Sony's refresh of its Alpha range continues with the brand new Sony Alpha A37. The replacement for last year's A35 model, the A37 further strengthens Sony's SLT (Single Lens Translucent) lineup and shows the company's ongoing investment in the technology.
The Alpha A37 is the entry-level SLT model, its main focus is on fast shooting but at an affordable price.
It looks and feels much the same as its predecessor, though the screen size has shrunk from 3-inches to 2.7-inches, and drops from a 921k-dot to 230k-dot resolution, but it gains the benefit of being mounted on a tilt-angle bracket to move the screen up or down for more unusual shooting positions.
The 16.2-megapixel sensor is now able to shoot from ISO 100-16,000 - increasing half a stop of sensitivity at the top end compared to its predecessor.
As per the recently announced Sony A57 camera, the A37 takes advantage of Auto Portrait Framing - a mode designed to auto-crop your shots. It works well sometimes, but can crop in at undesirable places. More gimmick than great.
Elsewhere it's very much business as usual. The 5.5fps burst shooting mode can snap away at an improved 7fps when in the Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode, making it extremely fast for the money. There's sensor-based image stabilisation, 1080p HD movie capture and a 15-point (three cross type sensors) autofocus system.
The main reason for the camera's fast burst speed is the SLT design - as the mirror is translucent it needn't move out of the way to expose the sensor. The result? Light can simultaneously reach both the sensor and phase detection autofocus system for non-stop focusing. It's impressive stuff for both stills and movie capture.
However because of the design the camera inherits an electronic viewfinder, not a traditional optical one. Some will love it, some won't - it's down to personal taste. We think it's rather cool, and the "what you see is what you get" 100 per cent field of view makes it stand out above other entry-level DSLR cameras. The 1440k-dot resolution also trumps its predecessor and makes for detailed viewing. But it does seem to be a case of pinching resolution from the rear LCD and squeezing it into the viewfinder however. But you can't win at everything, right?
Anticipated to launch for around £500-530, the A37 is a tempting prospect on the value front. We'll be reviewing a final sample model in due course. Keep your eyes peeled.
SLT or DSLR? Does Sony's tech win your vote?