And Then There Was A Sony A57

This may come as a surprise to many, I have just purchased a Sony Alpha A57, adding to my growing collection of Sony gear. Yes, you heard that right, an entry level DSLT, Sony A57, which was targetted at the same level as the Nikon D3200 and Canon 650D. I noticed a significant price drop in the local Malaysian street market and I quickly made the purchase. Having acquired the new Sony A57, together with a group of Sony warriors, we attacked my usual photo-hunting ground at Pudu Market this morning. 

Behold, the not so new (it is after all, more than one year after its release) Sony DSLT Alpha A57!!

The NEED for a NEW Camera for NOW

Hello Robin, why buy a new camera at all? Have you not kept telling us how reliable and fail-proof that Olympus DSLR E-5 has always been? And have you not just purchased the Sony A350 and a set of lenses as a full, back-up system? Why sudden need for a new body?

The stark realization hit me during my assignment in shooting a wedding in Perth, Australia recently. 

I was not shooting alone, together with me was a friend (whom I shall not name) who shot with a Nikon D7000 that was not even 2 years old. On the morning of the actual wedding day, I was covering the bride's side of preparation, while my friend was covering the groom's side of things. As he was starting to shoot some wedding details (wedding rings shots) the shutter mechanism FAILED. It was in such an unexpected, inauspicious timing that the Nikon D7000's shutter decided to DIE. The bad news? My friend only had one Nikon body with no backup, and he could not reach me (miles away) without losing time to travel and miss some very important moments !! The good news? Every Tom, Dick and Harry these days have a DSLR, and one of the groomsmen had a D7000 with him which he was kind and willing to lend for my friend's usage for the day, on the spot !! Another good news? The bride and groom were my good friends, and no harm was done since the borrowed D7000 immediately picked up where the old dead shutter D7000 left, so there was no missed shots. I cannot say the same if we were dealing with clients whom we do not know personally, surely such an incident could turn out to be dramatic!!

Long story short, the D7000's shutter death (which made the camera useless anyway) got me thinking hard on the necessity in getting a fully functional and new camera body. The Olympus E-5 has been over-used, bruised and battered through all the shutter therapy sessions and quite a number of photography assignment which were intensive and demanding at the same time. I dare not even check the shutter count on the E-5, because the last time I checked it was already more than 60,000k, and that was more than a year and half ago!! As tough and reliable the E-5 may be, it is not indestructible and it can, and will fail at anytime. 

As much as I have come to love the Sony A350 which I bought as a back-up measure in case the E-5 fails, I know very well that the A350 has MANY shortcomings. The autofocus was not fast and reliable enough, and more importantly the obsolete image sensor in the camera was not sufficiently good enough for my own photography demands. 

I have a few photography assignment coming up in the month of May and June, both are equally important events which I need full performance of my gear, and I cannot afford to have my cameras act up on me. Therefore, there is a need for a NEW camera body. 

All images in this blog entry were taken with Sony Alpha 57 and DT lenses: 50mm F1.8, 35mm F1.8 and 18-55mm F3.5-5.6

Young Friends

Portrait of a Stranger 1

Portrait of a Stranger 2

Something Sweet

Manual Transportation

Motherly Love

Portrait of a Stranger 3

Why a SONY? Why Sony A57?

Ideally, I would want to use a full micro 4/3 system. Two OM-D E-M5 bodies, perhaps an E-PL5 as a backup, with plenty and plenty of batteries and a few chargers to get the system always charged up to go. Then I would want those wonderful primes, the 12mm F2, the 25mm F1.4, the 45mm F1.8, and not to forget the 75mm F1.8. Oh wait, I also want that 60mm F2.8 macro too. I can live without long zoom lenses for now. I am very confident those combination of OM-D bodies and micro 4/3 lenses can match, or even surpass what my current 4/3 DSLR and Zuiko lenses can do. 

Only one problem, I did the calculation on the costs and believe me when I say, it is not feasible for me to throw in so much money, just to start a whole new system!!

That was when I started to turn my attention to the Sony. I bought the Sony A350 together with some very cheap lenses (and a third party TTL capable flash) as a back-up, and as I have used the Sony for many shutter therapy sessions, and even as a part of some of my recent photo assignment shoots, I find that the Sony system can deliver. I love what those two prime lenses can do, the 35mm F1.8 and 50mm F1.8. I am sure their more expensive lenses can do wonders as well. I may not be able to start a whole new system, but I have accumulated enough Sony gear that all I needed now was a new body, and I am set to go!! This makes much more sense, does it not?

