Summary: I wouldn't buy one of these, but that's just me. If you want something similar to a DSLR, but with better video, 10 frames per second and great GPS tagging, check this out. I'm all about photography, not gimmicks like crummy video or GPS tagging for intelligence gathering.
Excerpt: Plenty of DSLRs put a limit on how long video clips can be. Canon's 7D and Rebel T2i cap out at 12-minutes and even the current king of video DSLRs, the 5D Mark II, maxes out at 29:59 or when the file size reaches 4 GB. But, Sony has recently stated that their new A55 and A33 cameras will overheat after a couple minutes of video capture when the in-body SteadyShot is turned on.
Excerpt: On August 23, 2010, Sony announced two new APS -C digital cameras, the SLT -A55V and the SLT -A33. Both feature what Sony are calling “Translucent Mirror Technology”. What this appears to be is the use of a semi-reflecting fixed pellicle mirror, such as Canon has previously used on camera such as the EOS RT . I’m a little confused by Sony’s terminology since “Translucent” is defined as “permitting light to pass through but diffusing it so that persons, objects, etc.
Excerpt: More and more interchangeable lens cameras are going mirrorless these days, but for this pair of cameras, Sony didn't nix the mirror all together. Instead, they made it fixed and translucent so that it could "split" the optical pathway, directing light to both the main image sensor and the phase detection AF sensor. As a result, shooters get full-time access to phase detection AF using the LCD for Live View or the electronic viewfinder.
Summary: Sony has done a remarkable job of resurrecting semi-transparent mirror technology to create a new kind of DSLR, solving one of the toughest problems so far in video capture with a camera designed primarily for still imaging. It’s possible that contrast-AF technology might some day catch up with the continuous AF speed made possible by these cameras, but in the meantime, these two Sonys offer a wonderful still/video experience without sacrificing the level of still...
Excerpt: Sony has announced a new technology built into two new alpha series cameras for 2010, the α33 (SLT-A33) and α55 (SLT-A55V). Translucent Mirror Technology is built into the two models and basically raises continuous shooting and focusing speed compared to the design used by your typical dSLR camera. While the α33 allows for up to 7 frames per second, the α55 can take photos at up to 10fps.
Summary: The Sony Alpha A33 is a great entry-level DSLR, and is worth a look if you don't already have a collection of Nikon or Canon lenses. You certainly won't be disappointed with the quality of photographs.
Summary: The semi-reflective mirror in the SLT cameras allows most of the light to pass through to the main sensor, but crucially reflects a smaller portion upwards to a traditional phase-change autofocus system. This gives the SLT-A33 and A55 a unique advantage over traditional DSLRs: rather than relying on slow and laborious contrast-based autofocus during Live View and Movie modes, they can use their much faster phase-change AF systems instead.
Pros: Very fast and continuous AF in Live View and HD movies., High resolution articulated screen and decent EVF., Fast continuous shooting up to 7fps., Multi-frame to reduce noise, increase DR or create panoramas., Continuous AF and stabilisation on entire Alpha lens catalogue.
Cons: Some light permanently lost due to semi-reflective mirror., No live image between frames in fast continuous bursts., Modest buffer size: approx 14 best quality JPEGs., Most Alpha mount lenses focus quite audibly in movies., Some will notice rainbow tearing artefacts in viewfinder.
Conclusion: The Alpha 33 brings with it a whole new set of innovative features, as well as many tried-and-tested functions and really shakes up the sector with what it has to offer. Its compact size and neat handling, along with its relative ease of use will appeal to beginners, while its extensive range of features, in particular the benefits given by the fixed translucent mirror, really set it apart from its competitors.