The New Sony α (alpha) SLT-A77 and SLT-A65

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Sony α (alpha)SLT-A77

With the introduction of the Sony α SLT-A77 and SLT-A65, the folks at Sony are apparently running with their fixed, translucent-mirror formula as a vehicle that sets them apart from the competition, and based on the specs of their latest offerings, they’re taking the challenge quite seriously—especially when it comes to the alpha SLT-A77, a second-generation Translucent Mirror Technology DSLR. The new Sony α SLT-A77 features a 24.3 APS-C CMOS sensor (the highest-resolution APS-C sensor to date), weatherproof, magnesium-alloy body panels and a low-slung profile reminiscent of Canon’s EOS 7D, which it is clearly poised to challenge.

In addition to a record breaking pixel count, the A77 can capture up to 12 frames per second and features a 19-point (with 11 cross-sensors) continuous full time phase detection AF system that’s available for still capture, Live View and movie modes; ISO 16,000 sensitivity; a built-in GPS for geo-tagging; Auto HDR and Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO)for enhanced shadow and highlight detail; dual memory card slots (SD/SDHC/SDXC and Memory Stick PRO Duo & PRO-HG Duo); 1200-Zone evaluative exposure metering; shutter-lag times as short as 0.05/second; and up to 530 exposures per charge.The viewing system on Sony’s new top-gun SLT, another avenue in which the A77 excels, allows for full-time image viewing and autofocus for stills and video via a 3.0”, 921,000 dot, hi def, three-way tilt/swivel LCD that maintains alignment of the LCD and lens, and the world’s first 2,359,000-dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF), which enables clarity that simply blows away any other EVF in its class.

Along with JPEG, RAW and JPEG/RAW still capture, the Sony α SLT-A77 can also capture HD AVCHD 60p/60i/24p video capture (continuous up to 29 minutes) and unlike many HDSLRs, allows for full AF and manual control during video capture without viewing blackout. As one would expect, the Sony α SLT-A77 contains the full library of unique Sony technologies, including a choice of 2D or 3D Sweep Panorama mode; Handheld Twilight mode, which rapidly captures a series of 6 ISO-bracketed exposures and combines them into a single optimized mage file for incredible low-light imaging; SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization with all Sony Minolta AF optics; in-camera (triple-exposure) Auto HDR; a built-in flash (GN12); a detailed onscreen graphic display; a nifty Shot Result Preview, which allows you to preview the visual effects of your exposure, WB, DRO, DOF and other mode choices before you press the shutter button.

The Sony α SLT-A77, which is compatible with all Sony alpha A-mount optics, also features an HDMI output for viewing your stills and video on Sony BRAVIA and other Sony-compatible HDTVs. For a hands-on review of the Sony α SLT-A77, click here.

Sony α (alpha)SLT-A65

If the Sony α SLT-A77 got you juiced, you’ll be pleased to know almost all of the tasty technologies—including the very same 24.3 APS-C CMOS sensor, can also be found in the new Sony α SLT-A65. Sporting a smaller, polycarbonate body similar in profile to Sony’s first-generation α SLT-A33 and α SLT-A55, the Sony α SLT-A65 can “only” capture 10 frames per second, as opposed to the 12 frames-per-second capture rate of Sony’s alloy-clad SLT-A77, and “only” has a 15-point AF system with three cross-sensors. But then again, it’s also going to cost less than the A77. Size, burst-rate and lower price aside, the SLT-A65 contains the full shopping list of A77 features, including the same translucent mirror viewing system; ISO 16,000 sensitivity; a built-in GPS for geo-tagging; Auto HDR and Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO); dual memory card slots (SD/SDHC/SDXC  and Memory Stick PRO Duo & PRO-HG Duo); 1200-Zone evaluative exposure metering; shutter-lag times as short as 0.05/second; and up to 560 exposures per charge, which is 30 more pops than the A77.

Other imaging-friendly features include full-time image viewing and autofocus for stills and video; a 3.0”, 921,000 dot, hi def, three-way tilt/swivel LCD that maintains alignment of the LCD and lens; a 2,359,000-dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF); JPEG, RAW, and JPEG/RAW still capture; HD AVCHD 60p/60i/24p video capture (continuous up to 29-minutes); full AF and manual control during video capture without viewing blackout; a choice of 2D or 3D Sweep Panorama mode; Handheld Twilight mode; SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization with all Sony Minolta AF optics; in-camera (triple exposure) Auto HDR; and Shot Result Preview, which allows you to preview the visual effects of your exposure, WB, DRO and DOF effects before you press the shutter button.

The Sony α SLT-A65 is compatible with all Sony alpha A-mount optics and features an HDMI output for viewing your stills and video on Sony BRAVIA and other Sony-compatible HDTVs. For a hands-on review of the Sony α SLT-A65, click here.

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Was about to byuy the a900....  It's two years old and well reviewed, but big and heavy.  This seems like a great camera at half the price!  What to do.....  Suggestions?

Hello,

I've had the chance to test drive the Sony A55 recently (I've also used the A900 ) and I found the translucent-mirror to be very interesting. The only draw back was the blackout during exposure. The full-time image viewing of the A77 looks intriguing and reminiscent of a rangefinders full-time viewing viewfinder. Just my thoughts. 

You may or may not notice a difference in image quality going from a full frame sensor to an APS-C depending on what you do with your images. If you make large prints, you might want to hold on to the larger sensor body. These newer bodies are lighter and very fast handling. Your existing lenses focal lengths will change, so if you're into wide angle shooting  remember the 1.5x crop factor. Your telephoto lens will of course become more powerful.