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Monday, August 29, 2011

Initial Preview (Sony A77)

Photo Courtesy of Sony Australia
The long-awaited successor to the Sony A700 DSLR, the Sony A77 DSLT, an APS-C sized sensor with a new EXMOR APS HD Sensor and a newly developed BIONZ Image Processor that packs a 24.3 Megapixel image.  This is Sony's flagship camera. 

The Sony A77 specs have been leaked for months now which is quite disappointing for Sony as they were looking for the 'wow' factor when the cameras are finally announced.  Nevertheless, it is a very impressive camera, have a look at the official promo video from Sony.

Now, let's look at the improvement that Sony has done on these new cameras;

I played with the A77+Vertical Grip with the new 16-50/2.8 lens after the presentation and the first thing that hit me was, it was LIGHT! Tried it with the CZ 24-70/2.8, still LIGHTER compared to the A700+VG with CZ 24-70/2.8 combo. With this lightweight combination, you will be able to carry your gear for longer periods of time and bring it with you wherever. Remember, the best camera is what's in your hands!

EVF (Electronic View Finder)
It uses an XGA OLED 1.3 cm (0.5 type) electronic viewfinder with 100% frame coverage, almost 2M dots, five display modes and three grid line display modes.  
This is the best EVF I've tried so far.  I have tried a Panasonic G10 and comparing the two, Sony beats it in all categories (resolution, brightness/contrast, real-life closeness to the scene).The brightness can be adjusted depending on your needs which is a good thing.  You should really try this in-store to see what I mean.


Why would you want a high-fps camera? If you are a sports photographer, you want this feature. Or if you have a kid who plays sports or just like to run around then you would want this also. You will be able to capture their emotion, facial expression. Another plus for me is the quietness of the shutter, my NEX-5 actually attracts attention because of the shutter sound. 

Here is a sample of what you can get when shooting with High Speed Priority Mode. 

Depending on where you live, you either get the PAL or NTSC version. I am not going to explain this much as the whole 24/25p, 60i/60p is all over the internet, just google it. The A77 allows you to record in MP4, or 1080-Full HD. The Sony A77 can auto-focus while shooting videos, unlike its competitors. Here is a sample video I took using the Sony A77!

Within 24 hours of the announcement, the internet forums have been a buzzed with praise/criticism of the new cameras. I will only list what I think should have been included and things that can be address with a firmware update.

  • No multiple card slot. The A700 has a dual-card slot from which you can use a CF Card on one and either an SD or MS on the other. The A77 has only ONE! Many people, including myself, were expecting a dual card slot which has a feature that will allow you to choose where the RAW files and JPEG files can be stored. Hopefully, the next series (A88,A99 ??) can have this feature.

  • Out-of-Camera JPEG. Image Quality is 'worse' compared to the A55/A580 (this could be because most of the sample pics uses pre-production firmware), The models that were shown during the launch were A-grade pre-production meaning very little will change aesthetically but I hope that Sony can still improve the JPEG quality.

  • Buffer is smaller compared to the A55. I think this is most likely because the file sizes have become larger.  Also, with the release of more faster SD Cards and Memory Sticks, this should not be a concern.

  • High ISO Quality should have been prioritised than higher megapixel count

  • Battery life. This is a bit of a deja vu for me. I remember when the NEX-5 first came out and people started complaining about the battery life. I really wonder if this has something to do with the OLED EVF hence the shorter battery life? There are lots of ways to conserve battery power on your camera or buy a spare one :)

  • I've been shooting with Alpha and NEX cameras since 2007 and the reason I stayed with SONY is because they have one thing that other manufacturers lack, INNOVATION.

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