Join us and get 10% OFF your first course

New Sony SLT A77 II Preview

Impressive focussing system and light-speed burst mode make this SLT an intriguing option for enthusiasts and semi pros.

1080p HD video, A77, Bionz image processor, camera, New, SLT, Sony, Sony SLT A77 II, WhiteMagic technology

Sony's SLT (single lens translucent) enthusiast cameras may not have disrupted the market in the way the company hoped, but they now have a loyal following.

SLTs are a good compromise between a conventional SLR and a pricier, high-end mirrorless cameras, particularly as they can take some older Minolta lenses (I've got several lovely ones sitting on my book case if anyone's interested!)

The latest addition to the family is the A77 II. It features a beefed-up, 24 megapixel APS-C sensor and a 79-point (yes, that's 79) autofocus sensor, combined with new AF system. Metering data from all 79 focus points is processed by a new AF algorithm that predicts the subject’s movement.

Obviously, all this advanced focussing tech can't guarantee that you'll never get soft shots, but if you do, you won't be able to blame the camera. The A77 II also has a centrally mounted dedicated phase detect AF sensor that supports apertures up to f/2.8.

Sony also claims the AF system can accurately lock on to subjects in scenes with illumination levels as low as EV-2 (ISO100), where even the human eye has trouble discerning details.

The rather oddly named Bionz image processor has been beefed up, too. It's around three times faster than its predecessor and employs detail reproduction, diffraction-reducing and area-specific noise reduction technologies to enhance still images and HD video.

Combined with the improved AF features, it also enables you to shoot a whopping 60 JPEGS at 12 frames per second. While this in itself won't be enough to persuade a lot of sports photographers to trade in their Canon or Nikons, it's certainly a step in the right direction. Sony's deep R&D budgets and electronics expertise give it a distinct advantage in a tough market, and it's already providing sensors for Nikon.

1080p HD video, A77, Bionz image processor, camera, New, SLT, Sony, Sony SLT A77 II, WhiteMagic technology

The new camera features a 2,360,000 dot resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF), with about three times higher contrast and resolving power compared to the original A77. You either love or hate EVFs, but one advantage is that it shows image adjustments in real-time. There's also a nifty 7.5 cm LCD that moves three ways; this features WhiteMagic technology, which Sony claims will improve screen visibility, even in direct sunlight.

1080p HD video, A77, Bionz image processor, camera, New, SLT, Sony, Sony SLT A77 II, WhiteMagic technology

Naturally, the Sony A77II can shoot full 1080p HD video, and comes with additional video functions for movie makers. Other new features include an Eye AF function that focuses on the subject’s eyes when photographing people. There is also AF Range Control, which allows AF to be limited to a specified range, and a Balanced Emphasis mode that provides the ideal balance between focus and release timing. Users can manually select any of the various focus modes to match the shooting situation.

The new camera will be available in June with a 16-50mm f/2,8 kit lens for a suggested retail price of £1549. ($1800 ) or £999 (($1200) body only.

Geoff Harris

I am a journalist and photographer and currently work as the Deputy Editor of Amateur Photographer (AP) the oldest weekly photographic magazine in the world. Before that I served as the editor of Digital Camera, Britain's best-selling photography magazine, for five years. During my time as editor it became the UK's top selling photo monthly and won Print Publication of the Year at the 2013 British Media Awards. As well as being lucky enough to get paid to write about photography, I've been fortunate to interview some of the greatest photographers in the world, including Elliott Erwitt, Don McCullin, Martin Parr, Terry O'Neill and Steve McCurry. This has been a wonderful learning experience and very influential on my photography. Beyond writing, I am a professional portrait, travel and documentary photographer, and reached the finals of the 2016 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and hope to take my Associateship whenever I can find the time. In addition I write about well being/personal development and antiques collecting for a range of other titles, including BlueWings, the in-flight magazine of Finn Air.

Stay inspired

Get FREE Photography tips and ideas from our experts in your inbox.

You can unsubscribe at any time


Related posts

Related courses

Proud to work with...