Oct 272010
 

Sony A33 DSLR Camera First Look – Just received a Sony A33 today when I was expecting to get the A55 but you know what? The $699 A33 is a FANTASTIC little camera! I was not a big fan of the last set of Sony ALPHA DSLR’s but the A33 is actually VERY VERY good for the $749 price tag (AVAILABLE AT B&H PHOTO or AMAZON). I like it MUCH better than the NIkon D3100 which I was very lukewarm with. The Sony A33 is jam packed with goodies like a 14.2MP CMOS APS-C sensor, a 3″ tiltable LCD screen, FULL HD 1080 P video that is implemented VERY well, Quick AF for HD Movies and Photos, 7 FPS shooting and wonderful low light abilities. The A55 is similar but ups the ante with more resolution, built in GPS and a little bit faster FPS.

The A33 is $749 and Sony’s new DSLR that features an EVF as well as Translucent Mirror Technology which is not new but Sony seems to have fixed the old light loss issues with it in these cameras. NO MIRROR in this guy and the AF is blazing fast and accurate. I will be shooting with this for the next couple of weeks and will be posting my full review soon. I can say right off the bat though that I would take this camera over a Nikon D3100 or 5000 in a HEART BEAT! It feels great in the hand, is fast, the IQ looks great, AWB looks good and the kit lens is actually VERY sharp and contrasty –  better results than I was able to get with the Nikon D3100 in regards to sharpness and color. This one is actually inspiring me to get out and shoot, so that right there is a good thing :)

While I am not a huge fan of standard DSLR’s these days, it is cool to see Sony taking a fresh approach. The A33 is small and the kit zoom seems quality, which is usually not the case with cameras under $1000. I will be shooting this guy at the AZ state fair tomorrow night so I will be testing the higher ISO, lower ISO, panoramic modes, video, AF,  and handheld twilight mode which worked very well on the NEX 3 and 5. At the under $1k mark, the Sony A33 and A55 may be the ones to beat if you want a DSLR style camera with an APS-C sensor. In the M4/3 world I still love the Olympus E-P2 and Panasonic G2. These little Sony cameras offer the best of both worlds..small size, mirrorless, SUPERB EVF, great tilting LCD, awesome HD movie implementation,  great low light performance and the ability to attach some great Zeiss glass on to the body. It’s like a beefed up and improved NEX 5 (much bigger, different style of course) with better menu and control. The NEX has size going for it though so it will be interesting to see if I prefer this or the NEX 5 after a coupe of weeks. Ahhh, so many great cameras these days but so little money!

The Sony A33 shutter sounds exactly like the NEX series shutter with a pleasing gentle swoosh sound. As I use this camera more and more for the next two weeks I will find its strengths and weaknesses. I already really enjoy the hand held twilight mode which allows  you to shoot hand held in very low light and get cleanish results at high ISO. Here is one at ISO 3200 at night, in my office with just the over head light on.

Handheld Twilight Mode – ISO 1600 at NIGHT

and one with some lighting at ISO 100 in standard shooting mode. This is an out of camera JPEG BUT YOU MUST CLICK THE IMAGE TO OPEN THE FULL SIZE VERSION.

and for comparison, the same image with the Nikon D3100 and its kit zoom – Looks good but not as sharp and the standard Nikon color is a bit more vibrant. Yes, it is in focus. I took each shot 8 times. The Nikon 18-55 Kit zoom is not as sharp as the Sony 18-55 Kit Zoom.

Look for the full review soon of the Sony A33 and the A55. This will be a more thorough review than the D3100 because I knew right off the bat that the D3100 was not a camera I could fully enjoy. In the same price range, the Sony wins on handling, speed, video and IQ with its kit lens. Nikon has much more glass to choose from but Sony has some amazing Zeiss glass available for the A mount as well. More soon!

CHECK OUT THE FEATURES OF THE SONY A33

14.2 Megapixel Resolution

You get incredible detail and gorgeous enlargements. Thanks to the 14.2 megapixel APS-C sensor size and Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS technology, the camera achieves high resolution with no penalty in low-light situations.

Translucent Mirror Technology

Other DSLRs can shoot. Or they can focus with the speed and precision of Phase Detection AF. They cannot do both at once. The SLT-A33 is the world’s first DSLR with Translucent Mirror Technology that directs light to both the image sensor and the Phase Detection AF sensor simultaneously.

