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Customer Review

108 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great step up from the A100, April 19, 2012
This review is from: 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 (Electronics)
I purchased this from another retailer before it was available from Amazon. I needed it in a hurry because my A100 failed. The a57 is a very good camera but it took some getting used to.
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. I think Sony had that in mind when they replaced the a55 with the a57. If you really want the extra MPs then 200 bucks is not bad, but you don't sacrifice much if you go with the a57. As a matter of fact you get a couple of new features with the a57 not available with the a65. One is Auto Portrait Framing. When taking a picture that captures a face, you can center and snap and the camera will automatically save a second image, re-frame the shot using the rule of thirds. Pretty cool I think. Also, if you are willing to shoot at a smaller picture size, the a57 will fire at 12 frames per second. At the largest pic size it will shoot at 10fps. Not bad for action shots. Last the a57 will shoot at 16000 ISO which for all of us old film buffs translates to a lot of pushing in the darkroom.
Not having used an SLT with electronic viewfinder before, I found out that there are things I like... such as the level indicator, and things I don't like..like too much info cluttering up the viewing area. Fortunately info displayed is optional and you can change how much you want to see.

The a57 uses the larger M size battery, the same newer battery for the a100. The a55 which the a57 is replacing uses a smaller battery, which doesn't last as long and tends to get hot as well.

The Pros of this camera are many....sharp pictures even in low light. Records movies easily (also a con)
Terrific number of auto shoot modes for all kinds of conditions including portrait re-framing and auto HDR along with multi frame exposure for low light conditions.
Uses the large M batteries.
Bright LCD multi angle live/review/menu screen.

Cons (keeping the camera from getting a full five stars)

View Finder screen has too much contrast when shooting in bright daylight, .
Easy to hit the movie button by accident...with a finger or against your chest.

The camera has some fun things I have not used yet..such as the panorama sweep mode, both 2d and 3d. Not having a 3d television I doubt that feature will get used much.

All told I look forward to using this camera for a long time to come. I will say this...I still like looking through an optical VF so my a100 is going in for repair. Using the a57 and the a100 together should allow me to do just about anything including shooting HD movies.

I am updating my review, now that I have learned a bit more about the camera and giving it five stars.
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Comments

Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 38 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 19, 2012 1:52:04 PM PDT
AG says:
Have you had a chance to use the pixel zooming feature, that uses interpolation logic ?
I have an A65 so this is a new feature unique to the A57. Curious how much better it would be than cropping in post.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2012 8:31:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 19, 2012 9:05:18 PM PDT
Derrick says:
I have, it works really well. Adds a bit of noise under low light but not much. It doubles the zoom range and can be implemented in steps holding the zoom button and turning the control dial or you can do a smooth zoom with the left and right control buttons. I posted a pic using the zoom function.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2012 10:02:21 AM PDT
AG says:
Thanks, pictures look very nice. I think the A57 should do well.

Posted on Apr 20, 2012 6:09:45 PM PDT
S. Konrad says:
To address one of your cons, you can configure in the menu that the movie button is only operational in movie mode. That should address your concern.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2012 6:24:15 PM PDT
Derrick says:
Thank you. I did discover that after I upgraded the firmware and started looking closer at the menu options. I believe I shall give the camera 4.90 stars now.

Posted on Apr 23, 2012 1:06:39 PM PDT
JMS88 says:
I have an A33, and have owned a A65 as well as an A55. If you stay in Evaluative Metering mode, you will tend to have too bright a contrast as you say. I find changing to Spot Meter mode solves this problem. You can pick your exposure. Lock it in with the AEL button and take a perfect picture. Its what the camera is all about. Try it, its amazing.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2012 1:19:49 PM PDT
Derrick says:
Thanks a lot. I am still learning the camera and its EVF. I enjoy it so much I am now looking to buy the a77 body as my second camera.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2012 1:23:24 PM PDT
S. Konrad says:
Derrick, I just got my A57 too, and while I like it, I am not sure about the metering. Under normal indoor lighting conditions, Auto ISO often seems to select ISO 3200, which I think creates pictures that are a little too noisy. I would prefer if it would max out at ISO 1600. Did you also notice the same issue that camera often goes up to ISO 3200 in indoor lighting?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2012 8:17:19 PM PDT
Derrick says:
I did, using my Sigma 28 f 2.8. The picture I posted here of the three cameras was shot at ISO 3200

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2012 3:33:35 AM PDT
Midas says:
Hi, where are your pictures? I don't see anything!
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