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Sony Alpha A77 vs A65 SLT Hands On Preview

Sony Alpha A77 vs A65 SLT Hands On Preview - We take a look at the new Sony Apha A77 and A65 and see what the differences are between the two new top of the range SLT translucent mirror cameras from Sony.

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Category : Digital SLRs
Product : Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Price : £695
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Sony Alpha A77 SLT
Sony Alpha A77 SLT

The new cameras are the first Digital SLRs to feature GPS built in and as per usual with the Sony Alpha range of Digital SLR / SLTs all feature built in "anti-shake" / Super steady shot sensors, as a continuation of the Konica Minolta DSLR heritage. (The Anti-Shake / AS name was featured on Konica Minolta DSLRs, but canned in favour of Sony's SteadyShot INSIDE name.)

The new Sony Alpha A77, will be available with a new DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM lens and produces 24.3 megapixel images from an APS-C sized sensor. Full HD video with continuous auto focus is also available. 12fps shooting is possible at the full 24.3 megapixel resolution with continuous auto focus, while 10fps shooting is possible with the A65.

Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 SLT Features


The A77 sits at the top of the Alpha SLT range, with the A65 above the A55, and the new A35 the entry level model.

Sony Alpha A77 Sensor
Sony Alpha A77 Sensor and Shutter, rated for 150,000 Actuations.

Both the A77 and A65 share a lot of features such as the high resolution 24.3 megapixel sensor, high speed shooting, high resolution OLED viewfinder, and lens shading and aberration compensation but they also differ in a number of ways. Here's a table showing the main differences between the two new models:

Sony Alpha A65 Sony Alpha A77 Front
Sony Alpha A65 Sony Alpha A77
24.3mp 24.3mp
10fps 12fps
Durable Polycarbonate body Magnesium Alloys Body
No Dust and Moisture protection Dust and Moisture Protection
ISO100 - ISO16000 ISO50 (Lo) - ISO16000
15 AF Points, 3 cross (same as A55) 19 AF points, 11 Cross
1/4000 Max shutter speed 1/8000 Max shutter speed
100,000 shutter actuations 150,000 shutter actuations
+/- 3 Exposure Compensation +/- 5 Exposure Compensation
1/3 EV / 2/3 EV increments, 3 frames 1/3EV, 1/2EV, 2/3EV, 2.0EV, 3.0EV increments, 3 / 5frames (2.0EV, 3.0EV : only 3frames) selectable
1/160 flash sync speed 1/250 flash sync speed, wireless (IR transmitter),
Sony Alpha A65 Sony Alpha A77 Back
Front Dial Front / Rear dials / AF dial, rear joypad, and other buttons
Not vertical grip compatible Vertical grip compatible
No top LCD Top LCD (illuminated)
Sony Alpha A65 Sony Alpha A77 Screen
Tilting / rotating rear screen Tilting / Rotating / Floating rear screen
510 Battery Rating 470 Battery Rating
18-55 SAM Kit lens 16-50mm SSM Kit lens
Size 132.1 x 97.5 x 80.7mm Size 142.6 x 104 x 80.9mm
Weight 543g Weight 653g
Price: £799 Body Only Price: £1149 Body Only

Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 SLT Handling


The new OLED EVF: The A77, A65, NEX-7 and NEX-5N EVF all use a new OLED electronic viewfinder developed by Sony, with a 2.359 million DOT resolution. The new OLED technology, compared to traditional LCD EVFs, does not show chromatic aberrations at the pixel level, as the pixel level does not have to show RGB at each level, while traditional EVF do (for example, the Sony OLED can leave red and green off, if it only needs to show blue).

Sony Alpha A65
Sony Alpha A65 Top
Sony Alpha A77 Top
Sony Alpha A77 Top

Menu System: The menu system is well laid out with the menus starting with photo options and then spread over a number of pages are the playback, setup and more advanced options. Due to both cameras having numerous external controls, I rarely needed to access their menus.

Controls: The A77 with rear dial, front focus dial, top LCD and rear joypad makes it more suited to someone who likes to quickly switch modes and someone who uses manual controls more often than automatic or program modes. The A65 still provides good access to the majority of controls, making it easy to set ISO, exposure and other settings.

Sony Alpha A65
Sony Alpha A65
Sony Alpha A77 Bottom
Sony Alpha A77 Bottom

Battery Life: With between 470 and 510 shots per battery charge, depending on model, with the A65 offering slightly better battery life, both cameras should provide enough for a day or two's shooting (depending how trigger happy you are and how many photos you take each day). Both cameras use the same battery which is a nice feature. Using the A77's continuous shooting mode, at 12fps, we took around 1000+ photos in one day and the battery was still not flat, although with such a high speed shooting mode and 24.3 megapixel photos, it's easy to quickly fill a memory card.