Why not buy the Sony Full Frame Alpha 99? Honestly, I cannot afford that. Then why not the much more superior and advanced (higher specs) A77? Truth be told, the ISO performance and dynamic range of the A77's 24MP sensor is still behind what the A57 can do. Yet the A57 is marginally cheaper, which is a huge plus. 

Here are the reasons why I finally chose Sony A57, in addition to what I have mentioned above:

1) Sony A57 shares the same battery as the Sony A350, hence adding the A57, I will have two fully functional battery chargers, and THREE original Sony batteries, which should be able to keep me running for a full day shoot. I might get another battery if necessary. This is a very important cost-saving advantage.

2) I initially was interested in the Sony A58, but after I saw that cheap, lousy plastic mount, I gave up. If you have seen how I shoot, and how often I change lenses, you will know the plastic mount is something I try to avoid. I don't think it would last me a year under my stressful usage. 

3) The image sensor in the Sony A57 is shared with the much acclaimed Pentax K5 and Nikon D7000, both cameras which received positive remarks in terms of image quality (high ISO noise control and wide dynamic range). Several review sites, including DPReview which has never been really kind toward Sony, have unanimously given high praise for the Sony A57. DPReview awarded Sony A57 "Gold". 

4) I needed two important factors (besides being affordable): FAST/ACCURATE Autofocus and Improved image quality. Since DSLT system employs phase-detect AF, the AF should be efficient enough for my shooting needs. The Sony A57's image sensor is class leading and I expect it to outperform even my Olympus E-5. 

5) I needed a camera that offers Live View and in-body Image Stabilization, which the Sony A57 does. 

6) Kirk Tuck sang praises about the A57. Enough said. 

Cut into pieces

Waiting for customers

Innocent gaze

A Hot Day

Drama in the market

Fruit Basket

Initial Thoughts on Sony A57

I will NOT do a review on the Sony A57, considering this is not really a new camera, and there are already MANY reviews that are available online. 

I will however, share my thoughts and impressions on the camera, as I shoot with it, and discover its strengths and weaknesses. 

Lets start with some not so pleasant things. The start-up time of the camera is unbearably SLOW. Slow, that it took a few seconds to be fully ready for any action, and this can be dangerous when I do need instant response from the camera. Then during the review playback on the LCD or the EVF, the magnified view is also painfully SLOW!! I do not get it, how difficult it is to create instant preview magnifications at the press of the magnify button? Olympus, Nikon and Canon can do it. Sony being a superior electronic giant, come on, I am expecting more!!

Those two things aside, I do not have much to complain about the camera, really. Everything else was on the positive side of things, and that is GOOD. 


I am starting to appreciate Kirk Tuck's long time claim on the "pre-chimping" through the electronic viewfinder. In fact, everything was available and readily previewed on the EVF that I knew exactly what was wrong especially with the exposure in tricky lighting conditions (backlit, uneven lighting, or high contrast areas) and I immediately dialed the exposure compensation accordingly, and saw the results real time as it happened, even before clicking the shutter button. Knowing what went wrong and fixing it instantly did open up a whole new level of flexibility, and I am glad the newer cameras these days, both from the micro 4/3 and Sony camps are moving toward that direction. This surely can change a photographer's quality control workflow. Why waste time chimping (after the shot) when you can chimp as you shoot?

Improved Metering and Color Accuracy

Generally, I am happy with the image quality. The color balance was unexpectedly good, though not perfect, but good enough that I only needed to do some minor tweaking (which was not much) in post-processing. The metering was very accurate, and smart to adapt to difficult and challenging conditions. I did not even have to touch the exposure compensation much, but mainly this was due to the fact that I already saw what was happening in the first place as I pre-chimped. 

I was shooting in generally favorable lighting condition with plenty of light, hence I did not have the chance to test the high ISO shooting yet. Do not worry, I will bring the camera and torture it as usual. During the daytime shooting in the market, I particularly like the much improved dynamic range in comparison to my Olympus E-5, but it was difficult to tell if it was better than the OM-D unless I have it side by side. If you do find highlight blown-outs or shadow clippings, well, that was all my fault, I post-processed my images and I love my images to come out with high contrast, sometimes a bit too much for everyone's taste. But hey, those are my images, who are you to tell me how I present them? I do it my way, and I like them that way!! Black to be black and white to be white. 

