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Sony SLT-A37 Digital Camera Review
sony20121112ba.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Ashley Akers 

For some it may be all too common for the process of cleaning a room to result in a far messier room than was there to begin with. These are the people that discover. These are the people that re-discover and keep on re-discovering. It’s not a simple act of: I know what this is, I know where it goes, I’ll put it there. It complicates it a whole lot more because you want to know how to open it, try it out, read it again, think why did I put it there, where are the other pieces, how did I make this or where can I get another. When you’re in the mood for discovery, when your brain tells you to keep going then the Sony A37 is for you. There’s a wealth of knowledge and ability to be found and discovered within the A37. Whether it be one of the many features such as panoramas or HDR mode or the many uses, such as low light parties, high school graduations or holiday landscapes there’s always something new to discover.
 

Appearance & Functionality

 
The Sony A37 resembles the classic DSLR shape and design. It’s on the smaller side of the DSLR market and has been finished in a high quality black plastic. The trademark orange highlights of the Sony range of DSLR cameras are a welcome addition of sleekness and style.
 

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The menus and settings on the Sony A65 are easily accessible and easy to use. The ‘Fn’ button brings up a range of functions on either side of the LCD screen. These can easily be scrolled through via the directional navigation buttons on the back of the body. There is also a handy scroll wheel on top below the shutter button for easy adjusting of settings or exposures.
 
There are plenty of features to try out in a variety of situations, some of these include, smile/face detect, object tracking, HDR, creative styles and picture effects. The most common settings are located on easily accessible, dedicated buttons. In addition to these features there are of course the most common and most useful basic functions and shooting modes such as manual mode, intelligent auto and scene selection. These shooting modes can easily be changed by a dedicated physical dial on the top left of the body. 
 
One of the notable features that the A37 supplies is it’s easy panorama mode. Simply select this mode, press the shutter and the onscreen directions guide you to swipe the A37 across the scene while it automatically takes multiple shots. Once it’s completed, the A37 will then stitch your panorama together in camera into a seamless high quality image.
 

sony20121112bc.jpgLens quality/ Image quality


The kit lens provided with the Sony A37 is the 18 – 55mm, f3.5-5.6. This lens matches up with other cameras in the market on the same level. It provides a decent all-around interpretation of your scene. The 18mm wide angle, while not the widest, does still provide a wide enough angle view of your setting. This can be useful for a wide range of uses, including holiday landscapes or group photos. The 55mm zoom is slightly more than a standard vision interpretation which allows you to take zoomed photos of a variety of subjects, including portraits, objects, flowers and events.
 
To counter the slight limitations of a lens like this and to push the Sony A37’s ability to it’s limits is the addition of a digital zoom function. This comes in two forms, clear zoom and digital zoom. Clear zoom covers the first half of the extent of the zoom providing digital zoom while still maintaining the clearest possible image quality on the 16.1MP sensor. For more zoom you can still push beyond this clear zoom into digital zoom for added close-up capabilities!
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Where this Sony A37 DSLR proves itself is with it’s image quality. The sharpness present in images taken with this lens combination is impressive. They’re clear and sharp to the edges. Skin tones are recorded accurately and naturally in a range of situations. In auto mode the flash had a little trouble with washing out skin tones but images where still of a high quality.
 
Colours were represented accurately and exactly as they are in real life. This included vivid outdoor greens and blues to duller indoor creams and whites.
 
In low light the Sony A37 retains its capability and image quality. From sensor sensitivity settings of ISO100 up to a useful ISO800 images remain clear and free from grain or noise. From more intense ISO settings of ISO1600 and ISO3200 grain starts be become visible but images are still presented in a usable manner. ISO6400, ISO12 800 and the top of ISO16 000 present rough, grainy and slightly blurry images of dark settings. Despite this, however, details and edges can still be seen clearly and images can still be used if needed.
 
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LCD / Viewfinder


The quality of image and colours represented on the A37’s LCD screen are not as high as those of it’s older brother the A65. While they’re still presented accurately in relation to themselves, colours can appear washed out and pixels are more evident within the image display. Despite this the screen provides useful on-screen information about the images and the quality of the images displayed is extremely usable.
 
sony20121112bg.jpgThe LCD screen on the A37 can be tilted down to an angle of about 45degrees for easy over the head shooting or high shots that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. Once at this position the screen can then tilt upwards to an angle of 180 degrees and rest perpendicular to the body of the camera. This second position is great for low creative shots or getting right down into the action. These abilities of the LCD screen improve the options for the A37’s use immensely.
 
The viewfinder on the A37 can be extremely useful for a more traditional view of a scene. It also doubles as a combat too against the harsh sunlight reflections that invite themselves onto your LCD. Just put your eye up to the viewfinder, the sensor turns the LCD display off and switches to the electronic viewfinder display. This display is an exact copy of the LCD allowing you to not only see the scene you’re about to shoot, but navigate through the photos you’ve already taken as well as change settings and other useful features.

Video

 

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The movie capabilities on the Sony A37 mimic that of it’s image capabilities. The Full HD, 1080p resolution helps to create high quality shots of any scene. With the creative abilities and depth of field of a DLSR lens and the quality these lenses provide to video this is a feature that you’ll spend a long time discovering and re-discovering.
 
