Sony SLT-A77, we have tested it.

The one that comes to replace the veteran A700 in the Sony catalog has been made to be asked but it is here, after clearing up doubts about the type of technology it would use and avoiding the problems that the floods in Thailand are causing to many companies of the sector. It was put up for sale in Spain a few hours ago and here we bring you our analysis of a camera that, without a doubt, will give a lot to talk about.

We have been able to play with it for a few days and get closer to the issues that concern you the most. Does it affect translucent mirror to the quality of the results? How do you manage noise? Is it a good decision to opt for a electronic viewfinder? We hope to be able to answer some, if not all, of your concerns about this new Sony SLT-A77. Shall we start?

Sony SLT-A77, we have tested it

Before getting down to work, we are going to make an obligatory but brief review of the most important characteristics of the camera, to warm up and refresh the memory of the most clueless:

  • Sensor CMOS of size APS-C and 24 megapixel resolution
  • Technology SLT (translucent mirror)
  • electronic viewfinder XGA OLED 2.4 megapixel resolution and 100% coverage
  • 12fps burst
  • 19 AF points, 11 cross-type
  • ISO 50-16,000
  • Video AVCHD 1080p at 60, 50, 24 or 25fps
  • 3-inch rear screen, mobile and with a resolution of 920,000 points

design and construction

This, for obvious reasons, is the most subjective of any analysis. I am one of those who thinks that Sony usually does a good job when it comes to the design of its products. The Sony SLT-A77, from my point of view, is not an exception and aesthetically it is a camera really pretty. Thought, I must confess, that I do not share for the objectives of the firm which usually present a design and finish that is too aseptic. The red accents of the logo, the circumference of the bayonet and the prominent AF assist focus add a unique touch to the family Alpha.

Sony SLT-A77, we have tested it

The price of a team usually measures quite accurately the range of seriousness to which it is circumscribed, but it is not the only one. This camera, in the hands, is a delight that is not within the reach of entry bodies. Their robust construction, much of it in magnesium and aluminum alloy, gives it a weight and dimensions that make it very comfortable and nice at the time of use. To give you an idea, it is very similar both in size and weight to the Nikon D7000.

Controls and shortcuts

Even if this is your first Sony Alpha, accommodating your hand to the grip and to the layout of buttons and shortcuts will not be a problem, the adaptation period is minimal thanks to the good ergonomics that the team presents. There will be two control dials with which we can, in addition to adjusting the shutter speed and aperture during the shots, move freely through the menus. When will users of less advanced cameras be able to enjoy such an advantage?

Sony SLT-A77, we have tested it

In the upper right part, another of those extras stands out that indicate that we are dealing with a high-performance model, the LCD screen. On this occasion the size of it seems excessive to me little Y lacking in the information provided. As much as we hope, we will not see appear in it any reference to the ISO or to the selected metering or focus modes. Taking into account, in addition, that the rear screen can be lifted and oriented upwards, this small LCD it seems more like a detail for the gallery than a real necessity.

The mobility of the rear screen is excellent, offering endless possibilities and angles thanks to its three axes of rotation but greatly conditioning the distribution of the rear buttons. In this model we say goodbye to the traditional row of buttons on the left, where now only the one that opens the configuration menu remains. At the front of the camera we have a wheel focus mode selector with which to go from simple to continuous or manual will be sewing and singing. The button that raises the flash and another dedicated exclusively to final image preview complete the quota in the front.

Sony SLT-A77, we have tested it

Next to LCD In addition to the button that illuminates it, we also have a viewfinder/LCD that I will comment later and buttons for the ISO (configurable), exposure compensation and shooting mode (continuous, high speed, timer and bracketing). In the back, surrounding the main control joystick, in addition to classic controls such as playback or information, we have two configurable buttons assigned to exposure lock and AF/MF toggle respectively, the movie-record button, a button with which to change the information displayed in the viewfinder or rear display, another that gives access to the most common photography options such as selection of AF points and a last one that seemed to me very interesting which is used for two things, depending on how we configure it: enlarge the image to make it easier to focus or take a picture using a sensor crop factor of 1.4x or 2x.

The camera has, in short, a good number of buttons and shortcuts. Unlike the A700, the SLT-A77 has no control to turn the internal image stabilizer on or off, SteadyShot, which goes to the menu and the measurement mode selector that would have been interesting to implement. It can, however, be configured in one of the three configurable buttons.

