Sony DSLT-A77 and 16-50 f/2.8 SSM hands-on review


Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#1
Many thanks to Sony for this great opportunity to molest one of their latest and greatest cameras... The Sony SLT-A77. This is Sony's long-awaited A700 replacement, and it

certainly has a lot of expectations on it's curved shoulders.

First off, I want to make it very very clear that this is NOT the final production firmware, and there may be slight tweaks/improvements with the final release. So with that

out of the way, let's take a look at this beauty:

Construction:
SOLID! Much like the A700 and A850, A900, this is a serious chunk of tough camera. Magnesium alloy frame, weather sealing, it's all here!! It feels great in the hand, with a

comfy grip and a finger recess that is deeper than that of the A900! Great for people with slightly bigger hands!!! Everything fits great, there's no creaks or unnecessary

slack that I can find. Even the pop-up flash is perfectly flush. It's surprisingly light too - definitely heavier than the A580, but very light compared to the A900.




Layout:
Everything but the kitchen sink is here... You have buttons for all sorts of options, from the display layout to Sony's Fn (function) button for quick setting changes, the 5-

way navi, AEL, AF/MF, Teleconverter button, playback, Movie, Finder/LCD, Drive mode, White balance, exposure comp, ISO, top LCD illuminator, flash sync, Remote, Mic, HDMI, DOF

preview (customizable to be smart preview)... Nice. The only thing that seems odd is that Sony went very n00b friendly and gave a dedicated "?" help button to explain

settings, but did not provide a dedicated SSS on/off switch. :(







Top LCD is actually useful:
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#3
The screen:
There was a lot of hype about the new articulating screen and it's AWESOME! There is basically no layout/orientation that cannot be achieved excpet sticking the screen out

sideways like on the Canons. But you can have it above the camera facing forward, under the camera (like the A33/55), even sideways for those "around the corner" shots! The

hinges are solid and feel like they'll last ages.




Sideways too!!




The EVF:
There is the ever-lasting depate avout EVF vs. OVF... So what's the EVF like on the A77? It's a huge step up over the A33/35/55, that's for sure! It's a lot crisper, a lot

sharper, and the OLED screen really gives fantastic contrast and color. It's HUGE too, giving a similarly-sized image as looking through the A900 OVF. The pixel pitch is a lot

tighter, giving a much less pixellated image than the A33/A35/A55. But it's still an EVF, so there's still a bit of smearing when you try to do fast panning - this is a

limitation of the refresh rate of the screen. Until we get faster-refreshing screens this will always add fuel to the fire.
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#4
Software Features:
Sony tossed in the kitchen sink here too... Let's see now...

You of course have sweep panorama and 3D sweep panorama. You have configurable memory slots like on the A700/900/850, A great video record screen with wind noise reduction, video SSS on/off, 50i/50p mode (on this asian FW), multiple gridlines in the viewfinder (rule of 3rds, square grid, diag plus square grid), PEAKING MODE like on the NEX for precise manual focus. The smart teleconverter can also be switched to the oh-so-handy 100% focus magnifier option.

There is the ability to turn the "Setting Display" in the Live view display on and off - when off, it does NOT auto-adjust based on the settings, it acts like an OVF - for STUDIO shots!!

The buttons like ISO, WB, etc can be reconfigured like crazy.

There are options for automatic lens corrections as well, for shading, CA, distortion!! You can turn the electronic Front Curtain shutter on and off - when on, you only get the shutter at the end of the exposure. It's a LOT quieter, great for macro, but it's a bit slower and apparently uses a bit more juice.

And yes, the focus is extremely fast, extremely accurate, even when tracking.
 

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Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#5
ISO: ISO goes as low as 50 ("Lo 50") with a base of 100, all the way up to 16000!!

Scene modes: Sony stays very n00b friendly here, giving us a lot of NEX-like features like a portrait mode, night scene, hand held twilight, etc. In the menu options you also have the familiar NEX-like filters, like selective color, miniature mode, selective color mode, etc. I'm not sure if adding in all this will really appeal to the hardcore "purists", but realistically, it's better to have it in there than not - just don't use them if you don't like them.

In my test shots, the A77 had *very* accurate metering.
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
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#6
VG-C77AM: Sony continues it's well-deserved reputation for seriously solid vertical grips, with a whole set of buttons and a 4-way joystick to make shooting in portrait orientation as easy as without a VG. Still some of the best VGs in the business.


