Sony A57 Review

June 7, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 JS

IQ is really great especially at low ISO.

6:56 pm - Thursday, June 7, 2012

#2 medic

Thank you for an excellent and very thorough review. Going to make my 1st DSLR purchase soon. Everyone tells me I’m investing in a system & not just a camera. For a hobbyist like me, this camera is going to be my system. To me, buying a DSLR is like buying a car. It’s a pricey investment that wont happen often, so might as well have all the options like a/c, power windows & power locks.

8:42 pm - Thursday, June 7, 2012

#3 Wakaas

Hi. I hav bought this SLT last last month. It’s my first ever DSLR experience. Very happy with it so far. Iam using Sony 35mm F1.8 on it. I hav got excellent results. Now I want to buy a zoom lens. Iam thinking to go for Sony 16-105mm. Need professional advice. Thanx

3:01 pm - Friday, June 8, 2012

#4 JB

I bought it a week ago. Missing possibility to choose SPOT-AF in automatic modes. It should also be possible to select ISO or at least locking high ISO in automatic modes. Has good picture quality also with standard zoom and is very fast.

7:51 pm - Friday, June 8, 2012

#5 AG

The 16-50 f/2.8 (made in China) is excellent in IQ and build. IMO it is the key to Sony’s future for construction of high quality optics.
IQ competes and exceeds that of Canon EF-S 17-55mm.

The 16-105mm (made in Japan) is very good to excellent. I think it as good as the Canon EF-S 15-85 in IQ. The range is really nice.

Some prefer the super zoom 18-250mm as a convenient all-in-one travel lens.

There is also a new 18-135mm coming out this summer that will have AF motor and direct manual focus, so it would be nice see a review of this lens. It’s about $500 so not a bad price if it delivers.

11:16 pm - Friday, June 8, 2012

#6 Tom

The review isn’t very good.

They say it shoots 12fps full resolution 16.1 mp photos but then say to achieve 12 fps it crops the image with the 1.4x telezoom resulting in an 8.4 mp photo. They also says it maintains continuous auto exposure but then say it locks exposure on the first shot. Which is it? Double talk like that makes me doubt the validity of the whole review or am I missing something.

He also claims the jpgs are a little soft but in the samples he shows the jpgs are great as is but his sharpened images are over sharpened showing halos, effectively ruining the photo. AFAIC this “review” is pretty bad and should be ignored.

12:38 pm - Saturday, June 9, 2012

#7 Wakaas

Hi, I hav got my 16-105mm today :) SLT-A57 + 16-105mm : BLASTTTTT :))

4:30 pm - Saturday, June 9, 2012

#8 Ace

For those in the UK.

This has already come down in price.

Making it a very tempting option :)

11:58 am - Monday, June 18, 2012

#9 Murat

A very successful camera for landscape photography.

You can see sony A330-L photos at

12:01 pm - Friday, June 22, 2012

#10 Medic

I got it with a 18-50mm kit lens. Thanks to the sales dude, I also bought a Sony 50mm 1.8 prime lens. Using my car analogy, it’s a car from the future. Couldn’t even figure out how to use the features. But I think it’ll be the same with all 1st time DSLR users. This thing is like a super advance transformer. It’ll be a while before I figure out how to transform it into “Optical Prime 1.8” ;) The blurred background combined with the “auto crop” made my pictures amazing! I was like, I didn’t take that photo, but it looks great. Good lenses cost more than the cameras!! I ain’t buying anymore lens, except for a zoom (whenever a good one goes on sale). Glad I decided on the Sony.

4:42 pm - Friday, June 22, 2012

#11 Medic

It’s been 2 weeks now & I brought my A57 to an ice-skating lesson, dance recital and a wedding. Still alot to learn on this baby, but pictures are amazing. Loving the 12 frames/sec. Should have seen the envious looks of other dslr owners at the wedding, as my 12 frame/sec roared its shutter speed. After the wedding they all came other to check out my camera. I didn’t know there was a 3D option. It looked great on my 3D tv. Only issues so far are problems uploading videos to my MAC. Researched the issue on the net and am not worried about it. There are fixes available.

