Most helpful critical review
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
I love this camera except for one problem.
on October 22, 2011
This review is not extensive but does cover what I consider the most important pros/cons I discovered during my time with the Sony a35. I did not test the video performance, so all comments below are about photos.
I really like SteadyShot, Sony's in camera image stabilization (IS). This means you can use lenses without built in IS, such as primes, and still benefit from stabilization. SteadyShot is actually one of the main reasons I bought this camera.
This camera is small. My pinky barely fits on the body (with effort) and I would consider my hands medium size. If you have large hands and want a full grip, this is not the camera for you. But small hands would likely find this camera perfect. The small body also means it is light weight which is nice for carrying around.
The menu system is intuitive. I had no problems finding the settings I needed. Available buttons and placement also seemed fine to me.
I read several expert reviews which were all good. A couple of reviews praised it for great ISO performance while some others considered the ISO noise to be high. It turns out ISO performance was a problem I discovered in my own testing. I was replacing a Canon EOS XSi with this camera and so was able to do some comparison shots of the same subject under the same lighting conditions. I was shocked that the Canon produced less noise at all ISO's. Even at ISO 200 noise was evident. It was more than a small difference. The comparisons were of RAW files without noise reduction. In JPEG's the a35 apparently does some heavy noise reduction which could explain why some reviews actually said it had great ISO performance. Unfortunately, an increase in noise reduction means a decrease in detail.
The a35 produces very pleasing colors and does of good job with auto white balance. These are improvements over my old XSi. In the end, I returned the camera because I really need good ISO performance. I now have a Nikon d5100 which has low ISO noise and also produces pleasing colors and white balance.
If you shoot RAW and need to use moderately high ISO's (400 to 1600), I do not recommend the a35. However, if you shoot JPEG in good lighting conditions, you're likely to be very happy with it.