I find it a bit strange that the preview button is exclusive because one of the advantages of the electronic viewfinder is that it allows you to configure it so that show in real time how the final image will look, causing the aforementioned button to lose its functionality. I think something similar about the button that switches between the viewfinder and the rear screen since there is a proximity sensor on the eyepiece that can automate the work. It can be useful when save batteryyes, because I have noticed that the consumption, between the screens and those exaggerated bursts, is somewhat high.

Sony SLT-A77, we have tested it

Shooting with the SLT-A77

The first thing is to turn on the camera and it takes a while to do it after pressing the button, it is not much but it’s not instant as in other cameras that are very close to her. The mode wheel is robust and it is impossible to accidentally move it. In it, in addition to the typical scene modes, automatic and PASM we have a mode for video, two for sweeps and panoramas (including a 3D one for compatible Sony TVs), another mode for that famous 12fps burst and an MR mode that gives access to three personal settings that we can load whenever we want.

Let’s talk about the electronic viewfinder. The first few days I didn’t feel very comfortable with it, used to the pentamirror of my Olympus or the pentaprism of my Nikon, going to glue my eyes to a small monitor is strange. I think it could use a little more brightness because adjusting it to the maximum it falls a little short. When the ambient lighting is poor it is inevitable that noise will appear in the viewfinder and it becomes very unpleasant, in addition has some lag sometimes. So far the negative points.

Positive points? Many of us are facing one of the most advanced electronic viewfinders, if not the most. This technology allows you to make any adjustments without taking your eyes off the viewer, navigate through the menus or view the stored gallery. You can also photograph while you have in a corner the histogram or in the center digital level and above all, you can see in real time how the final photograph will look. The positive points far outweigh the negative and although I wouldn’t trade it for a good optical viewfinder yes I would because of the pentamirrors used in the dslr more modest.

Sony SLT-A77, we have tested it

The burst at 12 fps is really impressive, although it requires using a specific mode in which we can only control the aperture. During shooting the auto focus will continue to work. As an anecdote, I will tell you that the absence of a mirror causes a sound when shooting nothing similar to what we are used to with the mirror. The dslr current ones are not designed, due to their focus screen, to focus in manual but in this case, thanks to the direct access to the focus assist magnification and the use of the focus peakingwhich we already told you about, refocusing on manual becomes a very pleasant experience.

real samples

The SLT-A77 has a ISO maximum of 16,000 whose use I advise against but it has not behaved at all badly when I have put it to the test. This photograph above is shot late at night, ISO 3200, it is a jpeg straight from the camera and without any type of anti-noise filter. The maximum value of ISO that we can use depends largely on the final size that we need. In this example, the value 3200 would be perfectly valid for viewing on the web and for small prints, but the quality loss would be noticeable if we viewed it at 100%. It could be said that until ISO 800maybe a little more we can shoot without fear. Of ISO From 1000 to 3200 the quality loss is gradual as it goes up but with still very valid results and above 3200 it would be better to avoid it. I leave you some samples ISO 100, ISO 1000 e ISO 8,000 for you to judge for yourselves.

We would have liked to have been able to test the SLT-A77 with a higher quality lens than the basic 18-55mm in the kit but we didn’t have one handy. Our nice Czech puppet has not complained too much when posing for the camera and leaves us an image with good closeup details that you can check by carefully observing the legs or the belt. The background texture is not very good. (Is it the lens or the translucent mirror?) but the white balance and tone, maybe a bit cold, I don’t dislike at all. The approach, by the way, has always been fast and precise.


I put an end to this analysis of the Sony SLT-A77 convinced that the lights outweigh the shadows and that this camera and its technology lay the firm foundations for a promising future for Sony’s bets. I’m looking forward to seeing how the electronic viewfinder continues to evolve, because it needs to if it wants to beat the optical one. It is very simple to use and configure and includes great details such as the gps internal. The video, increasingly important, and in which we have not entered, is another of the great assets of the camera, with manual controls, continuous focus during recording and speeds of 60, 50, 25 and 24 fps at 1920 × 1080. I think, finally, that the €1,300 base price is a bit off the market.

Sony SLT-A77, we have tested it