7:52 pm - Tuesday, July 3, 2012

#12 Manta

Bought this as my first DSLR.  After spending many hours researching and comparing, the 12fps was teh main feature I needed, as I have begun shooting my children’s soccer games.  I have a goalie and a midfielder… BEAUTIFUL shots and the HD video is a bonus(really wasn’t planning on using it much)
I was down to the A57, the Nikon d5100 and the Canon T3i.  This one was hands down superior.
I will be getting some pictures of waterskiing and jet boat races this weekend.
I bought this with the 18-55mm kit.  I also purchased the 70-300mm Telephoto lens.
Cannot wait to see what these pictures look like!

5:29 pm - Tuesday, July 31, 2012

#13 Medic

It’s been close to 2 months now. Sharpness is amazing. Starting to play with the exposure triangle. Wow, all the things u can do, once you know how.
BEST discovery ever!!! My uncle and his buddies ALL have Minolta systems, but switched to Canon a few years ago. I got some sweet Minolta lenses for free. Have to get a bigger camera bag for all my lenses now. Who would figure, eh?

11:45 pm - Tuesday, July 31, 2012

#14 88k3ys

I am considering getting an entry level DSLR to record video for a myriad of creative projects, but principally I will be working on music videos.  I want the video to look “good” (as in “produced”) in this context; would this camera be able to do that for me if I used it correctly?  Also, how would the recording experience be?  The bottom-located hinge I heard was disappointing; would it make shooting video that much more difficult?
Thank you.

9:01 am - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

#15 Medic

Hi 88k3ys,

Yes this camera has the ability to make a professional looking video, but it’s mostly dependent on your skills. (Like any camera) I just scratched the surface of its full potential, but here are my 2 cents. I had issues importing the AVCHD files into Final Cut X, but there was no issues with the MP4 format. The 24/30/60 1080p FPS option is (only?) available in AVCHD mode. Sharp image + shallow depth of field was easily achieved with the old Minolta Maxxim 70-200 F4 lens which I got for free, but I found a few on Craigslist going for $100-$150. You’ll probably also need a good tripod with 3 way FLUID pan, a rig to stabilize some shots (I bought a used shoulder rig), a decent external microphone & finally, a good lighting system. You’re going to need all this equipment on any camera system you’re going to buy, if you want to make a professional looking video.

5:49 pm - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

#16 Medic

88k3ys, as per the bottom hinged LCD, yeah it would have been more preferable on the side like the Canon t3i or t4i, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the usage of my Sony A57. I just learned how to hold it differently. After much experimentation with the possible angles of the LCD screen, I only found one angle where the location of the hinge caused an issue. When you have the camera higher than yourself. Works fine if you’re holding the camera in your hands, but if it’s on a tripod, the tripod mount obstructs your view. From a low angle, there’s no obstruction because the camera won’t be on a tripod. I’m using an LCD magnifying loupe, and its awesome, so I no longer worry about the bottom hinged and hopefully when I have enough money, I’ll add an external monitor. But that would be overkill.

6:02 pm - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

#17 Paul

I came from a Canon T3 which I like but there was something I did not like, like the small view finder or the slow bust rate to name a few. I sold it and pick up the A57, let me tell you the A57 beats the T3 on just about all accounts. Very fast bust rate, very nice view finder although it’s is of the EV type and many hard cores would not think of having it but it works fine for me, only down side to it is the fact it shortens the battery life. The A57 is a joy to use.

2:49 pm - Sunday, September 16, 2012

#18 WanaM3

I find the A57 to be very much like a toy and can’t recommend the new Sony line of products. They are fine for the amateur photographer, but don’t offer the level of expansion that other manufacturers provide. Remember, once you are locked into a system, It’s extremely expensive to switch to another system. I dislike the lack of incremental ISO settings along with the dim viewfinder. I don’t get a clear reproduction that my eye can see. The ISO setting are not graduated well and make huge jumps from say ISO 800 to 1600. What happened to 1000 and 1200 settings and that is common throughout the range. I guess if you want to flip the ol’ switch to automatic, then it’s probably a decent camera, but lacks the fine creative adjustments.

