Review

In this Sony Alpha A57 Review I’m going to go over everything you need to know!  I also used several different A-Mount lenses for this which is really important for showing off what the SLT Camera can actually do in the Real World!! Often using the kit lens is very limiting in both optical quality and zoom range. Not necessary a bad thing depending on your photography needs, but when you want to see what the Sony A57 Sensor can actually produce, quality optics are critical!!

The Sony SLT-A57 is the latest semi-pro SLT Camera from Sony and will set you back ~$700 for the camera body only, or you can drop ~$800 and get the A57 w/ 18-55mm kit lens, or for ~$1000 you can get the A57 w/ the New 18-135mm kit lens. That is only available for pre-order though at the time of this article as the new lens is expected to start shipping in June. The A57 has a 16mp processor and is capable of taking HD video while simultaneously auto focusing thanks to the translucent mirror technology.

The Lenses I used for this review include the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens, and the Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Lens. A pretty sweet lens line-up to say the least and I have a ton of sample photos, custom product shots, and HD real world sample footage for you to check out!!

For this review I opted for the Sony Alpha A57 camera body only and a few other lenses as the 18-55mm kit lens is not that impressive to me. Although a good deal for $100 dollars extra, it’s still not the best optical quality, and I really want to show off what the A57 can do at it’s best.

Here’s a quick Intro movie I put together showing off the A57 and the 24-70mm lens.

Be sure to select the HD Quality option on the player once it starts playing so you have the best viewing experience and sharpest video possible.

 

Sony A57 Key Features

  • From corner to corner, every detail of your scene is beautifully captured by Sony’s proprietary Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
  • Create movies of amazing clarity that play extra smoothly by recording them at Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) in the AVCHD Ver. 2.0 (Progressive) format – at the extremely high frame rate of 60 -NTSC (50 PAL) fps
  • P/A/S/M modes (Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual) let you flexibly adjust aperture and shutter speed to modify the depth of field and achieve effects like defocused backgrounds when shooting movies in the manual focusing mode
  • Sound is captured clearly with minimal noise thanks to a high-performance stereo microphone on the mirror housing and advanced noise reduction that effectively suppresses AF lens drive noise via innovative NR algorithm
  • With one press of the Movie button, the alpha 57 is ready to roll. The camera immediately enters movie recording mode even if you were shooting photographs continuously or in single-frame mode. It’s the quick and easy way to capture every moviemaking opportunity
  • Face Detection technology ensures that facial features are clearly focused and skin tones are accurately reproduced by fine-tuning parameters such as exposure, white balance, flash and D-Range Optimizer
  • Smile Shutter captures smiles at just the right moment by automatically releasing the shutter when smiles reach the desired level. And Face Registration lets you register up to eight people for the camera to prioritize when detecting faces in groups
  • Dramatically enhanced Clear Image Zoom utilizes proprietary By Pixel Super Resolution Technology to zoom the center of your image up to 2x with nearly imperceptible degradation
  • Give your photos and movies a creative look with Creative Style settings. Depending on the scene and your creative intentions, select any of 6 customizable settings (Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Black/White) and the camera will adjust color and other image parameters accordingly
