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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 25 January 2013
Having bought an A37 in February, I have had the time to thoroughly assess its pros and cons. The camera's design is excellent, being light and excellently portable for a DSLR. The supplied lens will fit the bill very well for most users, however there is a wide selection to choose from if you choose to upgrade. The A37 is an SLT camera, and so has a translucent mirror rather than a moving mirror as typically found in DSLR cameras. This has a number of implications for how the camera performs. Advantages include the ability to have far higher speed image capture, quicker autofocusing in still photos, and continuous autofocus in video. However, the principal downside of this technology is the lack of an optical viewfinder in favour of an electronic one. Indeed, the electronic viewfinder for me is the sole downside of the A37, as the display is detailed but simply not bright enough for use in highly lit conditions. Nevertheless, in most circumstances the viewfinder, is usable enough, and as one plus point displays current settings such as shooting mode, aperture, iso and shutter speed in far greater detail than on most DSLRs with an optical viewfinder. The LCD display, also displaying this information, has an excellent `live-view' display which can be rotated in many different directions in order to manage the trickiest of shots. Image quality is excellent through and through, the array of settings available being superb. The camera has several additional features which are highly useful, such as the night portrait mode designed for shooting at night without a tripod, giving excellent results. Other additions include HDR, creative filters, panoramas (3D and 2D) and both manual scene selection and intelligent auto. There are as ever the P, M , A , S settings for manual controls. Another very useful tool is the ability of the camera to take multiple images at high ISO settings in low light conditions, to form a low ISO image. The camera also has inbuilt optical image stabilisation, working brilliantly, and something you have to buy special lenses for with many competing DSLRs. The picture quality is truly fantastic, with tremendous amounts of detail and very accurate colours. When turning to video, which can be recorded either in AVCHD format in Full HD 1080 at either 50i/25p, or MP4 format at 720p, the results are similarly first-rate. Here the continuous auto-focus really comes into its own, allowing you to record film-maker quality videos with great depth of field, with excellent ease. Battery life on the camera is also very good, the info-lithium battery technology (also a Sony exclusive) giving you exactly the percentage battery life remaining. To top off the fantastic package offered by the A37, the value offered at this price is nothing short of outstanding. Whilst some may think that £300+ is a lot for a camera, it is well worth it if you want great results every time, and compared to rival cameras, is far better value. For these reasons, which far outweigh the rather dark viewfinder (which can easily be avoided by using the live view more often), this camera deserves 5 stars and more!
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VINE VOICEon 24 August 2012
Colour Name: Black|Size: 18-55mm Lens|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The SLT-A37 is Sony's new entry-level DSLR camera for beginners. Technically it isn't a DSLR, it's an SLT (Single-Lens Translucent); Sony's award-winning innovation that uses a translucent mirror. But, for the purposes of this review, I'll refer to it as a DSLR. Also, because I don't have another DSLR to compare it to, I'll be comparing it to my Sony DSC-RX100 (the world's best compact camera).

My SLT-A37 arrived with the battery almost empty. A lot of Sony cameras these days can actually be charged via USB, but the SLT-A37 isn't one of them. So to charge the 1080 mAh NP-FW50 battery pack, you'll need to take it out of the camera and put it in the supplied BC-VW1 battery charger. Charging time is approximately 4 hours.

If you're "stepping up" from a compact camera to a DSLR, you'll immediately notice how solid and professional the SLT-A37 feels in your hand. This is a serious piece of equipment. The ergonomic rubber grip is a pleasure to hold and makes the camera relatively difficult to drop. On the back of the SLT-A37 there's an angle-adjustable LCD, which can be tilted through 135˚, enabling you to take photos from otherwise challenging positions. This is an incredibly useful feature. Sony call the 2.7" LCD "high quality" but it isn't. It's a QVGA display with a resolution of just 320 x 240 pixels; a quarter of what the DSC-RX100 has! Plus it flickers slightly and solarises easily.

