Sony Alpha SLT-A35 translucent mirror camera
Other often-used settings, such as ISO and White Balance, are accessed through the navigation pad. My main concern regarding the controls layout is the position of the playback button at the back of the camera. This appears on the bottom right and sits next to the delete button, which I found difficult to get used to. Another niggle is there's just one control dial to change shutter and aperture.
The 3in display viewing areas is reduced by icons in the margins
The Fn button next to the thumb rest gives access to a quick menu that is well organized and allows you to change common settings such as drive mode, flash, AF area, metering, dynamic range functions (DRO/HDR) and more. Selections are made with the shutter/aperture control dial at the front. The full menu is also well thought out with settings being divided into sections – it is quite extended though, with 12 different screens, so navigation can be lengthy.
The SLT-A35 features a 3in LCD screen with a 921k dot resolution which is sharp with good contrast. However, the actual viewing portion of the LCD is half an inch smaller than listed on the specs because the sides of the screen are permanently used to display menu options and settings. An optical viewfinder would require more light than the amount filtered through the translucent mirror, hence, the electronic equivalent. While this approach might not match the quality of an optical viewfinder, I found the performance from its 1.15m-dot resolution and 100 per cent frame coverage proved a very acceptable alternative.
One of the main attractions of the SLT option is the increased speed during capture. The A35 nicely obliges with the ability to continually shoot up to 5.5fps in standard mode or 7fps when the Telezoom mode is activated, which reduces the resolution to 8.4Mp. Start-up times and shutter lag are also impressive but where SLT really makes a difference is in the autofocus performance.
The A35 features a 15-point phase detection AF system with three cross sensors, which is one of the fastest and most responsive I've experienced with this class of camera. Both in still and video mode, the A35 locks onto the subject without any perceivable delay and constantly keeps the subject in focus, even in low light and with fast movement. The other by-product of this fast performance is a truly seamless Live View operation, which continues to be a sticky point even for far more expensive cameras.
The A-mount body accommodates Minolta, Konica and Sony Alpha lenses
If this lightweight, affordable camera had already pleasantly surprised me for its intelligent design, fast performance and innovative features, the best had yet to come. When I reviewed the images it produced I was blown away – the SLT-A35 delivered some stunning images with saturated, vivid yet natural colours and an unexpected level of fine detail.