Full HD 1080/60i Movies

This is one of the very few DSLRs with 1080/60i Full HD, exactly the same resolution and frame rate as most broadcast and cable HDTV channels. Records in 1080/60i AVCHD format, 1080/30p high definition in PC-friendly MP4 format and standard definition 480/30p in MP4 format.

7 Frames Per Second Continuous

The translucent mirror makes it far easier to capture the decisive soccer kick or your baby at her absolute cutest. The Sony SLT-A33 camera shoots full, 14.2 MP resolution pictures at up to 7 fps while maintaining continuous auto focus and auto exposure.

Quick AF for Full HD Movie Capture

When most DSLRs shoot video, their Contrast AF is slow and visibly “hunts” for focus. The Quick AF Full HD Movie retains the same fast, precise Phase Detection you enjoy for still images. It’s a decisive advantage for tracking fast-moving subjects and a major benefit of Translucent Mirror Technology.

APS-C Size HD CMOS Image Sensor

With 19.5 times the area of the typical camcorder image sensor, APS-C makes the difference between amateur and professional-looking video, delivering an exceptional combination of high resolution, high sensitivity and gorgeous, blurred backgrounds.

Multi-Frame NR

Experience incredible low-light shooting without a flash. The camera captures six images in a fraction of a second. Combining the data from all six, it creates a single image with a reduction in noise equivalent to two additional steps of ISO sensitivity. Sensitivity selectable up to ISO 25600. (Recommended for still subjects.)

Sony Exmor Technology

Conventional image sensors use only a handful of analog-to-digital (A/D) converters, which can slow you down. The Exmor sensor provides more than 4,000 column-parallel A/D converters. This helps enable continuous shooting at up to 7 frames per second.

Hand-Held Night Shot

Get cleaner and sharper nighttime pictures-beyond the capability of traditional cameras-without using flash or a tripod. The camera captures six images in a fraction of a second. Combining the data with separate algorithms for still and moving parts of the picture reduces blur, minimizes noise and enables extraordinary detail.

Auto HDR Built Into Camera

Captures more scene dynamic range than a single exposure can handle-and more range than photo film. Combines the best highlight detail from one shot, the best mid-tones from a second and the best shadow detail from a third for one incredible shot. Captures in a split second. (Recommended for still subjects.)

3D Sweep Panorama Mode

Capture vast scenic vistas and 16:9 shots in spectacular 3D. As you sweep across the panorama, the camera records separate right-eye and left-eye images that make landscapes come alive on your 3D television3. Records both JPEG and MPO file formats.

Eye-Level Electronic Viewfinder

The Tru-finder Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is super bright, easy to see with 1.1x magnification, ultra-sharp with 1.44 million dots (1.15 effective) and provides 100% frame coverage. Exposure preview and informative overlays make operation easy.

15-Point Auto Focus

To maximize the value of Translucent Mirror Technology, Sony incorporates Phase Detection AF of great sophistication. Three cross sensors maximize precision.

Tilt/swivel 3″ LCD Screen

Tilt it up or down to frame high- and low-angle shots that would otherwise be hit-or-miss. Tilt and swivel under the camera for self-portraits. Fold it flush to the camera with the LCD exposed for shooting or protected for travel.

Main Sensor Quick AF Live View

This is the world’s first DSLR to combine the optimum focus of Phase Detection with high quality Live View images right from the main sensor. This is made possible by Sony Translucent Mirror Technology. You get accurate images and 100% framing on the LCD monitor or eye-level viewfinder.

Eye-Level Finder for HD Mov

The eye-level finder is one of the reasons people love DSLRs. But that finder goes dark whenever you shoot HD Movies. Until now. The Sony SLT-A33 enables you to shoot movies with the added stability you get holding the camera up to your face and using the eye-level finder for framing a scene and focus.

921K Dot TruBlack LCD Screen

Sony’s Xtra Fine LCD monitor has 921K dots for superb resolution. The TruBlack screen includes a special resin layer to suppress internal reflections, increasing contrast compared to conventional LCDs. Sunny Weather mode boosts visibility even further in bright sunlight.

Phase Detection Auto Focus

While Contrast Detection AF often hunts for correct focus, Phase Detection AF knows exactly where correct focus is, and goes straight for it. The Sony SLT-A33 is the world’s first consumer camera to provide Phase Detection AF when capturing HD movies as well as during still image capture, either using the viewfinder or Live View on the LCD.