Fortunately there's an electronic viewfinder (aka Tru-Finder) which, with its SVGA resolution of 800 x 600 pixels, is much higher quality than the rear LCD. There's a diopter-adjustment dial, which changes the focus of the viewfinder to better suit your eyesight. There's also a Viewfinder Magnification setting, which shrinks the image down so that it's easier to see in its entirety. But even with these settings, if you wear glasses you'll find that you can't get your eye close enough to the viewfinder to see the whole thing. It's just too small.

My SLT-A37 came with the Standard Zoom Lens (a Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM). With the lens attached to the camera body, the whole thing weighs 725g (3x the weight of the DSC-RX100) and measures 15.3 cm from front to back (4.4x the thickness of the DSC-RX100). If you're new to DSLRs, you might look at the SLT-A37 with its big lens and assume it has a big optical zoom. Unfortunately that's a common misconception. The 18-55mm lens only gives you a 3.1x optical zoom, which is actually less than the DSC-RX100's 3.6x. The good news is, because this is an interchangeable-lens camera, you can take the lens off and replace it with an even bigger one! The SLT-A37 is compatible with all Sony A-mount (aka α mount) lenses, such as the 55-200mm lens which extends the camera's telephoto range. SteadyShot technology is built into the camera body meaning you don't have to worry about your lenses having it.

So what's the SLT-A37 like to shoot with? Fast. Very fast. Assuming the lens cap is off, you can turn it on and take a photo in about 1.6 seconds! Try doing that with a compact camera. In Single-shot AF (AF-S) mode, holding down the shutter button halfway causes the SLT-A37 to lock focus almost instantly with amazing accuracy. In Continuous AF (AF-C) mode, holding down the shutter button halfway causes the SLT-A37 to continually adjust its focus as the camera and your subjects move. Changing the Drive Mode from Single Shooting to Continuous Shooting Hi enables you to take seven photos per second; invaluable for shooting fast-moving subjects such as kids and pets.

What about image quality? I put the SLT-A37 head-to-head with the DSC-RX100 and shot 26 test photos with both cameras in Intelligent Auto mode. The results surprised me. Outdoors in daylight, photos taken with the SLT-A37 exhibited shallower depth of field (DOF) and slightly more accurate auto white balance (AWB). However, photos taken with DSC-RX100 were dramatically clearer, showing razor-sharp detail and textures that the SLT-A37 rendered as a blur. Obviously, with a better lens, the results would be different. But if you're buying the SLT-A37 with the 18-55mm lens, don't expect any of your photos to be sharp. Indoors, things got worse. Despite having an APS-C image sensor, the SLT-A37 struggled in low-light, repeatedly choosing f/4 ISO 1250 and getting soft splotchy photos full of chroma noise. The DSC-RX100, on the other hand, was in its element, choosing f/1.8 ISO 320 and getting incredibly clean photos with very little noise.

The SLT-A37 has all of Sony's current software tricks, such as Clear Image Zoom, Sweep Panorama, Auto HDR, Face Recognition, Smile Shutter, Auto Portrait Framing and 11 Picture Effects. Switching the focus mode to manual (MF) activates Peaking; a sophisticated feature that highlights what's in-focus with a colour of your choice. Pressing the dedicated MOVIE button allows you to immediately start recording AVCHD video at 1920x1080 25fps; a format that iMovie '11 actually understands and allows you to import! On top of the SLT-A37 there's a built-in stereo microphone, but you can also connect an external one via the jack input if you'd prefer.

Overall, I think the SLT-A37 is a good camera. Its ultra-fast focusing, continuous shooting and shallow depth of field are perfect for shooting attractive portraits of kids and pets outdoors. However, its LCD screen is very poor quality, it struggles in low-light situations, and the 18-55mm lens is inherently soft. So, just because a camera is big and looks professional, don't expect it to automatically take better quality photos than a compact. I much prefer my DSC-RX100.
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on 7 November 2012
Having used a Sony A200 for the last few years, I bit the bullet and upgraded to one of these SLTs.

