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Thomastown, Australia

Sony a77 First Month Review

So just over a month ago I got myself a Sony a77 Body only. I didn’t bother with the 16-50mm Kit Lens as I already had the SAL1680Z lens and didn’t feel the need for the overlap.

Well I now have had a chance to really get to know this camera and I can tell you it’s fast. It’s also very fun to use.

High ISO
Let’s start with the ISO, the range is 50 to 16,000. This is a huge range of ISO for any camera. Now there has been a lot of rumours about how good the high-ISO noise is. This has given a lot of people false expectations on the amount of noise that is produced by the senor. This has in turn resulted in a lot of complaints about the actual not meeting their expectations. In truth I believe the noise produced by the 24mega-pixels APS-C sensor is about the same as that of the a900 24 mega-pixel Full Frame sensor. As such it is probably the best high-ISO performing sensor currently on the market.

ISO 3200 test

AF Speed
The Auto-focus on the a77 is very fast. Along with Micro-Adjustment you can get a very accurate focus. There is also a focus-Assist zoom feature that allows you to zoom into the focus point to see or adjust the focus. This great for manual focus, but I was also able to use it to micro-adjust one of my lens without even taking a shot.

The Mirror
There is also talk about the 1/3 stop loss of light as the mirror no longer moves (well it does if you unlock it, but can’t take a shot like that). I have seen demos on the internet that show the image is bright with the mirror up. But the fact is that ISO for ISO, F-Stop for F-Stop and Shutter Speed for Shutter Speed the a77 has a bright picture than the a900. So Sony has basically compensated for the 1/3 loss.

The a77 has a tone of in camera effect, to many to name here and I still have not used them all. My favourite is the colour selection effect. This is where you select one colour (red, green, blue or yellow) and the rest will be black and white. There is also a high contrast black and white that I like.

On top of this there is also panorama and other scene modes.

Collour Selection Effect (Yellow)

12 FPS
The a77 has a 12 FPS mode, this is damm fast, but the exposure settings are set by the camera. But it is fantastic to use. My first attempt of capturing something with this was of a bee in flight and managed to get a great shot out of it. On the weekend I used it to capture waves crashing onto rocks, if the weather was better I would have had some great shots. As it was it was too overcast and I was not able to get the amount of contrast I needed for a great shot.

Bee In Flight

The a77 has an Electronic View Finder or EVF as it’s known. Unlike the previous models the EVF on the a77 is an OLED 2.4 mega-pixel display. If you stop trying to figure out what you don’t like about the EVF and just use it you will soon find it a pleasure to use. You can actually see the effects on the EVF before you take the shot. Just about all of the effect show in the EVF so you can adjust the shot before you take it. Also with the EVF I was able to use an ND-400 filter and still be able to see what I was shooting and how it would turn out. The EVF will change how you take shots.

The a77 also does 1080p at 50/60 fps and I actually find it easier to use than my Sony TVR-33 video camera, the solid build makes it easier to control and the zoom and focus are easier to use than that of the Sony video cameras. Mind you I have not tried the new VG-10 or any of the more modern video cameras.

I am very happy with the a77 as I am with the a900. They both have their uses and I’m sure I will continue using both as much as each other. Most talk I have seen on the Flickr Groups is that those that went out and brought the a77 think it is a fantastic camera and rave about the EVF and features of this camera. Those that are looking for an excuse not to buy it seem to find anything and everything wrong with it. They complain about the EVF which I think is an actual plus for this camera. I too didn’t like the idea of an EVF especially after trying an a55, but I liked the other features of the camera that I brought one online , sight unseen. I am glad I did because it is a fantastic camera. Even if you do have an a900/a850 this camera is a great addition to you camera bag (now I just need the room in there).

See My Original Journal on the a77

Journal Comments

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