Announced within a press release earlier today, Sony is replacing the Alpha α55 digital SLR with the Alpha α57 DSLR in order to compete more effectively against the Nikon D5100, Canon EOS Rebel T3i and other midrange digital SLR cameras. Using a 16.1MP CMOS sensor, the Alpha α57 shoots 10 frames-per-second at the full 16-megapixel resolution and 12 frames-per-second at an 8-megapixel resolution. When using manual aperture control, the α57 can shoot 8 frames-per-second at the full resolution. The fast shooting mode is ideal for sports photography or basically any fast moving subjects. The Alpha α57 also captures full HD 1080p video (AVCHD) at 60 fps or 24 fps and the camera offers object tracking to make sure moving subjects stay in focus.
Utilizing LCD technology, the Alpha α57 uses a 1,440,000 dot electronic viewfinder rather than a “through-the-lens” optical viewfinder. The camera operator can also utilize the 3-inch, bottom-hinged LCD screen on the back of the α57. The small LCD screen doesn’t offer any touchscreen abilities, but does offer a sharp 921k dot resolution. The camera also uses a 15-point auto focus system when taking shots and has a maximum ISO sensitivity of 16,000 according to Sony.
Beyond the standard in-camera Picture Effect modes, Sony has included a new effect called Auto Portrait Framing. Designed to help the average photographer obtain higher quality composition, the mode uses the rule of thirds and face detection to create a well-balanced picture. Sony also claims that the 2x Clear Image Zoom technology will “double the effective magnification of the lens” using digital zoom, but without degrading the picture quality.
Sony’s α57 interchangeable lens camera will be available in stores during April 2012 and the body-only model will retail for approximately $700. Sony will also be selling the SLT-A57K, a version of the camera with a 18-55mm zoom lens for $800. These prices are identical to the current retail prices of the stand-alone α55 as well as the version of the α55 with the included lens.