It's still an entry level model, but the features and image quality are all vastly improved. The EVF viewfinder technology is clearly sill at an early stage, and it takes a little getting used to having an electronic screen rather than a mirror to look into, but the advantages this brings far outweigh the initial reservations I had. In low-light, the viewfinder will turn up the gain, giving you an image where previously you'd have just had a dark optical viewfinder. The image can be a bit grainy under these conditions (in good light it gives a very clear picture indeed) but it's obviously better than seeing nothing. Low-light also lets it show off its vastly improved handling of high ISO settings (far less image noise than the earlier generation at ISO 800+)

It has a full range of features and shooting modes - most clearly aimed at those point-and-shoot users who usually shoot in auto-jpg mode, but by going into one of the manual or part-manual mode and shooting RAW, you can really start to see some impressive results here.

The small size may not be to everyone's taste (I found it a lot easier to handle than I'd expected) so make sure you get hold of one before buying, if you can.
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on 6 June 2012
So first, a few words about me....It's my first DSLR. I've been using compact digitals and the iPhone camera for years, but not a digital SLR. I use them all frequently, but I am no specialist or even enthusiast. I just like taking decent pictures.

I had a pretty good SLR up till last summer, but it was 20 years old and the pictures were getting worse. Last year I spent about £40 on getting a new battery, a few rolls of film, and getting the pictures developed, and the results were tarrible. The pictures were just bad, no doubt at least partly due to operator incompetence, but also I suspect the quality of films and processing has diminished over the years.

So, I decided to take the plunge and go for a decent DSLR. Why the Sony? Well, it was within budget, and I had never heard anything bad about the alpha series. Not very scientific, but it worked for me, and it certainly seemed more convincing the equivalent Canon.

The camera looks and feels solid, and fits well in the hand. Contols are logically laid out, and I managed to take pretty good pictures straight from the start. So far, I've done portraits, sports shots, landscapes, all in a variety of light conditions.

Everything is fine. I managed to capture some great sports moves (marttial arts kicks), and the only failure was on continuous, in low light.

My only whinge so far is Sony's software. Everything, even the product registration, was clunky, compared to other equivalent devices (a Fujifilm compact and an iPhone) that I've registered recently, and for which I've downloaded and installed software.

It does seem to confirm all the reasons why Sony has problems at hte moment - they seem to be great with devices, not that brilliant with customers.

But still, so far, great camera. Be interested to see what I'm saying in a few months...I'll keep you posted

Note 12/8/12 - amendment. I'm downgrading from 5 stars to 4. I am still very happy with this camera, but have found that the scan function really doesn't work. I've tried so many times, but it's virtually impossible to get it to track properly, generally cutting out, because you are moving to fast or too slow - but never indicating what speed is actually required. I've managed to get scan shots, but they are on a very narrow angle.
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on 11 September 2012
After reading plenty of reviews and comparisons with the Nikon D5100 and Canon EOS600D I took the plunge and went for the A37, it was delivered on time as always from Amazon and I set out with high expectations to take a few snaps in the garden.
Long story short, image quality was variable but generally not of the quality I was expecting even with the kit lens. A couple of macro shots turned out nicely but having worked through all the shooting modes such as iAuto and Auto+, as well as the PASM selections and some of the colour modes I remain underwhelmed.
I also found the hand grip a little too small, and the 2.7" screen is too small and low resolution compared to the competition.
I don't claim to be a proficient photographer but having borrowed a D3100 and EOS550D I think that I took far better (imho) pictures that just looked 'better' when reviewed.
Maybe it's just me?
eBay here we come .... shame as I was expecting great things.
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Colour Name: Black|Size: 18-55mm Lens|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
An entry DSLR from a company going from strength to strength in the digital camera market.

The SLTA37 packs a feature set similar to its SLTA57 brother in a smaller body like the SLTA33 it replaces.

I found image quality to be good, especially in raw mode, but when compared to ones I had taken with my Canon Powershot also in raw I felt the Canon ones were better. Whcih surprised me as the canon is a high end compact.

