Sony Alpha SLT-A35 digital SLR camera
A compact, simple entry-level digital SLR that's OK but not great
- Excellent live view
- Built-in IS
- Poor button ergonomics, no flip-out LCD
- Kit lens feels plasticky and cheap
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.
Price$ 949.00 (AUD)
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!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Evapolar USB air conditioner review
- 2 LED Lenser P7R Professional Torch review
- 3 Aftershokz Wireless Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones review
- 4 Review: Periscope users rejoice with Feiyu’s G4 Plus 3-Axis Gimbal for Smartphone video
- 5 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
Latest News Articles
- Home Theatre review: Which is better, a 4K projector or 4K TV?
- Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 review: HD video and stereo sound add polish to video calls
- Boat rental with GetMyBoat – the AirBnB of boating
- Want to live on Mars with 1M of your closest friends?
- Mozilla tests ad-blocking feature in Firefox
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- CCContract Junior Programmer (J2EE/SQL) 160927/JP/551Asia
- CCService Desk analystSA
- CCInformatica Developer (MDM)NSW
- FTDesktop/Application SupportVIC
- CCSolution ArchitectQLD
- CCiOS DeveloperNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst - Telecom ProjectNSW
- FTOutbound TelesalesVIC
- FTCarrier/ Industrial Network ConsultantsWA
- CCSoftware TesterACT
- FTScrum Master | High Profile FintechNSW
- FTTechnical Support Engineer | Cloud | Automation techsNSW
- CCContract Systems Analyst (IT Security) 160928/JP/653Asia
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperNSW
- CCSolutions ArchitectACT
- CCFull Stack Application Developer - IoT projectsVIC
- FTBusiness Development Manager | ICT intelligent systems integrationVIC
- CCSenior Infrastrcture Project ManagerACT
- FTNetApp Storage ConsultantWA
- FTNetwork and Security Design EngineerNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst with change management experienceACT
- FTTest Manager (HP Quality Centre / ARIBA)NSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst -Change and SAP ProcurementNSW
- CCJava / J2ee ProgrammersACT
- FTBackup ConsultantWA