Thursday, February 2, 2023
HomeReviewsCamerasSony a57 Review

Sony a57 Review

After capturing our attention with the first-ever mold-breaking Single Lens Translucent cameras (SLTs), the Sony Alpha a55 and Sony Alpha a33, Sony has gone on to produce additional high-performance models that are proving to be increasingly capable of competing with the powerful DSLR. These models include the Sony Alpha a77, Sony Alpha a77 Mark II, the Sony Alpha a77 Mark II, and the Sony Alpha a77 Mark III.

The new Sony Alpha a57 boasts several tweaks and upgrades over its predecessors that look good on paper and could take Sony’s DSLT range one step closer to knocking its DSLR rivals off their respective pedestals. The new Sony Alpha a57 incorporates Sony’s innovative SLT design, which features a semi-transparent mirror in place of the DSLR’s traditional mirror box arrangement. In addition, the new Sony Alpha a57 boasts several improvements over its predecessor.

The Sony Alpha a57 is a digital single-lens reflex camera that resembles a DSLR. Its design is comparable to that of the Sony Alpha a65, aimed at photography enthusiasts. It has various high-end capabilities in addition to its excellent 16-megapixel CMOS sensor.

Sony a57 Features

The 16.1-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor in the Sony Alpha a57 was taken from the Sony NEX-5N, a popular model among Sony’s line of small system cameras (CSCs).

Even though this may offer no real advantage over an older Sony a55 with the exact resolution, Sony’s decision to pair the swapped sensor with its most recent generation of the BIONZ processor looks promising in terms of the improved image quality that may be possible.

SLT cameras can deliver very responsive performance, in addition to impressive features such as the Sony Alpha a57’s class-leading 12fps continuous burst mode; for example, because of Sony’s Translucent Mirror Technology (TMT), which offers several benefits, not the least of which is fast, full-time Phase Detection AF.

A high-resolution 3-inch LCD screen with 921,000 dots is included with the Sony Alpha a57. This screen can be flipped out from the back panel and swiveled in any direction, making it easy to compose shots even when the subject is at an unusual angle. Full High-Definition (1080p) movie recording with stereo sound is also included with the Sony Alpha a57.

Sony a57 Build Quality.

The Sony Alpha a57 is not an exception to the rule regarding the camera’s build quality since we have not yet encountered a Sony DSLR or DSLT that skimps on construction. The most recent model in the company’s entry-level lineup features a look very similar to that of its more advanced sibling, the Sony Alpha a65. Additionally, this camera has a sturdy build and a weight that is comforting to hold.

Even though it does not have the weather-sealed or metal construction of some of the more expensive Sony Alpha cameras, the solid plastic build of the Sony Alpha a57 still feels more than capable of coping with everyday use, and it compares favorably to its competitors who are in a comparable price range.

The front grip, which is rubberized and has an ergonomic form, is quite pleasant and works well in tandem with the rear thumb pad, which is beautifully curved and covered in rubber to offer a secure grasp. The camera’s body is adorned with quite a few controls, and even though there are a lot of them, they are all properly sized and well-labeled. This makes the interface of the Sony Alpha a57 relatively easy to understand and get a handle on right from the start.

Sony a57 Performance

The full-time Phase Detection AF system on the Sony Alpha a57 is outstanding. It can find a positive lock rather quickly and maintains a high degree of accuracy even in well-lit environments. Three cross-type sensors are included in the 15-point system, adapted from the more sophisticated Sony Alpha a65.

You will also gain advantages from the newly developed Object Tracking AF function, which was discussed before. This works well, and it can keep a lock on human faces or other subjects that are moving across the screen even if they happen to momentarily leave the camera or become shortly covered by something in the front. This is a handy feature. However, as the number of available light decreases, the camera becomes increasingly challenging. This is true even when the autofocus assist lighting is turned on to aid it.

When shooting Full HD videos with the Sony Alpha a57, the fast autofocus mechanism is another feature that comes in very handy. This easily accessible feature – shot at 50p (progressive) – produces movies that are relatively smooth and highly detailed, with fairly good sound being recorded by the camera’s built-in stereo microphones. Accessing this feature can be done via the mode dial or a dedicated button on the back of the camera.

Sony a57 Auto Portrait Framing

Sony has introduced a new function called Auto Portrait Framing, and they say it is the first of its type. After analyzing your portraits using Face Detection and the time-tested Rule of Thirds, the frame will be cropped in such a way as to achieve the ideal composition automatically.

Those who struggle to create compositions with a sense of balance while photographing people may find this tool helpful.

Once you’ve taken the picture, the camera analyses its composition and uses the Rule of Thirds to automatically correct for any improper framing. As the name suggests, this happens as soon as you press the shutter button.

After it has completed this, the image will after that be cropped (note that you may end up with the final shot in the opposite orientation to your original, depending on what the camera deems to be the most pleasing).

