Sony has unveiled the successor to last year's SLT-A35 digital camera featuring the company's proprietary Translucent Mirror Technology that does away with the need to keep moving the mirror out of the way when taking a photograph. The new α37 is a somewhat modest refresh to the entry-level camera that sees some improvements and some reductions in specs and capabilities, but is being released at a lower price point than entry-level models before it.
The only noticeable external change to the body of the new SLT-A37 camera appears to be with the hand grip, which looks to be a little more comfortable. Look a bit closer and you'll now see that the LCD panel has been treated to a handy vertical tilt mechanism but Sony has opted to strip away some display quality and panel size. The new model features a 2.7-inch, 230,400 dot resolution flavor, although the 0.46-inch SVGA Xtra Fine electronic viewfinder has gained a slight improvement to 1,440,000 dot resolution and now includes a special feature to help improve comfort for spectacle wearers.
The new model has also been given the By Pixel Super Resolution pattern matching image improvement technology debuted in the recently released α57, Direct Manual Focus for accurate fine-tuning of focus, and an Auto Portrait Framing feature to help automatically grab the best subject portraits by identifying the sitter's position and trimming away excess areas of the scene.
The latest 16.1 megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and a more advanced BIONZ image processor help extend the sensitivity up to ISO16000, but the camera offers the same seven frames per second continuous shooting at a reduced resolution of 8.4 megapixels and 3-cross 15-point phase detection autofocus as before.
Sony hasn't seen fit to bestow 60p Full HD video recording to its new addition, settling on 24p/60i instead. The new model does include stereo microphones, however, with a useful wind-cut feature, and the ability to use continuous autofocus while recording video. There's a built-in pop up flash with the option to add an external unit via the hot shoe mount, and the InfoLITHIUM NP-FW50 battery now offers 450 images with the viewfinder and 500 using the display.
All in all, this concession/addition balancing act has resulted in the new α37 being priced a little cheaper than its predecessor. Set for June availability, with a standard 18-55mm zoom lens it carries a recommended retail of US$599.99, but opt for the new 18-135mm telephoto zoom lens kit and the price goes up by a couple of hundred bucks.
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