Announced, previewed: Sony SLT-A37, the newest Translucent Mirror camera (with samples)


posted Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT

Sony's Alpha SLT-A37 Translucent Mirror camera. Photo provided by Sony. Click for our Sony SLT-A37 preview!The unique lineup of Translucent Mirror cameras from Sony just got a little bigger, as the company unveiled a brand new model: the Sony Alpha SLT-A37 (and we've just posted our hands-on preview!)

Closely-related to the existing SLT-A35 model, the Sony A37 has a subtly restyled body that's exactly the same size, but just a little heavier. Behind the Translucent Mirror, which allows the unusual features of these models such as full-time phase detection autofocus, there's a new 16 megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS image sensor. Although it's a different chip to the A35's, resolution is only slightly different. Officially, the only camera we're sure shares the same chip is the simultaneously-announced NEX-F3 mirrorless, but given the similarity with the specifications of the chip in the NEX-5N and SLT-A57 it seems likely to be at least closely related.

So, what's different? The most significant change is tilting LCD, where the A35 had a fixed-position unit. The LCD panel itself is also a smaller 2.6-inch type, and has a narrower aspect ratio. Other changes include a wider sensitivity range of 100 to 16,000 equivalents, support for progressive-scan Full HD video at 24 frames per second, focus peaking, face recognition capability, and an electronic first-curtain shutter function. In addition, the A37 inherits a multi-shot Super Auto mode as first seen in the Cyber-shot series compact camera line, and adds more Picture Effect functions, as well as a beginner-friendly Shooting Tips display. Some other functions inherited from recent models include Clear-Image Zoom and Auto Portrait Framing functions, both based around Sony's By Pixel Super Resolution technology.

The Sony Alpha SLT-A37 goes on sale in the USA from June 2012, priced at around US$600 with an 18-55mm kit lens. More details and a raft of sample photos can be found in our hands-on Sony A37 preview!

Also announced at the same time is the SAL18135 18-135mm lens, priced at US$500 and shipping from July. This will also become a kit lens from August, and the SLT-A37 kit with this lens will cost US$800. (It will also ship with the A57 for US$1,000; the A65 for US$1,200; and the A77 for US$1,700.)

Sony Alpha SLT-A37
Sony's Alpha SLT-A37 Translucent Mirror camera. Photo provided by Sony. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera Type SLR
Manufacturer North America: A37
Dimensions 4.9 x 3.6 x 3.3 in.
(124 x 92 x 85 mm)
Weight 15.8 oz (448 g)
Planned Price $600
Planned Availability June 2012
Image Capture
Sensor Type Sony CMOS
APS-C (approx. 1.12 in. diagonal)
16.70 megapixels (total)
16.20 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Focal Length Multiplier 1.50
Aspect Ratio 16:9, 4:3
Image Dimensions 4912 x 3264 (16.0 megapixels)
4912 x 2760 (13.6 megapixels)
3568 x 2368 (8.4 megapixels)
3568 x 2000 (7.1 megapixels)
2448 x 1624 (4.0 megapixels)
2448 x 1376 (3.4 megapixels)
12416 x 1856 (23.0 megapixels)
5536 x 2160 (12.0 megapixels)
8192 x 1856 (15.2 megapixels)
3872 x 2160 (8.4 megapixels)
7152 x 1080 (7.7 megapixels)
4912 x 1080 (5.3 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 5.5 frames per second for 14 frames
Image Quality 2 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder Yes, EVF type; 1.44M/1.15M-dot LCD, 100% coverage, 1.1x magnification, 19mm eyepoint, -4 to +4 diopter
LCD 2.6 in. diagonal230,400 dots (76,800 px)
Playback Zoom 11.8
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 18.0 - 55.0mm (actual)
27 - 83mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.5 - 22 (W), f/5.6 - 36 (T)
Focusing System Phase Detection: 15 points (3 points cross type); Wide (auto, 15 points), Zone, Spot, Local; Enhanced Object Tracking
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Focusing Range Normal: 10" - infinity (25 cm - infinity)
ISO Sensitivity Auto (100-3200), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 16000; (Multi-frame NR mode up to ISO 25600)
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/4000 second
Exposure Modes Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes 1200-zone Evaluative, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (Warm, Cool, Day, Daylight), Flash, Custom, Color Temp/Filter (2500-9900K with 15-step Magenta/Green compensation)
Internal Flash Guide Number: 10
Modes: Auto, Off, Fill-flash, Rear sync, Wireless, High-Speed sync, Slow sync, Red-eye reduction: On/Off
Range: Lens dependent
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Scene Modes Sweep Panorama, 3D Sweep Panorama, Portrait, SportsAction, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night view, Hand-held Twilight (6 shot layering), Night Portrait, Picture Effect (Posterization (color/B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera (Normal/Cool), Soft High-key, Soft Focus (Hi/Mid/Lo), HDR Painting (Hi/Mid/Lo), Miniature (7 Settings))
Digital Zoom Up to 2x Precision, Up to 2x Clear Image Zoom, 1.4x (8.4MP) or 2.0x (4MP) Smart Zoom
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie Format AVCHD 1.0/MP4 (Audio: Dolby Digital (AC-3)/MPEG-4 AAC-LC) with audio
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format RAW (12-bit ARW 2.3), RAW+JPEG, JPEG, MPO
Other Type-C Mini HDMI (BRAVIA Sync, PhotoTV HD); Wired Remote Terminal, 3.5mm External Stereo Micophone Jack, DC Input
Battery Type NP-FW50 Lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary
Product Bundle
Software Sony Software CD-ROM
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary NP-FW50 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control Yes, Optional Wired (RM-S1AM/RM-L1AM)
Notes SteadyShot INSIDE Sensor-shift Image Stabilization (up to 4 EV correction), Full HD 1080i60 Video, Up to 7 fps Burst Mode (Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE), Enhanced Object Tracking AF, 2x Clear Image Digital Zoom, Auto Portrait Framing.
More Photos
Sony's Alpha SLT-A37 Translucent Mirror camera. Photo provided by Sony. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Alpha SLT-A37 Translucent Mirror camera. Photo provided by Sony. Click for a bigger picture!


