This is an in-depth review of the new Sony SLT-A77 digital SLR camera that was announced together with the Sony SLT-A65 in August of 2011. I had a chance to test both cameras, along with a number of Sony / Zeiss lenses for the Sony mount, while reviewing the Nikon 1 camera system in late 2011. While I concentrate most of my gear reviews around Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses, I got really excited about these Sony cameras after seeing the press release and decided to try them out.
I have been enjoying shooting with DSLRs for quite some time now and while I am very happy with the cameras and lenses I use, I just think that we have not been seeing major breakthroughs in new DSLR cameras. New cameras pack more resolution, faster frames per second, better video features and other bells and whistles, but nothing innovative and revolutionary that changes the way we shoot. With Sony entering the DSLR market rather late in 2006 (after acquiring Konica Minolta), it was tough to compete against the long-established Canon and Nikon cameras. Sony introduced a few DSLRs with great features at a competitive price and secured itself the #3 market share spot in DSLR sales globally, mostly with lower-end DSLR camera bodies. With a rather slow adoption rate and a limited choice of lenses and accessories available, the company quickly realized that its only way to challenge the big two was to innovate. In August of 2010, Sony announced its first “Single-Lens Translucent” (SLT) cameras – the Sony A33 and A55. While the concept of a translucent mirror is not new (in fact, Sony calls it “translucent” for marketing purposes, because it is actually supposed to be “pellicle mirror”), Sony was the first to design it to work with an electronic viewfinder. Its first SLT cameras were a success, so Sony decided to embrace the technology and take it a step further with the new Sony A77 and A65 cameras. Going forward, we will most likely not be seeing any more DSLR cameras from Sony, since its management already expressed commitment to this new breed of cameras. We should be seeing more cameras from Sony with translucent mirrors, including high-end, full-frame models.
The Sony SLT-A77 was kindly provided by B&H – the largest photo reseller in the world that I personally use to buy my photography gear.
1) Sony SLT-A77 Specifications
- 24.3 MP best-in-class resolution
- 2nd Generation Translucent Mirror Design directs light to both the image sensor and the Phase Detection AF sensor simultaneously
- World’s first OLED viewfinder with 2359K dots for amazing resolution and high contrast ratio for incredible depth
- Rugged, magnesium alloy body
- Three-way tilt/swivel LCD screen
- In-camera HDR mode
- Built-in GPS
- 1200-Zone exposure metering
- Built-in Flash
- Continuous shooting at up to 12 frames per second
- Full HD Movie modes at 60p, 60i, or 24p with full exposure control
- Full-Time Live View in LCD or EVF
- Multi-frame NR, Panorama and 3D Panorama Modes
- ISO 100-16000 sensitivity
- Upgraded BIONZ® image processor
- In-camera image stabilization
- 19-point AF with 11 cross-type sensors
- AF Micro Adjust Capability
- 3 inch LCD monitor with 921K dots
- Dynamic Range Optimizer mode
- Advanced sensor Anti-Dust Technology.
- Face Registration and Detection
- Up to 1/8000 shutter speed
- Shutter rated for 150,000 actuations
Click here to download the above photograph in 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper format.
As you can see, the camera packs some very impressive features when compared to Canon and Nikon rival products. Not only does the Sony A77 have the highest APS-C sized sensor on the market today, but it also comes with great built-in features such as built-in GPS (without the need to use external GPS devices), in-camera image stabilization, a plethora of image capture and image editing modes, high-resolution OLED viewfinder and much more.
Detailed technical specifications for the Sony A77 are available on Sony.com.