Sony Alpha A35 Hands On First Look Review
- Wed, 8 Jun 2011
The Sony Alpha A35 is the latest Single Lens Translucent (SLT) camera that replaces the now-discontinued Alpha A33. In a move that looks set to firmly support the SLT market, Sony is also set to withdraw both the A290 and A390 DSLR models.
The SLT concept takes a DSLR-like construction but makes the mirror translucent so that light can permanently pass through to the sensor. Simultaneously light is reflected onto the autofocus sensor at all times, resulting in a super-fast focusing system that continuously focuses to great effect.
Like the Sony NEX-C3 Compact System Camera that is also announced today, the Alpha A35 inherits the same 16.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor at its heart. However, as the SLT technology enables super-fast shooting (with that all-important continuous focusing), the A35 can snap away at at up to seven frames per second (7fps). A 1080i HD movie mode complements the stills shooting and also benefits from the same full-time autofocus that is far more capable of subject tracking than any DSLR movie AF system.
The BIONZ processor can capture Raw and/or JPEG images from ISO 100-12,800 at full resolution, while the sensor-based SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilisation system will help to keep final shots that bit sharper by countering camera shake.
Gone is the tilt-angle LCD from the original A33 model, now replaced by a flush 3in, 921k-dot LCD that should keep the cost of the latest A35 a little lower. A great prospect for the entry-level market, although there's no final word on pricing as yet. Above the screen is the same built-in 1.15m-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 100% field of view as found in the A33 model. It's ideal for composing images in brighter conditions where screen reflections become an issue, though without any gain in size, resolution or refresh rate there will still be the usual reservations from optical viewfinder purists.
A number of new ‘Photo Creativity' modes also appear, much like those found in the NEX-C3. This includes the seven Picture Effects modes - Partial Color, Toy Camera, High Key, Posterization (black and white or colour), Retro, High Contrast Mono and Pop Color - that work in real-time preview on the LCD screen. Auto+, Auto HDR, Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) and Sweep Panorama (also in 3D) are also available as per the A33 model.
The A35's battery improvements also allow for 440 shots per charge (420 if using the rear LCD screen) that's a subtle increase over the previous model's life.
All in all the A35 looks to far better the A33 model. The addition of the latest sensor is enough to warrant a change, but the main goal Sony is aiming for here is a true entry-level price-point. If the price then these should fly off the shelves come August.
Sony Alpha A35 - Highlights
16.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
7fps continuous shooting
1080i HD Movie (AVCHD)
Steady Shot INSIDE
1.15m-dot electronic viewfinder
3in, 921k-dot LCD
15pt autofocus system (with 3 cross-type sensors)
1200-zone evaluative metering system
Picture Effects modes
Full manual control; Auto+, Auto HDR, DRO, Sweep Panorama (3D) and Picture Effects