  • Ordinary scenes become extraordinary photos and movies with Picture Effect. Choose from 11 customizable modes and 15 effects that significantly increase visual impact by adjusting camera parameters and applying advanced processing techniques
  • The Tru-finder electronic viewfinder delivers class-leading viewing ease thanks to sharp 1440k-dot (SVGA) resolution, a 23.1mm eye-point and a notably wide 31.9deg. viewing angle that leaves competing optical viewfinders behind
  • The brightness and clarity of Sony’s big Xtra Fine LCD monitor brings out every detail of your scene, setting you free to clearly shoot in challenging shooting environments
  • You can preview the depth of field, motion blur and other effects of your camera settings by pressing the Preview button. The Tru-Finder and monitor display the scene almost exactly how it will appear in your photos and movies
  • Two buttons can be customized to enhance shooting convenience. You can reassign the AEL or ISO button to activate any of 24 assignable functions, including Drive Mode and Flash Mode
  • Two finder magnification ratios are selectable, allowing you to switch from the default (max.) mode to the standard (lower ratio) mode to support an extended eye-point. At the maximum 23.1mm eye-point, the entire frame is easy to see even when wearing glasses
  • Essential shooting information can be displayed in the viewfinder and monitor at high SVGA resolution for confirmation at a glance. Simply press the DISP button to display the information you desire
  • Simply sweep the camera to capture breathtaking vistas. The alpha 57 automatically records and seamlessly stitches a sequence of photos to create a spectacular image. 3D Sweep Panorama records separate right- and left-eye images to bring scenes alive when viewed on an HDMI-compliant 3D television
  • With one press, the instant High Dynamic Range mode takes three exposures at different settings and composites the best details from each – in the highlights, mid-tones and shadows – to create a single image with wider dynamic range than any single exposure could possibly capture
  • By suppressing noise, the Multi Frame NR mode lets you clearly capture scenes that would normally be challenging even for seasoned professionals
  • DRO uses proprietary Sony technology to bring out details in the highlights and shadows and deliver naturally bright images. It can be used during continuous shooting and provides five user selectable levels of compensation
  • Relax and enjoy the convenience of point-and-shoot operation. Superior Auto mode automatically detects and analyzes shooting conditions and adjusts camera settings accordingly to achieve optimal results
  • Simply choose one of 8 Scene Selection modes (Portrait, Sports Action, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Handheld Twilight or Night Portrait) & the camera will automatically optimize aperture, shutter speed, white balance & other settings to provide the best overall image quality for the scene
  • Photos can be taken in your choice of four drive modes (single-shot, continuous, bracketed or self-timer shooting), which are selectable via user-friendly icons. You can shoot continuously at 8 or 3 fps, shoot with a 2 or 10-second delay, or bracket your choice of exposure, white balance or DRO
  • The alpha 57 compensates for the shading and aberration characteristics of the lens you mount. This includes vignetting, lateral chromatic aberration and optical distortion, which can each be activated or deactivated through the MENU as desired
  • The powerful built-in flash unit automatically pops up to illuminate dark scenes. It offers various modes, a guide number of 10 (ISO100 m), an irradiation angle that covers the angle of view of a wide 18mm lens and a maximum sync speed of 1/160 sec

