Like the higher-end A77 and A65, the A57 employs the new AVCHD Progressive v2.0 standard, which allows it to shoot 1920x1080 full HD video at 60p as well as 60i, plus the traditional movie-like 24p, with continuous phase-detection AF and convenient eye-level viewing when desired. You also can shoot 1440x1080 and 640x480 video in MP4 format at 30 fps. There's a built-in stereo mic, and a jack for an external stereo mic.
The A57 features a number of Sony "image enhancers," including Sweep Panorama, 3D Sweep Panorama, Multi-frame Noise Reduction, Dynamic Range Optimizer, Auto HDR, Handheld Twilight mode and 15 in-camera Picture Effects for video as well as still images.
The A57 has a 1,440,000-dot resolution EVF with a wide dioptric correction range of -4.0 to +3.0, plus the ability to show the actual image in real time. The EVF can display several critical image aspects, including the histogram, digital level, grid lines, shooting data and more.
Improved Tilting LCD Monitor
In an upgrade from the A55, the A57's 3.0-inch, 921,600-dot LCD monitor tilts and swivels like that of the SLT-A65 instead of just tilting up and down.
Auto Portrait Framing
Travel and street shooters will enjoy Auto Portrait Framing, which uses face-detection technology and the compositional "rule of thirds" to identify the subject's face and crop the image with good portrait framing (leaving more room in the direction the subject is looking, for example)—while maintaining the original shooting resolution despite the crop, thanks to the By Pixel Super Resolution Technology.
The A57 uses the NP-FW500H battery, the same one used by the SLT-A77. This provides more shots between charges, important for a camera that's always in live-view mode.
Dual Memory Media
The single slot accepts Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo and PRO-HG Duo media, as well as SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.
Fast SD Card
The A57 has dual memory card slots. For best performance, use a fast SDXC card like this Kingston Class 10 model. It's perfect for still or HD video shooting. www.kingston.com/us/
The Sony ECM-ALST1 is an ideal companion to the A57's microphone jack. It's compact and powerful, and matches the camera's styling. www.sony.com
Cool Effects Lens
The Lensbaby Composer is available for the Sony Alpha mount. These accessory lenses can create some interesting effects. Many photographers find them to be addictive. www.lensbaby.com