It features a number of creative effects, the ones I most like so far being HDR mode and the sweep panoramic mode. It has two different quality settings and I tend to stick with 'fine' for the sharpest quality images. The camera itself could be used a a point and shoot in full auto or in full manual for those wanting to learn more and get stuck in.

Lenses were easy to switch in and out and shooting hd video was a doodle, with fantastic results.

The screen is not as nice as other camera's I have used and although it tilts I would have liked it to have been hinged too. Though I think I may be asking too much of an entry level camera.

I'm really unsure if I were looking for an entry level dslr if I would choose this camera. I think if I were again right now I would probably look at a Nikon D3100 as there are bargains to be had now the D3200 is out, or for a point and shoot maybe a Sony RX100 or Canon Powershot S110. That said for an unthreatening easy introduction to a DSLR this camera is good.
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on 15 March 2013
I wanted a camera with a viewer and looked at a few. I'm happy I chose this one it takes good pictures and is relatively easy to use. No doubt I'll get adventurous with the settings once I get used to it. It's been a few years since I used a camera like this, the last time it was 35mm and dark rooms.

Like it a lot so far.
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on 8 August 2012
Read the reviews with great caution. The bigger sites rave about this camera and I was eager to get one as an upgrade to my A33. Some of the headline features are very good, like the high ISO capability and the auto-portrait feature (on the occasions that it recognises that what you are pointing at actually is a face, that is! Heaven forfend that the face should have a beard...) However, some of the others are not. The sensor is good but not hugely better in terms of detail than the 14mp on the A33. In terms of everyday use, if you are a glasses user and tend to use the screen rather than the viewfinder then you will be hugely disappointed. The drop from 900k resolution to a smaller screen with about 250k is unforgivable as is the downgrade from a fully-articulated screen to one with limited swivel. I looked at them side by side and the screen on my antique H5 is noticeably better. Why on earth Sony did this is unfathomable. Even worse is the video mode. At the default setting videos from my camera were so bad that they were unwatchable on four different software applications. Likewise, the Sweep Panorama - which I believe feeds from the video - was dreadful. Panoramas from my other Sony cameras, including the A33 and several of the H series, are excellent, so I know they CAN do it. I was so dissatisfied with what was either a fault - there were frequent error messages using the video - or a firmware problem, that this camera was returned and replaced - which Amazon did quickly and efficiently, BTW. Unfortunately, the problems with the video and Panorama were similar on the replacement so that, too, was returned.
Shame on Sony for producing such a turkey.
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on 11 February 2013
I was undecided, it was either the A37 or A57, in the end the A37 won as there really isn't a huge amount of difference to warrant the high price increase (£300 extra for the A57). I am happy with the camera, I bought body only as kit lenses are usually no good, and fitted with my Tamron 17-50, it becomes a great little camera. Images seem to be crisp enough, and I've had no problems at all.
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on 4 April 2013
This camera is exceptional for the price. It has excellent video capabilities with full HD (looks broadcast quality on my 42" TV) which is a plus.
I am a semi professional photographer and use this to take stock photography, it has already had a number of acceptances and sales and the quality of the images is very good, comparable with Canon and Nikon.

It has depth of field preview which is extremely useful for macro and the lack of a mirror makes it much quieter and quicker for multiple images than my Sony A350. The extra 2 megapixels aren't really noticeable as an improvement although it allows horizon straightening and cropping and still give over 15megapixels for the final image. I use Sigma lenses mainly and the camers is completely compatible with those I have and the Minolta 28-80mm which is some 30 years old.

The only 2 limitations I have found are that the auto bracket is a max of 0.7 EVF under and over which means that for HDR you need to do 3 separate shots at + and - 2EVF rather than use auto bracket. The second limitation is that the RAW files are not compatible with Photoshop Elements 9 and older and Lightroom 3 and older which means you have to do RAW conversions using the software provided or with the adobe RAW converter or buy all new image editing software.

These limitations are only for serious photographers looking to sell or exhibit and for the majority of holiday photographers would never be noticed.
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