Sweep Panorama Mode

Capture expansive landscapes automatically. Press the shutter and sweep vertically or horizontally. The camera does the rest, continuously shooting images and stitching them together. Up to 23 MP image size.

Main Sensor Quick AF Live View

This the world’s first DSLR to combine the optimum focus of Phase Detection with high quality Live View images right from the main sensor. This is made possible by Sony Translucent Mirror Technology. You get accurate images and 100% framing on the LCD monitor or eye-level viewfinder.

ISO 12800 Sensitivity

Incredibly clear low-light pictures without sacrificing detail, made possible by the low-noise Exmor APS HD CMOS image sensor and refined BIONZ image processor.

Live View in LCD or EVF

You can use both the LCD monitor and Electronic Viewfinder for composing shots. Both provide a what-you-see-is-what-you-get preview of white balance, focus, depth of field, exposure and 100% framing accuracy, plus informative on-screen displays.

AUTO+ (Advanced Auto) Mode

Get cleaner, more dynamic pictures and fewer missed shots. Unifies and simplifies Sony intelligent technologies, the camera automatically recognizes the correct scene mode, then quickly shoots and combines up to six shots to produce images with greater clarity, optimum dynamic range using Auto HDR technology and lower image noise using 6 shots layering technology.

Pro-Style “Rack Focus” Movie Effect

A hallmark of today’s movies is the “rack focus” effect, when the cinematographer changes focus between background and foreground subjects. This usually involves careful planning, a tape measure and dedicated a crew member for “pulling” focus. With the SLT-A33, you can perform this pro-style effect simply by changing the selected AF Area within the frame.

Help Guide

Provides ready reference to advanced camera functions, helping to develop your confidence and skills as a photographer.

SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization

Image stabilization reduces blur by compensating for camera shake. Typical DSLR systems build image stabilization into selected lenses only. SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization is built into the camera body itself. You’ll reduce blur with every a-mount lens, including macro and wide-aperture standard zoom lenses.

BIONZ Image Processor

The brain of the camera is a refined version of Sony’s BIONZ image processor. Its chroma noise reduction delivers high-resolution, low-noise photos even at ISO 12800 sensitivity. Also enables 7 fps continuous shooting at full resolution, Sweep Panorama mode and more.

1200-Zone Exposure Metering

Reads exposure directly from the main image sensor. Choice of Multi, Center and Spot metering accommodates a full range of shooting situations

RAW Image Capture

Saves your pictures as compact JPEG files or ultra-high quality RAW files or both. RAW files save images prior to de-mosaicing, white balance, sharpness and color enhancement. This retains maximum latitude for enhancing the image on your PC.

Smile Shutter Technology

Captures a smile the moment it happens. Simply select the Smile Shutter mode and the camera takes the picture automatically. You can prioritize children or adults and adjust the smile sensitivity.

Face Detection Technology

The camera can automatically detect up to eight individual faces and adjust focus, exposure, white balance and flash to help deliver crisp, properly lit images of family and friends. Can prioritize children or adults.

Six Creative Style Settings

Control how the camera processes your images with six finishing styles: Standard, Vivid, B&W, Sunset, Portrait and Landscape. You can even fine-tune contrast, saturation, and sharpness to your personal taste.

Eight Scene Selection Modes

These help you get the shot by optimizing the camera for specific shooting situations. Select from Portrait, Sports Action, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night View, Night Portrait and Handheld Twilight Shot modes.

Anti-Dust Technology

Anti-Dust Technology helps keep the CMOS sensor clean, resulting in consistently clear pictures. First a static-free coating on the sensor’s low-pass filter helps repel dust. Then vibration automatically dislodges dust from the sensor.

HDMI Output for HD Viewing

Enjoy HD movies and stunning still images on a compatible HDTV. The camera includes an HDMI output9. In addition, the BRAVIA Sync system works with compatible Sony BRAVIA HDTVs enabling you to control camera playback using the television’s remote4.

Built-In Auto Pop-Up Flash

To help you shoot more effectively, the built-in flash automatically pops up and fires as needed when the camera is set to certain scene selection modes. The built-in flash can also trigger a wireless accessory flash (sold separately). The integrated hot shoe enables you to expand your lighting options with a range of accessory flashes (sold separately).

