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Sony A35 Performance


Timing and Performance

A mixed bag when it comes to performance, ranging from below average to quite fast.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~0.9 second

Time it takes for camera to turn on and take a shot.

Shutdown

~1.7 seconds

How long it takes to turn off.

Buffer clearing time

6 seconds *
after 12 L/F JPEGs

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't shut down until the buffer is cleared.

7 seconds *
after 6 RAW frames
9 seconds *
after 6 RAW + JPEG frames

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times.

Startup and shutdown times are slower than average compared to an SLR. Shutdown is quite slow, probably due to sensor cleaning. Buffer clearing times are okay, but buffer depths are pretty shallow.

 

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.4 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~1.1 second

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.7 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching times are fairly typical compared to an SLR, though Record to Play is sluggish.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single Area (center) AF

0.223 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with Sigma70mm f/2.8 prime).

Full Autofocus
Wide Area AF

0.214 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with Sigma70mm f/2.8 prime).

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF, Flash enabled (ADI)

0.475 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with Sigma70mm f/2.8 prime), ADI mode Flash enabled.

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF, Flash enabled (TTL)

0.483 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with Sigma70mm f/2.8 prime), TTL mode Flash enabled.

Continuous AF
0.218 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.217 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Pre-focused

0.102 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Looking at the Sony A35's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times, its speed is about average compared to a typical consumer SLR. The SLT-A35 required 0.223 second for full AF using the center focus point. This decreased slightly to 0.214 second in wide-area AF mode. Enabling the flash in ADI mode increased shutter lag to 0.475 second, to account for the flash exposure preflashes. TTL mode was a little slower, at 0.483 second. Continuous autofocus mode lag time was 0.218 second and manual focus was only slightly faster at about 0.217 second. When prefocused, shutter lag was 0.102 second which is good but a bit slower than average compared to most SLRs these days, and somewhat of a surprise for a camera that doesn't need to wait for a mirror to be raised before taking the shot. Keep in mind that the shutter is normally open on an SLT camera though, so it needs to be closed and re-opened to take the exposure.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance. We also use the same Sigma 70mm f/2.8 macro with every camera (on all platforms except Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds and Nikon consumer models lacking an in-body focus motor), to further reduce variation, and because our tests showed that focus-determination time with this lens was close to the fastest, across multiple camera bodies from different manufacturers. Being an older design with a non-ultrasonic motor, it wouldn't be the fastest at slewing from one focus setting to another, but that's exactly the reason we measure focus determination speed, which is primarily a function of the camera body, vs focus adjustment speed, which is primarily a function of the lens.

 

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.53 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20+ shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.54 second

Time per shot, averaged over 8 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW + JPEG

0.57 second

Time per shot, averaged over 7 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous Hi mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.18 second (5.52 frames per second);
12 frames total;
6 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 12 shots, then slows to an average of 0.63s or 1.58 fps.
Tele Zoom High
Speed mode
8MP JPEG
0.14 second (7.07 frames per second);
14 frames total;
5 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 14 shots, then slows to an average of 0.39s or 2.56 fps.

Continuous Hi mode
RAW

0.18 second (5.62 frames per second);
6 frames total;
7 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 6 shots, then slows to an average of 1.10s or 0.91 fps.

Continuous Hi mode
RAW + L/F
JPEG

0.18 second (5.43 frames per second);
6 frames total;
9 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 6 shots, then slows to an average of 1.77s or 0.57 fps.

Flash recycling

3.3 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and other settings such as DRO or NR can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times were about average for an SLR-class camera, ranging from 0.53 to 0.57 second per frame depending on the file type and quality. Continuous mode speeds were excellent compared to most consumer SLRs, at about 5.5 frames per second for large/fine JPEGs, 5.6 frames per second for RAW, and 5.4 frames per second for RAW + large/fine JPEGs. The Sony A35 also offers a low speed continuous mode rated at 3 frames per second, and a high speed "Tele Zoom" crop mode rated at 7 frames per second. Tele Zoom mode captures 8-megapixel images cropped from the center of the sensor. We measured 7.07 frames per second in that mode.

Buffer depths were about average for a consumer model, which is to say pretty shallow, at 12 frames for large/fine JPEG frames with a fast SDHC card, 6 RAW frames and 6 RAW + L/F JPEG frames. Tele-Zoom mode did a little better at 14 frames before slowing down, but the 8-megapixel JPEGs are smaller. The flash took 3.3 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is good.

 

Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

14,853 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are very fast; definitely fast enough that you will likely not feel the need for a card reader.

 

Bottom line, the Sony Alpha SLT-A35's performance ranges from below average (startup and shutdown), to average (mode switching, autofocus, single-shot cycle times), to much better than average (burst speed). Its fast burst speed and uninterrupted continuous autofocus should come in very handy for sports and active kids, but keep in mind that shooting with RAW files really limits burst lengths.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Below average battery life compared to a traditional SLR with optical viewfinder, but good battery life for an interchangeable lens camera with EVF.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Electronic Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
420
Live View LCD,
(CIPA standard)
440

The Sony A35 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is a below average compared to SLRs using optical viewfinders, but good compared to CSCs with electronic viewfinders. Still, we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings or shooting video.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Sony A35 accepts SD (including SDHC and SDXC types) or Memory Stick Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo memory cards. No card is included with the camera.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
1GB SD Memory Card
Fine Normal
RAW
RAW
+
JPEG
4,912 x 3,264
Images
(Avg size)
144
7.1 MB
205
5.0 MB
58
17.4 MB
41
24.7 MB
Approx.
Comp.
7:1 10:1 1.4:1 -
3,568 x 2,368
Images
(Avg size)
233
4.4 MB
325
3.2 MB
- -
Approx.
Comp.
6:1 8:1 - -
2,448x 1,624
Images
(Avg size)
367
2.8 MB
468
2.2 MB
- -
Approx.
Comp.
4:1 6:1 - -

We strongly recommend buying either a fast, large capacity SDHC card, or a fast, large capacity Memory Stick Pro Duo card. Get at least a 4GB card, preferably an 8GB or larger one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings and while shooting HD video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)