Sony A37 Review

 
Camera Reviews > Sony Cameras > Sony Alpha i Initial Test

Sony A37 Performance


Timing and Performance

Mixed performance, though AF speed and shutter lag are excellent.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~0.9 second

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~1.4 seconds

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
5 seconds after 10 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
7 seconds after 7 RAW files*
8 seconds after 6 RAW+ L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup and shutdown times are a bit sluggish for an SLR-class camera, but still reasonable. Buffer clearing times are quick though buffer depths are shallow.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.9 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~1.7 seconds

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

Display
recorded image

~0.7 second

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

Mode switching performance is about average.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single Area (center) AF

0.109 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
Wide Area AF

0.124 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Auto Flash Enabled
0.315 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, Auto flash enabled.

Continuous AF
0.119 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.080 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

0.057 second

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

Looking at the Sony A37's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times, its autofocus speed is excellent. The SLT-A37 required only 0.109 second for full AF using the center focus point, which is almost twice as fast as typical consumer DSLRs. This increases slightly to 0.124 second in wide-area AF mode, though that's still very fast. With the flash enabled, the A37's full AF shutter lag increases to 0.315s, to account for the preflash metering, but that's still pretty good. Continuous autofocus mode lag time is 0.119 second, and manual focus lag is fast at about 0.080 second. When prefocused, shutter lag is only 0.057 second which is excellent especially for an entry-level model. 

 

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large fine JPEG
0.47 second

Time per shot, averaged over 9 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW
0.45 second

Time per shot, averaged over 2 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG
0.49 second

Time per shot, averaged over 2 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 mode
Large fine JPEG
0.18 second (5.52 frames per second);
10 frames total;
5 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 10 shots, then slowed to an average of 0.47 seconds, or 2.12 fps.
Continuous mode
RAW
0.17 second (5.77 frames per second);
7 frames total;
7 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 7 shots, then slowed to an average of 0.97 seconds, or 1.03 fps.
Continuous mode
RAW + L/F JPEG
0.17 second (5.75 frames per second);
6 frames total;
8 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 6 shots, then slowed to an average of 1.36 seconds, or 0.73 fps.

Flash Recycling

2.5 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I 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 are about average for an SLR-class camera, ranging from 0.45 to 0.49 second depending on the file type.

Continuous mode speeds are quite good for an entry-level model, ranging from about 5.5 to 5.8 frames-per-second depending on the file type.

Buffer depths are shallow though that's not unusual for an entry-level model, ranging from 10 frames for large/fine JPEGs down to only 6 frames for RAW+JPEG files. You should be able to do better with typical subjects when shooting JPEGs (our target for this test is designed to be difficult to compress).

Buffer clearing is relatively fast with 45MB/s SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I compliant SDHC card, at 5 seconds after a maximum-length large/fine JPEG burst, 7 seconds after a RAW burst, and 8 seconds after RAW + large/fine JPEG burst, though keep in mind buffers are shallow.

The flash was able to recycle from a full discharge in 2.5 seconds, which is quite fast.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

12,994 KBytes/sec

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

Download speeds are fast, quick enough that you won't feel the need for a separate card reader, even with large memory cards. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45 MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Sony Alpha SLT-A37's autofocus speed and shutter lag are excellent, while burst speed is good. Buffer depths are shallow, though that's not uncommon for entry-level models.

Battery

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

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Electronic Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
450
Live View LCD,
(CIPA standard)
500

The Sony A37 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is a below average compared to an SLR using an optical viewfinder, but pretty good for one equipped with an electronic viewfinder. 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))

 

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