Sony Alpha 57 review

April 14, 2012

Overall Rating:


Sony Alpha 57

  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • AWB Colour:
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  • Metering:
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Price as Reviewed:


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.

  • Video: 1920x1080 pixels (at 50fps, 25fps or 24fps), 640x480 pixels (at 25fps), AVCHD 2 with MPEG-4 AVC H.264
  • White Balance: Auto, 6 presets, Kelvin, plus custom setting
  • External mic: Yes
  • Built-in Flash: Yes – GN 10 @ ISO 100
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo
  • Output Size: 4912x3264 pixels
  • Viewfinder Type: Electronic LCD, with 1.44 million dots and 100% frame coverage
  • White Balance Bracket: Yes, 3 exposures
  • AF Points: 15-point with 3 cross-type, auto or manual selection
  • LCD: Articulated 3in LCD with 921,600 dots
  • Focal Length Mag: 1.5x
  • Sensor: 16.1-million-effective-pixel APS-C (23.5x15.6mm) CMOS sensor
  • Exposure Modes: iAuto, program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, scene selection, sweep panorama, 3D sweep panorama
  • Weight: 618g (with battery and card)
  • File Format: Raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion NP-FM500H battery, up to 550 shots
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000sec in 1⁄3EV steps plus bulb
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Drive Mode: 12fps in tele-zoom mode, 10fps in continuous advance priority AE, continuous 8fps high or 3fps low, single-shot, self-timer
  • Lens Mount: Sony Alpha mount
  • RRP: £749 (with 18-55mm kit lens)
  • ISO: 100-16,000 (expanded to ISO 25,600 in multi-frame NR mode)
  • Focusing Modes: Manual, single-shot AF, automatic AF, continuous AF, face detection
  • Dimensions: 132.1x97.5x80.7mm
  • DoF Preview: Yes
  • Metering System: 1,200-zone evaluative metering, centreweighted and fixed centre spot
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, HDMI
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV in 1⁄3EV steps

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