Push Harder

Portrait of a Stranger 4

Lonely Cigarette 


Bean Sprouts

By the shop. That was Carlson, a Sony A99 user at the back (green shirt)

Closed Roller Shutter

The focusing was very fast, but nowhere near as fast as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 or the PEN E-PL5. Nonetheless, the focusing was already fast enough for my shooting needs. I did encounter quite a worrisome number of missed-focus shots, either rear or front focus. I have done extensive testing indoors in a controlled condition and I have concluded that the camera and lenses were free of any back or front focus issues. Things did not seem so ideal in real life shooting circumstances, and it did get a little annoying when I cannot nail my shots confidently. I am cutting the camera some slack because I am still getting to know it and understand its focusing behaviour. It takes time to learn and master a new camera, and I know I will be able to shoot much better after a few more rounds of shutter therapy with it. 

That Silent Shutter!!

The silent shutter was absolutely beautiful. I like how the camera almost makes no sound at all in such a loud environment (wet market, open air). I can be very near my subject and as I fired a few shots, my subjects would not even know!! A stealth machine this camera is, and the smaller form factor surely helped as well. 

The Sony Warriors: Hadi Nik, Joseph Cheung, Kevin Ng and Meng Keat. Not in photos, but with us this morning: Eva and Carlson. In the group there were 4 units of Sony Alpha 99 and two units of Sony NEX-6. My Sony A57 suddenly feels so small!!!!!

Any Sony Alpha A57 user out there? Do share some thoughts, and tips too, if you are willing. I am eager to hear and learn from you all. 

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  1. Hi Robin, backup is indeed very important... I have not had my first official assignment yet, but I'm looking forward to it and you no matter what one should not undertake assignments without backup! I'm also looking to buy a second body in due time! Furthermore, the combination of the prime and the a57 is really outstanding and it blows away the a37! Robin what other interesting lenses does a sony user can consider?

    1. Sorry I mean a350 instead of a37!

    2. Hey Johan,
      Second body? Sony is a great budget yet capable system. I cannot exactly recommend any lenses as I am still exploring the world of Sony. I can highly recommend the 35mm F1.8 and 50mm F1.8, and I am thinking of an ultra wide angle and perhaps a long zoom lens. Not sure which but those are important to fill in the gaps of my shooting necessities.

  2. Hi Robin!
    Congrats to your new Sony!

    I think you made a mistake to diss A58 on the grounds of the "lousy plastic mount"!
    As I understand it´s no problem at all as users have witnessed. It´s not "plastic" at all, but metal in the inner important parts.

    Benefits of the A58:
    * better battery live
    * a MUCH better EVF (OLED)
    * Area based noise reduction as in the A99
    * Tethering
    * A new sensor better than A57 according to recent tests

    I bought the A58 after considering the A57 and I am very happy with it.

    Happy shooting with your A57!

    1. Please do leave a name when you comment next time. Unknown is not a name.

      I think you have missed an important part of my point about the "plastic mount". I change lenses a lot. And I really mean it when I say a lot. Wear and tear is more serious for a plastic mount in comparison to metal. And I intend to use this camera body for serious shooting, where it will undergo torture and rough handling. I doubt the plastic mount can handle such stress.

      No doubt everything else on the A58 is better, it has to be, since it is newer.

    2. Only time will tell....... ;-)

      /Kjell - way up north in Sweden

      (Yes I forgot enter my name last time!)

  3. Hi Robin, I hope Olympus is taking note. It's too bad you (had to and) have to switch to Sony to get backup. Nothing wrong with Sony (I have a NEX6), but wouldn't it be wonderful if the next OMD could handle both m43 lenses and your treasure trove of old but excellent reg43 glass?

    Have you tried adding the histogram to your live view? I guess I still don't trust what I see in the EVF when I add/subtract EV comp. I always rely on the histogram to give me the facts. That being said, on the NEX6 the right side of the histogram is on the far right of the viewfinder and I have to move my head to see it. (I wear glasses and this doesnt' help.)