Sony A57 Full Specs

Camera type Interchangeable-lens digital camera with built-in flash
Lens compatibility Sony A-mount lenses, operation with Minolta/Konica Minolta lenses confirmed
Image sensor Type APS-C size (23.5 x 15.6 mm), Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor with primary color filters
Number of pixels (effective) Approx. 16.1 megapixels
Number of pixels (total) Approx. 16.7 megapixels
Image sensor aspect ratio ’3:2
Anti-dust system Charge protection coating on Low-Pass Filter and Image Sensor-Shift mechanism
Recording format: Still JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.3, MPF Baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format), 3D MPO (MPF Extended compliant)
Image size: Still (3:2 aspect ratio) L: 4912 x 3264 (16M), M: 3568 x 2368 (8.4M), S: 2448 x 1624 (4.0M)
Image size: Still (16:9 aspect ratio) L: 4912 x 2760 (14M), M: 3568 x 2000 (7.1M), S:2448 x 1376 (3.4M)
Image size: Still (Sweep Panorama) Wide: horizontal 12,416 x 1,856 (23M), vertical 5,536 x 2,160 (12M), Standard: horizontal 8,192 x 1,856 (15M), vertical 3,872 x 2,160 (8.4M)
Image size: Still (3D Sweep Panorama) Wide: 7152 x 1080 (7.7M), Standard: 4912 x 1080 (5.3M), 16:9: 1920 x 1080 (2.1M)
Image quality modes RAW, RAW & JPEG, JPEG Fine, JPEG Standard
Picture Effect 11 modes (15 effects): Posterization (Color, B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R,G,B,Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High-key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature
Creative Style Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, B/W (Contrast -3 to +3 steps, Saturation -3 to +3 steps, Sharpness -3 to +3 steps)
Dynamic range functions Off, Dynamic Range Optimizer (Auto/Level), Auto High Dynamic Range: Off, Auto Exposure Difference, Exposure Difference Level (1-6 EV, 1.0 EV step)
Color space sRGB, Adobe RGB
Recording format: Movie AVCHD 2.0 (Progressive) / MP4
Video compression MPEG-4 AVC (H.264)
Audio recording format Dolby Digital (AC-3) / MPEG-4 AAC-LC
Image size (movie): NTSC AVCHD: 1920 x 1080 (60p/28Mbps/PS, 60i/24Mbps/FX, 60i/17Mbps/FH, 24p/24Mbps/FX, 24p/17Mbps/FH)
MP4: 1440 x 1080 (30fps/12Mbps), VGA: 640 x 480 (30fps/3Mbps)
Image size (movie): PAL AVCHD: 1920 x 1080 (50p/28Mbps/PS, 50i/24Mbps/FX, 50i/17Mbps/FH, 25p/24Mbps/FX, 25p/17Mbps/FH)
MP4: 1440 x 1080 (25fps/12Mbps), VGA: 640 x 480 (25fps/3Mbps)
Media Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card
Slot Memory Stick Duo/ SD memory card
Noise reduction “Long exposure NR: On/Off, available at shutter speeds longer than 1 sec.
High ISO NR: High/Normal/Low
Multi frame noise reduction Auto/ISO 100 to 25600
White balance mode Auto WB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (Warm white/Cool white/Day white/Daylight), Flash, C. Temp 2500 to 9900K, C Filter G7 to M7, 15-step, Custom, AWB micro adjustment
Two-axis fine adjustment Available in all modes
Bracketing 3 frames, H/L selectable
Focus Type TTL phase-detection AF
Focus sensor CCD line sensors
Focus point 15 points (3 points cross type)
Sensitivity range EV -1 to 18 (at ISO100 equivalent with F2.8 lens attached)
Focus mode Autofocus, Manual Focus
AF mode Single-shot AF (AF-S), Continuous AF (AF-C), Automatic AF (AF-A) selectable
Focus area Wide (auto,15 points), Zone, Spot, Local
Metering type 1200-zone evaluative metering
Metering sensor Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
Metering sensitivity EV -2 to EV 17 (at ISO 100 equivalent with F1.4 lens attached)
Metering Modes Multi segment, Center weighted, Spot
Exposure modes iAUTO, Flash Off, Superior Auto, Scene Selection, Sweep Panorama, 3D Sweep Panorama, Continuous Advance Priority AE, Movie, Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter-speed priority (S), Manual (M)
Scene Selection Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night View, Hand-held Twilight
Exposure compensation ±3.0 EV (1/3 EV steps)
AE bracketing Bracket: Cont., Bracket: Single, with 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV increments, 3 frames
AE lock Available with AE lock button. AE is also locked when focus is locked in multi-segment metering mode
ISO sensitivity (Exposure Index) ISO 100-16000 equivalent, AUTO (ISO 100-3200 )
Viewfinder Type SVGA 1.2 cm (0.46 type) electronic viewfinder (color), Xtra Fine
Viewfinder: Total number of dots 1,440,000 dots equivalent
Effective number of dots Maximum: 1,440,000 dots equivalent, Standard: 1,253,280 dots equivalent
