Sony α77 Leaks Starting to Appear

a77 Aug 12, 2011

Sony’s highly anticipated SLT-A77 DSLR is expected to be announced on August 24th. Rumor sites have been all in a tizzy speculating on specifications, leaked images and so forth. A YouTube video has even virally surfaced.

I’m going out on a limb here and say that all of the stuff we have seen or read in the last two weeks are actually from Sony, who is taking advantage of the situation to generate interest.

 

Sony a77 camera front back
The SLT-A77 looks to be a fascinating camera.

 

Rumored Specs: (via SonyAlphaRumors)

  • 24.3 MP Exmor HD CMOS sensor
  • 19 points AF sensor with 11 cross sensors
  • Micro AF tuning
  • ISO 100-16000, with expandable ISO 50 option
  • 1920 x 1080 60p/24p AVCHD 2.0
  • P/A/S/M manual controls while recording video
  • 1200 zone metering
  • Completely new developed Bionz processor
  • 12 fps
  • 1/8000 shutter speed
  • TrueBlack 921k 3-way tilt LCD
  • 3 million dot OLED viewfinder
  • Smart teleconverter function with 1.4x and 2.0x option
  • Built-in flash
  • Built-in GPS
  • Battery life with over over 500 shots (in LCD mode. More in EVF only mode!)
  • Magnesium alloy body
  • Dust and Moisture proof
  • Multi Frame NR
  • SD card (no CF!)


Here is the YouTube video I mentioned.

 

Analysis

The Sony SLT-A77’s rumored specs place it squarely in the Semi-Pro/Pro camera body category. Its heavy-duty magnesium frame construction and weather/dust seals indicates that this camera is designed to be used and used a lot.

This is the first SLT-type (Single Lens Translucent) camera intended for professional use. Whether pros will be willing to embrace an EVF camera to earn their bread-and-butter remains to be seen. Pro photographers have always preferred optical viewfinders over electronic ones, but the effort that Sony has made to improving each successive generation of EVF bodes well for the technology.

The 1.5x crop will limit this cameras use as a landscape camera, but sport shooters will enjoy the added focal length the crop grants their telephoto lenses. This can be dealt with by designing wider lenses for the cropped sensor.  Sony’s G series lenses and Carl Zeiss lenses provide high quality professional grade glass that is highly regarded but limited in scope compared to Canon or Nikon’s offerings. It is, however, no worse than the lens line ups of other camera systems other than the Big Two.

One of the other claims to fame of the SLT line of cameras is the tracking autofocus and high frame rates. The SLT-A77 is expected to be able to fire off 12 fps which will make one of the fastest action cameras in the market especially at this resolution. The lack of a moving mirror means no viewfinder blackout (I have tested this with an SLT-A55), less camera shake at slow speeds, and more importantly (for me, at least) less audible noise when firing the camera.

My one reservation with this setup is the swiveling rear LCD panel. Unless Sony has a radical new design for this, I feel that this will be the weak link in the otherwise solid construction of this camera. I am not saying that the swiveling LCD is useless, just that it cannot be as solid as a built-in non-swiveling display.

I am willing to give this camera a run. If the color is as good as previous generations and the high-ISO performance is as good as it looks on paper, this crop sensor camera may be a worthy successor to my Nikon D700.

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