    1. Hello Peter,
      I am waiting for the next camera from Olympus to take in both micro 4/3 and 4/3 lenses, lets hope it happens sooner rather than later !
      I do not use histogram for my shooting, strange I know but I have come to learn not to trust it. Nothing against it, if you find the histogram useful, then use it, but it has misled me in so many situations.

  4. Great stuff as usual Robin! I usually prefer colour but Stranger no. 3, Push Harder and A Hot Day are superb. I'm sure you'll squeeze the best out of that Sony.

    I would have thought Olympus had given you an OMD and a couple lenses by now. They should have! Maybe Sony can give you a A99 then ;)

    Dr. No

    1. Hey Dr No,
      Thanks for the kind words, those mentioned images are my personal favourites from this series too!

      Yes yes yes, Sony please give me an A99!!

  5. A couple notes on the A57:

    It's actually a competitor to the Nikon D5200 rather than the D3200 (which was the Sony A37, now discontinued). The A58 was moved downmarket to replace both the A57 and A37 which is why it is an odd combination of upgrades & downgrades from the A57. The A57 is an interesting camera, it was intorduced primarily because Sony realized that the A65 had the wrong set of tradeoffs for its market (the A65 was the A77 sensor and EVF in a lower-spec & slower body, but the market really wanted an upgraded A55)

    It is an excellent camera, the sensor is a gem. The EVF is decent but not outstanding, it's the one area where Sony cheaped out. And yes, review is a little slow, all the Sony's share this flaw to some extent, it can be annoying.

    AF is fast & accurate. Single-shot AF is slower than the OM-D, but unlike the OM-D the A57 has reasonable Continuous AF performance (arguably best in class, you need to go up to a D7000 or 7D to get better Continuous AF from the competition)

    All the large-body Sony's share the same battery, all DSLR's, with the semi-exception of the A100 which can use the newer battery but came with a battery which all other Sony DSLR's can't use and all of the SLT's except the A55 and the A3x series, which share the NEX's batteries. All NEX use the same battery. Sony has given us a system with 2 batteries total, a nice change from other systems where the battery type changes regularly (Oly is a close second on this, but was forced to change their battery design by a Japanese requirement for hidden contacts, which Sony had introduced at the beginning).

    1. Hello mawz,
      Thanks for the info, really appreciate it. The strange thing is, the EVF did not quite bug me at all. I was perfectly fine with it. I have tried the continuous AF, while it is admittedly better than the OM-D, I still find it not to be very useful in very demanding situations. You were right, a D7000 or 7D would do much better job in this area. But do bear in mind the Sony is still just an entry level camera.
      Glad to have the batteries similar with different bodies, this is quite an advantage having another Sony camera, and I have additional charger to work with!

  6. Hallo Robin. Great Choice!! we are doing the same path about gears. I also left Olympus (that I love, yet) for a new system and also my choice is Sony. The A77 is not so bad at high Iso, better than E-5 for sure. There are some great Minolta lenses on used market at very cheap price and the EvF is a great thing. Now I also has a A900 that perform great at High Iso.
    I find the Dynamic Range of A77 very good, but the A57 is better. the great problem of A57, for me, is the lack of BG. I have big hands and I want big camera, for work. Olympus has great great cameras and splendid lenses, but... they cannot kill the 4/3 system after 10 years.There is people who spent a lot and they cannot change all their rears to switch to micro4/3 system. Also sony, with Minolta history has a very long story and compatibility. Now I use E-3 for shooting outdoor and critical situation (it' s a tank), the a77 for action-fast shooting and a900 for high quality portraits or low light situation. I find this a very balanced system.

    1. Hello Ugo,
      I shall still continue to use the Olympus E-5 for critical work. I need a camera body that I can use confidently enough, and I know will deliver, should the E-5 decided to fail on me (which I won't be surprised). There are many things that E-5 can do that the Sony A57 cannot, but it is pointless to do comparisons. I have always been shooting with lower grade equipment (I did many paid assignment with the E-520 and even kit lenses) so coming to Sony entry level system was not something completely new to me.

