Saturday, 18 February 2012

Best RM2,000 Beginner DSLR

Best RM2,000 Beginner DSLR: Sony Alpha A35

Yes the Sony SLT-A35 is really THAT small
Although next month Sony is going to unveil something called "Sony Alpha A57" but I think the price wont be this low as it is a mid range camera according to sources. In this price range we have Canon 1100D and Nikon D3100 sharing the spotlight with the A35. In this price range I'd expect ease of use for new users to begin shooting right away. But the Canon doesn't shoot full HD video. It has no manual exposure settings in video and it wont autofocus either. The Nikon is fine, but it has no AF motor built in so you're gonna need lenses that has them. These lenses costs a lot mate.

So it leaves the Sony A35 alone in the spotlight. The 16MP sensor significantly offers best image quality until ISO 1600 and usable until ISO 3200, which is normal for a APS sized sensor. The SLT-A35 also comes with two continuous shooting modes - 5.5 frames per second at full resolution and 7 frames per second at a 1.4x crop for sports shooting. In addition to stills photography, the Sony Alpha A35 allows you to record full HD videos in AVCHD format (17Mbps). Thanks to the translucent mirror technology there is phase detection autofocus in video. So you can point it anywhere and it will focus for you.

What I like about it is its image stabilization system is sensor shift type. So no matter what lenses you use, you still have an anti-shake system working. Prime lenses like a 50mm does not have these in the lens so a system like this is indeed very useful and impressive. A range of new 'Picture Effects' is available for both stills and video, including Retro Photo, High-key, Toy Camera and Posterisation are supported aside from Sony's traditional CyberShot toys like HDR, Sweep Panorama and more. Weighing in at 415 grams, the Sony A35 is compatible with range of A-mount lenses and comes with an integrated electronic viewfinder with 100% frame coverage for accurate framing. The battery life is also not bad at 420 per charge, which is close to the big brother Canon EOS 550D.

Let's go to the little bad parts I'd like to reveal about this camera. The translucent mirror is a gift, but it comes with some setbacks. The mirror is always there, blocking the light so you're not getting the shutter speed other cameras get with the same exact parameters. Let's say with a traditional DSLR at ISO 3200 f/2.8 we can get 1/500s. But with the A35, you'll get 1/400s, which is slower. Plus in video mode, the microphone although records stereo sound, the ambient noise, sensor shift mechanism, lens autofocus sounds sometimes get into the recording. But still, it is useably quiet and not such a big problems as beginner shooters wont mind the minor defects in quality like a pro would. It's ancestor, the A33 offers a swivel screen but to bring the price down, the A35 doesn't.

At this price, it offers a great package for beginner shooters. From fun effects to play with, to easy auto operations. At the price, this is the best for those who still in the dark about what aperture and shutter speed means.

US$ 699 with kit lens (RM2,100, KRW780,000)
recommended secondary lens: Sony SAL50F18 50mm f/1.8 SAM DT (US$124, MYR 373. KRW 138,000)

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