To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

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

Video quality was excellent, although it’s best to avoid the 1080/50i mode, which gave the same strange take on interlaced footage that we saw from the Sony NEX-F3. The 1080/25p mode was better, and delivered rich colours and crisp details. The lens’ focus motor spoiled the soundtrack a little and zooming was clunky, but with full-time autofocus and clip lengths up to 30 minutes, it’s in a different league to consumer SLRs’ video modes. It’s great to see priority and manual exposure modes for video, but they’re not available at the same time as autofocus.

Sony Alpha SLT-A37 sample shot
If we were to split hairs, there could be a little more texture definition in these feathers, but by any sensible measure, detail levels are excellent

Our image quality tests left very little to be desired. Brightly lit shots were packed with detail, and colours were rich and punchy on default JPEG settings. The translucent mirror means not all of the light entering the lens reaches the sensor, so noise levels are a little higher than they would be if this were a true SLR or a compact system camera (CSC). Comparing it with the NEX-F3, which we suspect uses the same 16-megapixel sensor, noise levels were a little higher but we had to go looking for differences to find them. More importantly, noise was lower than from the Canon EOS 1100D, and significantly lower than from the Nikon D3200.

Sony Alpha SLT-A37 sample shot
There’s no hint of noise in the darker recesses of this ISO 100 shot

Not for the first time, this Sony SLT camera demands that users take the rough with the smooth. Image and video quality are as good as you’ll get for the price, and compare well with SLRs costing twice as much. Continuous performance is way beyond any entry-level SLR, but you do have to jump through a few hoops to make the most of it. People upgrading from compact cameras will appreciate the ability to use the LCD screen without having to put up with the lethargic autofocus that most SLRs’ live view modes suffer, but it’s frustrating that the screen quality has been downgraded. The controls are a resounding success, though, catering well for both beginners and more experienced users.

Sony Alpha SLT-A37 sample shot
Skin tones come out a little mottled in subdued lighting, but noise levels are lower than on competing SLRs

It’s not the most lovable camera but it gets the basics right and has plenty of extras to keep users entertained. As such, we’re pleasantly surprised to find that this is the best SLR-like camera currently available under £500.

Pages: 1 2 3

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

Read more

Reviews | DSLRs