  7. Hi Robin, you are going to love the a57 as you get to know it better. In terms of features, I thought it was a bargain when it was first released and its even more so now that the price is dropping. The dynamic range of the sensor is incredible. I originally purchased one at launch and sold it when I upgraded to the a99. After the price drops in recent weeks I bought it again and very glad I did. Some tips from my use of the a57:

    1 - since you can pre-chimp, sometimes I turn image review off to speed up shot to shot times
    2 - the 10fps burst mode autofocuses between each shot. The downside is you need a fast lens that can keep up. My favorite is the 16-50mm f2.8 because the focus is silent and super fast. It goes for about $500 US dollars used, but you may be able to find one cheaper. It may seem pricey, but there are no other 24-75mm (35mm equivalent) constant 2.8 aperture lenses that focus silent enough for video and have the optical quality of this lens anywhere near this price.
    3 - definitely get one or two more spare batteries. The evf/live view LCD sucks quite a bit if power. I have several knock off batteries that have worked great and dirt cheap.
    4 - the buffer is not bad so you may want to invest in a faster sd card just in case.
    5 - I usually use the "local" af setting so I can move around the focus point. This usually helps with no missed back or front focus.

    I'll post more if I remember.

    1. Thanks for the tips Wataru. I will move beyond the chimping phase after shots once I am confident with the camera's AF behaviour. Now it does seem a bit there and here, and not exactly 100% accurate in many occasions. Let me use the camera more to find out.
      I have two more spare batteries, as mentioned, original from Sony A350. That should be sufficient to last me at least one day (3 batteries!!!)
      I won't be investing in lenses so soon, but it is a great thing that the 10FPS does readjust the focus after each frame.
      Seems like quite a lot of my blog readers are Sony users after all!

    2. @Wataru, I've exactly the same advice and setup as yours except I do not have a99 currently. ;)
      To me, a57 + 16-50mm f2.8 is a perfect all around combo.

    3. Wow, more and more Sony DSLT users!

  8. Good choice of the new camera and cool photos. I bought the same camera today.


    1. Hello CSL,
      Thanks, and congratulations on your purchase too!

  9. I am a Sony A55 user --- the old version of yours. Same sensor, I think. My main complaint is (and will ever be) the stupid bracketing limitation and the fact that in auto-iso mode the chosen ISO is not shown in the pre-chimp phase, and in general that Sony stops doing firmware updates as soon as the new model is out of the door --- which I find treating clients in a very bad manner. Cleaning the sensor is more scaring than in mormal reflex camera, too.
    On the other side the camera performs well most of the time. And you have great opportunities of using "old" Minolta lenses. I am humbly trying to learn from you for macro shots... see

    1. hey Romano,
      Thanks for sharing your experience. I rarely do use bracketing and I set my ISO manually most of the time, so I am ok with these limitations (but of course some may find them inconvenient).
      I should be hunting for old minolta lenses too!

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Great work as usual.

    I agree the entry level dSLR or SLT can cost as much as Oly 12mm prime. Is there much difference in IQ between A57 & OMD ?

    I am planning to get Oly M4/3 primes from bh given there is a discount at the moment. Do you have a link from your website besides your listed items with bh?

    Thanks again!

    1. Thanks for the support! You can use any links here, even the search box, or the link to their main site, clicking from any links found on this blog. the system will detect the referral from here!

    2. No problem....
      You deserved to be paid for all the hard work and time you spent on this site.


  12. Hi Robin - good to see you checkin out the Sony for a backup :-) I had a friend shoot a wedding 2 weeks ago and it wasn't the camera that failed - it was the Sandisk CF card that failed about 3/4 way through the shoot. We were able to see the photos on the camera during the shoot without issue and then towards the end, the camera displayed an error and the card could no longer be accessed or used. Established that it was an error with the card and are now trying to get an IC reader to read the memory chip from the card. The camera was a fairly new 5D Mark III. In this case there is not much you can do (except have a backup photographer which they did have)

    1. Hey Shaun,
      My goodness, that was quite unfortunate!! I think having corrupted card was one of the worst nightmares!! I sure hope your friend can recover the images!

