back to article Sony Alpha SLT-A35 translucent mirror camera

Sony’s Alpha SLT-35 expands on its translucent mirror camera models that offer similar handling to a DSLR and compatibility with its A mount Alpha range of lenses. The catch with this magic mirror tech is that to keep things compact, you end up with an electronic viewfinder, rather than an optical one. The gains are fast AF and …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FPS - i/p?

    For video recording please state frame rates whether it is interlace or progressive with any resolution mentioned. The pure resolution isn't very informative without this information.

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: FPS - i/p?

      The information you seek is in the Vital Stats box.

  2. DF118
    Thumb Up

    At first I thought their profusion of models would hinder them, but Sony seem to be really upping the ante in the consumer market and I'm glad to see their kit doing well. I get the impression they are concentrating their R&D on building a loyal following lower down the food chain instead of pouring money into pro/prosumer kit at the top end for minimal gains against the Canon/Nikon behemoth. Still, I'm very interested to see what they're going to come out with next at the top end, if only because it means I might be able to get my grubby paws on a cheap second hand a850/900.

    Sony really need to get their lens range and pricing sorted out though. Charging through the nose for a better-than-average lens just because it has a blue square on the side is not the way to win customers. Before anyone jumps down my throat: I know there are no really big omissions from Sony's range (excepting fast telephoto - generally the province of aforementioned pro/sports market anyway); I know there are lots of third party lenses available; I know there is the entire Minolta back catalogue (the vast majority of which are very, very good lenses indeed) but in the face of what Canon and Nikon have to offer, Sony's in-house range is paltry.

    1. bitmap animal

      A friend uses the A900 and has a good collection of Minolta lenses he picked up from ebay. It's a great camera, really lovely smooth tones and he mainly does landscapes so the older lenses work well.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Sony's profusion of models allows competing camera stores to carry different stock to the one next door, while still offering more or less the same features, thus allowing them to avoid having to price match.

    3. Robert E A Harvey

      I have to agree. Some of the later Minolta glass was simply superb.

      1. DF118
        Thumb Up

        Not even just the later stuff and G-series, but Minolta's first edition autofocus lenses too were universally (with the exception of one or two non-associated kit lens runts) well designed and manufactured. The primes, and constant-aperture zooms like the 70-210 f4 in particular were outstanding. They fall down a little on absolute sharpness in comparison to the competition, but on the flip-side of that they were colour-profile matched across the entire range and gave better colour rendition than the vast majority of consumer lenses both at the time and since.

  3. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Viewfinder

    It doesn't say what resolution the view finder is, but given that the main screen is VGA, I expect the smaller viewfinder to be less. I can't judge focus on a 3" VGA screen, so I doubt I could do it on a lower resolution screen, meaning depth of field or what is in focus is a lotter until you get back to the office. Meanwhile I can happily see focus fine with an optical VF.

    I'm more than happy to see the mirrors in my cameras go the way of the dodo, but not until the camera has a working viewfinder (either optical or very hi-res display)

    1. PCH

      re: Viewfinder

      The viewfinder is 1.4 MP - higher res than the rear screen (920K).

      The EVF on these cameras are for most practical purposes better than the optical viewfinders on most non "full frame" digital cameras. Of the APS-C cameras, only the viewfidners on the top end models are better. For critical adjustment, you have the ability to zoom in, particularly useful for macro work or other critical focus tasks.

    2. Mark 65

      With an EVF you can offer focus peaking (like the NEX-5n) which should greatly aid focussing.

  4. Dave 126 Silver badge

    iMovie import

    Correct me if wrong, but isn't the issue of iMovie requiring direct import from the camera (rather than from files copied from the card) an issue with iMovie, not the camera? Certainly it's something I encountered a year ago with a Panasonic camcorder, and something that relevant forums seemed to support.

    When iMovie imports the AVCHD content from the camera, it converts it to the lossless ( with respect to the source format) Apple Intermediary Format it order to work with it. This intermediate format is more than twice the size of the orginal AVCHD, presumably to reduce processor overhead when editing the footage. Quite why this precludes iMovie from coverting files that have already been copied to the Mac escapes me.

    Ironically enough, it was with Panasonic cameras that Steve Jobs demonstrated iMovie and Mac-as-digital-hub concept.

    I use a PC myself, and haven't yet bothered looking at any of the AVCHD-Lite files I've ever dragged-and-dropped from my SD card. I'm happy to bore people with printed stills, but Youtube doesn't need me to contribute any video I've taken of my dog.

    [currently trying correct a lavender tinge that Virtualdub is giving to Divx clips made from a sequence of BMP files... Grr] [Ah got it: use batch commands in Photoshop to convert 8bit colour BMPs to 16bit colour PNGs]

    1. Some Beggar

      I can't speak for everybody

      but I'd quite like to see these videos of your dog. You can't just tease us with them and then refuse to youtube.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. The New Turtle

    I wonder if this is worse than a conventional DSLR with a mirror for collecting dust? I could imagine the pellicle gradually getting contaminated & requiring VERY careful cleaning to prevent the images being spoiled.

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Spot on

      One of the many disadvantages compared with DSLRs. At least with a regular mirror you can clean it with minimal care (at worst you degrade the preview image). But I would imagine the image sensor is better protected.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-lens_translucent_camera#SLT_compared_to_other_digital_cameras

      Not a fan of SLT or DSLM. In terms of size reduction, once you've stuck a corkingly large lens on it, the difference is negligible. Especially if you're carrying 2 or 3 lenses.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Dirty mirror

      fortunately the mirror is not in, or near, the focal plane, so dust is not such a problem as it is on a sensor.

      1. Some Beggar
        Headmaster

        re: Dirty mirror

        The mirror doesn't move in an SLT. It just reflects some of the light away from the sensor and towards the focusing mechanism. If you get dirt on the mirror of an SLT then it affects the final image.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Translucent mirror

    I've been pondering this for a day and I still can't see any purpose for a translucent mirror.

    I get that the image is reflected to a viewfinder sensor while passing through to the image sensor but why not take the feed to the VF directly from the image sensor and do away with the mirror which must degrade the light falling on the main sensor.

    The only reason I can see is that the main sensor can't handle being on all the time but the Nikon mirrorless camera seems to discount this, could someone explain further.

    1. DF118
      Boffin

      Autofocus

      The mirror is needed for the phase detect autofocus system.

      Sony are reportedly one of the most advanced at getting contrast-detect autofocus (i.e. detecting whether an image is in focus by using the image itself) working but it's still a long way behind phase detect.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @DF118

        Thanks for the explanation.

  7. Robert E A Harvey

    Why is that then?

    The article says that the translucent mirror implies an electronic viewfinder.

    Why is that? I can imagine a translucent mirror with a conventional prism and optical viewfinder, albeit with a reduced brightness.

    (missing icon: big Question mark)

    1. Some Beggar

      The mirror only reflect a small amount of light away from the sensor.

      Just the minimum necessary to do autofocus. It would be an impractically dim optical viewfinder.

      If somebody invents a mirror whose reflectivity was electronically adjustable then you'd be able to do it. I haven't the faintest idea how that would work though.

    2. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      "The article says that the translucent mirror implies an electronic viewfinder. Why is that?"

      It does not imply an EVF at all. I'm aware of many film cameras which had pellicle mirrors and they certainly did not have electronic viewfinders. Yes there was some loss of light to the film and a dimmer viewfinder image, but there were (and still are) advantages.

      I still, however, prefer a rangefinder.

  8. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Up

    OK, smarty

    The picture of St Michael in mid air is pretty good.

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