22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Nice upgrade from Sony a300.
, October 4, 2010
This review is from: Sony Alpha SLT-A33 Digital Camera with Translucent Mirror Technology and 3D Sweep Panorama (Camera Body only) (Black) (Electronics)
I bought the a33 after owning an a300 for a couple years and it's a nice upgrade. The build quality is about the same as the a300, which is a little plasticky but mostly solid feeling with good balance. Physically it's smaller/lighter than the a300 but still is easy to handle for those with medium-sized hands (if you have giant sausage fingers you may have issues). The buttons are better arranged and the screen is larger/sharper with better tilting/rotation.
The main reason for my upgrading was for the video recording and I am very satisfied with this. Since the a300 doesn't have video recording I can't compare it to another DSLR, but compared to my point-n-shoot HD camera this is awesome. Being able to control the depth of field on videos is great and the auto focus is very fast, but sometimes hunts a little. You definitely hear the focus motor turning on the video if you're recording a quiet scene but it's not terrible. If you're outside with ambient noises (cars, wind, random noises) you barely hear it. The mic jack is a regular audio jack so you can use any third party mic and this should eliminate the focus noise and would be worth looking into. You can also use manual focus and then there is no noise from zooming/focusing.
Photos are somewhat better than the a300. There is less noise at high ISO settings and AUTO ISO now will go up to 1600, compared to only 400 on the a300; this should help a good bit in low light conditions. It focuses faster and more accurate than the a300 and the a33 will shoot much faster in continuous shooting mode as well. The panoramic setting is great as well and works reliably and quickly, just push the shutter button once and rotate the camera quickly towards the direction indicated on the screen in one smooth motion (like recording a video) and the camera does the rest; there is no aligning ghost images one at a time like I've seen on other panoramic enabled cameras.
Other than noted above the a33 is pretty much the same as the a300 in most respects. I've used it with some Minolta glass and it's worked well so there are no issues I know of in regards to compatibility. It's like the a300 but faster, sharper, easier to use, has video, is lighter and a little smaller. The only real negative I have noticed compared to the a300 is the battery doesn't last as long (but not too bad), so a 2nd battery pack is somewhat mandatory if you'd like to go out and shoot for a full day.
All in all it's a great camera and I'm happy with it. However if you don't really need video or high-speed continuous shooting the older/traditional alpha DSLR cameras would be a good alternative for a little less money.
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