  13. Hi Robin,
    as already some have tell you this isn't a bad choice after all. Here in the house we have a much used E-P2 and a E-PM1. I like to use my Sigma 2.8 19mm (mostly) and for the rest the Zuiko 1.8 45mm. My wife uses the white E-PM1 with the (kit)zoom that came with the E-P2. For about a year I bought a refurbished Sony a550 with the kit lens. I mostly use it with a Minolta 35-105 lens. Together this was an "El Cheapo". Sure the Sony is bigger, heavier then the Pen's and not so perfect for going small, but the pictures are great. And sure some of the old Minolta lenses are great to shoot with for small prices.So keep up the good work and keep making your wonderful pictures with Sony or Olympus.And never forget that most people who look at your pictures just don't care if they are made with what camera so ever. Hoping seeing many more of your pictures,

    1. Hello JOs,
      Thanks for the kind words!! You got it right, the ability to use Minolta lenses with full AF support was a big plus!! That A550 is a great camera, my friends raved about it. Glad you have one!!

  14. Robin, your composition skills are fantastic, and it doesn't matter which camera that you are using to put those skills into action. I really like the photos in this blog post. The colors look great! You didn't say what post processing software that you used (it certainly isn't Olympus software!). I know that Kirk seems much less than pleased when using the Adobe (Camera Raw or Lightroom) to post process his Sony images, so I was just wondering what you were using. The results look great!

    1. Robin, I forgot to mention this, but you could have gone with a Micro Four Thirds camera and still been able to use all of your regular Four Thirds lenses. Olympus makes a an adapter called the MMF-2.

      I'm not saying that you should have, I'm just pointing out that you could have!

    2. Gregg,
      Thanks for the kind words.
      I used the Image Data Converter (Sony's own RAW conversion software), for the temporary measure. If I found better software to handle the RAW files, I will be willing to give it a try.
      About the Olympus MMF adapter, putting on 4/3 DSLR lens on micro 4/3 bodies will result in very slow and unreliable AF. I needed the camera to be used in demanding and challenging situations (paid assignment) where the single most important factor to consider would be the AF. Hence that was not a solution adequate for my needs.

  15. It certainly is important -especially for paid assignments- to have backup gear at the ready. I remember, many years ago, my Hassy jamming on me. Oh yes, Hassies break too. I loaned my normal backup body to somebody else in the same building. So there it was... Luckily I was carrying a bag with old "Kiev" Russian (actually, Ukrainian) medium format gear and we switched to that. Somewhat crude and quirky but sturdy stuff. With some P6 mount Zeiss Jena lenses we got the job done nevertheless.

    Later that day the gallery was displaying the shots, huge blowups. Nobody saw any difference -- not even the Hassy rep that came by to pick up the dead camera body.

    Congratulations with the new gear! You'll love its qualities and reliability, and in your hands... well, the pictures are the proof!

    1. Thanks for sharing the experience Andre!! My goodness, that is another worry, sometimes we do need more than one back-up body, just in case !!

  16. Good for you on finding a tool you like at a reasonable cost. The A57 ain't no slouch ;-)

    On the death of the D7000, I keep telling those who enter the wedding market that they need two bodies. Your friend was lucky to get that loaner. My guess is that here people would not have been so kind.

    1. Hey Libby,
      Thanks for the words of assurance. And I also told my friend that he needs two bodies!!

  17. hi i can read ur busy now..end of month actually..nice pic robin..really nice shoot with u on that day..definitly will go with u again..its nice place with many actvt there..did u know when i shoot here , my memories come back in my head..actually i always come to this market with my parents during my child time..during d shoot session with d group is d best time for me..feels that my life so wonderful..i can see many xtvt n story in this i know why u like this place to do ur shutter therapy session..i can see ur view robin n i really3 enjoy to shoot with u..hopefully can shoot with u again..
    *hadi nik*

    1. Hello Hadi,
      Glad to know that you enjoyed the shooting session. It was nice seeing you again, and you did have some very good photos! Hope to shoot with you again.

  18. I am a Sony A99 owner and I just got a A58 as a back up.

    You worry WAY TOO much about the plastic lens mount my friend, way too much !

    Even if you change lenses a lot, I do not expect it to be any problem.

    The EVF and IQ of the A58 has surprised me - it really is very good and a noticeable improvement over the A57 IMO.

    Happy shooting. You are getting some great pictures from your A57 !

    1. Please do leave a name when you comment next time.
      Thanks for the kind words.
      If you know how I shoot, you will start to worry about the plastic mount too.

  19. Hi Robin,

    Congratulations on your purchase. I am sure that you will continue to impress us with the quality of your photos.
    What do you think on the low light performance of your A57 compared to Nikon D5100 and Olympus E-PL5?

    Another question: Which stabilization system is more effective, Olympus E-PL5 or Sony A57?