P/A/S/M Exposure Modes

The camera offers a full range of controls from the beginner’s AUTO+ mode to P/A/S/M: Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual. On-screen prompts help you refine your skills, build your confidence and exercise greater creative control.

Up to 270 Shots of Battery Life

Take up to 270 shots on a single charge with Sony Stamina battery power.5 Sony’s InfoLITHIUM battery system enables you to see the percent of power remaining, so you can keep shooting in confidence.

Slot for Two Media Types

For cost-effective, convenient storage and sharing of your images, the camera accepts Memory Stick PRO Duo/Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC/SDXC media (Class 4 or higher recommended). (Memory card is required

Remote Capability

Works with the RMT-DSLR1 Remote Commander wireless remote control, sold separately.

Versatile On-Screen Displays

Informative displays in the LCD monitor and electronic viewfinder include digital level gauge, graphic display of exposure settings.

PhotoTV HD Compatibility

Optimizes compatible BRAVIA televisions for gorgeous display of digital pictures.

Index and Slide Show Display

Quickly review your photos using 6- or 12-frame index views, or as an automatic slide show with fade-in/fade-out effect.

  59 Responses to “The Sony A33 DSLR Camera – First Look”

  1. Standard Nikon in-camera JPEG sharpening is on the low side – did you adjust this prior to doing your comparisons?

    • Absolutely not, was testing both cameras in STANDARD color mode with standard sharpening to see how each camera would render an image in their own standard modes. Sharpness could be turned up in both cameras but once you start doing that you start favoring one over the other. The images above were shot as standard JPEGS. Thx

      • But Steve, Every review you read of the Nikon DSLRs point out that the sharpening is low. They always lose out to the Canons in out-of-camera JPEGs but beat them generally when RAW conversion is used. This is a well known (for knowing photographers at least) problem. Once you amp them up a little bit the results are very revealing.

        It is a decision by Nikon, but nevertheless from a photographer’s perspective it is not playing Nikon to its strength.

        • Hey Mohan, I do not shoot Nikon, nor read the reviews of Nikons, unless it is of something exciting. Never had to bump up sharpening of my D700 and again, was showing the output of both cameras using their standard settings. Thanks…

          Steve

          • Besides all of that, the A33 body, controls and speed are an improvement over the D3100, regardless of which is sharper, Id go with the A33 in a heartbeat over a D3100 if I was starting from scratch with a starter non pro DSLR.

        • The vast majority of end users of D3100 or A33’s will give you a dumbfounded blank stare at what you’ve stated. Remember this site is for real world reviews, i.e. how people actually use cameras, not “Oh let me find a way to make this camera break down by shooting an anthill with a coke bottle at ISO 12,800 from 5 miles out, then complain about micro sharpness when the image is blown up 400%” site. For that I recommend any of the other so call review sites, more concerned with shooting targets and shooting in conditions even most pros would find rarer than the Holy Grail.

        • Given that my store currently carries one of these cameras (D3100) and will soon carry the A33 trust me when i tell you 99 percent of the market will never shoot anything other then standard jpeg. That 99 percent also does not know what a aperture is.

          Realize the most common question we get at stores before people buy these is “how many zooms does that lens have” and “that’s the camera professionals use right”

  2. Looks like a really nice little camera. Thanks Steve.

  3. Great little camera. I have been using the A55 for some time now for street photography with the zeiss 24 f2 and 85 f1.4. This little camera with the lcd screen tilted down lets you get near your subjects. Shots from waist level can be perfectly focused and shot wide open too. To me its the perfect camera for street photography.

  4. Steve, I’m a huge fan of yours, but how can you say that the A33 is a “FANTASTIC little camera!” when you haven’t even really shot with it yet?

    • Because I have shot with it, probably 100 frames, and its feature set, its speed, its low light capabilities and its size make for a “fantastic little camera” – When you get a camera and shoot with it, even for a day, you know wether it is going to be good or not. This is a good one :)

      Thanks!
      Steve

  5. Hi Steve,

    I`m going to a local shop tonight to try the A55 for size as i have an A100 just now. When taking Video do you know if you can start recording a movie by a remote shutter or can it only be done by the button on the top of the camera. i`m hoping to be able to use a remote shutter release to avoid camera shake when filming macro etc

    Thanks
    Rob

  6. I understand why you were not too motivated to review the D3100, a camera that is simply an expected upgrade. The a33 seems to bring something really new and exciting.