Build Quality: With a smaller body, the A65 felt more manage-able, with a good sized rubber grip for your hand (front and back). The A77 felt much larger but as a result has a deeper hand grip, and may be more suited to someone with larger hands - it also features a rubber grip that goes the whole way around the camera from the back thumb grip to the front. With the optional vertical hand grip the camera becomes much larger again and thanks to the magnesium alloy weather sealed body, it feels very well made and very strong. The A65 feels solidly built but without the magnesium alloy body isn't as reassuringly solid as the A77.

Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 SLT Performance


With the same ISO range, same CMOS sensor, same translucent mirror (with new coating designed to remove any potential ghosting) as each other, the A65 and A77 should offer the same image quality, with the main differences being in features and physical design. Click to view larger or click "Hi-Res" to view full size sample photos. Additional photos and product shots can be found in the Equipment Database for the Sony Alpha A65, and Sony Alpha A77.

Sony Alpha SLT-A65 Other sample images


Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Other sample images


As the cameras tested were both pre-production, we were advised not to perform extensive "pixel peeping" or ISO noise test shots as the final versions should provide better image quality. However, looking at the results we were able to see the image quality was very good.

Sony Alpha SLT-A65 ISO test images


Sony Alpha SLT-A77 ISO test images


These are pre-production shots but show really low noise in images at ISO100 (or below with the A77), and low noise up to ISO1600. There's quite low noise at ISO3200 / ISO6400. It's at ISO12800 that noise starts to become destructive to detail in photos and at ISO16000 noise is at its worst.

Video Sample: Both cameras record Full HD video, with continuous auto focus available while recording, and the camera has done a good job keeping the car in focus in this video.


Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 Verdict


The Sony Alpha A77 and A65 are capable of producing some excellent photos, with great colour, detail and extremely solid exposure performance. Reds are extremely vibrant and colourful and the cameras both produce excellent JPEG output straight from the camera on default settings. Noise control is very good with low noise right up to high ISO settings. The cameras also offer continuous focus when using the video mode.

GPS is an excellent built in feature and the price of the A65 in particular is extremely competitive. The A77 body only is £1149, this puts it in direct competition with the 18 megapixel Canon EOS 7D. The A65 body only is £799, this puts it in almost direct competition with the 16 megapixel Nikon D7000 and if the price drops further, the Nikon D5100 and Canon EOS 600D. The A65 significantly out-specs these cameras with 10fps shooting, GPS and extremely fast focusing due to the translucent mirror. Although there is no optical viewfinder with SLT cameras, the new OLED EVF is simply stunning and makes the view through the camera look excellent. I'm looking forward to spending more time with these cameras.

Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 Pros

Built in GPS
Extremely fast continuous shooting
Stunning OLED EVF (has to be seen to be believed)
Excellent image quality
Excellent colour
Continuous focus during videos

Sony Alpha A65 vs A77 Cons:

Quite Large (Particularly the A77)
Professionals may still be waiting for the new version of the A900/A850

Sony Alpha SLT-A65 Specifications

ManufacturerSony
Lens
Effective Magnification1.5x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels24.7Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)6000
Pixels (H)4000
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)15.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921,600 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 16000
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
Video FPS50p, 50i, 25p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeNP-FM500H
CIPA Rating510
Box Contents
Box ContentsBattery charger, rechargeable battery pack, USB cable, CD-ROM, shoulder strap, standard zoom lens. 94 page printed manual.
Dimensions
Weight543g
Width132.1mm
Height97.5mm
Depth80.7mm

View Full Product Details

Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Specifications

ManufacturerSony
Lens
Effective Magnification1.5x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels24.7Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)6000
Pixels (H)4000
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)15.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921.600
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • AF Fine Tuning
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/8000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity50 - 16000
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-5
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting12fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS50p, 50i, 25p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • Memory Stick
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeNP-FM500H
CIPA Rating470
Box Contents
Box ContentsSony Alpha SLT-A77V Body, DT 16-50 f/2.8 SSM Lens, Lens Hood, Lithium Ion Battery, Battery Charger, USB Cable, CD-ROM, Shoulder Strap
Dimensions
Weight653g
Width142.6mm
Height104mm
Depth80.9mm

View Full Product Details

Explore More

Photographs taken using the Sony Alpha SLT-A77

Yellow beautyThe setting sunCaribou Grazing in Dry ConditionsNorwegian InletBud just bursting openWaiting for the stormMoose's WorldHeading South (Vapourer Moth Caterpillar)eskaIncy Wincy SPiderYacht at PlocktonSunlit Sea and Skye BridgeStairs To InfinityGarden FrogUn-named
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Comments


JJGEE 9 6.2k 18 England
2 Sep 2011 11:33AM

Quote: A77's continuous shooting mode, at 12fps, we took around 1000+ photos in one day and the battery was still not flat,

That appears to be quite impressive but is that for RAW file format and what is the file size?

Would you get the same battery performance for non- continuous shooting... i.e. hanging around for, say, 10 minutes between shots for landscape type shots.

