Anyone considering upgrading from a snapshot camera to a digital SLR may like to consider the user-friendly alternative of Sony’s 16.1 megapixel SLT-A37. See all camera reviews.
In many respects, including large APS-C sensor size and Sony A-mount lens, it resembles one of the brand’s Alpha DSLRs. But the backplate controls are as simple as you’ll find on a compact while the internal mirror mechanism that powers a regular SLR has been made see through. Hence this isn’t technically an SLR, but what Sony refers to as a ‘SLT’ (Single Lens Translucent) camera. See Nikon D800 review.
This internal tweak has a couple of advantages. Shooting 1920x1080 pixels Full HD video is as instant as pressing the red record button on the top plate. On a normal DSLR we’d first have to wait while Live View mode is selected and its mirror mechanism flips up before recording commences. Secondly, Sony claims the see-through mirror has improved auto focus speed. Certainly we found the SLT-A37 nigh instantly locked on target with a half press of the shutter release button. Take a look at Group test: what's the best interchangeable lens camera?
A couple of other things we don’t yet find on most DSLRs: a tilting rear LCD screen, albeit here a modest 2.7-inches in size and ok-ish 230,400 dot resolution, plus a large 1.44 million dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) immediately above as an alternative for purists. See also Nikon 1 J1 review
The SLT-A37 offers good value for money bought with 18-55mm zoom and offers a more user friendly alternative to an SLR with identical quality.