Sony 16-50 f/2.8 DT SSM:
This is the new premium kit lens from Sony, and it's niiiiiice! It uses a metal and tough plastic construction much like the CZ 24-70. It's solid, with stunningly fast and smooth SSM focusing - all this in a DT lens!!! She's a chunky beast too. :) In the pre-production sample I had, it was very very sharp once stopped down and at most focal lengths, giving detail that can compare to the CZ24-70 (when the CZ 24-70 was on the A77). Again, this is not a final copy, so don't take my findings as indicative of the final lens. But overall, I'm really impressed with this lens. Sony will charge a premium for this beauty, but it looks well worth it.

This is a quick rundown of my initial impressions... There's lots to be happy about, and it's clear Sony is trying to make this model appeal to a wide audience, from amateurs looking for a high-end camera, to hardcore enthusiasts and even professionals looking for a solid toolkit.
 

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Ouverture

Senior Member
Jan 19, 2009
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#10
Mike, tell us more about the flash. It is much better than A580 for example?

As far as I know, my A580 has this shutter lag when used with flash, does A77 has this also?
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
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#12
Mike, tell us more about the flash. It is much better than A580 for example?

As far as I know, my A580 has this shutter lag when used with flash, does A77 has this also?
You mean with external flash? Yeah, there still seems to be that quick split-second where it seems to set for the flash, then fires.
 

Aug 11, 2011
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#14
Rather great one with nice cover, it is no doubt that Sony's products are always convered with a beautiful outward appearance. But I really want to know whether it is a camera or a camcorder. It seems like a camera because of the adjustable lens while it looks like a camcorder with the global shape. Anyone would offer an explaination:eek: to me?
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
12
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#15
Rather great one with nice cover, it is no doubt that Sony's products are always convered with a beautiful outward appearance. But I really want to know whether it is a camera or a camcorder. It seems like a camera because of the adjustable lens while it looks like a camcorder with the global shape. Anyone would offer an explaination:eek: to me?
Sorry, what on earth are you talking about? What "global shape"? It's a DSLR-shaped and styled camera, it looks nothing like a camcorder. Or are you referring to the NEX-VG20?
 

Tucksoon

New Member
Dec 15, 2003
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#16
The articulated screen is very impressive indeed!
 

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ed9119

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#17
Rather great one with nice cover, it is no doubt that Sony's products are always convered with a beautiful outward appearance. But I really want to know whether it is a camera or a camcorder. It seems like a camera because of the adjustable lens while it looks like a camcorder with the global shape. Anyone would offer an explaination:eek: to me?
1. please show us which camcorder looks like the a77 or any other DSLR ? I'm curious... :eek:

2. the appearance inside is not too shabby too with a magnesium alloy inner shell sitting BENEATH the OUTER shell and seals providing weather-proof protection to its innards
 

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ed9119

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#18
a review clip from Youtube

OBSERVE at 5:30 mark of the video how DIFFERENT the articulating LCD screen is ..... the screen can be TWICE EXTENDED kewl !!

Press and conflict photographers are going to love this lolzzz


[video=youtube;P1itxu5I_wM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1itxu5I_wM&feature=player_embedded[/video]
 

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ed9119

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#19
With so many dedicated function buttons galore it took me about an hour to familiarize myself with the a77 ...... no user manual or CD-ROM came with our review set but no biggie .... just need to figure out the GPS function

I actually totally FORGOT about the FRONT of the camera because there is usually only the lens mount button and maybe a flash pop up button...... just realized a day later that there are 2 more buttons in front

- FOCUS Mode button and
- a DOF Preview button

both are located left and right of the lens mount

p/s love the airplane-like constant gyroscope horizon and pitch hairlines on the viewfinder and LCD

I'm going to be in Ngee Ann City shooting the Billabong skateboarding competition this afternoon with the a77 that we brought back from the KL launch event

Cant wait to see how fast this setup is on the AF and the 12fps features

ed
 

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ed9119

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#20
I suck at shooting videos

The 1080 HD output really shone last weekend during the dance competition at Suntec
Showing un-cut unedited raw footage
[video=youtube;61MDZr6xK_c]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61MDZr6xK_c[/video]

[video=youtube;_Hxgl4XhvtQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Hxgl4XhvtQ[/video]

[video=youtube;D2V59OluNUw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2V59OluNUw[/video]
 

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