  7. Sony makes great effort ! for producing DSLR, simple is effective …

    good presentation Steeve

  8. The inevitable question is…with no mirror, will this baby work with M lenses? Will you still be able to use the special low-light mode with a manual focus lens? My curiosity is definitely peaked with the high ISO performance you show above.

    • There’s a mirror, just that it doesn’t flip. Also, the Alpha/Minolta flange distance is too long for M lenses. For M lenses, the NEX is the most ideal 3rd party choice now.

      On another note, I have a few samples from the Nikon D3100 from a local preview event. There’s this aweful color cast in quite a few photos that makes the subjects look as if they are down with jaundice. Very different from the D90 standard which I’m used to.

  9. Something wrong with that D3100 picture since the camera or the lens is not that soft. I can tell you that easily since I’ve tested that combination out for few hundred pictures. Just seems odd.

    I would love to get my hands on A33 and see the EVF for myself. Just somehow I have never got into those EVF’s yet and OVF just seems to be more natural and instant. How’s the EVF for action shooting? And really looks like A33 has many great ideas and advantages over several competitors.

    Sidenote. I also am amazed that you liked the D3000 but as D3100 truly is much better camera in many ways you find it almost totally inferior. I always felt like the D3000 was a pretty bad camera actually, but I definitely like the D3100.

  10. A55, despite being 16 MP, has a newer sensor that is half-a-stop better than A33

  11. Steve, would love to know how this stacks up against the Panny G2/GH2 in terms of size vs. quality.

    • Its a little bigger than the G2 and so far, the IQ seems about equal with the G2 having a teeny but less Dynamic Range. This is only just by eyeballing the shots I have taken with both. The G2 is smaller, has touch screen focusing and great video. The A33 has even faster AF with the ability to lock on in near darkness, better high ISO and more features…but it is bigger.

  12. Just bought the a33 for my fiance yesterday. While we love the camera and its EVF, super fast AF, size, alpha lens compatibility, and convenient shooting modes (panorama, HHT, etc.), it doesn’t seem to compare to my NEX-3 in high ISO scenarios. At 3200 and the same aperture, it seems the sensor gain in the a33 causes much more noise than my NEX. Looking at some comparisons between the a33 and a55 (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1037&message=36190732), it seems I’m not (completely) crazy. It seems the a55 has much less noise than the a33 at high ISO. From the sample photos, the a55 seems to be closer to the NEX units.

    I’ll be very interested to see your “real world” shots with the a33 at high ISO compared to some NEX shots. As it stands, though, I think we’ll be returning our a33 and wait for the a55 to get in stock.

  13. Hows does the EVF and screen compare to the G2? I have one, but every time I read about A33, make me want to trade to the A33.

  14. Hows the A55 compared to the D90 , G2 , or 550d? which to prefer? as their price are almost about range

  15. Regarding the sensor performance of the A33 vs A55, it doesn’t make sense that the A33 is said to be noisier than the A55. It is not supposed to be noisier. Sony says they are the same generation, both new sensors, and are supposed to perform similarly. Even if the A55 sensor is a slightly newer design, the higher pixel density of the 16 MP sensor negates that advantage with greater heat dissipation problems (as evidenced by the shorter maximum video recording times before overheating on the A55). More heat = more noise as the sensor heats up.

    In fact, in Imatest testing from Imaging-Resource, one can see that the A33 has more dynamic range at the same noise/quality thresholds than the A55 for both RAW and JPEG files. One could argue that if you expose slightly more to the right for the A33, working more on the optimal exposure range of the sensor, you could take advantage of its greater dynamic range, and come up with less noise than the A55 for the same image.

  16. Honestly… who cares about these cheap DSLRs?

    I used to love your website with great lenses reviews, but these last few months the posts have either been “advertisement/money-oriented” or “noobie-gear-oriented”… I have to say I’m a bit disappointed.
    Sorry if I am being too honest but I would love to have the old website back, with its M-mount lenses reviews!

