Home > Product Reviews > Camera Reviews > SONY SLT-A33


We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

The Sony SLT-A33 is part of the Sony Alpha series of digital SLR cameras. This particular series offers Translucent Mirror Technology which Sony claims allows the A33 to both shoot and focus with the “speed and precision of Phase Detection AF.” The TMT is supposed to direct light to the image sensor and Phase Detection AF sensor simultaneously. It offers a 14.2 megapixel resolution with the ability to record full 1080p HD movies. The CMOS sensor is an APS-C size HD CMOS.  HDR image capture is built-in along with 3D Sweep Panorama modes. The ISO is pretty sensitive ranging from 100 to 12,800. The screen is a 3 inch LCD that is tiltable and comes with the ability to use Live View so you can see what your adjustments do to the image. It has slots for both SD cards and memory sticks as well as a mini-HDMI port.

Features List:

– Translucent Mirror Technology

– 14.2 megapixel

– Record 1080p HD movies

– APS-C size HD CMOS

– HDR image capture

– 3D Sweep Panorama mode

– ISO 100 – 12800

– 3 inch LCD screen

– Live View

– SD/Memory Stick slots

– Mini-HDMI port

Digital Trends’ digital camera buying tips:

What about memory cards?

There is no universal memory card to fit all digital cameras – not yet, anyway. Based on internal politics, design considerations and financial reasons, individual camera manufacturers typically adopt a particular style of Flash Memory card for their cameras. Some manufacturers will even split their alliances – one type of memory card for professional-level cameras, and another type of memory card for consumer level cameras. When buying a new Flash Memory card, remember which camera you have and the type of card it requires. Some camera snobs (like your humble writer) will even selectively buy a digital camera based on the type of Flash Memory card they prefer to use!

The most common types of Flash Memory cards are:

Compact Flash, or CF – Roughly the size of a silver dollar (though not round), the CF card is one of the earliest types of Flash Memory cards and is most often used in professional or semi-pro digital cameras.

Secure Digital, or SD – Roughly the size of a postage stamp, the SD Card is available in a wide range of storage capacities. It’s inexpensive, durable and amazingly lightweight.

Memory Stick or Memory Stick Pro – About the size of a small stick of gum, the Memory Stick is meant for Sony Digital cameras.

XD-Picture, or XD Card – Typically found in Fuji and Olympus cameras, the XD Card is about 40% smaller than the SD card.

Key differences between SLR and Point-n-shoot

Price: According to industry analysts, the vast majority of cameras sold go for less than $200. Making the leap to a DSLR will definitely set you back, but many shoppers obviously believe that the investment is well worth it.

Speed: Speed is the one of the most critical factors. If you’ve ever used a compact digicam, you know that these devices take time to focus and save images to memory cards. During these delays, you can easily miss a smiling face or a running child. To put things in perspective: Point-and-shoot digital cameras generally capture 1 frame per second, while most DSLRs take 3 frames per second or more, making them better suited for fast action shots or sporting events. The difference between snagging the perfect picture and missing it entirely is one of the biggest factors weighing heavily in DSLR cameras’ favor.

Image quality: Compact cameras use much smaller imaging devices. By cramming so many megapixels on a small chip, digital noise is a constant problem. In our reviews, we always recommend keeping the ISO (sensitivity) of a digicam at 400 or less. DSLRs have much larger APS-C sized imagers, meaning you’ll encounter less noise in low light situations and better picture quality overall. Using one, you can shoot in more dimly lit conditions without a flash with little image degradation. In addition, if huge prints are in your future-or extensive cropping-DSLRs should be in your sights.

What are my options?

There are two basic types of digital cameras-point-and-shoot and D-SLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex). Point and shoot digicams-or as we like to call them “aim and forget”-make up the vast majority of models sold (over 90 percent). The reason is simple: in a single gadget you have everything you need to take good photos. Just aim, zoom in on your subject, press the shutter and the camera does all the work. More sophisticated D-SLRs have interchangeable lenses that let you unleash your inner Annie Leibovitz-they offer higher quality, faster response time and more flexibility. They also are a lot heavier and cost much more. Your decision between the two is purely personal and totally dependent on your level of commitment to photography. No matter which way you go there are basics that hold true for all cameras. Learning them will help you make the right decision.

What about shooting video?

Within the past few years, video has gone from a novel sideshow that yielded almost unusably bad results, to a legitimate secondary purpose for many point-and-shoot cameras. Although you probablt won’t want to replace your dedicated camcorder with a camera that also shoots video, many will do the job just fine for short, impromptu clips.

First off, pay attention to the resolution a camera can capture – VGA (640 x 480) is now common on point-and-shoot cams, while 720p is getting more frequent and 1080p sometimes crops up on DSLRs. Video in the AVCHD format – the same type real digital camcorders shoot – is preferable to other formats. Pay attention to the encoding bitrate, measured in megabits per second (mbps). The higher the rate, the more detailed the videos will look, although they will take up more space on your storage card as well.

How many megapixels do I need?

In 2000, the answer to this question was “more is always better.” In 2010, the answer is more likely “if you have to ask, you have enough.” Even the cheapest cameras these days typically pack eight or more megapixels onto a sensor, which produces superb 4 x 6 prints, all the way up to 8 x 10, and sometimes more. The physical size and quality of the image sensor along with the corresponding optics play a much bigger role in image quality than megapixels alone, so don’t be fooled into thinking more megapixels will produce better photographs. Unless you’re planning to blow up shots to poster or billboard size, any modern camera has enough resolution.
When you’re researching different cameras, manufacturers will state the maximum file (or picture) size you can take. In the case of a 6 megapixel (MP) camera, it’s 2816 horizontal pixels x 2112 vertical pixels, with 7MP it’s 3072 x 2304 and so on. Simply multiply the numbers and you get the effective resolution of the imaging device. We suggest you avoid anything less than 6 or 7MP at this point unless you’re looking for an inexpensive camera for the kids.
Pros have access to 21-megapixel imagers in very expensive D-SLRs. You don’t have to go this route or spend that much money for great everyday photos. However, 6MP should be your minimum and if you plan on making very large prints, such as 13x19s, or you feel you’re going to experiment cropping photos with imaging software, consider 8- or more megapixels. There are no hard and fast rules since so much depends on your final end use

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