Viewfinder: Brightness control Auto / Manual (3 steps between -1 and +1)
Viewfinder: Field coverage 100%
Magnification Maximum: Approx. 1.04x, Standard: Approx. 0.97x
Diopter adjustment -4.0 to +3.0 m-1
Eye point “Maximum: 23.1mm from the eyepiece, 18 mm from the eyepiece frame at -1 diopter (CIPA standard)
Standard: 25.2 mm from the eyepiece, 20.1mm from the eyepiece frame at -1 diopter (CIPA standard)
Viewfinder Display Histogram Display, Graphic Display, Digital Level Gauge, Shooting Data Display, Simple Display, Grid Line
Real-time image adjustment display Exposure Comp, White Balance, Creative Style
LCD Type Xtra Fine, 7.5 cm (3.0 type) TFT drive with TruBlack technology
LCD: Total number of dots 921,600 dots
LCD: Brightness control Auto/Manual (5 steps between -2 and +2)
LCD: Field coverage 100%
Adjustable angle Tilt angle: Downward 180 degrees. Rotation angle: Leftward 270 degrees from the position in which the LCD monitor is facing forward
Display Selector (finder/LCD) Auto/Manual
LCD Display Histogram Display, Graphic Display, Digital Level Gauge, Shooting Data Display, Simple Display, Shooting Information For Viewfinder, Grid Line
LCD: Real-time image adjustment display Exposure Comp, White Balance, Creative Style
Focus Magnifier 4.8x, 9.5x
Peaking MF Yes (Level: High/Mid/Low/Off, Color: White/Red/Yellow)
Zoom Clear Image Zoom: Still images 2x
Smart Zoom (still images) M: 1.4x, S: 2x
Digital Zoom (still images) 4x
Digital Zoom (movie) 4x
Shutter Type Electronically controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
Shutter speed 1/4000 second to 30 seconds, Bulb
Flash sync. speed 1/160 second
Electronic front curtain shutter Yes, On/Off
SteadyShot INSIDE: System For still images: Image Sensor-Shift mechanism, For movies: Electronic
SteadyShot capability For still images: Approx. 2.5-4.5 EV decrease in shutter speed (varies according to shooting conditions and lens used)
Flash Type Auto popup, built-in
Guide No. 10 (in meters at ISO 100)
Coverage FOV coverage up to 18 mm (in the focal length)
Control ADI flash / Pre-flash TTL
Compensation ±2.0 EV (1/3 EV steps)
Flash Bracketing 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV steps, 3 frames
Modes Flash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear sync., Slow Sync., Red-eye reduction (On/Off)
Recycling time Approx. 3 sec
External flash Sony alpha System Flash compatible with Auto-lock accessory shoe
Wireless control Yes (wireless flash with lighting ratio control)
Drive modes Single Shot, Continuous (Hi/Lo), Self-timer (10/2 sec. delay), Bracketing (Cont., Single, White Balance), Remote Control (with optional RM-DSLR1)
Continuous shooting speed Hi: Maximum 8 frames per second, Lo: Maximum 3 frames per second
Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE: Maximum 12 images per second
Continuous Advance Priority AE: Maximum 10 images per second
Max. continuous shots Tele-zoom Continuous Advance priority AE: Fine: 23 images, Standard: 25
Continuous Advance Priority AE mode: Fine: 23 images, Standard: 27 images, RAW & JPEG: 18 images, RAW: 21 images
Continuous shooting: Fine: 25 images, Standard: 29 images, RAW & JPEG: 19 images, RAW: 21 images
Playback mode Single (with or without shooting information), RGB histogram and highlight/shadow warning, 4/9-frame index view, Enlarged display mode (L: 13.6x, M: 9.9x, S: 6.8x), Auto Review (10/5/2 sec, Off), Image orientation (On/Off), Slideshow, Panorama scrolling, Folder selection (still), Forward/Rewind (movie), Delete, Protect
PC interface Hi-speed USB (USB 2.0): Mass-storage, MTP
HD output HDMI mini connector (Type-C), BRAVIA Sync (link menu), PhotoTV HD
Other interface Sync. Terminal, Auto-lock accessory shoe, Microphone jack, DC IN terminal, Remote terminal
Compatible OS (USB connection) Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Mac OS X (10.3-10.6)
Microphone Built-in stereo microphone or ECM-ALST1 / ECM-CG50 (sold separately)
Speaker Built-in, monaural, volume settings in 8 steps
Print Compatible standards Exif Print, Print Image Matching III, DPOF setting
Battery Rechargeable battery pack NP-FM500H
Still images Approx. 550 shots with viewfinder and 590 shots with LCD monitor (CIPA standard)
Movies Approx. 180 min. with viewfinder and 180 min. with LCD monitor
Operating temperature 0deg.C to 40deg.C (32deg.F to 104deg.F)
Dimensions Approx. 132.1 x 97.5 x 80.7 mm (5-1/4 x 3-7/8 x 3-1/4 in.)
Weight With battery and Memory Stick PRO Duo: Approx. 618 g (1 lb 5.7 oz)
Body only: Approx. 539 g (1 lb 2.9 oz)

