11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Very feature rich and very easy to use!,
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)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've spent a few days shooting a variety of subjects with my new A57, trying out all the new features and modes. Here are my impressions that I hope will help you decide whether to buy this camera or not.
The camera has a variety of automatic modes selectable with the dial on the left of the camera and there is no need to make this review too long. I'll hit the high points:
Enhanced Intelligent auto-Turns the camera into a point and shoot like auto mode on most DSLRs. However, it will also do things like auto HDR and auto continuous shooting. This mode is very smart, I used it for outside shooting animals to inside macro shots and it takes pretty good shots almost every time. I'd say that unless you have a specific need, most of your shooting should be in this mode, especially if you're not a hardcore amateur photographer.
Sweep Panorama-Want to take a shot of the grand canyon or some other vista? Just put in it this mode, hold the shoot button and sweep the camera from left to right. It does the rest, stitching them all together into a wide angle shot. It does a good job of stitching them together, but I tried this a few times in different locations and none of the panoramas come out super sharp. I suspect this feature might work better on a tripod. Still, if you don't want to use a program or manual method to create a panorama this will work fairly well.
Multi shot mode-This is where the Sony shines when compared to the other mid level cameras from Nikon and Canon. The competitors shoot at 3-5 shots a second, this A57 will machine-gun shoot at 10 a second in high quality or 12 in slightly lower (but still good) quality. I took some one handed shots of my dog flipping in the air catching a ball. They came out really nice and sharp, no blur. I'm very impressed with this feature.
HD video-Full 1080 HD video with an auto-focus that actually works? You bet! It did great following my toddler around without ever getting excessively blurry.
Manual mode-For those a little more into photography, there is a full manual mode. All of the manual controls are easy to access. ISO goes to 16,000 which is very nice for low light shooting without a flash.
Also while not a mode I should mention that the camera does (human) facial recognition in the auto modes and it is good and keeping people's mugs in focus. If it does recognize a face it will save a second cropped portrait shot. This shot is USUALLY a good close up but this feature isn't perfect. It DOES NOT mess up the original photo, it just saves an additional one so don't worry about not having control over your shots.
All in all I'm very impressed with this camera. For a non-power user like myself the auto modes do a pretty incredible job of trying to get you the perfect picture. All of the bells and whistles like sweep panorama and mutli-shot just add flexibility to that. If you're looking for a do it all DSLR camera this is probably the one to get.
With all of that said, are there any downsides to the camera? A few. As I mentioned above it's a little disappointing the sweep panorama isn't ultra sharp. Compared to Nikon and Canon the Sony controls feel a little cheap/plastic. If you want to know what I mean, go handle them side by side in a retail shop. Finally the viewfinder is an LCD. Hmmm... Not sure what to make of that. It isn't as sharp as a simple lower tech through-the-lens viewfinder like you see on every other camera. It can be a little tough to view all the heads up info about lighting, ISO, etc... around the LCD which can distract you from your shooting. On the other hand, it looks like you're shooting some kind of high tech weapon system and it does a good job of showing you what it's focusing on. I personally wasn't sold reading about it but do like it in person.
So, 4 stars. It's not quite perfect but I believe feature wise it beats out Nikon/Canon in this segment.