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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A57 leaves the competition standing..., 4 Jun 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
I have recently purchased this camera from Amazon which arrived promptly and in good order. I have just upgraded from the excellent SONY a33 which has served me very well, but I was needing a little more creativity in the settings. I was not expecting however to be blown away by this camera! The handling and build quality are very good, being chunkier than my previous model and having more hand-grip real estate. The screen is beautiful and bright, and the EVF, offering real-time exposure and reviews etc is fantastic, even better than the older a33.
Button placement is very good and all are within easy reach, and some can be programmed to do what you want them to do. I do feel there could have been an extra button or two on the top-plate, but the quick fn menu gives fast and responsive access to pretty much everything.
There are so many features this camera has I can hardly list them all here, but lets say the art and creative styles are just outstanding, and all done in-camera and give a superb, sharp result; no need for post-processing to get fancy effects! There is color select, art, retro, miniature, soft, high contrast b&w, HDR-painting, panorama, 3D, sunset and many more creative modes!
I like to shoot air shows and birds and other moving subjects and the speed of the a57 really is amazing. The shutter operates so fast you barely realise the picture has been taken. Burst mode in full resolution at 10 fps is very impressive. Coupled with my TAMRON 70-300 SP, this camera becomes a formidable sports snapper giving razor sharp images (even at big apertures) and bullet-like speed. For some reason that particular lens didn't perform quite as well on my a33.
The kit lens is superior to rival lenses, as it is sharp, fast and can focus down to a few inches making it superb for macro shots. Throw in auto-focus stereo HD video recording with many options for resolution and fps (and even a wind filter at last!), object-tracking (works very well indeed), and ultra-fast phase-detection auto focus in live-view mode, and this really is an absolutely amazing camera. I would recommend this over the A65 as 16MP is a more sensible array on APSC and will give slightly less noise the A65's 24MP sensor.
Over-all the best camera I have ever owned, being fast and responsive and packed full of outstanding features. SLT tech definitely has the speed-edge over conventional SLR's. Very highly recommended.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm struggling to find any fault..., 17 July 2012
By 
John "John75222" (Leeds, Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First of all I'm comparing this camera against a D7000 and I'm probably what you can describe as an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to cameras so I'm also writing the review from that aspect.

This camera is a very good mid-price camera. If, like me, you have a number of Sony/Minolta mount lenses and accessories (I've still got an A200 series that was my first DSLR) then this camera takes them all and works with them perfectly and as a result saves you money. It's very easy to set up and all the guides and software are contained on the camera and accessible through the large clear LCD screen on the back of the camera, and also through the viewfinder.

The translucent mirror system (TMS) means that shooting speed increases so you can shoot (allegedly) 12 frames per second in burst mode as the mirror doesn't move, I didn't achieve that when I tested it out; best I got was 10fps, but then I'm not sure that I had it set up correctly. This TMS is used in the A65 and A77 and means that the camera body can be smaller and lighter as the mirror stays in place and so you don't need the mechanics that go with a moving mirror system and this size/weight difference is borne out when compared to My A200 and the D7000. It has the added advantage that the autofocus isn't interupted whilst shooting and this use of a fixed TMS means that you also get much faster autofocussing speeds and this is important if you're shooting in burst mode or shooting HD video, the only problem with using the continuous phase auto focus feature in video is that unless you've got an external mike you can hear the motor driving the focussing on playback. The viewfinder is electronic (not optical), which means that what you're seeing is what you will be committing to memory, the big advantage of this is that you can play system information through the viewfinder and play about with the settings without taking the camera away from your eye, it also detects when you're looking through the viewfinder - clever!

The camera has all the usual functions that you find on mid-range DSLR in fact if you compare it to the A65 and A77 there isn't a great deal of difference in functionality. The adjustable rear live shoot screen is very useful for a DSLR and can be adjusted through different planes and angles and again is a huge improvement on the basic information screen on my A200 and much better than the D7000.

Image quality is excellent and the camera has a number of features built in to the software package that enables you to play about with the image on the camera without having to download it. I really like the continuous shoot panoramic mode (that Sony are now including on their cameras) as all the work is done by the camera stitching the image together and so saves playing about on the computer.

All in all this is a brilliant camera for the money. The only differences I can spot between this model and the much more expensive A65 is; built in GPS and the number of MP's (16.1 as opposed to 24.2). How does it compare against my 8 month old D7000? I wish the A57 had been around then as this is the one I would have gone for.