Price: ~$699 (body only) @ BHPhoto (Click Here)

 

Sony A57 (SLT-A57) and Lenses – Product Photos

To start this review I wanted to show off  Sony A57 and Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens. I received the camera from BHPhoto with just the one lens, but quickly placed a call for more glass.

Be sure to click on the photos for the in page 1200px gallery style view!!!

Sony A57 and the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens

Sony A57 and the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens

Sony A57 and the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ 70mm

Sony A57 and the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ 70mm

 

Here’s a few more pics of the Sony A57Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens, and the Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Lens. I did some BW editing treatment in Lightroom on these to offer something a little different than the norm.

Be sure to Click on the photos for the in page 1200px gallery style view!!!

Sony A57 and the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens

Sony A57 and the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens

Sony A57 and the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Lens

Sony A57 and the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Lens

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens and the Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Lens

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens and the Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Lens

 

Sony Alpha A57 Build Quality and Ergonomics

The A57 has a much improved skin over the previous A55 model. Pretty much every part of the camera body has been improved drastically. It’s much more solid feeling than the A55; which although decent build quality it felt more like plastic, and it had small amounts of flex. (Click Here) for my A55 Hands on Review and you can see what I mean.

The SLT-A57 Body

Sony A57 Grip

Sony A57 Grip

You can really feel the difference when you hold a solid camera in your hands, and the A57 is a gigantic improvement over the A55. It’s not bullet proof rock solid like like Fuji X-Pro 1 I recently reviewed (Click Here), but it’s still a solid Semi-Pro build quality in my opinion and can take on most Pro photography work. I would gladly use it as a back-up/ extra camera with no hesitation.  Personally for wedding work I would still use my Canon 5D mark II as you cannot beat the Full Frame quality, but I would mount a really fast prime on the A57 for those specialty type wedding shots and killer video. Mind you if I didn’t already have the Canon gear I would probably be using A77 for the megapixel advantage as my main camera at a wedding. I’m really looking forward to the A99 Full Frame though.

Weight wise the camera is significantly heavier than it’s 15.27 oz / 433 g predecessor at 21.8 oz / 618 g. It’s also physically larger than the A55 as Sony utilized it’s resources, after the divesting floods, and used the A65 camera body for the A57. Nice move Sony!!

The Grip

The grip is the first thing I notice when I hold a camera, and the A57 grip has been deepened and ergonomically enhanced with slight finger grooves. I can also easily reach the adjustment wheel on the top of the grip with my pointer finger.  On the back side of the A57 it has a slight bump out for your thumb to help leverage the camera better. It’s very noticeable and easier to hold with one hand in particular at your side for example.

Sony A57

Sony A57 Thumb Support Area

I have pretty large hands and the buttons are all reachable with ease on the back with my thumb. The only two buttons that are slightly awkward for me to reach is the ISO and Exp.comp buttons on the very top of the camera just behind the shutter re-lease and on/off switch. My pointer finger can reach them, but it feels a little odd for whatever reason. With use I’m sure I would get used to it, but I actually preferred to use the Fn (Function) button and changing my settings that way as it’s often easier to see all the settings as a whole when making changes. I also usually make more than one change at once and the function screen is the way to go for that!!

