Sony Alpha SLT-A33 review: Sony Alpha SLT-A33

Review Sections

While the translucent mirror system promises fast AF, the kit 18-55mm lens had a bit of trouble during our tests in focusing quickly and accurately in low-light situations, particularly at night. It took at least one second for the camera to grab onto a focus point, and sometimes continued to seek focus even if an appropriate point was found. Continuous autofocus also was a little troublesome.

Compared to other kit 18-55mm lenses on entry-level models from Canon and Nikon in particular, the Sony version is a little less refined, showing up chromatic aberrations and with more edge softening. For most purposes though, it won't present too much of a problem, particularly if you won't be making large prints or inspecting images at 100 per cent magnification.

RAW vs. JPEG

A33 RAW vs. JPEG

The A33 processes its JPEG files very well, with a little extra sharpening thrown into the mix. (Credit: CBSi)

Video quality

The A33 produces very good video files at its native 1080i resolution. When using the 18-55mm lens, it does show up its weaknesses more prominently, like its lack of edge in sharpness and fringing. There's no manual controls available for video recording and audio does sound a bit tinny from the internal microphone.

Sony has revealed that the A33 and A55 are limited to recording nine minutes of video in normal operating conditions (20 degrees Celsius) or six minutes (above 30 degrees Celsius). These times are increased to 29 minutes when turning off the internal image stabilisation. This limitation is due to the translucent mirror technology.

Image samples

Click each image for full-sized samples from the A33. No post-processing has been done to alter these photos.

Exposure: 1/50, f/5.6, ISO 1600

Exposure: 1/30, f/5.6, ISO 1600

Exposure: 1/80, f/8, ISO 100

Exposure: 1/50, f/4.5, ISO 200

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

A great entry-level digital SLR, the A33 offers fast shooting speeds and very good image quality for most intents and purposes.