Launched on June 2011, Sony SLT A35 is a stopgap between low cost digital single lens camera like A33 and mid-level single lens like A55. Since the launched A35 has stolen lot of attentions from reviewers and enthusiasts, Sony is also promoting the camera aggressively. With a price tag of $649, this camera demands a quick-view on its strong and weak spots.
The kind of stills and videos A35 is shooting, no doubt, it holds a solid sensor. As per the specification goes, camera comes with APS-C CMOS sensor, which is capable of delivering 16.2 mega pixel. These sensors are common these days in high end cameras. You could get them in Canon and Nikon DSLRs. With a crop size or image multiplier of 1.5 times, they capture crisp images even in twilight.
In $500 category, you won’t get them. Sony has given an expensive piece of sensor in this camera. Let’s look deeper why this is the good part of the camera.
1. A35 has pretty steady image sensitivity till ISO 1600, which is uncommon in its peers. Low budget single lens cameras are prone to sagging at higher ISOs.
2. Dynamic Range Optimizer and High Dynamic Range imaging techniques, in-built with the sensor, are handy in case you are composing a scene with contrasting lights.
3. Sensor in A35 comes with EXMOR™, which ensures more analog-digital converter per sensor. In A35, you get over 4000 of such converter columns. This gives more continuous shooting at better image quality.
4. Good image processor complements a good sensor. And BIONZ® takes that part in A35.
Scope of Improvement
Among the goods, there are few points which can be improved further.
1. Available burst rate in A35 is 5.5 frames per second while the same in A33 is 6 fps.
2. Above ISO1600 area, image start loosing quality.
3. Electronic viewfinder (EVF) needs more refinement.
Bad design and little heavy
Heavy body and lack of smartness in design are major flaws in A35. As a successor to A33, Sony maintained the design in A35.
1. A35 lacks moving mirror and that should have made him lighter. But it remained heavier compared to interchangeable lens cameras. This could make handheld photography and continuous video shooting difficult.
2. Unlike DSLR, SLT cameras have EVF in place of optical viewfinders. This is the reason they have common design trait. But placing of controls in A35 creates problems. They could be difficult to operate in demanding situation when scene is changing fast and you have to shot as soon as possible.
What needs change?
Sony should think on changing these little flaws like video shooting button and other controls. Easier and less painful to hold for longer time must be a welcome change.
LCD screen is fixed, doesn't tilt; card slot in camera’s base
Articulated display panels are becoming very common these days even in mid and lower-mid range cameras. They have their own benefits as these panels allow you to take shots from unbelievable angles, not possible with fixed displays.
Unfortunately Sony deprived A35 of a lift-up panel, as articulated ones are called commonly. And that’s an ugly piece of mistake from manufacturer’s part.
A35 is not a basic single lens camera, neither by price point nor by features. Any camera-happy person who graduated basic SLR or point & shoot (P&S) must be willing to fiddle with shooting angles. And lift-up LCDs are handy tool for them. They would be disappointed with A35 desvite all above average features.
A35 being a bridge camera between basic and mid level serves the purpose well with all useful features. There are rumors in the market that Sony might phase out A33 eventually but nothing is specified yet. Meanwhile, A55 with features like lift-up LCD would be dearer by $150. So what you could do about this camera. Buy it?
You can surely do that and more so if you are a P&S shooter. A35 shoots RAW files, which is an added benefit. RAW image files would give you more photographic freedom.