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First Look: Sony Alpha SLT-A35

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First Look: Sony Alpha SLT-A35

3:37 /

Sony update to its entry-level SLT (single-lens translucent) interchangeable-lens cameras is solid, if not terribly exciting.

Hi, I'm Lori Grunin, Senior Editor with CNET, and this is the Sony Alpha SLT-A35. This is Sony's replacement for the SLT-A33, which is the current entry level model in its SLT line. That's its line of interchangeable-lens cameras that have a fixed semitransparent mirror design. The A35 looks like a modest update over that model. It's also only marginally different than the currently shipping A55. That's probably one reason why the A35 won't be shipping until August. At which point I expect Sony will be ready to announce the replacement for the A55 which will be about a year old in September. The most notable difference is that the A35 retains the fixed LCD of the A33, while the A55 is articulated. I have to say, I am partial to the articulated LCDs. Eventhough I'm a viewfinder shooter, the LCD occasionally lets me get shoots that I wouldn't otherwise have tried. The A55V also had GPS, otherwise the design remains pretty similar to the other SLT models, SLR-like but with an electronic viewfinder. It's relatively lightweight for its size but the same functional, somewhat uninspiring design as the rest of Sony's SLRs. The features said has a few additions including the same picture effect menu that debuts in a C3, with the usual options we're used to seeing from other cameras including red, yellow, green, or blue color highlighting, toy camera, posterizing, pop, and retro. Unlike the C3 though, you can't layer the effects together before shooting and you can't adjust the quality or intensity of the effects like you can with Olympus' models. I'm also disappointed that the A35 doesn't pick up the interface conventions of the new NEX, it will tell you why a particular option [unk]. And, the video options haven't been updated either with the A35 limited to 1080/60i ABC HD, no progressive modes. Sony has tweaked a few of its multi-shot modes though. The hand-held twilight mode now incorporate six-shots for example, but didn't seem any slower which is good. The camera retains all the standard Sony features like Auto HDR and Dynamic Range Optimization, 3D Sweep Panorama. A new tele-zoom high speed shooting mode is a digitally zoom 8 megapixel [unk] burst mode. Standard versus 5.5 Frames per Second, which is quite respectable for its class. In fact, the A35's overall performance is quite good. Some part with the A55, though it still lags 7000 dollars DSLR in some ways. Plus, the battery life has been improved incrementally over both the A33 and the A55. It's got the same new 16 megapixel sensor and updated image processing as the NEX-C3, which Sony claims delivers better noise reduction. Among, we didn't test the A33, but the image quality of the A35 does look better than the A55, at mid range ISOs like ISO 1600. Photos are a hair crunchier than I like in some cases but overall, the photos are quite pleasing with decent color accuracy and dynamic range. But final judgments on the photo quality, you'll have to wait until I can process the raw files. JPEG shooters should be pretty happy though. As far as I can tell, the A35 isn't worth putting off your buying decision for. I'm really curious with the update to the A55 will look like and it might be worth waiting for that though. Stay tuned for full review soon. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Sony Alpha SLT-A35.

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