Sony a57 Clear Image Zoom

When using the 2x Clear Image Zoom on the Sony Alpha a57, which is an improved alternative to the notoriously destructive digital zoom feature that we have frequently criticized in the past, By Pixel Super Resolution Technology is also utilized. This technology has a great name and sounds very impressive.

This system is distinct from others in that the magnification that is offered (by cropping into the original shot to give the effect of doubling the most extended focal length of the lens) is not simply left in its low-res state; instead, it is reconstructed in its newly composed form to produce an image with the full resolution once more. This is accomplished by cropping into the original shot.

The Sony Alpha a57 is equipped with many in-camera picture customization options, making it an excellent choice for photographers.

There is a good variety of options to refine the colors and style of your photographs without having to go anywhere near a computer. This is in addition to handy features such as the Auto HDR mode that was discussed earlier, as well as the DRO (Dynamic Range Optimiser) settings.

Sony a57 Image Quality

As a part of our examination of the Sony Alpha 57’s image quality, we took pictures of a resolution chart while the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM lens was mounted on the camera.

When you view our crops of the central section of the resolution chart at 100% (or Actual Pixels), you will see that the Sony Alpha 57 is capable of resolving up to approximately 24 (line widths per picture height x100) in the JPEG files that have the highest quality. This is the case when the ISO is set to 100.

Sony a57 Specs

Body typeCompact SLR
Sensor
Max resolution4912 x 3264
Other resolutions4912 x 2760, 3568 x 2368, 3568 x 2000, 2448 x 1624, 2448 x 1376
Image ratio w:h3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filters
Image
ISOAuto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 16000 (25600 with boost)
Boosted ISO (maximum)25600
White balance presets9
Custom white balanceYes (1)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal
File formatRAWRAW + JPEGJPEG FineJPEG Standard
Optics & Focus
AutofocusPhase DetectMulti-areaSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampBuilt-in Flash type
Digital zoomYes (2x Clear Image Zoom)
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points15
Lens mountSony/Minolta Alpha
Focal length multiplier1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3″
Screen dots921,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeXtra Fine TFT drive with TruBlack technology
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification1.04× (0.69× 35mm equiv.)
Viewfinder resolution1,440,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modesiAUTOFlash OffSuperior AutoScene SelectionSweep Panorama3D Sweep PanoramaContinuous Advance Priority AEMovie, Programmed AE (P)Aperture priority (A)Shutter-speed priority (S)Manual (M)
Scene modesPortraitLandscapeMacroSports ActionSunsetNight PortraitNight ViewHand-held Twilight
Built-in flashYes (Pop-up)
Flash range10.00 m (@ ISO 100)
External flashYes (Hot-shoe, Wireless)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, High Speed Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in, Wireless
Flash X sync speed1/160 sec
Drive modesSingle ShotContinuous (Hi/Lo)Self-timer (10/2 sec. delay)Bracketing (Cont., Single, White Balance), Remote Control (with optional RM-DSLR1)
Continuous drive12.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing(3 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (3 frames, H/L selectable)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60p, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, AVCHD, H.264
Videography notes1080p60 or 24 on NTSC models, 50p or 25p in PAL countries
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini Type C)
WirelessEye-Fi Connected
Remote controlYes (Optional)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionRechargeable NP-FM500H battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)550
Weight (inc. batteries)618 g (1.36 lb / 21.80 oz)
Dimensions132 x 98 x 81 mm (5.2 x 3.86 x 3.19″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

Sony a57 Verdict

The Sony Alpha a57 comes with a kit lens with a launch price of £700 in the UK and $800 in the US. This price seems a little high, especially considering that you can purchase the Sony Alpha SLT-a65, which has 24.3 megapixels and GPS capabilities, for roughly the same price, or even less if you do some comparison shopping online.

Having said that, once the newcomer has been on the market for a short period, the street price will most certainly settle at a more reasonable position, bringing it more closely in line with its DSLR competitors, such as the Nikon D5100 and the Canon EOS 600D.

When it comes to the features, on the other hand, we do not feel cheated in the slightest. The Sony Alpha a57 has several improvements, as well as a few outstanding new additions, that lift it beyond the earlier Sony a55 that it replaces while preserving the same philosophy for making the shooting experience as streamlined and easy as is feasible.

Sony a57 Pros & Cons

Good For
  • +Numerous buttons and shortcuts +An articulating LCD with a variety of uses
  • +Good overall construction quality
  • +A variety of different exposure modes
  • +Decent EVF
Need improvements
  • -Various functionalities missing in some modes
  • The menu is not all that understandable
  • -Expensive cost
  • -No internal GPS receiver

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Value
Previous article
Next article

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

74,546FansLike
5,428FollowersFollow
75,378FollowersFollow
7,542FollowersFollow
785SubscribersSubscribe
- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

After capturing our attention with the first-ever mold-breaking Single Lens Translucent cameras (SLTs), the Sony Alpha a55 and Sony Alpha a33, Sony has gone on to produce additional high-performance models that are proving to be increasingly capable of competing with the powerful DSLR. These...Sony a57 Review