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Sony Alpha A57 Lens On Front
The Sony Alpha A57 is the replacement for the A55, and features a 16.2 megapixel sensor, 1.44 million dot electronic viewfinder, full HD video and 12fps continuous shooting. Alternatively it can be seen as the little version of the A65, and shares the same size body and design as the A65 but doesn't feature GPS.
Sony Alpha A57 Front Lens On
Sony Alpha A57 Front Sensor Angle
Compared to the A55, it's much larger, yet features the same resolution 16.2 megapixel sensor and improves on the A55 with 12fps continuous shooting, although at a reduced / cropped resolution of 8.4 megapixels. (Two steps forward, one step back?)
Compared to the A65, they both share the same 3inch 921k screen, same ISO range, yet the A65 features a 24.3 megapixel sensor, a 2.44million dot OLED EVF (compared to the 1.44 million on the A57). Yet they're also around the same price.
- 16.2mp APS-C sensor
- Sony Alpha Lens mount
- 3inch tilting / rotating screen, 921k dots
- Full HD Video, microphone socket
- ISO100 to ISO16000 (slightly improved over A55)
- Dust removal
- Image stabilisation sensor
- 550 shot CIPA rating
- SDXC/MS Memory Card support
- +/- 3 EV (compared to +/-2 on A55)
- 12fps continuous shooting at 8.4mp (1.4x) (vs 10fps on A65, full frame)
Sony Alpha A57 Top
Handling - With a rubber hand grip that is contoured to the shape of your hand and a large thumb grip on the back, the A57 feels good to hold and it's possible to get a firm one or two handed grip of the camera. The A57 feels solidly built and has the same buttons and layout as the A65
Sony Alpha A57 Rear
Menus - The menu system is well laid out with the menus starting with photo options and then spread over a number of pages are the playback, setup and more advanced options. As the camera has a number of external controls you rarely needed to access the menus, but when you do it is easy to find the settings you want. The A57 provides good access to the majority of controls, making it easy to set ISO, exposure and other settings, with the Fn button providing access to a large number of controls on the back live view screen.
Sony Alpha A57 Bottom
Battery Life - Battery life is rated at 550 shots according to CIPA standard / Sony testing. We were able to take over 560 shots before the battery went flat. This is good battery life and in addition, the Sony uses an InfoLithium battery, so you always know how much battery life is left as the camera will tell you i.e: 93%.
Sony Alpha A57 Rear Screen
Speed - We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot to shot time, continuous shooting etc and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced, we also made sure to test all the cameras at the same time to ensure the cameras were being tested under the same conditions.
|Sony A57||Sony A65|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.1||0.1|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.15||0.15|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||1.0||1.3|
|Shot to Shot (without flash)||0.5||0.5|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||0.8||0.8|
|Continuous Shooting (JPEG)||
7-8fps (27 shots)
12-13fps (22 shots)**
7.5fps (17 shots)
10fps* (17 shots)
|Continuous Shooting (with Flash)||0.7||0.7|
|Continuous Shooting (RAW)||
7-8fps (22 shots)
7.5fps (14 shots)
10fps* (14 shots)
In brackets is how many shots can be taken before the camera stops shooting or slows down.
*10fps mode dial. ** 12fps cropped 8.4 megapixel mode, JPEG only.
The camera has extremely fast focusing and shutter response and combined with the extremely quick continuous shooting mode this camera is extremely rapid in operation, only slowing down when you want to use the flash.
Sony Alpha A57 - where you can add your own review and photos.
Sony Alpha A57 Sample Photos
1/160 sec | f/13.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 100
1/160 sec | f/13.0 | 50.0 mm | ISO 100
Portrait with flash | 1/125 sec | f/5.6 | 40.0 mm | ISO 800
1/400 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
1/100 sec | f/11.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 100
Sample photos - Here you can see the camera's built in flash performance for portrait shots, as well as some shots with our studio lighting. Detail and colour are good.
