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Sony Alpha A77

Est. $1,050 (with kit lens)
Reviewed
February 2014
by ConsumerSearch
Sony A77

Pros
  • Ultra-high-resolution, 24-megapixel sensor
  • Extremely fast burst shooting
  • Image quality rivals DSLRs
  • Great LCD, electronic viewfinder
Cons
  • Menu can be sluggish
  • Low-light image noise
Where to Buy
 

Bottom line

Blazing-fast shooting of 12 fps makes the Sony Alpha A77 a standout camera at any price, and it's even faster than some $6,000-plus pro cameras. Thanks to its searing speed and techno-wonder electronic viewfinder, experts highly recommend the Alpha A77. With a mostly metal shell, this is physically one of the toughest cameras in its class.

Ease of use

Electronic viewfinder is "a revelation." The Sony Alpha A77 is comfortable and intuitive to use, testers say, but the big story here is its electronic viewfinder. Because of their unique design, Sony cameras have no optical viewfinder. Unlike regular DSLR cameras whose internal mirrors swing out of the way with every shot, the Sony's mirror is fixed in place and is translucent so light shines through to record the image.

With no normal mirror to reflect the scene into your eye, Sony substitutes an electronic viewfinder that shows what is essentially a real-time video feed of the scene. On some cameras, these are laggy and grainy, but the Sony A77's is "a revelation," DPReview.com says, and other critics agree. Equally fantastic is the A77's rear LCD screen, reviewers say. It's sharp and easy to see in both bright and dim light, and it tilts, swivels and extends to help you get odd-angle shots.

Performance

Great speed and resolution, but lags in low light. Sony brags that the A77 is the "world's fastest DSLR ever," at 12 fps. Sony's other headline feature is its super-sharp, 24.3-megapixel sensor, which promises to capture more detail than almost any other compact sensor on the market. DPReview.com warns, "If you're interested in the A77 as a sports and fast-action camera, don't be blinded by its fast frame rates alone." Testers say the Sony can't autofocus on quick, erratic motion nearly as reliably as some pricey pro cameras, and low light is its Achilles heel. In test after test in dim light, the A77 can't quite keep up with true DSLRs.

Durability

One of the tougher cameras in its class. The Sony A77 wears a mostly metal shell that's sealed against dust and moisture; only its top plate is plastic. Mostly magnesium alloy bodies make these cameras tougher than the cheaper, plastic-bodied DSLRs. "It should be able to withstand some time in light rain or a day at the beach," says Liam McCabe at Reviewed.com Cameras, as well as "some bumps that come along with active photography. But it isn't advertised as waterproof, shockproof, dustproof or freezeproof, so be sure to treat it with respect and care."

Features

Loaded with Sony tricks, but only one memory card slot. Sony cameras are known for their gee-whiz features, and the A77 is no exception. Even hard-to-please experts have fun shooting 3D Sweep Panorama, which snaps several photos as you pan the camera, then stitches them together into a panoramic shot; and Auto High Dynamic Range, which combines several exposures into one photo. Handheld Twilight Mode pulls the same trick so you can shoot at night without a tripod. The A77 also packs plenty of "good old-fashioned manual control," DPReview.com says, including controlling external flashes wirelessly, fine-tuning the autofocus, and offering full manual control over video. There is, however, only one memory card slot.

Where To Buy
Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Translucent Mirror Digital SLR Camera with 18-135mm Lens

 
Buy new: $1,399.99   3 Used from $799.00

 

Our Sources

1. Amateur Photographer

After thorough testing, the Sony A77 ties for first place with the pro-quality Nikon D800 and Canon EOS-1D X. Its high-res sensor, outstanding electronic viewfinder and LCD screen, speed, video capabilities and "solid" photo quality help it edge out all other DSLRs in its price range. Tim Coleman notes only one drawback: trouble with image noise in low light.

Review: Sony Alpha 77 Review, Tim Coleman, Oct. 15, 2011

2. DPReview.com

The Sony A77 earns this website's Silver Award after an exhaustive review. Testers love its fabulous electronic viewfinder, intuitive ergonomics and the "incredible amount of detail" it can capture when shooting in RAW mode. They're not crazy about the JPEG quality, however, especially at high ISOs.

Review: Sony SLT-A77 In-depth Review, Barney Britton, Richard Butler and Kelcey Smith , October 2011

3. Imaging-Resource.com

This evaluation is extraordinarily thorough, with plenty of sample shots including fast-moving kids and sports. It also features head-to-head tests against rival cameras such as the Canon EOS 60D and Nikon D7000 at both low and high ISOs. Shawn Barnett, who does the shooting test, is impressed: "I'd buy one," he says.

Review: Sony A77 Review, Dave Etchells, Mike Tomkins, Zig Weidelich and Shawn Barnett, April 24, 2012

4. Reviewed.com Cameras

The Sony A77 outranks all other cameras in its price class here. Liam McCabe agrees that it "struggles at high ISOs," but its incredible speed, great ergonomics and fantastic viewfinder and LCD screen make up for it. The Alpha A77 receives an Editors' Choice award.

Review: Sony Alpha A77 Digital Camera Review, Liam McCabe, May 18, 2012

5. Amazon.com

It appears that owners overwhelmingly love their Sony A77 cameras. Only a handful of about 170 users who post comments here give it a mediocre or low score, usually saying it's subpar in low light.

Review: Sony A77 24.3 MP Translucent Mirror Digital SLR, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2014

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