I don’t find much of a need to 12 fps either. The buffer is only capable of holding so much and many of the frames are very similar. You only end up with a lot of shots of the same bit of action. I shoot a lot of bird strikes and such and it’s really rather pointless. I would rather have an older improved A580. Should have purchased a used one instead.

Image quality is decent, but wouldn’t call it exceptional. Just keep Canon and Nikon in mind when you make your decisions.

3:05 am - Thursday, January 3, 2013

#19 DJ Pace

When Sony bought out Minolta, I thought that I would have to go with Nikon or Cannon, not so. Sony has and continues to put out cutting edge equipment the A57 is no exception. My Minolta lenses work perfectly and the Sony lenses are very good. Nikon and Cannon are good but, in my line of photography, Sony has proven itself to be the better camera. They are durable and dependable. I chose the a57 over the a77 because of a lot of bad reviews, and never considered the a65.

5:07 am - Saturday, February 16, 2013

#20 Rey

One of the biggest advantages of this camera is the EVF- to be able to view all of my settings while looking at the view finder while composing is a wonderful feature. Any adjustments I make with WB, shutter speed, ISO are immediately shown on the EVF - heck I even have the histogram on there so I can adjust my EV shift or other parameters without taking my eye off the viewfinder. Try that with DSLR- you’d have to take a photo first, review it, then adjust.

Another feature which is wonderful as well is the Focus peaking, to be able to focus with the aid of this is idispensible esp. if your eyesight isn’t too keen.

The A57 has it’s pros and cons, the only question is are you willing to live with it. It is not the best in low-light or high-ISO but I don’t shoot in that evironment to be an issue. I must say I don’t venture beyond 1600 much but I have yet to shoot RAW (waiting on software). Noise reduction is fairly aggressive but it is adjustable to a degree- when in doubt, shoot in RAW for more flexibility(this applies to almost all cameras)
Battery life is lower than most, I average 600 shots on mine, but if you shoot more than this on one outing, get a spare! 

My pictures are awesome using this camera, I love the overall handling, speed and quality of the photos I take. It definitely works for me. Not considering this camera or atleast trying it out would be a big dis-service to anyone- it really is greta piece of gear, matched with good glass( I have plenty of Minolta primes and zooms) it takes phenomenal photos.

6:43 pm - Monday, March 11, 2013

#21 Alan

Question: how do you get this thing into the “bulb” mode so I can use extended shutter time?
Tanks in advance

1:15 am - Wednesday, March 20, 2013

#22 Alan

Thx, found it on my own.  It is in the manual mode with the shutter speed all the way out.

2:35 am - Wednesday, March 20, 2013

#23 Ankit

This is my first DSLR/DSLT camera and i am totally happy with it.
I dont know why sony is discontinuing this model.

4:23 pm - Monday, April 1, 2013

#24 Fran

Spot on!

I tried this camera out yesterday and fell head over heels in love with it! Very easy to use with a very responsive sensor. Maddeningly fast shutter and crisp image quality. Amazing video filming capabilities.

It’s going to be my very first “serious” camera. I’ve been stuck with point and shoots and want to take it further. I was honestly looking around at Nikon and Canon and found EVERYTHING I wanted with Sony.


Amazing camera…! I was going to buy the Nikon d5100 but I found shooting with the Sony so much more compelling and fast-paced. EASY, too.

I get so excited talking about this camera because it really is JUST GREAT! I think Sony really outdid themselves with this SLT camera. It’s affordable and the quality is groundbreaking.

