ideally. Not only that it's easy shooting with various settings with a57 but it's also very pleasing.
The shutter is really quiet and smooth. The electronic first curtain shutter significantly decreases sound and vibration caused by shutter mechanism.
Articulating screen is very useful and once you get used to it's a very comfortable and necessary feature to have.
Viewfinder is more than good enough, although it's not as good as OLED EVFs we have seen in high-end SLTs but it's much better than competitor's small OVFs. Most important thing is that with EVF "what you see is what you get" unlike OVFs where you have no clue what your final image is gonna be like.
One more thing, manual focusing with traditional DSLRs is a really headache, it's almost impossible to get accurate shot since the OVFs of entry-level DSLRs are ridiculously small, but with EVF you can use MF magnification or Peaking feature and never bother again how accurate focus will be.
Autofocus is really fast, unlike nikon competitors you have built-in AF motor that you can use with old excellent minolta lenses. Face detection, object tracking and AF area features are on board, so you have great ability to customize Af behavior. The shooting speed is excellent, at least twice as fast as rivals and a57 has a HUGE BUFFER SIZE (21 raw+jpeg) that takes fast shooting experience to a higher level. Video quality is outstanding, full HD 60fps is really enough for even advanced video shooters and customization of video is much better than firs generation SLTs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I own two other Sony Alpha DSLR cameras and was looking forward to using the A57. Although the product as received was A Sony Alpha SLT-A57 it appeared to be used or was a display... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Shenvally
Great camera! I had it for two years and it was good for intermediate work. I never had any technical issues with it and every photo looked great!Published 3 months ago by Amanda
Wow! Stepped up to this camera from an alpha A500. All my lenses work great. It was like going from a bike to a car! Incredible camera. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Steven Hood
This camera performs, and exceeds my expectations in countles ways, and still does 2yrs later. I won't go into details of every aspect this camera is capable of, mainly because I'm... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Gabezz
This is a huge improvement over the last Alpha mount DSLR that I had. I really like the SLT function compared to traditional DSLR's.Published 14 months ago by Harley
Replaced my Canon T3i with the a57 after traveling with a friend who had the a57. This works so much better for my needs than the T3i. For my use I like the EVF. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Steve Riley
My husband and I both bought one. Great cameras, we love them. I upgraded from an a57, and he upgraded from an a390. They still work great. Awesome cameras.Published 17 months ago by Rebecca
Does perfect HD videos and stills. Excellent autofocus in videoPublished 17 months ago by Arnold Segal