Sony Alpha SLT-A35 review: Sony Alpha SLT-A35

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent

Average User Rating

4.5 stars 2 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Excellent for shooters who prefer using Live View to the viewfinder. Range of picture effects. Image stabilisation in the body.

The Bad No flip-down screen like on the A33. Kit 55-200mm lens is not great.

The Bottom Line The A35 is a subtle update to the Alpha range of SLRs and while it won't be a game-changer, it's certainly good at what it does.

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Sony has chosen to release a subtle update to its Alpha range of SLR-style cameras. We say SLR-style, as this camera (like the A33 and A55 before it) uses what's called translucent mirror technology, which allows it to shoot faster and generally have more effective phase-detection autofocus than regular SLRs.

Design and features

The design cues have hardly changed a lot since the A33 we reviewed last year, with the same body design and textured grip on the right-hand side. All in all, the design makes for a comfortable, if conservative, shooting experience.

Unfortunately, Sony has done away with the flip-down screen found on the A33, making do instead with a fixed version at the back of the camera, though it's still the same resolution at 921,600 dots. Thanks to the translucent mirror, the A35 uses an electronic, rather than optical viewfinder — it's a love-it or hate-it affair. However, the refresh rate is pleasing and it does give full coverage of the scene through the lens.

The A35 has image stabilisation built into the camera body, meaning that any lens mounted on the front will automatically be stabilised. It can also capture images in either the 3:2 aspect ratio or 16:9. At the top, a mode dial provides access to all the functions one would expect from an SLR of this class; full PASM control, two automatic modes, a flash off mode, scene and picture effect modes, panorama (standard and 3D), as well as tele-zoom continuous priority. This last mode captures images continuously at the maximum speed the camera can take them at (7fps), by capturing the centre portion of the picture. There is no RAW shooting in this mode, just JPEG, and images are taken at 8.4-megapixel resolution at a fixed aperture of f/3.5, or the maximum aperture of the lens being used.

External connections include a mini-HDMI and USB port, as well as room for a remote and external microphone. The A35 takes SD/SDHC/SDXC cards as well as Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo cards.

Picture effects

Any entry-level SLR worth its salt these days comes with an array of picture effects or creative filters to make images pop. The A35 contains the following effects:

  • Toy camera
  • Pop colour
  • Posterisation (colour and black-and-white)
  • Retro photo
  • High key
  • Partial colour (red, green, blue and yellow)
  • High-contrast monochrome
A35

An example of the picture effect menu on the A35. (Credit: CBSi)

These are the same picture effects as what's found on the Sony NEX-C3 , the company's interchangeable lens camera. Don't feel too left out if you have already bought an A55 or A33, though, as Sony will make available a firmware update to add the picture effect function and revised menus, amongst other improvements.

Compared to

A35

Nikon D3100 Canon 1100D Sony A35
14.2-megapixel CMOS sensor 12.2-megapixel CMOS sensor 16.2-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor
3-inch, 230,000-dot LCD 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD 3-inch, 921,600-dot LCD
Full HD video (1080p, 24fps) HD video (720p, 30/25fps) Full HD video (1080i, 30fps)
11-point AF 9-point AF 15-point AF (phase detection)
3fps 3fps 7fps (tele-zoom mode)

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Time to first shot
  • JPEG shot-to-shot time
  • RAW shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag
  • Nikon D31000.40.810.4
  • Canon 1100D0.30.51.70.2
  • Sony A330.81.21.30.3

Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)

  • Nikon D31002.9
  • Canon 1100D3
  • Sony A335.5

Sony rates the battery at 440 shots (with LCD use) and 420 (with viewfinder use). The A35 has a variety of continuous shooting modes, from continuous high (5.5fps), continuous low (2.3fps) and tele-zoom continuous.

Image quality

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Where to Buy

Sony Alpha SLT-A35

Part Number: CNETSony Alpha SLT-A35

Typical Price: $949.00

See manufacturer website for availability.