Sony has set it sights firmly on the SLT market with the launch of the Alpha A35. If you’re wondering what SLT means – let me enlighten you – it stands for Translucent Mirror Technology, Sony’s own technology, which was named Innovation of the Year at the Amateur Photographer awards this year.
Many have been the mutterings that the SLT will see the end of the DSLR. The difference is that an electronic viewfinder (EVF) is used with the new technology, but the payoff is that you benefit from full-time phase-detection live view and ultra-fast 7fps continuous focus burst mode. It makes for a speedy shooting experience, and yet the camera looks like your traditional DSLR, but in actual fact blurs the line between DSLR and the more recent interchangeable lens cameras.
While SLT cameras might look and feel like DSLRs, the mirror inside does not move (hence they don’t offer the single-lens reflex action). The mirror inside is semi-transparent and lets 70 per cent of light through to the main sensor. The rest of the light is deflected to a phase-detection autofocus sensor.
As a result you get continuous autofocus for still and moving images. This means you can capture up to 10 frames per second.
The advantage of an EVF is that you are able to preview your settings, and see all of the frame. Sony’s EVF also includes focus-point magnification, a digital spirit level and a histogram.
The A35 replaces Sony’s A33, bringing a better resolution of 16.2 megapixels and tele-zoom high-speed shooting, which magnifies the central portion of the image by 1.4x and enhances the performance of continuous tracking AF. It has a maximum sensitivity of ISO 12800, which should give you an advantage in low-light situations.
The A35 also features some new picture modes, including toy camera, high key and retro photo – modes that can be used for still and video shooting. (if you have an Alpha 33 a firmware upgrade is available to you).
The body is similar to its predecessor, but just a tad lighter, and oddly it now features a fixed LCD screen rather than the vari-angle one on the A33, which apparently is aimed at keeping costs down. It seems a strange backward step to take though…
Battery life on the other hand is decent – you should be able to take a generous 440 still shots – 30% more than its predecessor. The camera is also compatible with 32 A-mount interchangeable lenses from Sony, including six Carl Zeiss lenses.
The Sony a35 will be released in August. The body only comes in at £519. More here