10:47 am - Monday, July 1, 2013

#25 Kevin

Hi - How do you download Sony A57 HD Video into Mac Final Cut Pro for editing a finished video?
Thanks Kev

5:22 pm - Monday, July 29, 2013

#26 Medic

Hey Kev, You have to convert AVCHD to MP4. I’ve used the 1st program that google found for me: Bigasoft AVCHD converter.  The Sony A57 will record in AVCHD mode if you choose the highest setting. But if you choose the 720p mode it saves it as MP4 so you won’t have to do any conversion. It’s been a year now since I’ve had the Sony A57 and I love it still. Any new parents have to buy a DSLR to capture the moments. Even though I got some swanky Minolta lenses, none of them have an Fstop as low as my Sony Prime. That’s all I carry now. I’m eyeing the Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 lense now. It’s $850 regular, hoping to catch a price drop. Also I love the design of the lcd screen. Most of the time I have it open to 90 degrees. So I’m holding the camera in my palms and looking down to the screen/ground. My friends thought I was using an old school Hasselblad. I find shooting in this position very comfortable as I don’t have to kneel down to get the angles, I just use my arms to lift or lower the camera. Also with regards to my friends who said Sony lenses would be more expensive, they’re asking to borrow my camera because of my Sony 50mm f/1.8 lense. Apparently Sony makes some really great lenses at an affordable price, however they are not metal. Hence the savings. I’ve had my Sony 50mm for a year now and it’s not metal and it still works fine and I’ve brought my camera everywhere. The local Costco has started to carry the Sony A58 now. So if Costco carries it, you know it’s quality. Glad I chose Sony Alpha, as the Sony NEX-VG900 camcorder, which is compatible with all my lenses, is next on my wish list. Hee hee.. Wife is not happy with that.

7:36 pm - Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#27 yourphotoman


1:03 pm - Sunday, August 25, 2013

#28 yourphotoman


1:06 pm - Sunday, August 25, 2013

#29 true_north

your $999. current price for the A57 is twice (if not more) than what you can get it for.  It would be great if your site reflected the fact that the only A57’s available now are those being cleared out to make room for the A58’s.

12:30 am - Monday, December 16, 2013

#30 V

Had camera for about 3 yrs….so lots of “exposure” to it.  Am an amatuer with most photos taken of action at sporting events of my kids, soccer, football, track, cross country.  Admittedly, I am not a great photographer, but the A57 does the work for me.  I have become the team photographer for ALL the different sports teams, because no other photos come close to the quality of action shots…except the newpaper photographers professional 30lb cameras…their photos are way superior, but probably because they do the work, unlike me, instead of the camera.  All parents send me pleas for action photos of their athlete for yearbook, scrapbook etc.  Honestly, biggest pain is all the requests for photos from other people, but you sure make LOADS of friends, even if it only for your camera!

Hold on, there are some downsides…I have noticed as the camera was about 2yrs in use, that the equipment freezes periodically…. The camera REALLY does not like cold weather, below say 40ish degrees.  It will unfreeze with a bit of coaxing (turning on/off) but by that time the shot is gone.  Freezing up does not occur often, I have had it happen approx. 4-5 times in 5 years, but annoying, expecially 1st time, when you think it is broken.  Also, I have used the movie option, but cannot view it, as i have not figured out how to download the movie properly yet.  I paid $800ish, plus $169 for telephoto lens.  Was worth it to me…at $600 price range, I would snap it up!  Oh, buy an extra battery, mine is still good and holds a charge for more than 5 hrs after 3 years, but I still wish I had bought the extra battery!

2:10 pm - Monday, November 17, 2014

#31 ash

I paired my A57 up with good quality Minolta glass. I take pics that impress all my hard core photographer mates, without the need for any photo-shop touch ups.

The focus peaking function allows for pinpoint perfect manual focusing and brings the art back to taking photos without the camera doing the work

Great rig!

12:22 pm - Thursday, April 30, 2015

Entry Tags

hd video, review, hd, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, test, 16 megapixel, hdmi, movie, sony, video, RAW, DSLR, tilting, 10fps, JPEG, EVF, alpha, slt, 12fps, slt-a57, a57, Sony A57