My only complaint (and it's an on-going gripe of mine with virtually all manufacturers) is that no memory card is included with the package, and you have to have a memory card as there is virtually no on board memory. Why manufacturers can't include a basic memory card so you can use the product straight away, when you're paying a lot of money for the camera, eludes me. When you do buy a memory card, for the best results you need a class 10 (HD Video), preferably 32GB and with a write speed of 45Mb/s. I would have knocked off a star for the lack of a card but the camera is so good I couldn't bring myself to do it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent camera, 22 Aug 2012
By 
JJW3 (Highbridge, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Ive been using this camera for about a year now so i can give a review from a good perspective.

Ill start by saying i've never had any issues with this camera whatsoever, it is as you would expect, a mid sized DSLR camera that feels very solid and is very easy to use (A great first DSLR to learn with)

The pro's:

-A great camera to learn with due to an EVF - What you see on either display is what you get as you change the settings, therefore making it very easy to learn how a camera works and how to get creative with the settings in manual mode, i'm the opposite to most people, when i use a DSLR with an optical viewfinder i just cant get on with it, i want my EVF back!

-The picture quality is excellent for a DSLR in this price bracket

-Feels very solid

-Battery life is superb! (Ive shot a wedding a second shooter and it lasted all day from midday till 8:30pm! still with just under 20% left.

-All controls are well positioned and easy to use

-Menu system very easy to use

My only complaint is the standard kit lens, its nothing to do with the picture quality but it does feel very cheap (I suppose yes it is) however some people believe Sony Alpha's have a poor collection of lenses but that simply is not true, their is a fantastic selection of great lenses out their for the A mount system, best of all being the Zeiss lenses (If your a very keen camera person with deep pockets)

All in all you really cant go wrong with this camera especially if this is your first DSLR or stepping up from a lower end one like the Sony A37 or a Canon 1100D.

You wont be disappointed!
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great camera for the price, 3 Jun 2012
This review is from: Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
This an excellent quality product. I had been tempted by Canon & Nikon equivalents, but as I have some Minolta lens I ideally wanted a Sony Alpha. At first I was going to buy the Alpha 65, but its high pixel count led to doubts about its ability in low light situations. So, I had resigned myself to buying a Canon EOS60D - but the day before I went to buy it, the A57 made its debut. So that's what I bought - and I don't regret it!

The week after I bought it I was taking photos for a film festival in low light where a flash wasn't practical to use, and the A57's HDR system came up trumps with photos being sharp and practically noise-free. The automatic modes work very well. I also used the continuous mode to great effect at the Monaco Grand Prix, it working well with my old Minolta telephoto lens. The electronic view-finder is top-notch and you can chose what information you wanted displayed in it. I also liked the swivel LED display. The menu system is easy to get to grips with, and the controls on the camera body are simple to use. The only gripe had with them was that my big hand managed to accidently switch on the digital zoom occasionally.

The camera gives very good results with the 18-55 kit lens. It also worked very well with my old Minolta lenses, which although heavy didn't unbalance it in use. If I hadn't had them, I would have been tempted to buy the Sony 18-250 lens to replace the kit lens.

In all respects this is an excellent buy. You won't regret it!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Amazing!, 30 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Sony aren't the first name people turn to when they want a DSLR. However, based on this camera, they should be.

The camera is really well built, it's not weather-sealed or magnesium (you'd have to pay much more), but is very sturdy and works great, as well as being ergonomically well designed.

The photos it takes are stunning. It's unbelievably easy to use, and there's plenty of manual control on offer, so beginners and pros alike can come up with great stuff. As ever, the usual PASM modes are all there, as well as a very clever auto mode, which turns out remarkably decent images. Shooting HDR images is also very easy, if not massively useful as feature, but the multi-frame noise reduction is very useful, and reduces noise very effectively, to the extent that using this mode at ISO 25600 offers less noise than normal shots at 6400. Normal shots are thoroughly usable up to ISO 3200, but pushing a little higher if needs be is not too much of an issue. The articulated screen is a really useful feature, being very clear and very sharp, and allowing different framing opportunities. Considering how useful live view is on this camera (see later), the articulation is a brilliant idea.

There is one key difference, and one clear advantage, over the Nikon/Canon competition. The translucent mirror. This has no real disadvantages compared to the reflex lens alternatives, but a number of advantages. The phenomenal speed is definitely one. This camera will, at full resolution, shoot bursts at 10fps. This is compared to the competition which can barely manage 4-5fps at a push. The only faster non-Sony you could buy will run you around £6,000 (Nikon D4 or Canon 1D X), so this is something of a USP.
The translucent mirror also means that live view is incredibly convenient, as soon as you pull your eye away from the (electronic) viewfinder, the LCD pops into life and shows you just what was on the viewfinder. Live view doesn't suffer from the often awful shutter lag which cramps the competition either. The viewfinder itself, despite being electronic, is very sharp, and is no trouble to shoot with, and you can choose whether to have it behave like an optical finder, or to give you an exposure preview, like live view.

