Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sony SLT-A35 is no compare to Panasonic G3!

Sears stores are clearancing the Sony SLT-A35 for as low as $249; so I gave it a try, because Sony SLT is the only DSLR with a usable AF for video without hunting that's found on all DSLR cameras and all mirror-less cameras except Panasonic.

People often say DSLR with a larger APS-C sensor like this A35 produces better high ISO images than M4/3. How false is that? What I found is: the A35 is simply no compare to G3, no matter what you compare, and the differences are all huge!

First, let's see their photos @ ISO 3200 (full size and 100% crops):

Now ISO 6400, the one from A35 is simply unusable:

Even at base ISO, the one from A35 is much lower resolution and lacking of contrast:

The only time you want to use the A35 for photos is when you want to hide the details of an ugly face like this:

Now let's compare video:

You may download the original MTS files here and here, if YouTube is not so convincing to you.

They also often say: phase detection is better. Again, this is not the case when comparing A35 to G3.
  • When trying to focus on a spot of flat color, stills or video, both A35 and G3 will hunt and fail. So, no advantage from phase detection on this regard.
  • For stills, G3 focuses faster, and never inaccurate while A35 can be off sometimes.
  • For video, G3 focuses continually, gradually and quietly while A35 shifts focus periodically, disruptively with very audible noise.
  • Aperture is limited to f3.5 if you want AF for video. If you buy a $$$$ f1.8 lens for A35 for video, you simply waste your money. G3 does not have such limit.
This video shows how differently they focus during filming and G3 is favorable:

I am not the only one who found above truth, for example:

Even in this same thread, a poster is still blindly saying: "So G3 for low ISO and Sony for video and high ISOs". Such typical misleading words are flooded all over the Internet, including some camera review sites. I have no idea why.

Based on my own side-by-side tests, I can safely say, in the era of youtube, DSLR is technically outdated and Panasonic M4/3 such as G3 is currently the only choice for taking both 1st-grade photos and video. And, Panasonic M4/3 is much more compact than DSLR, practical for travel and soccer mom.

The same sensor in A35 is widely used in many mid- and top-range DSLR cameras such as the very popular Nikon D7000 selling for $1400. When you buy a G3 for just $299, you miss nothing but gain over a DSLR, period.

[update] The poor images from A35 have something to do with the 18-55 kit lens. To achieve the sharpness of G3, I have to do the followings:

  • Change photo style from standard to vivid and increase contrast, saturation and sharpness by +1. And,
  • Zoom in from 18 to 33 mm and decrease aperture from 3.5 to 5.6.

But video is still significantly worse than G3's. At ISO 6400, photos are much better too, but still too noisy:

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