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Sony Alpha 35 review

Lightweight Sony SLT camera packed with innovative features

Our Verdict

For

  • Responsive full-time AF
  • Simple control layout
  • Fast continuous shooting
  • 1080i HD movies
  • Manual controls

Against

  • Fixed LCD
  • JPEGs a little soft
  • EVF a touch low-contrast

The Sony Alpha A35 is the latest launch to join the manufacturer's innovative Single Lens Translucent (SLT) camera line-up, debuting a number of new technologies that look set to turn the heads of first-time entry-level buyers and upgraders alike.

SLT cameras incorporate a semi-transparent mirror that splits light between the CMOS sensor and the separate AF sensor. As the mirror doesn't need to be moved out of the way to allow light onto the CMOS, SLT cameras can offer fast full-time phase-detection AF, improving performance as a result.

Not to be confused with the mirrorless compact system cameras (CSCs) that are also currently available on the market, SLT cameras differ from these in that the former uses a contrast-detect AF system, which offers a comparably slower performance.

Reasons to consider the SLT system cameras in place of a DSLR or CSC are many, but the technology is not without its drawbacks. Read on to discover how the SLT-A35 fares in our in-depth tests and find out whether its speedy credentials are enough to impress.

Features

Replacing the older 14.2mp SLT-A33, the entry-level SLT-A35 boasts an upgraded featureset that - notably - includes a new 16.2mp EXMOR APS-C HD CMOS sensor, as seen in the recently-launched NEX-C3.

Having impressed the photographic community with its revolutionary Translucent Mirror Technology (TMT), Sony has taken things a step further by equipping the SLT-A35 with a new Tele-zoom High Speed Shooting mode. Although the maximum burst rate remains the same as its predecessor's - 7fps - the new model enhances the performance of its continuous tracking AF by magnifying the central portion of the frame by 1.4x (producing an image at approximately 8.4mp): a bonus for sport and action photographers.

There's also a respectable 5.5 fps drive mode available if you prefer to shoot stills at full resolution.
TMT also means that the SLT-A35 benefits from an impressively responsive full-time phase-detection AF system that's available when shooting both stills and HD movies.

The result is seamless Live View shooting that's a cut above the systems currently offered by traditional-design DSLRs. Add these features to the 1080i AVCHD movie, new Picture Effect options (which we'll discuss in more detail later), plus significantly improved power consumption performance and battery life over the SLT-A33 (440 stills compared to 340 on the earlier model) and we have what looks like a pretty complete package on our hands. That said, there's more to a camera than its feature-set, so let's take a look at how it performs.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLT Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution16.2 Megapixel
USBYes
HDMIYes
Wide AngleNo
PictBridgeNo
Product Familyalpha
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom3.1x
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameSony
FeaturesLive View, Smile Detection, External Flash Shoe, Continuous Shooting Mode, Self-timer, Face Detection
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)415 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Image Sensor Size23.50 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4912 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height92 mm
Width124.4 mm
Depth84.7 mm
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelSLT-A35
Product Namealpha SLT-A35 Digital SLT Camera
Product Linealpha
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberSLTA35L.CEH
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

Never miss another moment, however fleeting. Explore an exciting world of high-speed shooting responses and smooth, accurate auto focus tracking - even with moving objects. Capture beautiful videos in detail-packed Full HD. All in a light, compact camera that's easy to carry.

Package Contents
  • alpha SLT-A35 Digital SLT Camera
  • DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM Lens
  • BC-VW1 Battery Charger
  • Power Cord
  • Rechargeable Battery Pack NP-FW50
  • USB Cable
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Body Cap
  • Eyecup
  • Software CD-ROM
  • Instruction Manual
  • Front Lens Cap
  • Packaging lid
Limited Warranty1 Year