With its 16.1-million-pixel sensor, 15-point AF and 10fps with continuous AF, Sony’s Alpha 57 may suit aspiring wildlife and action photographers
Build and handling
The body of the Alpha 57 is virtually identical to the Alpha 65, which is larger than the Alpha 55. Both cameras are constructed from a tough polycarbonate shell. The Alpha 57 is well balanced in the hand, with a contoured and textured leather-effect handgrip for a firm hold.
The number of external controls on the Alpha 57 gives it an entry-level feel. There is no top LCD and just a single dial for exposure control, so the AEL button is used to adjust aperture when in manual-exposure mode.
As well as offering PASM control, the shooting-mode dial has several of the specific auto shooting modes, which should aid novice photographers. Also helping out is the ‘?’ button on the rear of the Alpha 57. By default, this is set to access the shooting tip list, which is a wordy beginners’ guide to photography.
The Alpha 57 has some nice touches, though. Many of the buttons, including ISO and AEL, can be customised. The rubber protector over the connection ports is split into four, so the rubber over unused ports can remain in place to keep them protected.
The Alpha 57 also uses the same NP-FM500H battery found in the more expensive SLT models, which has a claimed 50% greater life capacity over the battery used in the entry-level Alpha 35.
The same in-camera menu system is used in all Sony’s SLT models. Through this menu, such useful controls as lens corrections and peaking can be found. Peaking indicates the point of focus in the EVF and on the LCD by outlining the edges of the area in focus, in any one of a choice of colours.
The built-in flash has an output of GN 10m @ ISO 100, which can be adjusted ±2EV, controlled wirelessly, used as a fill-in and set to rear curtain or slow sync. Handily, the LCD and EVF can display the AF points, an electronic level for side-to-side and front-to-back tilt, as well as exposure preview and exposure settings.
For anyone wanting full control over the camera, they may be a little frustrated by the lack of external buttons, but the Alpha 57 is still quick and easy to operate.