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Sony Alpha SLT-A37 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £419
inc VAT

Designed to a budget, but there's a lot to like about this unusual SLR-like camera


23.5×15.6mm 16.0-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (27-82.5mm equivalent), 716g

Shot-to-shot times are much improved over the A33, down from 1.3 to 0.5 seconds for JPEGs. Full-power flash shots are over twice as fast, at 2.5 seconds between shots. There’s a speed-priority continuous mode on the mode dial, which delivered 15 frames at 7fps before slowing to 3.5fps. That’s a fine achievement, but it’s disappointing that the image is cropped to 8.4 megapixels – the A33 managed 7fps shooting at its full 14-megapixel resolution. Outside of this dedicated mode, continuous shooting was at 5.5fps, but slowed after just six frames to 2.7fps for JPEGs and 1fps for raw. However, disabling lens distortion correction in the menu gave a massive boost to the continuous JPEG mode’s staying power, lasting for 20 frames at 5.5fps before slowing to 4.2fps. It’s a shame that this correction can’t be made to switch off automatically when continuous mode is selected.

Sony Alpha SLT-A37

Sony’s excellent Peaking feature makes a welcome appearance. This assists with manual focus by highlighting parts of the image that are sharply focused in the live preview, and it’s available while composing photos and during video capture. There’s the usual assortment of advanced shooting modes that we’ve come to expect from Sony: automatic panorama stitching in both 2D and 3D, automatic HDR, multi-exposure noise reduction plus a wide array of creative effects.

There’s barely any change to the layout of controls compared to the A33. The button to change the dynamic range settings now accesses the digital zoom function. For us this is a step in the wrong direction, but overall the controls remain well laid out and compare well with entry-level SLRs. We like the Help button, which imparted genuinely informative context-sensitive advice. It’s nice to have this information within easy reach but not plastered throughout the interface as the Nikon D3200 does. More importantly, it doesn’t come at the expense of quick access to the most commonly used controls. ISO speed, white balance, drive mode, autofocus point, exposure compensation, exposure lock and depth-of-field preview all have dedicated buttons.

Sony Alpha SLT-A37

The A33 used a 3in 921,000-dot fully articulated screen, but the subsequent A35 lost the articulated design. This time around the screen is articulated once again but only to tilt up and down, and the size and resolution have plummeted to 2.6in and 240,300 dots. This was immediately apparent as soon as we picked up the camera. The picture looked course and its colours were washed out except when viewed head on. It’s particularly unfortunate because Sony’s SLT cameras are perfect for people who want the ergonomics and image quality of an SLR but prefer to compose shots on the screen rather than the viewfinder. Thankfully, the EVF is much better quality, and there’s a sensor just below it so the camera switches automatically from LCD to EVF when it’s raised to the eye. It’s a little slow to respond, though, taking around 0.6 seconds.

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Basic Specifications

Rating *****
CCD effective megapixels 16.0 megapixels
CCD size 23.5×15.6mm
Viewfinder electronic (1,440,000 pixels)
Viewfinder magnification, coverage 1.09x, 100%
LCD screen size 2.7in
LCD screen resolution 230,400 pixels
Articulated screen Yes
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 3.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 27-82.5mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 4,912×3,264
File formats JPEG, RAW; AVCHD, MPEG-4


Memory slot SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo
Mermory supplied none
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 450 shots
Connectivity USB, mini HDMI, microphone, wired remote
Body material plastic
Lens mount Sony Alpha
Focal length multiplier 1.5x
Kit lens model name Sony SAL-1855
Accessories USB cable
Weight 716g
Size 93x124x155mm

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £419

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 30 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture range f/3.5-22 (wide), f/5.6-36 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 100 to 16000
Exposure compensation +/-3 EV
White balance auto, 9 presets, manual, Kelvin
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, noise reduction, dynamic range optimisation, colour space
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 25cm
Auto-focus modes 15-point
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, HDR, sweep panorama, 3D sweep panorama

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Reviews | DSLRs