    Sincerely,

    Jonathan

  17. Jonathan, obviously quite a few care about these starter cameras. This page has had over 5000 views just today so far. As for M lenses, they have all been reviewed on this site already (well, most of them). I try to write about cameras that I like and I like many of these new small cameras. Great bang for the buck. There is plenty of Leica here as well. It’s funny but when I write about Leica all the time I get complaints telling me to lay off the leica and review other cameras. Can’t please everyone all the time I guess :) Thanks for the comment,

    Steve

    • With near 600 posts on this site alone, I’m still going through the first 20 :)
      Keep up the good work.

    • Don’t worry about the criticisms Steve; just keep going!

      Michiel

    • Steve,
      Personally I do enjoy all your reviews no matter if its a bout an A33, m4/3 or Leica M.
      The only thing I would wish for is to also include a little more critics. Reading your reviews one allways feels afterwards-wow-this is the camera to get. 3 days later after reading the next review its the next camera which sounds that its the one.
      Would be great if you could also include a little bit more things you did not like and say why. The EP2 was better than the g1 for you but then the g2 is better than the EP2 for you. And probably the EP3 will be better again than the g2… Know what I mena?
      Anyways, great site and I read it all the time, Tom

      • Thanks guys..

        Tom, I see what you are saying but usually I will only write about what I like. So the camera sI write about are all cameras I want to buy for myself :) The G2 beat the E-P series for me due to the EVF and I liked the look of the files a bit better. Cameras evolve and of course they will get better and better. I have written about cameras I do not care for though…there have been a few.

        As for criticizing cameras I like, I always tell the pros and cons and if there are negatives I try to point them out. Anyway, thanks for reading and thanks for the comment!

        Steve

  18. Sorry for all if the typos…on the road and typing on the iPhone :)

  19. Between The G2, and A33, which do you think is the best bang for the buck for newbies? How does the tilting on this screen on this compare to the standard style tilt screen on Panny and Canon cameras?

  20. I’ve had the A55 for a couple of weeks. Shot at 10 fps runners at a marathon. Love this camera! Besides all the technical stuff, it just feels fantastic in your hand, and sounds nice. I just tested the video and have found the only disappointment so far in that the sound of the zoom is very noticable. (This is with old Minolta 100=300mm zoom.)_ Definitely love this camera, though. Great in low light.

  21. Just interesting to note that on the SonyStyle website/store, the ONLY Alpha’s being shown at present are the A33 and 55 ? I think this fits with my idea as to how Sony gathers market share: Nex and SLT Alphas – each generation getting stronger. I think the rumored NEX7 should come with and Alpha – E adapter in the box also. The other thing they need to do is get better software. They either make a “Vegas for Photos” or just give up and package a version of Lightroom 3. Nice review, nice to hear that it fits with what my expectations are for the new Sony SLT.

    • To my knowledge only Leica packages lightroom because of the cost of lightroom itself. The only other good software a that any company gives out is Capture One. Sony, Canon, Nikon, etc all believe they have awesome software, sad but true.

  22. Regarding the sensor performance of the A33 vs A55, it doesn’t make sense that the A33 is said to be noisier than the A55. It is not supposed to be noisier. Even if the A55 sensor is a slightly newer design, the higher pixel density of the 16 MP sensor negates that advantage with greater heat dissipation problems (as evidenced by the shorter maximum video recording times before overheating on the A55). More heat = more noise as the sensor heats up.

    In fact, in Imatest testing from Imaging-Resource, one can see that the A33 has more dynamic range at the same noise/quality thresholds than the A55 for both RAW and JPEG files. One could argue that if you expose slightly more to the right for the A33, working more on the optimal exposure range of the sensor, you could take advantage of its greater dynamic range, and come up with less noise than the A55 for the same image.

  23. Steve, one thing I’d be curious if you also find with the A33. When I looked at the A55 the kit lens had issues with chromatic aberration in the form of scarlet haloes around the lights in the camera store.

    This does look like a crackerjack of a camera and I only wish Nikon would show us some similar innovation. I concede that the D3100 and even D7000 seem like more of the same with regard to features. Granted little things like the HDR and panorama can be done manually but when I’m out shooting for myself they’re certainly things I’d use.

    As much as I liked the A55 in the store my hesitation is with the lens line up. Nikon does a great job with their mid-range glass where as with Sony it feels to me like they have very cheap or very expensive lenses. Sony gets a huge kudo from me for shaking things up and I can easily see this displacing my E-P1 in my small, portable kit.

