Sony Alpha SLT-A35 digital SLR camera

A compact, simple entry-level digital SLR that's OK but not great

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Sony Alpha SLT-A35
  • Sony Alpha SLT-A35
  • Sony Alpha SLT-A35
  • Expert Rating

    3.25 / 5

Pros

  • Compact
  • Excellent live view
  • Built-in IS

Cons

  • Poor button ergonomics, no flip-out LCD
  • Kit lens feels plasticky and cheap

Bottom Line

The Sony Alpha A35 is a viable alternative for its entry-level Canon EOS 600D and Nikon D3100 competitors. It doesn’t have any special surprises in picture quality or usability, although we think the build quality of the bundled lens isn’t great and the buttons could be easier to press. The A35 is very compact and has effective built-in image stabilisation and excellent Live View.

Would you buy this?

The Sony Alpha SLT-A35 is an entry-level digital camera. It’s half-way between a digital SLR camera like the Canon EOS 600D and a mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera like the Olympus E-P3, because it has a ‘pellicle’ mirror — it can focus as fast as a digital SLR while showing a live view image on the rear LCD screen like a mirrorless camera. In theory it’s a good compromise between convenience and image quality but for all intents and purposes the Sony Alpha A35 is another good-but-not-great camera in an already-crowded market.

Read our selection of the top digital SLRs for August 2011.

Sony Alpha SLT-A35: Design and layout

The Sony Alpha SLT-A35 is laid out like a traditional digital SLR camera, with an electronic viewfinder above a 3in rear LCD screen and a large finger-grip on the camera’s right-hand side. Buttons are laid out on both the top and rear, and there’s a mode dial on the left-hand top, near the button for the built-in pop-up flash. This layout isn’t anything special, but what caught our attention was how about half the buttons are slightly recessed into the camera’s body. If you’re using the Sony Alpha A35 up to your eye, this makes some of the buttons hard to find and press. Another puzzling feature is the lack of articulating LCD screen that the earlier Alpha A33 had (which also appears on the competing Canon EOS 600D and Nikon’s step-up D5100).

The body of the Sony Alpha A35 is compact for a digital SLR. It’s still a chunky beast compared to a mirrorless camera but alongside a Nikon D3x or a Canon 5D Mark II it’s toy-sized. This makes it great for throwing into an overnight bag or purse where a larger camera might be a hindrance. The A35’s ergonomics aren’t seriously compromised by the smaller size, though.

The Sony A35 accepts Sony A-mount lenses, with the camera available in single- and twin-lens kits. We tested the A35 with the kit 18-55mm lens, which is a general-purpose wide-angle zoom. Disappointingly, it’s cheaply built with scratchy plastics, and doesn’t zoom smoothly across the entire range. It’s also quite loud when focusing (which it does admittedly do reasonably quickly) — we’d opt for a different lens if possible.

The live view on the Sony Alpha SLT-A35 — the live video feed on the rear LCD and through the electronic viewfinder, in lieu of a through-the-lens view like on a regular SLR camera — is excellent. It’s smooth and accurately shows the exposure of the image you’re about to capture, and operates well even in low light. If you’re an amateur photographer that prefers composing images on the rear LCD, the Alpha A35 is a superior choice to other entry-level digital SLRs like the Canon EOS 600D and Nikon D3100 in this regard.

Next page: image quality, performance, video quality and conclusion.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?