Obviously subjective, but would the A77 be a good back-up for the A900 or for a couple of hundreds of pounds extra go for the A850 ?

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AlanWillis 5 63 England
4 Sep 2011 9:07AM
So far I've put 10 photos taken with the A77 on my portfolio.
Taken with my 300MM 2.8 The detail seems to beat my A850 with the same lens.
It outperforms The Full frame Sony with Fast focusing and object tracking, GPS. Like the A900 & A850 it has micro adjustment. Today I'm going to compare it with the Canon 1D mk4.
as The 7D is not in the same class.
davey_griffo 5 213 165 England
5 Sep 2011 12:24PM
Extremelly impressive set of specs. I'd be saving now, if it weren't for the SLT part, which I'm still not convinced about. Mostly this comes from comments I've made elsewhere on another preview, that nobody has yet addressed how you clean the sensor with a mirror in the way, and can it be easily replaced if you scratch it?

I'd like to see these questions answered when you get these very impressive cameras in for a full test & play session.
AlanWillis 5 63 England
6 Sep 2011 12:53AM
Davey,
The SLT is the future and the SLR is obsolite.Sonys next full frame is the A99 and will also have a translucent mirror.
The mirror has a vibration system to clean the sensor, If there were to be stubborn dust a catch allows you to lift the mirror and use a blower.
The canon 1D MK4 is four times the price. I would not do a straight swap.
davey_griffo 5 213 165 England
7 Sep 2011 12:12PM
Recommendation indeed, having seen the standard of your work, Alan.

Can't see why they've stopped making all of their cameras compatible with a vertical grip though. Only the 77 is so far of the SLTs. It would be a major blow for me, as I wouldn't be without mine on my 550.

If this is now equal in res to the 850/900, can't wait to see what they do with the 99.
kombizz 9 591 1 United States
7 Sep 2011 7:40PM
Interesting to touch them individually and inspect each feature.
Thank you for sharing
8 Sep 2011 8:16AM
Does anybody knows when the A99 will be available on the market and what will be its specs?
davey_griffo 5 213 165 England
8 Sep 2011 12:26PM
Lots of rumour & speculation on the web. Just Google Sony a99. I saw this one:


Quote: Translucent mirror
36.9 Megapixel 3MOS Exmor sensor
(No Bayer filter)
ISO 100-102400 extendable to 204800 and 409600
12 frames per second
No infrared or anti-alias filters
Digital infrared filtering with three modes NO IR,WITH IR,ONLY IR
In camera moire remove
89 cross-type points AF
Metering direct from sensor
60/1-1/24000sec, time, bulb shutter (focal plane)
Flash synchronization up to 1/500sec and high-speed sync up to 1/24000sec
Built-In GPS and Wi-Fi plus Thunderbolt
Two CompactFlash card slots
Price around 3000

I think those specs are just too good to be true, but everything is possible.

ISO 409600!!?! isn't that a night vision monocular?
I'd love to see the noise test shots for that.

If it comes out with that spec, I'll sell a lung or a kidney if I have to, but we'll see when Sony releases the official info.
brubaker 8 5
8 Sep 2011 6:30PM
Cloud cuckoo land! On 6k a year there is no point in even reading these 'reviews'. On AP this week is a 10% off voucher for the Pentax 645D - they describe it as afordable entry level - wow - even with the 10% off its a year and a half's gross income. With you guy's flashing so much cash it's no wonder we are facing an anarchist revolution. SadSadSadSad
16 Sep 2011 3:38AM
This is by far the best review on the web on the A77. I've been skeptical of the camera, fearing noise problems with the combination of mirror losses and small pixels. The palm tree shot at ISO 3200 with some deep shadows convinces me that Sony got it right this time. I have an a850 that has noise problems with jpegs. The problem is that the camera doesn't apply enough noise reduction ahead of fairly strong sharpening. The result, predictably, is sharp noise! (Go to the Sony Style website and read the reviews.) The A850 is a great camera -- I shoot jpeg and RAW and work the RAW over in Photoshop with Noise Ninja when I see too much noise in the jpegs (maybe 10 percent of the shots). Sony can do the noise/sharpening thing right; they proved that to me on my A550 and again on my A580. Sony seems to have placed great emphasis on getting the processing right this time, as they should, since many will be as skeptical of the A77 as I was. What's really scary is this: if they can do this on APS-C, does that mean a full frame A1000 is coming with 30 megapixels?
All the best,
Tim
Steppenwolf 2 894
19 Oct 2011 4:54PM
You've left out a very important difference between the A65 and the A77. The A77 has focus fine tuning for individual lenses. The A65 doesn't. I don't know if these cameras are going to suffer from the same FF/BF problems that the DLSRs do, but if so, lens fine tuning is a killer feature - especially if you use telephotos.

It's also annoying that they've deliberately left this feature out to push people into paying a lot more to get the A77. It costs Sony nothing to add this to firmware.

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