Video quality is also excellent, you can choose from 25 or 50fps in 1080p, at a number of bit rates upto 28Mbps, along with stereo sound from the top-mounted mic. You can also use the mic input if you want higher quality sound.

Whoever you are, this camera is arguably a better option than anything like the Canon 600D or Nikon D5100, and an absolutely excellent choice.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING CAMERA WITH AMAZING FEATURES, 19 July 2012
By 
Sue (C.I.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD

Having only ever owned Canon cameras, I was very interested to try another brand. I didn't expect to be impressed as both Canon and Nikon seem to have captured the camera market. However, I was blown away by the quality, ease of use and functions of this camera, far superior to my old Canon 450D. This camera would appeal to both beginners and intermediate photographers. I wish when I first started I had the guidance this camera offers. As you turn the top dial for instance to select different modes, your guidance starts! For example turn the dial to 'A' and on the LCD screen this comes up 'Aperture Priority adjusts aperture to change the range in focus and amount of background blur. Small value blurs front and back and large value makes even background in focus' and so it goes on. Your own tutorial on screen absolutely invaluable for those starting out. The rear LCD screen is drop down and twist, a great aid for composition and more importantly for me protects the rear screen when not in use as it folds back.

I have fairly large hands and this camera is ideal for me. The body is solid without being heavy and the grip is rubberised so you feel as though you are holding an expensive camera. The controls were very intuitive and I easily found my way round it. The buttons were well placed and did not feel at all flimsy, a quality build and everything so accessible without having to delve into complicated menu systems. For example Image Quality, ISO, white balance, something you need to set very often are accessed on the camera itself, one touch of a button and you are there! Also amazing to have a camera which can shoot 3D panoramic images. I have unfortunately not tried this out as I need a 3D compatible TV.

There are an amazing number of pre-programmed scene modes and each time you select one, up comes on the LCD screen what to expect. Even useful tips like 'use in bright places'. Soon we won't need to go on photographic courses if manufactures like Sony continue to give such detailed instruction within the camera itself!.

The shutter release sounds as though it is on an expensive camera and when shooting continuously on fast mode, it is just like a machine gun, extremely fast as 12 frames per second. I used a Sandisk SDHC Extreme Card, Class 10 from Amazon and the performance from the camera with this card was exceptional.

I am going to use this camera mainly for sports and landscapes as I feel it excels in both these areas. The camera is also capable of shooting RAW. For all those of you who find that your software does not recognize the raw image, it means that as this camera is a new model, you will have to download the free plug in from the Adobe Website. It will however be recognised if you install the CD which came with the camera - highly recommended. I have used ND grads on this camera with great results. The image quality with this lens is excellent. The ISO goes up to 16000 but I wouldn't use it beyond 3200 as there is noticeable grain/noise.

I can't recommend this camera highly enough, great value for money and exceptional image quality and a pleasure to use. I really don't know how it can be improved. It is a pity that the 18-55 lens which came with the camera did not have a lens hood included. This will set you back about £15. This lens should be protected with a 55mm lens protector. I am using the Hoya Pro 1, once again from Amazon as I believe that a decent lens should have a decent protector.

Look out Canon and Nikon!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 28 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
This is just a fantastic camera. I've had a few entry level Nikons for quite a few years
now and have always been hesitant to move away. But eventually I was swayed by the promise
of the Sony A57 and I'm so glad I did! It's a joy to use, extremely fast when you want it
to be, creative, takes amazing pictures in all sorts of conditions and even takes great,
in focus video too. The camera is really comfortable to use, has loads of options which
haven't taken me long to get the hang of and it lets me take some amazing pictures. I can't
recommend this camera highly enough, if you're considering it, just do it, you won't be
disappointed :)
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you thinking of using the video function?, 10 Jun 2013
By 
This review is from: Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
The tech spec of the these cameras are well covered in other reviews so I thought I would add a bit of a different perspective. I use my dslr mainly for video and if that is something you are thinking of doing there are a few things you should definitely know.
I know that you have probably read so many comments and reviews that your head is spinning but fear not. What people like myself often want to know when reading a review is confirmation that they are about to make a "good buy". Good news you are. I recently bought the Sony and have a canon 650d, they are similarly priced cameras. I can say the Sony is far ahead in all respects bar one. There are lots of good used canon fit 2nd hand lenses. You will have to shop around for the sony fit lenses only because they are the new boys to the dslr market. That is the caution out of the way.
Everything else about the sony is miles better. Did you know that Sony make the sensors (which are the important bit of a dslr) then after a year or two of using the sensor sell it to Canon etc. So the technology is newer in the Sony.
Now the video bit. This camera just feels made for video. Canon and Nikon are both very flawed for video in the hands of normal people. With my canon I need to use a loupe to get it half nice to use. This Sony has an excellent evf and autofocus. Exposure , framing and focusing is so much better for video on this camera than on any other make in this price range. Do not listen to EVF (eltronic view finder) doubters on here. It is the way forward. If I had to buy another £400 camera for video tomorrow it woul be this one. As a photographers tool it obviously excellent. psst, here's a secret all dslr in this price range can take amazing photographs and its more down to the person behind the camera when it comes to good photos. But for video the other makes are struggling to get right what Sony have already cracked.
A couple of things I would reccomend if I were to get this and wanted to use it for occasional video.
Velbon DV-7000 Video Tripod
Make better videos with your dslr or camcorder
Can you do me a favour? If you have found this note useful please click "helpful" . Thanks Alex
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Camera..., 28 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Firsty a note of caution, I initially bought this camera through a third party seller (usual story, it was a few quid cheaper). Unsurprisingly they sent me a grey import so back it went but three weeks later im still waiting for a refund. On checking the most recent reviews for the particular seller it looks like they have closed shop and disappeared. Im fairly confident that Amazon will refund me the money through their A-Z guarantee in the next few day but the lesson for me is that I will never trust a third party again.

