Sony Alpha 57 at a glance:
- 16.1-million-pixel, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor
- 1.44-million-dot electronic viewfinder
- ISO 100-16,000 (extended to ISO 25,600)
- 15-point AF system with three cross-type points
- 12fps high-speed mode
- Street price around £700 with 18-55mm kit lens
During the launch presentation for the Alpha 57, Sony revealed it is unlikely to release another DSLR and will instead focus on its single lens translucent (SLT) cameras for the enthusiast market.
This strategy is perhaps an admission that Sony is unlikely to be able to compete successfully with the top DSLR brands in a crowded marketplace, and that developing a different type of system is the best way forward. Sony’s innovative SLT line-up, although still only the second generation, has already established itself as a viable alternative.
An SLT camera uses a fixed translucent mirror, whereas a DSLR features a moving mirror. The fixed mirror of the SLT has advantages over a DSLR in several areas. When compared to its direct DSLR competition, such as the Nikon D5100 and Canon EOS 600D, the Alpha 57 benefits from phase-detection AF for video recording, high-speed capture at 10fps with continuous AF and an uninterrupted live view feed.
The downside to the SLT system is that not all the light coming through the lens reaches the sensor. However, even those concerned with the low-light ability of the SLT system will have been impressed by the performance of SLT cameras.
The Alpha 57 replaces the Alpha 55 in Sony’s current line-up of four SLT models. Sitting between the Alpha 35 and Alpha 65, the Alpha 57 is ideal for those who cannot quite afford the more expensive 24.3-million-pixel Alpha 65, but want more than the entry-level Alpha 35 can offer. On the surface, there are few differences between the Alpha 57 and its predecessor. However, in several areas the features set of the new camera matches other cameras that cost a lot more money.