The Screen

A57 Screen and Hinge Mount

A57 Screen and Hinge Mount

Moving on to the high resolution tilt/ swivel screen we have again a better built version than the A55. The A55 had an additional swivel feature which was nice, but it really made the whole screen assemble kinda flimsy feeling. The screen on the A57 has a large hinge for the initial mount point to the camera body, and then another rigid 270 degree rotating mount off the hing to the actual screen. What this ultimately means is you can tilt the screen downward up to 180 degrees, then you can swivel it completely around up to 270 degrees. This allows you to not only hold the camera over your head aiming the screen down or have it down on the ground aiming up, but it also allows you to close the screen inward towards the camera, in a sort of “Armored Mode”. You might want to use this if your in really bright sun and the EVF is all your using, or in inclement weather for example. It’s also never a bad idea to flip the screen around and have it protected when your not using it as it’s easy to get scratched by accident. Even in your camera bag it can get scratched!! One time I accidentally left an interior zipper compartment open in my camera bag and an extra tri-pod quick release plate fell out. It ended up bouncing around the bag and scratching one of my Canon 5D Mark II Screens. Not really that big a deal in the end as it still works fine, but if I had the option to flip the screen around that would not have happened!

The EVF Viewfinder

Sony EVF (Electronic Viewfinder)

Sony EVF (Electronic Viewfinder)

The upgraded EVF viewfinder is the same model found in the A55 except it’s apparently using twice the amount of pixels. I must say it’s clearly better than the A55, but not as good as the OLED found on the A77, A65, and Nex-7.  It’s a satisfactory compromise though in my opinion as it keeps the cost down on the camera, and it looks great. It doesn’t have that HDR Surreal look that the OLED has, which I must admit is incredible, but the dynamic range needed is their for every situation I encountered. I did not get to try it out in the studio unfortunately as I need to get another flash adapter for the A57 hot shoe, but that low light work will simple have a bit of noise on the viewfinder as it tries to simulate the brightness for viewing. Really not that big a deal as the A77 does the same thing and it didn’t bother me that much, although in low light studio shooting I still prefer the Optical Viewfinder found on the A580 and my Canon gear. That is the only situation that the optical viewfinder has an advantage now though in my opinion. Sports are now totally doable as the viewfinder updates super fast allowing tracking even at 12fps!!

The viewfinder, being an EVF, also has the advantage of overlaying all sorts of information on the screen and simulating whatever setting you have on the camera. For example, white balance can dialed in perfectly before you take the photo. The EVF shows you the result before you take the shot Live!! This is not new feature for the Sony Alpha 57 SLT, just an advantage over the Optical Viewfinder I wanted to point out encase you are not aware.

 

 

Sony A57 Image Quality and Sample Photos

The A57 has an upgraded 16mp sensor that is basically the same physically as the one found in the A55 as far as I can tell, but Sony has figured out a way to get more of it using their incredible powerful Bionz processor and software.

A57 Sensor Specs

  • Imaging Sensor : Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor (23.5 X 15.6mm)
  • Processor : BIONZ™ image processor
  • Anti Dust : Charge protection coating on Low-Pass Filter and Image Sensor-Shift mechanism
  • Pixel Gross : Approx. 16.7 megapixels
  • Effective Picture Resolution : Approx. 16.1 megapixels
  • Focal Length Conversion Factor : 1.5x
  • Color Filter System : RGB primary color filters
 

 Sample Photos w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens

Michele, Layla, and I went to a friends B-Day part and I took a couple of snapshots with the A57 and 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss lens. A pretty hefty lens with the large constant f/2.8 aperture, but a real quality product as you will see below.

The B-Day boy himself, and be sure to click on the photos for the in page 1200px gallery style view!!!

