The Sony A35 can be purchased with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, a 55-200mm f/4-5.6 telephoto zoom, or as a value package with both lenses together. On the plus side, the 18-50mm (which we used for the overwhelming majority of our test) is impressively sharp across the whole frame and does an especially good job of keeping purple fringing at bay on high-contrast edges. That said, both it and the 55-200mm do feel a bit plasticky and cheap.
As with all Sony cameras Image Stabilisation technology is built into the camera, so Sony lenses don’t require it. This has the benefit of making them cheaper to buy than their individually stabilised Nikon and Canon counterparts. As Sony continues to gain presence within the DSLR market, so its catalogue of lenses continues to grow. Enthusiasts looking to expand a lens collection will now find plenty of top quality glass in the Sony catalogue.
Turning back to the A35, we have to say that overall image quality is really very good indeed. In fact, never mind its super-fast AF performance and speedy continuous shooting abilities, the A35’s real trump card is actually its image quality. Used on the ‘Standard’ Creative Style, JPEGs are consistently sharp and colourful with good levels of contrast. Detail resolution is excellent as well – just look at the leaves on the trees on the images in our Sample Gallery.
We did notice a slight tendency for the A35 to underexpose on occasion, which can make some images appear a little dark at times, especially in the mid-tones. However, this does have the benefit of retaining more highlight detail in situations where it might otherwise be lost.
Noise control is similarly very good. From ISO 100 to ISO 400 images are sharp, detailed and free of noise as might be expected, however it’s in the mid- to high settings of ISO 800 to ISO 3200 that the A35 really impresses with noise again kept to a minimum, and without any noticeable softening of detail either. Even the highest available settings of 6400 and 12,800 remain pretty usable when viewed at lesser magnification.
Used on the Automatic White Balance (AWB) setting, the A35 is thoroughly reliable, with images in all lighting conditions, natural and otherwise, coming out neither too warm nor too cold. You can, of course, select one of the regular presets, or even set your own custom colour temperature should you wish to though.
While attention is naturally drawn to the super-fast AF and continuous shooting abilities of the A35, what really impresses is overall image quality. Sony has made great strides with its Exmor sensors, and the result here is a camera that performs exceptionally well in low light, producing images with plenty of contrast and punch straight from the camera. The big question is whether you can live with the EVF and its inherent flaws. If you can then the A35 remains worthy of serious consideration.
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