    • The Sony lens line up is the issue for me. Cheap and not top of the line on one hand, excellent but heavy and big on the other hand, nothing in between. If I wanted to lug around the excellent Zeiss lenses, primes or zooms, I’d not compromise on the camera body and couple them with one of Sony’s excellent FF offerings.

      • I agree. When you look through Sony’s offerings, there are significant holes.

      • Keep in mind that the entire Minolta AF range of lenses is working on the alpha-DSLR/SLT’s, all with autofocus and making use of the in-body image stabilization. Some of the “must have’s” are the Beercan (Minolta AF 70-210/4) and the Baby Beercan 35-70/4 which can be had for cheap on Ebay.

        Here’s more info about the lenses: http://www.dyxum.com

        As a Sony user, my current lens range consist of 14 Minolta AF lenses, one Zeiss glass and one Tamron lens. If I was on fullframe, they would all be Minolta.

  24. Steve,

    Which would you rather have as a complement to your Leica, the Sony a33, the Olympus ep 2 or the Panny g2?

    Also, have you had the chance to shoot with the Panny Gh 2 yet?

  25. On Luminous Landscape some first impressions with the GH2 are posted. Now I can’t wait for Steve’s review. In the size/weight/sensor/lenses/UI overall equation the GH2 (coupled with mft lenses) could be the one to beat. It looks as if mft sensor’s are getting “good enough”. And I when lens size, weight and performance is considered as well, next generation mft offerings could be tempting.

  26. Steve,

    How the EVF performance in a really dark situation? Is noise visible? Any lag for high speed action?

  27. Just came across this site, and I must say that I am enjoying it. I am an extreme newbie to the SLR’s, so I would like to know (with my little knowledge) which would be better for the beginner? The Sony a33 or the Nex-3? Thanks.

    • Two different cameras but similar image quality. The NEX is all about SMALL size. The A33 is about being a DSLR with speed. I have to say, the A33 is a NICE DSLR, and a very enjoyable one to use. Its great in low light, has some cool features (that the nEX also has) and a great EVF. If you want a traditional DSLR styled camera, the A33 is an awesome beginners camera. If you prefer a small, take anywhere camera, the NEX would be cool. Both provide great IQ.

  28. I am an Olympus user and definitely not a Nikon fan, but I have to say that looking closely at the two example images, above, appears to show some major sharpening artifacts in the A33 sample. Look especially at the border regions around the film canister. The same cannot be said for the D3100 image. Having said that, I am sure any attempt to sharpen it enough to compare favorably with the Sony image would introduce the same problem. So while the Sony image definitely looks better, I am not sure that the difference is all that large.

  29. Steve, is it worth the extra $100 and get the A55, instead of the A33? Before, I was thinking of getting the Nikon D3100 before I read your review, but isn’t Nikon’s lens better and cheaper than Sony’s?

  30. Hi Steve, can you tell us something about the battery life? my main concern about a33 is that… Thank you much….

  31. Hello!

    Just my two cents. I had purchased that Nice a55 BUT after reading Sony’s
    Press release I traded back for thé a33. Simple, the a33 will shoot twice as long in 86 degree weather for movies. Same IQ after testing, minus the GPS. Since I will be vacationing in Italy next summer, the A33 is THE logical

  32. …sorry! Hit the wrong key on my cramped iTouch keyboard. Just ending by mentionning that the A33 seemed like the logical choice as I do enjoy the excellent (and blazing fast) vidéo on these great cams. Thanks for reading!

  33. bought the a33 as my first dslr type camera. just what mark stated, it is a more practical buy. shoots fast, not too heavy. for a first-time dslr buyer, this will do the job! the videos are great too with fast AF but for me I would buy handycams for videos.. thanks for reading

  34. I’m so glad I came across this review!! I was looking at this camera before 12/10, got excited about it, did some research, waited for the $, went looking for it and couldn’t find it, did some more research, started second-guessing ’cause of others’ opinions and viewpoints, got exasperated! — then found you! I’m buying this camera!!! — thank you, thank you, thank you!! Just got to find the best price now …I’ve always been fascinated with photography (and have a pretty good eye), but I’m very new to the field, so have been looking for a few years for just the right camera to begin with. I knew I’d find the perfect camera and you’ve convinced me that I’ve found it! Now all I need is a crash course! …this camera has features I wouldn’t even know what to do with! I’ll come to AZ!! :)

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