I have since re-ordered the camera direct from Amazon and I absolutely love it. It feels like a modern camera should and in my opinion, makes the Canikons out there feel like relics of the past (lets face it, they were flapping mirrors around 30 years ago!) The menus are nice and intuitive and you'll find your way around in no time. The VR system is built into the camera meaning the camera is good to hold as its not front heavy. It also means future lens will be way cheaper as well. Obviously the photos are great, all the modes work really well and there's a very nice on screen guide to help you out. And its fast. Very fast. Canikon afficiados may turn their noses up but who cares, you will have taken 10 sharp shots before the they've even even finished hunting for focus!! Overall highly recommended.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, feature packed camera, 8 May 2012
By 
S. Collins - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit - Black (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
I have owned a Sony Alpha A57 with 18-55mm kit lens for a few weeks now and going by the pictures I have taken with it so far, I have to say that it is an impressive camera in the DSLR mould; albeit using Sony's SLT technology. The image quality is sharp, very well detailed with vivid colour and good saturation and overall it's excellent. This is my first outing into the DSLR camera territory, coming from film photography many years ago using a Pentax SLR. Just as the Sony A57 appeared in the shops, I had purchased the Canon EOS 600D, but I was a bit underwhelmed with it. It's a good, solid entry level DSLR, but I felt it lacked up-to-date features compared to what I saw when I had a look at the A57. For that reason I changed the Canon for the Sony. The body of the A57 is bigger than the previous A55 model and is much like the A65. The camera has a good grip and is easy and comfortable to hold. The AF focusing is quick; you get a fast, continuous AF, which also works in the video mode, and it has a continuous display in live view shooting. You also get 10-12 FPS continuous shooting for those action shots.

This camera has many useful features, including a multi-frame noise reduction mode. This allows you to take a picture in a high ISO, which can be set by the user, and the camera will take a series of shots and combine them into 1 single shot to produce a very low noise photo; useful in those low light conditions. Other features include a high-dynamic range (HDR) mode, which takes a series of 3 shots at different exposure levels to produce a single, merged photo with better detail in the shadows. This should be useful in high contrast scenes. The electronic view finder (EVF) is also a pleasure to use; a lot better than I thought it would be, as it is well detailed with a clear display and providing 100% view. The wealth of on-screen information it displays is also very useful.

Whilst the A57 may not be a pro standard camera, what Sony is offering is a camera system at the DSLR level with a decent, all-round package of features and performance; and with great image and video quality. It will suit anyone from a beginner up to an enthusiast. The menu system is also easy to use and understand and there is a helpful information button that gives a guide as to what each of the controls and functions do.

These Sony SLT cameras easily compete with the equivalent class of models from Canon/Nikon and the technology should develop overtime. Overall, I can recommend the A57, as it gives good results, it works and is pleasing to use. As with most cameras in this class, couple it up with one or two better quality lenses and the camera should produce even better results.

UPDATE
Having owned and used this camera for nearly 12 months now, I have found that it is a good all-rounder. I have purchased a couple of lenses that are better quality than the kit 18-55mm lens that came with it. The lenses are: Sony SAL 18-135mm zoom and a second hand Minolta 50mm F1.7 prime. I can honestly say that with higher quality glass the Sony Alpha A57 produces much better results. In fact, I now use the 18-135mm as my main general purpose lens on this camera. So it is worthwhile investing in better lenses for it.
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