Sony SLT A77, A Photographer’s Perspective
Thanks to the forum members of Dpreview for the encouraging compliments of the pictures taken by A77 !
Late August 2011, I was invited by Sony Singapore (Thank you to Arvin & Wah Keong from Sony SG for accomodating to my needs always) to test drive the latest flagship of Sony, the A77. It was love at first sight for the build of it, a camera with masculine build but without the weight of the muscles.
However given the generous specifications, I was still very skeptical on the performance of a APS-C sensor with 24.3MP. In short the first thought that struck my mind was “Too Good To Be True !”
Part of my photography passion is to guide participants in my series of photography workshops, I love to share.
Hence I enjoy my job a lot. Most of my workshop participants love pixel peeping, comparing ISO/Color, sharpness, Etc…Some are also biased towards some brands of camera, which in my opinion is not ideal.
Why? In the world of photography, ideals gives birth to creativity and to me that is the most important in photography. Some camera are just not up to it, in terms of creating your imagination. Most of them needs to be done with a post processing software. Call me old school or any terminology you can think of, but that’s me.
I am not a photographer who likes to edit heavily, partially I was influence by a renowned photographer and mainly due to my nature of photography assignments. I love to capture pictures without going through intensive post processing, it gives me a marvelous sense of satisfaction when ever I am able to produce one nice picture without going through it. Hence choosing a camera that allows me to to so became very critical in my photography world.
So as a working photographer,
Q: What do I need from my camera?
A: I do not need a camera which can product strong colors/contrast/sharpness or dynamic range. I need the camera to be able to fully control them.
Q: How I define a good camera?
A: Features of the camera to work in flow with the photographer.
Q: Expectation of end results?
A: Ability to reproduce my imagination.
My acquaintance with a Sony camera when back to the year of 2001, the F707.
At that point it was one of my favourite cameras with 4.9MP sensor and it was a great photography partner for 2-3 year, which later I upgraded to a Minolta Dimage A1. On the subsequent years, many fine cameras from Nikon, Canon & Olympus came and go and I was enjoying every single bit of what the photography industry had for me.
Finally the A700 DSLR from Sony hit local markets. It was a love at first sight for the build and what it has to offer in specifications and features, without much of a thought, I dived in to the ALPHA system and spent quite a hefty amount on the lenses and accessories. From then I’ve completed quite a few important assignments in sports and events, including Singapore’s Asia Youth Games 2009, Aviva’s Ironman, Womens 10K Run, Aviva Badminton Championship & FINA Championships and various golf assignments, etc.
The Sony A700 coupled with some of the ALPHA lenses was a reliable companion in my area of photography and I was impressed by the end results. Of course my pursuit of the enjoyment in the latest camera technology did not end there, and in no time I was having roughly more then 30 cameras ranging from prosumer – entry DSLR – Semi Pro DSLR – Full Frames – Mirrorless & SLT Systems, in my storage.
So does the A77 achieve my expectations?
Some review sites are able to give a “score” to it without actually experiencing it through a longer period of time using a more “mature” firmware, going through a few actual assignments with it, spending more quality time with it , blah blah blah.. well I can’t and will not give any conclusive summary , as I feel that it is not fair or the most ideal way to conclude the qualities of a product, especially after waiting so long for it.
Certainly it feels good, camera is working in harmony with my photography intentions & images produced looks definitely great! It is a new benchmark in image quality within my world of “12MP photography”(I shoot mainly with 12MP cameras), however too early to conclude as I still feel that there is a lot more which can be tuned (Sluggish control & too much noise suppression mainly ) in future firmwares.
Safely I would say that the fullest potential of the Sony A77 is yet to be reached. I need more time with it. So consider this as a on going experience sharing, in time more will come.
Lets start viewing the pictures ! All pictures shown are taken with pre-production v1.00 firmware mainly(With a few exceptions of v1.03), JPEG, Extra Fine OOC with camera creative style set to Vivid* (With Custom Tuning), Full Manual Mode, Custom WB, DRO Off & Single AF point with some using MF. Lenses used are 16-50mm F2.8, 70-400mm F4-5.6 & a 2x Teleconverter. I used Lightroom to archive my pictures.
Please note, the perspective is based on a non-technical approach. In short, you will not be seeing pixel peeping/ISO/details, etc.. comparing of specifications… I will allow the pictures to do most of the talking, and you be the judge.
All the pictures are reduced in dimensions so it might not be a great way for showcasing purposes, so there is a gallery which I set up specifically for A77 which will contain most of the photos I have done with it,
Recently I was also invited by Sony Singapore as one of the guest speaker for their new SLT-A77 Camera launch. The launch event took place at Grand park City Hall Singapore, Cathay Photo gladly supported this event with great enthusiasm, Kudos to their professionalism ! Click here for the event highlights.
I have been using the A77 and NEX-7 solely for any assignments or photography workshops and expeditions. In summary from my few months of actual experience of handling the Sony A77; top notch image quality day or night, with good ISO performance, through out the days of shoot in high temperature(35 degrees and above), low temperature(-30 degrees and below & bad weather conditions(Raining and snowing).
I am confident on the build quality of A77, no problem on the temperatures which I face and even to the extend of getting caught in heavy rain pour.
It is amazing how far Sony has progress since they started on their ALPHA system, I was quite worried when Sony decided to drop DSLR and went in to DSLT, however seems like my worries were uncalled for.
The A77 feels like the extension of my arm and thoughts. WIth its creativity features build in, I am enjoying every single bit of it. Very controllable colors, DR & contrast. Great 16-50mm F2.8 kit lens, it is worthy companion to the A77 with good balance of weight between both.
So far, I am very impressed with this APS-C contender , I love the images rendered by ALPHA, superb image details, breath taking dynamic range, the 2x smart tele converter, 2.4million pixel EVF, 3 way tilt LCD, not too heavy or light weight, creative filters..Etc….I almost love every bit of it.
I do not have any critical negative experiences on the A77, However there is some requests to Sony, which I felt that could be improved. Controls still feels a bit not DSLR like..not prompt enough, even with the already updated firmware (As of 22 Feb 2012). Where is the new firmware optimized for A77?
Can Sony reposition the video rec button to somewhere else? It is too “press-sable” at its current position. Joystick control implementation not done well and feels ‘muddy’. Multiple image delete function available? I dont’ see it anywhere. Did your R&D missed out the Black and White filters in the camera?
In conclusion, I am completely sold on the Sony SLT-A77 (shh…and the NEX-7) ! Can Sony give me a set (Each..) ? Click Here For NEX7 Pictures At Harbin-30!
Note : Please do not reproduce the pictures in anyway without permission from me. Thank you.