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 

Here’s a few pics of Sandy and Chubs from the other day in the backyard.

sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/4, 1/400sec, 70mm, ISO 800, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/4, 1/400sec, 70mm, ISO 800, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/4, 1/200sec, 50mm, ISO 800, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/4, 1/200sec, 50mm, ISO 800, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 

Here’s a few snaps in the harsh sunlight on my parents deck. The Sony handles the highlights really well in my opinion.

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/4000sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/4000sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/4000sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/4000sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/4000sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/4000sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/4000sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/2.8, 1/4000sec, 70mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 

Sample Photos Continued…

A few Landscape Scenes.

Be sure to click on the photos for the in page 1200px gallery style view!!!

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/11, 1/100sec, 24mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/11, 1/100sec, 24mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/4, 1/200sec, 50mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/4, 1/200sec, 50mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 
Histogram from Lightroom 4

Histogram from Lightroom 4

More of an Architecture shot I suppose, but a cool building nonetheless that I like to photograph as it has great detail and is interesting to look at in general. As you will see in the 100% Crop version, Sony still likes to sharpen their Jpeg images a little to much in my opinion, but to it’s defense, the lens is razor blade sharp! Also note the shear dynamic range in this scene that the A57 was able to capture with one click.

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/10, 1/125sec, 40mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/10, 1/125sec, 40mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/10, 1/125sec, 40mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/10, 1/125sec, 40mm, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 

Sample Photos w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens

Here’s a few pics using the Sigma f/1.4 lens and the Sony A57 loved it I must tell you. It fits great on the camera and looks stout and like it means business, but more importantly check out the image quality the A57 pumps out with this lens on it!!

I used the AutoHDR feature on this first image of my Brother’s Screaming Eagle Harley Fat Boy and I was quite happy with the results all around.

Be sure to click on the photos for the in page 1200px gallery style view!!!

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/1.4, 1/2000sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine, AutoHDR

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/1.4, 1/2000sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine, AutoHDR

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/1.4, 1/2000sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/1.4, 1/2000sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/1.4, 1/2000sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/1.4, 1/2000sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/2.2, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/2.2, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/2.2, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/2.2, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 

Sample Photos Continued…

This next image was taken at the bottom of my deck stairs were we have a large flower pot. I cropped this image to a square in Lightroom 4 and I also converted it to BW in Lightroom 4 using one of the new presets.

Be sure to click on the photos for the in page 1200px gallery style view!!!

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/1.4, 1/32000sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/1.4, 1/32000sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/1.4, 1/32000sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/1.4, 1/32000sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine – BW Conversion in Lightroom

 

This last sample image taken with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens was a quick grab of the huge bucket at Sesame Street Place dumping some serious quantities of water!! I was using the New Superior Auto intelegent mode as well just to let you know.

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/13, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG Lens @ f/13, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 

Sample Photos w/ Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Lens

A few shots from our Sesame Place trip.

Sony A57 w/ Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Lens @ 17mm f/2.8 1/60sec ISO 640, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Lens @ 17mm f/2.8 1/60sec ISO 640, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 

I took this image on the way to sesame place at the gas station with the Sony Alpha A57. A really nice rig pulled up and I was honestly impressed at the shape it was in considering the age. The Owner was really cool and told me it was almost at 1 million miles!!

Sony A57 w/ Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Lens @ 17mm f/2.8 1/2000sec ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony Alpha A57 w/ Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Lens @ 17mm f/2.8 1/2000sec ISO 100, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 

Sony Alpha SLT-A57 – High ISO Sample Images

The A57 goes all the way to ISO 16000 and I’ll let you take a look at theses High ISO images before I comment on them.

ISO 16000

Be sure to click on the photos for the in page 1200px gallery style view!!!

ISO 16000 - Jpeg fine mode

ISO 16000 – Jpeg fine mode

ISO 16000 - Jpeg fine mode - 100% Crop

ISO 16000 – Jpeg fine mode – 100% Crop

ISO 12800

ISO 128000 - Jpeg fine mode

ISO 128000 – Jpeg fine mode

ISO 128000 - Jpeg fine mode - 100% Crop

ISO 128000 – Jpeg fine mode – 100% Crop

ISO 3200

Sony A57 w/ Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Lens @ 17mm f/3.5 1/160sec ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

Sony A57 w/ Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Lens @ 17mm f/3.5 1/160sec ISO 3200, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 

This next two images are just snapshots on the deck of a flower, but their good sample photo for High ISO!