Press Release

Sony Introduces Speedy α37 Camera with Full-time Continuous AF Powered by Translucent Mirror Technology

New Model Features High-Quality 16.1MP APS-C Image Sensor, up to 7 fps Shooting, High- Resolution Electronic Viewfinder and more

SAN DIEGO, May 16, 2012 – Lightweight, easy to use and packed with a variety of useful features, the new Sony SLT-A37 camera is an ideal choice for consumers eager to explore the world of interchangeable lens DSLR photography.

The new α37 camera is the latest to feature Sony’s acclaimed Translucent Mirror Technology, which delivers a potent combination of fast shooting, non-stop phase detection autofocus and continuous live image preview during still and full HD video (60i/24p) shooting.  This innovative technology also allows the new α37 camera to grab split-second action with a burst of sharply focused images.  Shots can be captured at up to seven frames per second in Tele-Zoom High Speed Shooting Mode, where the central portion of the sensor’s image is magnified by approximately 1.4x.

The camera has a precision 3-cross 15-point AF system with tracking autofocus that keeps faces and fast-moving subjects in sharp focus.  From action-packed sports to spontaneous family portraits, it will ensure that all the drama and beauty of that special moment is captured.

“Delivering lightning-fast shooting speeds and autofocus plus advanced full HD video capture, our innovative Translucent Mirror Technology continues to serve as the backbone of our A-mount line of cameras,” said Mike Kahn, director of the Alpha business at Sony.  “Featuring this unique technology plus a host of exciting new features and an attractive price tag, our new α37 camera brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘entry level DSLR’.”

Framing and focusing is easy with the camera’s high-resolution Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder.  With a high 1440k dot resolution, excellent contrast and 100% field of view, it matches or exceeds the abilities of many optical viewfinders.  Adjustments to exposure and other creative picture settings can be previewed in real time, either via the Tru-Finder™ EVF or the tilt-angle 6.7 cm (2.7") Clear Photo™ LCD screen, making it easy to create shots with a customized, professional finish.

Additionally, the Sony α37 camera helps inexperienced photographers create top-quality portraits with ease.  The new Auto Portrait Framing mode identifies the subject’s position in a composed image and follows the “rule of thirds” to trim the scene and create a beautifully framed portrait.  The cropped photo is then boosted to full resolution using Sony’s unique By Pixel Super Resolution technology, which uses pattern matching to maintain superb image detail, tones and textures in the photo.   Both the original and cropped image files are saved for review.

By Pixel Super Resolution Technology is also used for the “Clear Image Zoom” feature, which digitally doubles the effective magnification of any lens attached to the camera.  Ideal for travel and everyday shooting, it’s a great way to boost maximum focal length without carrying extra hardware.

The 16.1 effective megapixel Exmor® APS HD CMOS sensor inside the α37 camera captures finely detailed, low noise stills and Full HD video. It’s teamed with the latest BIONZ® image processor that extends sensitivity to an ISO 100-16000 range, broadening options for low-light shooting without flash.  Shared with all α A-mount cameras, SteadyShot INSIDE™ stabilization cuts the effects of camera shake by up to 4.0 stops for clearer handheld images with any A-mount lens.

The new α37 camera also features Superior Auto Mode, which intelligently recognizes a wide range of scenes and subjects and adjusts settings automatically.

New A-Mount 18-135mm Telephoto Zoom Lens and Accessories
A versatile match for the α37 and other Sony A-mount camera bodies, the new SAL18135 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 telephoto zoom offers a generous 8x (approx.) zoom range in a compact, go-anywhere lens that’s great for travel, street photography and everyday shooting.  The lens features a SAM design that assures smooth, rapid, whisper-quiet autofocus operation and Direct Manual Focus for accurate fine-tuning of focus.  This sharp telephoto zoom lens will also be offered as a kit lens with the α37 and other Sony A-mount camera bodies.

Compatible accessories include the new PCK-LM11 semi-hard screen protector sheet, exclusively designed for a perfect fit with the LCD screen on the α37 camera, as well as the HVL-F43AM flash, LCS-BP2 backpack and a variety of other exciting products that complete the Alpha ecosystem.

Pricing and Availability
The new α37 digital camera will be available this June with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens (model SEL1855) for about $600.  The new SAL18135 telephoto zoom lens will be available as a stand-alone product this July for about $500, and will be offered as a kit lens with Sony A-mount cameras beginning this August at the below approximate prices:

  • α37 camera kit with 18-135mm lens: $800

  • α57 camera kit with 18-135mm lens: $1,000

  • α65 camera kit with 18-135mm lens: $1,200

  • α77 camera kit with 18-135mm lens: $1,700

The camera kits, new lens and variety of accessories will be available at Sony retail stores and other authorized dealers nationwide.


***For a full video preview of the new α37 camera and SAL18135 lens, please visit
***Sony will be hosting an exclusive demo of the new Alpha line at the Sony Store in New York (550 Madison Avenue, NY, NY) on Monday, May 21st and Tuesday, May 22nd from 11 AM – 4 PM.  Product experts will be on hand to showcase new models.