Sony Alpha SLT-A37 16.1 MP DSLR Camera

Times certainly have changed as Sony has pushed the boundaries of digital single lens reflex (dSLR) technology to the point where you have to wonder just what's next. For example, one of the criticisms of all digital photography has been collecting the light needed not only for quick reaction time but also for the best imagery possible.

The reason has to do with analog-to-digital light collection. Light collection for truly low-light, non-flash technology has been governed by the number of analog-to-digital collectors available. Sony has done a great deal of experimentation and development in this area and has pushed its Exmor light capture and display system farther than other camera manufacturers by packing about 4,000 rows of parallel light sensors into a square that is just on the focal plane and at the mirror so that whatever ambient light collected is used by the "Exmor HD" image processing system.

Also the manufacturer has also increased the size of the analog-to-digital capture grid pixels so that you can shoot at light levels that were unimaginable even six months ago. An F-stop of more than 16000 (ISO16000) is easily possible so that you can use your digital camera to photograph a concert without bothering the participants or the people around you with your camera's strobe.

Driving this system is Sony's proprietary BIONZ processor. The BIONZ processor works with the Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor system to enable not only great low light response photography, but also another interesting development that Sony calls its "Translucent Mirror Technology". Normally, in a dSLR the mirror takes itself offline when you are using autofocus (AF) because extra light bouncing off the mirror through the lens increases the number of variables that have too be screened by the processor and light-processing system. Instead, the AF system is used, in this situation, as it puts a small beam of light out that is returned to the mirror and then to the image processor and the sharpness of the image is set.

With the "Translucent Mirror System," a number of improvements to the Exmor HD CMOS image sensor plus the BIONZ engine mean that you can actually focus the dSLR as you focus any viewfinder camera. You just put it to your eye, push the button down about half-way and your photo is automatically set. You just take the image.

With the electronics and coding changes the light coming through the lens and onto the mirror is sampled, along with other light sources so that you can not only take a super-sharp initial image, you can also auto shoot up to 7 fps as the Digital Range Finding firmware has also been upgraded.

The SLT A37, successor to last year's A35, also has had major improvements in its stabilization arrange (Steady Shot Inside Image) as well as its Dynamic Range Optimization circuitry so that you obtain clear, crisp images across the range of your shot. Indeed, the AF system now measures 15 points automatically so that images that were clear are now crystal clear. A lot of that, though, has to do with its 16.1 MP photo resolution.

Sony has gone to a lot of expensive to increase the effectiveness of its varied systems from Facial Recognition to landscape mode to even its smile mode, all of which have worked out well.

When it is all tied together in its neat 4.9 by 3.3 by 3.6 inch package that weighs in at 1.9 pounds and uses a proprietary battery that is good for 500 shots, you can see they have gone to a lot of time and expense to make this camera as flexible as possible by making not only compatible with its older autostabilized lenses but by giving full AVCHD compatibility while it shoots at 1080/60ii/24 p or full HD compatibility at 1080/30 p for MP 4 movie mode.

It also includes a high-resolution 3 inch LCD in the that is turnable through about 230 degrees so you can literally shoot in back of you while you ostensibly are looking to the front.

Available with either a standard 18 to 135 mm basic lens or a 18 to 55 mm zoom, the A37 is ready to go whether you are taking closeups or zoom shots. It is ready to handle anything you can throw at it and more.


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