Strictly speaking Sony doesn't offer DSLRs any more, because its Alpha cameras have a fixed translucent mirror. Sony calls them Single Lens Translucent cameras or SLT cameras for short, but for many photographers the difference is insignificant.
That fixed mirror means that SLTs can use phase detection autofocusing regardless of whether the image (or video) is being composed on the screen or in the viewfinder. Most SLRs have to use a slower contrast detection system in live view and video mode.
Another consequence of the mirror being fixed is that SLTs have an electronic viewfinder (EVF) rather than an optical one. This link explains more about Sony SLTs.
So which is the best Sony SLT? In this section we'll take a look at the best Sony DSLT/DSLRs that are either current models or still available for purchase.
We've included the price, key specs and a short synopsis of each Sony DSLR to give you a better idea of which camera is best for your needs.
Sony Alpha a37
Price: £300/US$500/AU$550 (with 18-55mm kit lens)
Specs: 16.1MP, HD video:1080p
Sony has designed the Alpha 37's 16.1 million pixel sensor to work in harmony with the Bionz processor to produce better images than its predecessor, the Alpha 35. The 15-point AF system with three cross-type points also offers improved object tracking and Quick AF modes. Sony's Auto Portrait Framing system that automatically crops an image to improve composition post-capture sounds odd, but usually works well. The A37 delivers bright, punchy pictures with accurate colours, adding up to an enticing camera for novices and enthusiasts on a budget.
Sony Alpha a57
Price: £500/US$500/AU$730 (body only)
Specs: 16.1MP, HD video: 1080p
The Alpha 57 borrows heavily from the design of the enthusiast Alpha 65 while maintaining a reasonable asking price. The camera sees a revised Object Tracking AF system and a new Auto Portrait Framing option, together with an ISO 100-16000 sensitivity span and even a 12fps burst option (at a reduced resolution).
Read our Sony Alpha a57 review
Sony Alpha a65
Price: £650/US$700/AU$1,000 (body only)
Specs: 16.2MP, HD video: 1080p
Over £300/$500 cheaper than the Sony Alpha 77, but with the same 24.3MP sensor, 2.4 million dot OLED viewfinder and 1080p video mode, the Sony Alpha 65 may be considered something of a bargain. It's also based on the same SLT design as its senior stablemate, with a semi-translucent mirror enabling full-time phase detection AF.
Sony Alpha a77
Price: £830/US$1,100/AU$1,500 (body only)
Specs: 16.2MP, HD video: 1080p
The flagship model in Sony's SLT series, the A77 combines many of the features found in the cheaper A65 but throws in a faster frame rate and a more sturdily built body into the mix. You also get an additional LCD screen on its top plate, as well as a second command dial and flash sync socket, together with faster flash sync and maximum shutter speeds. It also has the best electronic viewfinder (EVF) around.
Sony Alpha a99
Price: £2,200/US$2,800/AU$2,800 (body only)
Specs: Full-frame, 24.3MP, HD video: 1080p
The Sony Alpha a99 is the first full-frame interchangeable lens camera to have an electronic viewfinder (EVF). This is an OLED Tru-Finder with 2,359,000 dots, and it covers 100% of the image frame.
In addition there's a 3-inch 1,228,000-dot screen on an articulating hinge to make it easier to compose images from unusual angles.
Our tests reveal that the Sony a99 is capable of capturing lots of detail and that image noise is generally well controlled. There are also some very useful features such as the ability to control the AF range, and there's a healthy level of customisation available. However, the AF system is a little slower in some situations than the competition.