    Your opinion will be very helpful for me choosing a system.



    1. Dear Ibrahim,
      Thanks for the kind words.
      I have not used the Nikon D5100 before so I will leave that out.
      I have reasons to believe the E-PL5 performed better in low light shooting. Nonetheless I have not compared both cameras side by side. But the A57 is no slouch either.
      In terms of Image Stabilization, Olympus is clearly better.

  20. Donald W Leitzel4/30/2013 09:49:00 PM


    Nice choice with the Sony A57, same battery as your other Sony makes sense.

    I have the adapter to mount my 4/3 lens on my Pen, but I don't do any mission critical photography. It is a compromise at best.

    Just remember that you have to make the decision on what makes financial sense. You don't have to justify your choice to any one.

    Keep up with your excellent photography and blog.


    1. Thanks Don for the kind words!!
      I think I have too much going on in my mind that I have to voice my thoughts out somehow, and it always felt better after penning things down here.

  21. Robin, I've been following your blog for quite a while and enoy that it focuses more on your shutter therapy than it does the equipment, although I still have a soft spot in my heart for Olympus (I still own two OM-2n cameras and all the accessories). I went to Minolta when I went digital (since Olympus E-Volt 3xx and 5xx series cameras had viewfinders that I found too small and tunnel-like), and of course, when Sony bought up Minolta's camera business I've stuck with them due to my investment in Minolta lenses. I currently shoot a Sony SLT A77 and have an older A700 as my backup. My wife uses a Sony A55 that she loves.

    I did splurge and buy a Panasonic G3 on closeout last autumn when the new G5 was announced since the price was right and it's nice to have a smaller, lighter, less conspicuous camera as my walk-around camera.

    I absolutely love my Minolta 700-210mm AF f/4 lens (here in the US they're referred to as the Minolta Beer Can) and I don't know what the market prices are like in Malaysia, but you can find a fantastic selection of used Minolta AF lenses at - they ship internationally and are very conservative in their grading system. I've purchased BGN (bargain) condition lenses at KEH that I swore were in Like New condition when they arrived other than possibly missing the original packaging.

    I've recently picked up a couple more Minolta AF zoom lenses but haven't had a chance to really test them out yet. Check out the website for some good reviews of most Sony/Minolta Alpha mount lenses. They have a really strong community that rates and comments on almost all the used equipment compatible with the Sony Alpha line.

    I hope you enjoy the A57 and that it proves to be a winner for you. You might also find that the older Minolta "Maxxum" AF lenses to be quite a bargain after looking at the prices Sony charges for their "G" level and Zeiss lenses.

    Lastly, I hope Olympus comes through for the original 4/3 owners with a new Sony-made sensor 4/3 body that has similar performance to the OMD - you and many others have invested a lot of money in their lenses (as did I when buying their OM Zuiko MF lenses) and I would hate to see them abandon another generation of loyal customers. It's obvious talking with a close friend who still shoots his E-30 with a wonderful selection of the 4/3 Zuiko lenses that the adapter Micro 4/3 for the bigger lenses has miserable auto focus performance and that the lenses are just too big and heavy on the OMD body.


    Craig Minneapolis, MN USA

    1. Hello Craig,
      Thank you for following me and your kind support all this time, I really appreciate the visits!
      Thanks also for sharing a bit of your photography history, which I must say was very colorful!! I envy you for having experienced Minolta system first hand.
      Thanks for the recommendation on zoom lenses, I have heard about the good things of the "beercans" and will surely get one. At the moment the need for tele-zoom lens is not there yet.
      I truly hope that I can utilize my current Olympus lenses with no compromise in AF capability with the newer imaging capabilities of OM-D or the E-PL5 !! I have faith that Olympus is working on something.

  22. Hi Robin !

    CONGRATULATIONS on your new purchase !

    I look forward to your forth comming blog entries as u and your new machine work your magic together ...:):)

  23. Dear Robin,

    I am a proud follower of your blog since almost a year now and I am really enjoying it, especially because you are a big spokesman for Olympus. Unfortunately the future of Olympus regarding DSLR is more than dark and seeing a Olympus "fighter" like you also starting to change his gear makes me really sad.
    I am personally not interested in Pen cameras or similar cams, because for me they are nothing but Smartphones with 300mm zoom ;) It is a shame, that Olympus is not interested in supporting the small but faithfull community of DSLR-Fans and if someone like you starts to change to Sony, I see a even darker future for Oly DSLR cams.

