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Sony Alpha 57 review

April 14, 2012

Overall Rating:

3

Sony Alpha 57


  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • AWB Colour:
  • Features:
  • Metering:
  • Build/Handling:
  • Dynamic Range:

Manufacturer:

Manufacturer:

Price as Reviewed:

£700.00

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

Autofocus

Image:  Having recorded 10fps sequences all morning using the 70-400mm SSM f/4-5.6 lens, I found the continuous AF works well, with roughly eight out of ten frames, including all in this sequence, having acceptable focus

Like the Alpha 55 and Alpha 65, the Alpha 57 has through-the-lens (TTL) phase-detection AF with 15 points. The points are arranged in three zones, each of which contains one extra-sensitive cross-type point. The number of points is class-leading, and indeed AF is very quick, even in low-contrast light.

Furthermore, offering continuous phase-detection AF during video capture and for high-speed burst modes means the Alpha 57 matches the performance of models that cost a lot more.

There are a number of useful autofocus options and tools available, including subject tracking, which latches onto the object closest to the centre of the frame, and face detection, which works well and stores faces in a register. When these faces are recognised in other scenes, they are given focus priority.

The camera also uses Eye-Start AF, which is a dedicated sensor that turns the EVF on when the camera is held to the eye and also switches on autofocus, so that the camera has already started to focus before the shutter-release button is pressed. Eye-Start can be deactivated, and indeed must be when the continuous AF setting is required.

  • 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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