In the studio: Sony A99

Sony A99

The back panel has a 3-inch LCD screen that can tilt and swivel, making it useful for composition from low angles. There is another dial at the top-right side of the back panel, just like the one close to the shutter button. Ideally, your thumb will be on this dial and the index finger will be at the one in front. This lets you adjust two settings simultaneously, great for quick shooting. There are lots of standard buttons like menu, function, etc on the back panel. There is a joystick to scroll between options and pictures, which is far better than the scroll buttons in most cameras.

All the ports are on the sides, with the exception of the battery slot at the bottom. The camera has two slots for memory cards. It supports SD, SDHC, SDXC and Memory Stick Pro Duo memory cards. It comes with a GPS sensor and supports a headphone and mic (for video recording) and HDMI (to hook it up to TVs or monitors).

The X-factor

Sony's DSLT cameras have an electronic viewfinder (EVF), which cannot be used when the camera is switched off. Many DSLR enthusiasts vouch strongly for an optical viewfinder, but judging by the great performance of the Sony A57 (, Sony's Alpha series is a serious contender in this field.

In the studio is a column where we record first impressions of review units. The full review will appear in one of the forthcoming editions of Eye magazine (free with your copy of The Sunday Express).

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