The new Sony Alpha A57 translucent mirror camera has been announced, offering a 16MP sensor and 10fps burst mode (12fps available in reduced resolution Tele-Zoom mode). The camera also boasts a 1,440k-dot LCD viewfinder and 3in rotating LCD screen in a similar chassis to the Alpha A65.Key Specs
12fps shooting in Tele-zoom mode
Full HD video manual control
Auto Portrait Framing mode
Clear Image Zoom digital zoom
Tru-Finder with 1,440k-dot resolution
16.1MP Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
ISO 100 - 16,000
15-point AF system with 3 cross-type sensors
This new SLT camera replaces the Alpha A55, sitting below the A65 and A77 as an advanced beginner model. With a slightly scaled down feature set compared to the A65 it seems the A57 will be perfectly placed to compete for shelf space with the Canon EOS 600D and Nikon D5100.
The marquee features of the Alpha A57 are undoubtedly fast burst mode and the sensor, the same as that which also appears in the NEX-5N. At 16MP the resolution is the same at its predecessor, although it does allow for an expanded 100-16,000 ISO range.
The 12fps max burst rate is shot using the Tele-Zoom mode, which crops inward to either the 1.4x crop at 8.4MP or a 2x crop at 4MP. This acts in addition to the existing 1.5x magnification due to the APS-C sensor size. This means a 300mm lens attached when using the 4MP crop mode would have a 900mm equivalent focal length (in 35mm terms).
Compared to the Canon and Nikon equivalents, the A57's 12fps full speed burst mode is 3x faster than both the D5100 and EOS 600D.
The A57's movie mode also sees an upgrade. Able of recording at 1080p at either 25 or 50 frames per second, the camera also includes a mic input for using an external recording device.
The viewfinder, at 1,440k-dots, has a higher resolution than the A55 but relies on LCD technology rather than the OLED of the A77. Two modes are available, the first using the full 1,440k-dot resolution to display shot information outside of the preview, whereas the standard mode uses 1,253k-dots.
Also added is an object tracking AF mode, which detects moving colours or edges, alongside the standard face tracking. If a subject exits the frame the A57 can still maintain focus, so long as it re-enters within a second.
For those shooting portraiture there's an automatic crop mode, called Auto Portrait Framing, that produces a second image automatically having been reframed by the camera. There's also a digital zoom feature that allows for up to 5.5x magnification while maintaining the full 16MP resolution.
Although the Alpha A57 may not be the full-frame SLT model many of us were expecting, it still marks an important step in Sony's dedication to SLT technology.
Although, from a specs front, the Alpha A57 may seem like something of a standard update there are a fair few clever touches that add to the features list. We'll be interested to see how the Alpha A57 measures up against the competitor models when we test it in the near future.
The A57 will be available next month, but the RRP has yet to be confirmed although we expect it to be somewhere near the £690 price - the same as the A55's launch price.
For more information, head to www.whatdigitalcamera.com
Sony Alpha A57: Hands on Preview