Very First Impressions of the a77
So I have been watching the development of the a77/a65 for some time now and decided I wanted it. So when I saw it at an Australian online shop at $AU650 cheaper than the price in a retail shop. With only a 3 day wait. I jumped at it.
Well, turned out to be a bit longer than 3 days, ordered early Monday and it arrived at about lunch time on Friday. Still that’s months before I could get it from the retails store.
Yes it was shipped from Hong Kong, but the fact that the online has a pick up addresses in Sydney is comforting.
Where I came from
Back in the late 1980s, early 90s I use to have many SLRs all of which were Minolta branded, this is before Konica took them over and it became Konica Minolta.
But in the early 90s it became too much to print the films and at about a dollar a print. I sold up and got out of photography. It was always a hobby not a profession.
In mid-2008 after just coming back from China, my employer brought me across to the head office in San Diego USA. On the way through the airport I decided to buy a DSLR. My mate had a Nikon and I looked at those. But the price per pixel was not attractive. The Sales Rep suggested the Sony a350 at $200 cheaper and 4 mega-pixels more. So into the bag goes the Sony a350 twin lens kit.
Where from there
After a few months I wanted more from my camera, so on goes the SAL1680Z, SAL16F28 fisheye and finally the SAL70400G. On top of that there is the HVL-42AM.
Then they release the a900 a full-frame 24 mega-pixel semi-pro camera. I wanted this but there was no way I was going to pay full price for it.
I was very lucky to find one on eBay, they guy had 2 of them and the wife was not happy about it. His eBay experience was not going well. With a number of fake buy it now offers and no bids it wasn’t going well. He knew I was interested and emailed asking me to name my price. We agreed and now I have the a900. He is actually now on RedBubble too and does great HDR shots on the a900.
Along comes the a77
Recently Sony brought out some new cameras, these were classed as DSLT as the mirror no longer flipped up and they had electronic view finders (EFV) and not the tradition optical view finder (OVF).
I wasn’t really that interested in these models, I felt that they didn’t offer anything better than the a900 or a350 that would compel me to use it over the a900 (the a350 gets very little use).
Then the rumours about the a77 started up… Some of these included the 24 megapixel APS-C crop sensor, the OLED EVF, the very flexible LCD screen, Picture Modes, 12 fps and much more.
So I jumped at a chance to get one of these and now my a350 is on eBay.
These are based on a small play when I got it and about half an hour this morning in low light drizzle conditions.
The first thing I notice that there is a lag between switching from the rear LCD and the EVF when you put your eye to it. I found a setting lets you use a button to manual switch. But the lag is still there as it switches off the EVF when you move your eye away. It less of a lag and I can live with it. This is supposed to be fixed in a new firmware coming out soon.
This brings me to another issue. If you have manual switching on, then the menus, functions and image reviews all show on whatever screen you have selected. This is a pain as I keep expecting to see these on the LCD. They should have made these show on the LCD if your eye in not up to the EVF.
I also don’t like that you need to be in JPEG only mode for all the special effect modes. It would be nice if these would work in RAW+JPEG mode as well.
So as all the menu and such are now in the EVF the placement of the buttons are important and you won’t be able to see where you fingers are. Well most of the buttons are well placed and I found that I could navigate the menus and such without taking my eyes off the EVF. The only one I have a bit of a pain with is the button to switch from EVF/LCD which is a bit of a stretch.
The EVF can be very noisy in very low light, but otherwise it is very fast and a very big. And the amount of information it shows is great. Hopefully there will be no more slanted horizons.
I had a play with all the different modes and settings all at ISO-16000. It is noisy. But on small prints and web images, I think still usable with a few Lightroom tweaks. In the coming weeks I will try doing a comparison between the a900 and a77 in a controlled lighting situation.
Over all in the trying conditions of an overcast pre-dawn situation, the a77 did quite well.
The next big test will be Monday night when I rock up to Melbourne Camera Club portrait night with the a77.
See my First Month Review