Review: Sony SLT Alpha 33

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The Sony SLT (Single Lens Translucent) Alpha 33 is a new DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) offered from Sony. This camera like the Sony Alpha 55 operates on the translucent mirror technology which enables very fast shooting. Its 7fps (frames per second) high speed continuous shooting mode is great and helps to capture scenes with ease. The Alpha 33 is quite small when compared to other DSLR's in the same price range. The question really is can the Sony Alpha 33 stand tall in a market dominated by Nikon and Canon?

Design & Built:
The Sony Alpha 33 feels strong and well built. The body is made of hard plastic,except for the rubberised hand grip and thumb rest. The Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is also surrounded by a rubbery border.

On top right of the device we find the shutter button. It rests within the on/off toggle. It also houses the Finder/LCD Button and the D (Dynamic)-Range button. In the middle is the in-built flash which can be either manually brought up or pops up when required. On the top left is the Mode Dial which is quite rare in Sony cameras, as it is normally placed on the top right.

The rear of the device houses the 3-inch LCD screen. On top of it is the Electronic Viewfinder which has a rubberized finish to protect it. On the left side just below the Mode dial is the Menu Button. On the right is the Auto-Exposure Lock (AEL) button which also does the work of Zooming In. Next to the AEL is the AV button which also acts as a Zoom Out button. Next to the LCD screen is the FN (Function) button, Navigation dial, Erase button and the Playback Button for viewing the images.
 
The front of the device houses the Control Dial, Lens release button and the Auto-Focus (AF) Manual-Focus (MF) toggle. The left panel has the HDMI, USB, Mic and Remote ports. The battery and Memory card slots are located at the base of the camera.
 
Usability:

To start with, the Sony SLT Alpha 33 features a 14.2 Megapixel High Definition Exmor CMOS sensor. The ISO ranges from 100 to 12,800 which is great for shooting pictures in low light conditions.
The camera also has the Sony's SteadyShot Inside image stabilisation system which automatically stabilises images in any light condition.

The Sony SLT Alpha 33 features an Electronic Viewfinder which very interestingly shows the water level mark that facilitates shooting straight images without a tripod. This camera works on the translucent mirror technology which has a fixed mirror in place of the shutter and this speeds up the image processing.

The 3 inch LCD can be flipped out as per shooting requirements. Videos can be recorded at full 1080p High Definition.

The camera has the option of shooting in Manual or Auto Mode. The Manual Mode gives the freedom of experimenting with the aperture and shutter speed and also the White Balance, Colour Temperature and Flash. It has 8 scene modes: Portrait, Macro (for close-ups of small objects in sharp focus), Night View (captures images at night without the flash), Sunset, Landscape, Sport Action and Night Portrait.
 
It also includes Sweep Panorama (common feature in almost all Sony Cameras) that can be also changed to 3D Sweep. There is also modes like Auto + (enables automatic scene detection, continuous shooting, shadow adjustment and image saving), Aperture Priority, Program Auto, Shutter Priority, and something very interesting called Cont. Priority AE which captures images continuously at 7fps.

Another very interesting mode is the Hand-Held Twilight. This enables shooting in the dark without the use of a tripod. This mode has image stabilisation which automatically happens even when not using the tripod. The image quality is good as it does not get pixelated even when shot in low-light or when it is zoomed to its max.

The function button allows selection of more modes such as Drive Mode, Flash Mode, Autofocus Mode, AF (Area of Focus) Mode, Face Detection and Smile Shutter.
 
Verdict:
The Sony SLT Alpha 33 is definitely smaller compared to the rest of the DLSR cameras which makes it very portable. Its hard and tough exterior makes it very good travel companion. But the body feels a little plasticky. The Hand-Held Twilight Mode and the Night View mode make it excellent for night shooting especially for concerts and night clubs. There is quite a time lag when switching from the Electronic Viewfinder to the LCD and this can be a bummer. At a price tag of Rs 33,990, this is definitely a considerable option if you are looking for an entry level DSLR

Price: Rs 33,990

Pros:
Strong Built
Water Level Mark in the Viewfinder
Good Low-Light Shooting
 
Cons:
Plastic Body
Protruding Electronic Viewfinder

In the Box:

Battery Charger
Rechargable Battery
Shoulder Strap
Body Cap
USB Cable
CD-ROM
HDMI cable
User Manual
Warrany card

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