Sony Alpha a37: Small wonder

STILL TALKING - Enrico Miguel T. Subido - The Philippine Star

DSLRs, point-and-shoots, ultra-compacts, micro four-thirds technology, bridge cameras, mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras (MILCs) — digital camera talk has reached new heights of confusion. With all the major manufacturers coming out with great innovations, making an educated choice on which camera to invest in has become a ridiculous back-and-forth debate. The old rationale about it “boiling down to what you want to do with the machine” doesn’t even really apply anymore. Many professional photographers have shelved their chunky DSLRs in favor of smaller models while beginner photo enthusiasts, on the other hand, want professional-grade equipment right off the bat.

It’s easier to come to terms with everything camera-related when one can accept the fact that there’s no such thing as the perfect camera. What exists is the camera that you eventually will come to believe in, possibly even love. With that in mind, having options and a wide selection to choose from can be regarded as a good thing. And the graphs, figures, and highfalutin jargon shouldn’t get in the way. These should only serve to help you narrow down the search.

That being said, there is one more acronym you can add to your digital camera vocabulary. DSLT, or digital single-lens translucent, is pretty much the lovechild of a DSLR and a MILC. DSLTs have the build of DSLRs but feature only one fixed mirror that is translucent so light can enter it. This makes its closer in terms of optics to MILCs because users can only view the image by means of an electronic viewfinder (whereas with DSLRs, one could directly view the optical image generated by the lens.)

Sweep Panorama is always a cool function: The a37 also features a similar shooting mode, but in 3D, for those who have 3D TVs. (Shot at the Eastwood Mall)

DSLT technology is what powers Sony’s newest entry level camera for that segment, the Alpha a37. This little thing (weighs about a pound and measures just under seven inches with the 18-55 kit lens) is jam-packed with features. Right from the box, it has a 16.1 Megapixel APS-C sensor, effective ISO ratings from 100-16000, 15-point full-time continuous auto focus system, full HD recording capabilities with stereo audio, 11 shooting modes, 7 frames burst shooting, Auto Portrait Framing mode, SteadyShot Inside technology, a tilting LCD, and Clear Image Zoom. What does this all mean? It means that you get a whole lot of camera in a small package, and at a reasonable price. Don’t let the “entry level” label fool you.

There are, however, some things about the a37 that some camera users may be quite particular about. Electronic viewfinders still divide opinions, but those used to traditional optical viewfinders will find the a37’s laggy when panning and a bit contrasty in general. Also, with a host of new electronic features like continuous autofocus, SteadyShot Inside, the rear LCD, and the viewfinder, battery life for the a37 becomes an issue. You can choose to turn off some functions, but then that’s not getting the most bang for your buck.

All in all, however, the a37 is a pretty nifty machine. The pros definitely outweigh the cons with this one. For all the things that it can do, and because it is set at such a competitive price point, this little thing is redefining the term “entry level.” DSLRs and certain other variants will never go out of style. But DSLT technology might actually be adopted by other companies, considering how much technology you can stuff into such a tiny build and how solid the a37 performs.

The a37 does all right in low light: Its Intelligent Auto function will do the trick, detecting light intensity and fixing the correct settings automatically. (Skydive Academy at B-Side, the Collective)

Again, the a37 has got its limitations. But there are ways to get the shot that you want. It’s up to you how to get it – regardless of what camera you use. The great thing about photography is that cameras are merely instruments used for expression. Ultimately, it’s the eye behind the lens that makes a great photo.

But we live in the digital age. We shouldn’t mind if our “eye” gets a little help from modern technology. 

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For more information about the Sony Alpha a37 and other Sony Products, visit www.sony.com.ph

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E-mail me at [email protected].

The macro function is always a fun tool: This is my cat, Flow.









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