Sony Alpha A57 Lens test images
1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
1/250 sec | f/9.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 100
8.4mp 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 125
1/125 sec | f/5.6 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Lens test images - Wide and zoom photos are good and additional digital zoom is available which is quite rare for a Digital SLR camera.
Sony Alpha A57 ISO test images
1/8 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 100
1/15 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 200
1/30 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 400
1/60 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 800
1/100 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 1600
1/160 sec | f/7.1 | 55.0 mm | ISO 3200
1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 6400
1/320 sec | f/9.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 12800
1/400 sec | f/9.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 16000
ISO Noise Performance - Tested on default settings, with Long exposure NR: On, and High ISO noise reduction set to Normal (options: Low, Normal, High). Some noise is visible in ISO100 and ISO200 shots in dark blues and blacks. ISO noise performance is good up to ISO6400 and above where noise starts to negatively effect detail and colour.
Sony Alpha A57 White-balance test images
AWB Tungsten Light | 1/15 sec | f/4.0 | 26.0 mm | ISO 100
Tungsten Preset | 1/15 sec | f/4.0 | 26.0 mm | ISO 100
AWB Fluorescent Light | 1/8 sec | f/4.0 | 26.0 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent Preset | 1/8 sec | f/4.0 | 26.0 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - Auto white balance performance is good under fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta image. Under tungsten lighting the auto white balance produces a warm image and using the tungsten preset gives a better result.
1/200 sec | f/10.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100 - The camera will automatically stitch together panoramic photos and has a 3D panoramic mode for viewing on a compatible 3DTV.
Sony Alpha A57 Digital filters
Vivid | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Landscape | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Mono | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Portrait | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Standard | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Sunset | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
DR-off | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
DR-auto | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
HDR 6EV | 1/200 sec | f/8.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Digital Filters - The camera offers a wide range of picture effects and creative styles, a number of the picture effects are shown above. The creative styles let you setup and customise contrast, saturation, sharpness.
Video Sample - The camera records Full HD video, with continuous auto focus available while recording. Wind noise reduction and optical steady shot is available as well as a number of compression options, including AVCHD, MP4, 50i, 50p, 25p. ISO can be set to a maximum of ISO3200 for video recording.
Value For MoneyCompared to some of the alternative cameras from Sony, the A57 doesn't see to offer very good value for money, as the Sony Alpha A55 is a more compact alternative (available for less), other options include the A65 with much higher specification and just over £50 more. Other Digital SLRs to look at include the Nikon D5100, Canon EOS 600D, and Pentax K-5. You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
A65, with a 16.2 megapixel sensor, lower resolution EVF and cropped high speed shooting mode, it offers a more affordable entry into high speed photography, with extremely quick focus, shutter response and continuous shooting. However, as it's currently available for just £50 less the A65 and is the same size, we would recommend you look at the higher specification A65 instead. Also, the A55 has the added benefit of being much smaller, cheaper, with 10fps continuous shooting at full resolution. The Sony A57 is an excellent camera, capable of taking great photos, with low noise and bright saturated colour, however it just seems that the camera it replaces (the A55) was just as good, if not better? Similarly, the next model up, is clearly of a higher specification, and is currently only a few pounds more.
|The Sony Alpha A57 is a capable and quick camera and is worth looking at particularly if the price drops.|
Sony Alpha A57 ProsBright saturated colours
Good battery life
12fps shooting (at reduced resolution)
High speed focus and continuous shooting
Info-lithium battery lets you know remaining battery life
Introduction price near to higher specified A65
Sony Alpha A57 Cons
EVF seems small / worse view than LCD screen
Non-standard flash hot-shoe
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Sony Alpha A57 Specifications
|CCD pixels||16.2Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size (width)||23.5mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||15.6mm|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/4000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 16000|
|Video FPS||50p, 50i, 25p|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Box Contents||No Data|