ISO 2500

Be sure to click on the photos for the in page 1200px gallery style view!!!

sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/4, 1/160sec, 70mm, ISO 2500, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/4, 1/160sec, 70mm, ISO 2500, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 

ISO 1600

sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/4, 1/160sec, 70mm, ISO 1600, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

sony A57 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens @ f/4, 1/160sec, 70mm, ISO 1600, Handheld, Jpeg Fine

 

Sony Alpha A57 and Video

One of the most powerful features of the Sony Alpha A57 is HD video! It has the ability to record HD Video and maintain accurate AF with object tracking and face recognition. This is not just hype either, because it actually works as you will see in the real world sample video below.  Keep in mind I am not a cinematographer by any means, but I can hit the record button pretty good! I used Final Cut Pro for the video and used the .mp4 format for all the sample video.

Be sure to select the 720P HD Quality option on the player once it starts playing so you have the best viewing experience and sharpest video possible.

Note: it may take some time for the HD videos to download.

 

In this second video I put together a bunch of real world clips from our Sesame Place Vacation. I got low light video footage from the hotel pool, fast moving objects from the park itself, and all sorts of other stuff thrown in including photos and more.

Be sure to select the 1080P HD Quality option on the player once it starts playing so you have the best viewing experience and sharpest video possible.

Note: it may take some time for the HD videos to download.

 

Sony Alpha A57 Review – Conclusion

The A57 is the best out of the box Sony Camera that I have used to date, and I highly recommend it! In fact, this is the first Sony camera that I’m giving a full 5 Stars!!

The focus is fast and accurate, image quality as you can see is excellent across the board, even at extremely High ISO’s of 16,000. The features work as advertised including the incredible Tell Zoom feature which delivers a 1.4x effective increase of focal length, allowing you to shoot up to 12fps at 8MP resolution with continuous auto focus and auto exposure. I was so impressed by this 12fps and the focus tracking abilities I created an entire article for it (Click Here). Be sure to check out the 100% crops!!

The Ergonomics and build quality of the A57 have officially entered Semi-Pro Category in my opinion and I can confidently recommend this camera to you Pros who want an awesome back up camera with killer HD Video abilities. You could use this camera as your main, but people at the event may be using the same camera and you may or may not have issue with that ;)

Think about this though; You can record the bride coming down the isle with sharp focus the entire time while she is walking toward you or away from you in crisp 1080 HD. Even on a tri-pod you can set the object tracking to the bride and then walk away to take pics with your other camera. The Sony A57 will track your object or bride in this case through the scene and maintain sharp Autofocus the entire time assuming your composition covers it all of course. You could in theory capture the entire ceremony from a tripod using a killer lens. How great would that be for a bonus item to your customers!! I know all our wedding customers for the most part ask if we offer video as well.

For ~$600 dollars you cannot get a better camera in my opinion as far as image quality, build quality, and features are concerned. Just compare it to anything!! I took this camera on vacation and had no issues using it instead of my Pro Canon gear and I’m totally satisfied with the results. I could absolutely use this camera as a back-up for my Pro work, assuming I have a few lenses for it of course ;)

That is it for this review of the Sony A57 SLT using the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Lens, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens, and the Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Lens. I hope you all got something out of this and please, if you have any questions, concerns, or comments just fire away below.

I also have a bunch of other articles on the A57 that cover specific details and features in more detail than this review did. Check them out Below!

Jay

Price Currently: ~$498

Compare Sony Alpha slt-A57 prices @ BHPhotoVideo >> | Amazon >> | Adorama >> | Ebay Auctions >>

 

More Sony A57 Must See Articles

 


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