The tilting LCD screen is a necessary addition for video shooting and it’s abilities here do not go unnoticed. Without the ability to see what you’re shooting when shooting from an odd angle there’s many opportunities for error. However by choosing not to shoot from that angle and you could potentially miss your only opportunity to capture an important memory. That’s where this screen shines: it’s ability to ensure you’re able to capture any scene from any angle in the highest quality.
 
 

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Conclusion


No matter what you intend to use it for, the Sony A37 will most likely fit the part. It comes with a great feature set including panorama mode and full HD video plus a range of specifications to match. The quality presented by Sony SLT cameras does not give out with the A37. Exceptional sharpness, accurate representation of colours and tones, a range of useful features and potential uses makes the Sony A37 a good all-round SLT camera for any budget.

Accessories Used In Testing

Tamrac Evolution 8 / 5788l Bag 

SanDisk Extreme Pro 90MB/s CF Card

 

Recommended Retailer

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View / Buy The Sony SLT-A37 Digital Camera  

 

Appearance rating 3.5 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Video quality
3 stars
Lens quality
3.5 stars
LCD screen 3 stars
Value for money 3.5 star
Street Price - Body only $550 (AUD)
Street Price - Single1 Kit 18-55mm $649.95 (AUD)
Street Price - Single2 Kit 18-135mm $899.95 (AUD)
Street Price - Twin Kit 18-55mm & 55-200mm
$899.95 (AUD)
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 16.1 megapixels
Sensor Type
23.4 x 15.6mm (APS-C type), Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor with RGB primary colour filter
Image Sizes 3 Sizes / 2 Aspect / 3D / 3D Panorama
Lens Interchangeable
Lens Mount
Sony A-mount lenses
Resolution Settings: Stills Image Size (Aspect ratio 3:2)    
L(16M): 4,912 x 3,264; M(8.4M): 3,568 x 2,368; S(4.0M): 2,448 x 1,624
Image Size (Aspect ratio 16:9)    
L(14M): 4,912 x 2,760; M(7.1M): 3,568 x 2,000; S(3.4M): 2,448 x 1,376
Sweep Panorama (Wide)    
Horizontal(23M): 12,416 x 1,856; Vertical(12M): 2,160 x 5,536
Sweep Panorama (Standard)    
Horizontal(15M): 8,192 x 1,856; Vertical(8.4M): 2,160 x 3,872
3D Sweep Panorama (Wide)    
(7.7 M): 7,152 x 1,080
3D Sweep Panorama (Standard)    
(5.3 M): 4,912 x 1,080; 16:9 (2.1 M): 1,920 x 1,080
Format/s: Video 1920 x 1080 (50p/28Mbps/PS, 50i/24Mbps/FX, 50i/17Mbps/FH, 25p/24Mbps/FX, 25p/17Mbps/FH)
Format/s: Stills
JPEG (DCF2.0, Exif 2.3), 3D still image MPO RAW (ARW 2.3 format), RAW + JPEG
Shooting Modes: Video
AVCHD 2.0 / MP4
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus Yes
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane shutter. 1/4000 sec. - 30 sec., bulb. 1/160 sec
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO Auto: 100 - 3200; Selectable: 100 - 16000; Multi Frame NR (up to ISO 25600)
LCD Monitor 2.7” TFT Clear Photo LCD (230,400 pixels), 100%Fieldof View, Continuous Live View (LCD/EVF Auto, selectable)
Viewfinder 0.46" SVGA Xtra Fine EVF (Electronic viewfinder) (1,440,000 pixels) , 100% Field of View
Flash Flash Compensation : +/-2EV in 0.3EV steps
Flash Coverage : 18mm (focal-length printed on the lens body)
Recycling Time : Approx. 4 sec.
Flash Bracketing : 3 exposures in 0.3/0.7 EV steps
Flash Metering System : ADI, Pre-flash TTL
Flash Modes : Auto, Fill-flash, Slow Sync., Rear Sync., Hi-speed sync., Red-eye reduction (on/off selectable for Autoflash and fill-flash mode), Wireless
Flash Type : Built-in, Pop-up Auto
Guide Number : 10 (in meters at ISO100)
Hot Shoe Yes, proprietary
White Balance Auto / Daylight/ Shade/ Cloudy/ Incandescent/ Fluorescent/ Flash / Color temperature & color filter/ Custom
Self Timer 2-sec. or 10-sec. delay
Video Recording Time/s -
Storage Type - External Memory Stick Pro Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, SD Memory card, SDHC Memory card, SDXC memory card
Storage Type - Internal
-
Connectivity USB2.0 Hi-Speed (mass storage mode / PTP mode), HDMI mini connector
Power Source AC adaptor - AV-PW20
Battery Options Rechargeable battery pack NP-FW50
Battery Life 450 shots(EVF) / 500 shots(LCD) (CIPA measurement)
Dimensions 124.4mm (W) x 92mm (H) x 84.7mm (D) (without protrusions)
Weight 448g (not including battery, memory card or accessories)
















 


 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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