Sony Alpha SLT-A35 16 MP Digital SLR Kit with Translucent Mirror Technology and 18-55mm Lens
I've had the Sony SLT-A35 for a couple of weeks now and after some testing and two in the field photo shoots, I think I'm ready to review it. I'll outline Pros, Cons and Matters of Preference.
The photo quality is very good, what you would expect from a 16MP camera.
The colors seem accurate and true to me.
While the menu system is fairly deep, it seems well organized. Key features (Shutter Speed, F-Stop, WB, ISO, Bracketing/Self Timer, Screen Display Toggle, Focus Zoom) all have buttons within easy reach. A programable button can be set for easy access to one of many additional feature sets like HDR, Filter Effects, etc.
If you use Auto Focus, it is extremely fast. Manual focusing is a snap and the 7.5X and 15X focusing zoom helps a great deal for distance details.
While the battery life isn't great, compared to reviews of the A33 and A55, it is improved. I was able to shoot for about 4 hours and still had about 30% of the battery charge remaining. Still, a second battery just in case seems like a must.
The 18-55mm kit lens (SAL1855) seems solid as an all purpose lens.
Biggest flaw so far is lack of Camera RAW support from Adobe/Lightroom. The Image Data Converter SR software that comes with the camera is lacking at best. I'm shooting everything in RAW + JPG so that I have something to play with until the RAW files are useable.
There is a strange chromatic effect through the EVF when the camera moves or even when you blink. It's somewhat mild and I've gotten used to seeing it pretty quickly, but it was startling at first.
I haven't captured a quality image with the Panoramic sweep after about 20 attempts. The file size is around 3MB, so it's capturing significantly less data than even a fine JPG at full resolution.
Matters of Preference:
The camera body is very light. People taking the camera on long treks will probably find this to be beneficial as every ounce of weight you can shed matters. Those who like a more substancial feeling in their hands as they shoot may see that differently.
So far this camera is near useless for Infrared Photography. It lets through very little IR light. With a 720nm filter on a bright sunny day, a 4-5 second exposure shows almost no IR light. Adding a ND 8 filter allowed for longer exposure time but very little additional IR light. What you get is a very orange cast image with proper IR sky but foliage retains it's greens. With a 950nm filter, finally IR light came through but on the same bright, sunny day, an exposure of 1 minute or more was necessary. It's very difficult to get quality IR shots over that long a shutter. If you don't shoot in IR, this is a non issue, obviously.
I'm very satisified with the camera. Although it's IR capabilities are non existent so I have to carry my old setup out on shoots I may want to do IR work on, the image quality and basic functionality of this camera are spot on. The annoyances will either be sorted out soon (Adobe RAW support) or are in the extra features that are non-essential.