Sony Alpha 33
Price as Reviewed:£569.99
With its use of translucent mirror technology in the Alpha 33, Sony has evolved the way that its digital cameras focus. But how much does the new system really improve on the SLR? We put the Sony Alpha 33 to the test
Apart from the translucent mirror technology changing the implementation of phase-detection AF, the AF sensors themselves are a completely new design. There are 15 AF sensors in total, of which three are cross-type sensors, which are faster and more accurate.
In use, I found the AF of the Alpha 33 is faster than on previous Sony DSLRs. Automatic focusing is swift and feels comparable to similarly specified Canon and Nikon DSLRs, such as the Canon EOS 1000D and Nikon D5000.
Of course, it is when the phase-detection AF and translucent mirror are combined with the fast shooting rate that the camera is at its most impressive. For instance, when photographing a cyclist heading straight towards me at around 15mph, the AF system maintained its 7fps shooting rate, resulting in the cyclist being in focus in each shot. I also photographed a car travelling at around twice the speed of the cyclist, and again the AF was able to keep pace.
While the build quality and control of the camera may not be of a professional standard, the AF and shooting rate combination is. The combined speed opens up a number of new possibilities for entry-level and enthusiast photographers that previously would only have been available to those with £1,000 or more to spend on a DSLR.
The AF shines in bright conditions, but I was curious to see how the camera would perform in low-light conditions, such as those found at a concert. Although the system was a little slower, it was still impressive and was able to focus even when the bright spotlights weren’t on the performer.
- Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal plane
- Built-in Flash: Yes GN 10m @ ISO 100
- Dioptre Adjustment: ±4
- Memory Card: SD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick Pro Duo
- Output Size: 4592x3056 pixels
- Viewfinder Type: EVF with 1.15 million dots (equivalent)
- LCD: 3in widescreen TFT LCD screen with 921,600 dots
- Field of View: 100%
- White Balance Bracket: 3 Frames over 2 steps
- AF Points: 15 automatically selectable points with 3 cross-type sensors
- Focal Length Mag: 1.5x
- Max Flash Sync: 1/160sec
- Sensor: APS-C-size CMOS sensor with 14.2 million effective pixels
- Exposure Modes: PASM, auto+, 8 scene modes
- Weight: 433g (without battery or card/s)
- Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery NP-FW50 (supplied)
- File Format: Raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
- Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000sec in 1⁄3 steps plus B
- Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
- Drive Mode: 7fps for 16 JPEG or 7 raw images in Continuous Advance Priority Mode
- DoF Preview: Yes
- Dimensions: 124.4x92x84.7mm
- Metering System: 1,200-zone multi, centreweighted, spot
- Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed/HDMI
- Compression: 2-stage JPEG
- Exposure Comp: ±2EV in 1⁄3EV steps
- RRP: £569.99 (body only)
- Lens Mount: Sony Alpha mount
- ISO: ISO 100-12,800 in 1/3EVEV steps
- Focusing Modes: Auto, manual, wide , face detection
- Tested as: Enthusiast DSLR
- White Balance: Auto, 6 presets, plus custom and Kelvin settings