I’m a pretty enthusiastic photography hobbyist, and a little bit in videography too.
I’m one of the earliest adopters in digital photography, with my very first digital camera a 3.2 megapixel Kodak model that runs on 4 AA battery with 32mb internal memory, then a Canon Powershot G3, Canon 400D DLSR, Canon S90 compact camera, and the Olympus E-PL1. Haze and I also have a couple GoPro HERO HD super compact camcorders.
The last toy I have to play with (at least for a couple weeks anyway) is the new Sony SLT-A33L A-mount camera. A 14.2 Megapixel SLR system that with 18-55 kit lens.
Calling this camera SLR might be slightly misleading though, for it is has a pretty nifty trick tucked in its sleeves – the SLT, or Single Lens Translucent mirror Technology.
Traditional SLR usually comes with a prism and has a mirror that needs to be flipped up whenever a picture is to be taken, while some 4/3 systems such as the E-PL1 do away with the mirror and hardware autofocus to have a reduce the size of the camera (while also using a smaller sensor).
In the latest SLT lineup from Sony, a translucent mirror is placed just before the sensor, reflecting 30% light to the hardware autofocus system and 70% to the sensor. This achieve several things:
- auto-focus as fast as any DSLR
- smaller size than traditional DSLR
- much quieter shutter
- very fast burst mode (SLT-A33L can do 7 fps, with SLT-A55 shooting 10 fps)
- ability to use any Sony A-mount, Minolta, Konica-Minolta AF lenses and strobes
The camera feels solid and well constructed, I particularly like the flip down (and turn-around) 3″ LCD screen, it’s crystal clear with 921.6k pixel resolution and makes it not only easy for some of you to camwhore, but very handy when it comes to taking photos or videos in crowded area or when you want to get that macro shot close to ground level.
Anyway, here’s the brief spec (full specs here)
- 14.2 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor
- 7fps Continuous Shooting with Auto-Focus
- Quick AF Full HD Movie Recording
- Liveview with Quick AF
- 3D Sweep Paranoma
- Electronic Viewfinder (invaluable in places where LCD is distracting to others)
- 15-point phase-detection AF array with 3 cross-type AF points
- ISO 12800 sensitivity (with Jpeg only at ISO 25600)
That’s some serious specs for something with a suggested retail price of RM 2,399 including a kit lens.
Here’re some shots:
I set the camera to P mode, disabled flash, and with Auto-ISO, snap, and got the above picture. The Sony Steady Shot came into play and is really a bless, I could have never taken a photo at 1/15s shutter speed so effortlessly.
With the full suite of SLR capabilities including aperture priority, shutter speed priority, and full manual mode, you can do quite a lot with this camera. The above picture is taken at 1/15s with aperture priority at ISO1600.
This picture of Cendawan the Bengal cat is shot at 1/100s in ISO 3200, I set the camera to full auto mode. A slow camera can only take blur pictures of an awake cat, or sharp pictures of sleeping cat.
A video to amuse you, Cendawan the Bengal cat playing fetch, shot in Full HD
I also took the STL-A33 along to Hong Kong (more posts on that soon), this photo is taken we had dinner at a road side “tai pai tong”. Shot at ISO 3200, f/5.6, 1/320s. The food was very good by the way!
Fireworks aren’t the easiest scene to capture, but this camera does a very good job by just setting to Auto with no flash.
Finally, a shot taken at the busiest spot in Hong Kong – Mongkok. Notice the poster of SLT-A55 and SLT-A33 on display?
note: all photos shown above are straight out of the camera, resized, with no additional edits.