    Never the less, I will follow your blog and keep on supporting Olympus DSLR (and I will get myself a shiny E-5 beginning next year :) ) and to Olympus (hoping that there are company members reading your blog) I can only say: Please keep in mind, that there are still people who carry your great cameras with pride and faith and who do not care about the High-iso-madness but love the colors, the 25 submenu controlling and the small size.

    By the way, I follow you on Facebook as well ;)

    Enjoy your new cam

    1. Dear Stefan,
      Thanks for the kind words and show of support, I appreciate them a lot!
      Do not worry, I shall continue to use the Olympus E-5 and I have faith that it shall last me for quite a while longer. Though it is prudent to have a good backup system.
      Good to see you on my Facebook Page!

    2. Dear Robin,

      good to hear.
      You are completely right, especially when it comes to wedding photography, because I think you do not want to alienate the bride with a cheerfull "whoops" ;)

  24. Hi Robin,
    Regarding "ruth be told, the ISO performance and dynamic range of the A77's 24MP sensor is still behind what the A57 can do. Yet the A57 is marginally cheaper, which is a huge plus. "

    A77 may be a just a bit inferior regarding High ISO performance (Though if you re-size the image to the same amount of Mpx, up to ISO 3200 there's not much difference). Regarding DR, the 24Mpx is superior, about 1 EV better.

    Anyway, for the price A57 is a great buy, congrats.

    1. Hello RTI,
      thanks for the input. However, I do have many friends who have both A77 and A57, or have used both cameras extensively and they all came up with the same conclusion, the A57 has significantly better ISO performance. Even Kirk Tuck has repeatedly said so in his blog.

  25. Hi Robin,

    am always a fan of your photos , that unique black and white portraits . I know you have come a long way into your photographic journey with your E5 and now your Sony . I shoot with a pentax Kr with a host of pentax lenses. It's a fanstastic system but became too heavy or too conspicous to shoot ...however I have trouble changing to a new system cause I loves the colours and tone of a pentax. Your review of the OM-D have made such an impression on me , that I got myself an OM-D with a 17mm f1.8 . which have been a joy to shoot. so now 2 bodies shooting 35mm and a 46mm focal length. OM-D is really fast.

    Hopefully one day you can try a pentax and see a big difference in your portraiture . K5 is cheap now ..a body alone would have cost 2.5k. RM.

    I hope when im back from papua new guinea this year that I can find time to join you in those street photographs . your photos are very organiz and down to earth ...and I would love to learn from you . IN the meantime Im here in a foreign land shooting landscapes and sunsets..

    joshua tan

    1. Hello Joshua,
      Nice to hear from you again. Thanks for the kind words. I am also glad to find that you have used the OM-D!!
      It is unlikely I will pick up any more new systems at the moment. Having two separate systems is more than crazy already!
      When you do come back to KL do let me know. Would love to shoot with you on the streets.

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  31. Robin - Wonderful post. As a newbie to DSLR world trying to figure out my first purchase i think i made by choice wtih this port. Will buy thro' B&H thro' this site. Can you advise on the lens pls. My need is to shoot good quality pic of my 4 month old baby and vacation shots.. I plan to buy the 18-55 mm lens along with A57 to start with. Can you recommend any other lens based on my usage requirement above.. I mainly need the baby shots to come out perfect :)

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  40. Im planning to purchase a speedlight for my sony a57(18-135). What brand of speedlight do you guys use for your a57. Is a yongnuo 560II (which I understand is a manual flash)for sony any good? thanks.

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  42. If Robin Wong says Sony A57 is good, then i'm buying it ><

  43. @Robin Wong
    Hey some pretty awesome pictures there.. and i am still confused with whether to buy the a58 or the a57. I am mostly into macro photography and still photography . I dont mind the plastic back of the lens . So i ll probably buy an a58 . Btw great work there

  44. Hello, i am still confused to buy a37 or another type of camera. .im a beginner. .plz help me with ur experiance in photography. .my budjet around rm1.5k

  45. Hi Robin, great review as always. Is there a difference in colour in the A350 ccd sensor and the a57 cmos sensor in your opinion. Grtz Aart