Solid-feel build; tilting LCD back screen; plenty of manual control and automatic digital effects; good value for money with 18-55mm kit lens; sharp colour-rich images straight out of the camera
Some pixel fringing between areas of high contrast; AF sometimes struggles to keep up with faster subjects; LCD could be more flexible still to match the likes of Canon’s EOS 650D.
Anyone considering upgrading from a snapshot camera to a digital SLR may like to consider the user-friendly alternative of Sony’s 16.1 megapixel SLT-A37.
In many respects, including large APS-C sensor size and Sony A-mount lens, it resembles one of the brand’s Alpha DSLRs. But the backplate controls are as simple as you’ll find on a compact while the internal mirror mechanism that powers a regular SLR has been made see through. Hence this isn’t technically an SLR, but what Sony refers to as a ‘SLT’ (Single Lens Translucent) camera.
This internal tweak has a couple of advantages. Shooting 1920 x 1080 pixels Full HD video is as instant as pressing the red record button on the top plate. On a normal DSLR we’d first have to wait while Live View mode is selected and its mirror mechanism flips up before recording commences. Secondly, Sony claims the see-through mirror has improved auto focus speed. Certainly we found the SLT-A37 nigh instantly locked on target with a half press of the shutter release button.
A couple of other things we don’t yet find on most DSLRs: a tilting rear LCD screen, albeit here a modest 2.7in in size and ok-ish 230,400 dot resolution, plus a large 1.44 million dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) immediately above as an alternative for purists.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
As this a budget model costing a very reasonable $699 with the 18-55mm standard zoom supplied on test, we don’t get the top plate function window found on semi pro models, but we are provided with a shooting mode dial crammed with 12 manual and automatic picture enhancing controls, including panorama and 3D stills option. Again this is more than we’d normally expect at this price point. Add in colour-rich, well-defined images and smooth 50fps video capture and you can’t go wrong.