FIRST LOOK: Sony Alpha SLT-A77

    In summary

    High resolution, 12 frames/second burst speed plus refined Translucent Mirror Technology and an improved XGA OLED Tru-Finder make Sony's SLT-A77 attractive to serious photographers.Sony's SLT-A77 is the flagship model in the company's range of interchangeable-lens cameras featuring Translucent (pellicle) Mirror Technology. Positioned above last year's SLT-A55, it boasts a 24.3-megapixel APS-C-sized sensor new BIONZ image processor that enables it to record burst of shots at 12 frames/second. A new XGA OLED Tru-Finder provides superior resolution, contrast and responsiveness to the EVF on the A55 and an articulated LCD monitor makes it easy to frame a shot from any angle. . . [more]

    Full review


    Sony's SLT-A77 is the flagship model in the company's range of interchangeable-lens cameras featuring Translucent (pellicle) Mirror Technology. Positioned above last year's SLT-A55, it boasts a 24.3-megapixel APS-C-sized sensor new BIONZ image processor that enables it to record burst of shots at 12 frames/second. A new XGA OLED Tru-Finder provides superior resolution, contrast and responsiveness to the EVF on the A55 and an articulated LCD monitor makes it easy to frame a shot from any angle.


    Front view of the SLT-A77 with the Sony 16-50mm ƒ/2.8 DT SSM lens fitted and pop-up flash raised. (Source: Sony.)


    Front view of the SLT-A77 with no lens. (Source: Sony.)


    Rear view of the SLT-A77 with the monitor reversed onto the camera body. (Source: Sony.)


    Three views of the camera showing different positions for the adjustable monitor. (Source: Sony.)


    Top view of the SLT-A77 with no lens showing the data LCD. (Source: Sony.)
    For this 'First Look' we were provided with a late pre-production unit, which claimed to be 'suitable for testing'. Our initial report will cover the key features of the new camera and present some sample images. We'll publish the results of our Imatest and timing tests shortly.

    The A77 is the flagship model in what is now a series of five cameras featuring Translucent Mirror Technology, the other models being the A65, which was announced concurrently with the A77, the SLT-A35 (announced in June) and last year's A55 and A33. The table below compares key features of four of these cameras.







    Weatherproof magnesium alloy

    Polycarbonate resin (plastic)

    Sensor area

    23.5 x 15.6 mm

    Effective megapixels




    Max. Image size 3:2 aspect

    6000 x 4000

    4912 x 3264

    4592x 3056

    Max. Image size 16:9 aspect

    6000 x 3376

    4912 x 2760

    4592 x 2576

    AF points

    19 (11 cross sensors)

    15 (3 cross sensors)

    Max. burst speed

    12 fps

    10 fps

    10 fps

    7 fps

    Buffer capacity

    13 Extra Fine JPEG; 13 ARW.RAW

    17 Extra Fine JPEG; 13 ARW.RAW

    35 Large Fine JPEG; 20 ARW.RAW

    16 Large/Fine JPEG; 7 ARW.RAW

    Shutter speeds

    30 to 1/8000 sec.

    30 to 1/4000 sec.

    Shutter rating

    150,000 cycles

    100,000 cycles

    Exposure bracketing

    1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 2.0 or 3.0 EV steps for 3 or 5 frames (3 frames for 2.0 and 3.0 EV)

    1/3, 2/3 EV for 3 frames

    ISO range

    100-16000 (exp to 50 and 25600)

    100-16000(exp to 25600)

    100 to 12800

    Flash GN/FOV coverage

    GN12/ 16mm

    GN 10/ 18mm

    Flash synch.

    up to 1/250 sec.

    1/160 sec.


    3-way articulated

    2-way adjustable


    Monitor resolution

    921,000 dots

    GPS logger





    Battery capacity

    Approx. 470 shots with EVF; Approx. 530 shots with LCD

    Approx. 510 shots with EVF; Approx. 560 shots with LCD

    Approx. 330 shots with EVF / Approx. 380 shots with LCD

    Approx. 270 shots with EVF / Approx. 340 shots with LCD

    Body dimensions

    142.6 x 104.0 x 80.9 mm

    Approx. 132.1 mm × 97.5 mm × 80.7 mm

    Approx. 124.4 x 92 x 84.7 mm

    Body weight

    Approx. 653 grams

    Approx. 543 grams

    Approx. 441 grams

    Approx. 433 grams

    RRP (body only)





    Key features that distinguish the new camera from current and previous models are as follows:
    • Both the front and back covers are fabricated from lightweight, high-intensity magnesium alloy and the grip and front cover were cast to ensure high body rigidity. Dust and moisture sealing have been applied around the main buttons and dials, with a double-layered sealing around all camera body openings including the media compartment and terminal ports.
    • The body design is more rounded than the Alpha 700's and the lens mount is more closely integrated into the front panel. The grip is generous without being too large for users with average-sized hands (although photographers with small hands and/or short fingers could find it daunting).
    • The 1.3 cm XGA (1024 x 768-pixel) OLED Tru-Finder is a significant improvement on the EVF in the SLT-A55 with much higher resolution (2,359,296 dots), 100% frame coverage and increased brightness. It also provides a progressive update of all colours, eliminating colour slippage when the camera is panned quickly.
    • The button controls are designed so they can be differentiated by touch for ‘eyes off' operation of the camera. For example, the top of the ISO button is slightly cupped, while the Movie button has a recessed centre and the Fn button a surrounding ridge.
    • The joystick control makes a welcome return, having been dropped in the A55. New additions to the rear panel buttons are the obligatory direct movie button and a Smart Teleconverter button that crops out the centre of the frame, providing the equivalent of a digital zoom.
    • The TFT Xtra Fine LCD monitor offers 921,600 dot resolution. It swivels through 180 degrees on a hinged support that pulls out from the back panel. It's the most flexible screen available so far on any digital camera designed primarily for shooting stills and provides 100% frame coverage and three adjustments modes: Auto, Manual with +/-2 step adjustments and a Sunny Weather setting.
    • The 'peaking' display, introduced with the NEX-C3, has been implemented in the A77.
    • A top panel data LCD is provided, a handy feature to have when you're shooting with the camera tripod-mounted.
    • The shutter mechanism is rated for 150,000 cycles and supports a shutter speed between 1/8000 second and 30 seconds. Flash sync is at 1/250 second and Bulb exposures are supported.
    • The 24.3 effective megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor and enhanced BIONZ processor work together to support full-resolution continuous burst shooting at 12 frames/second with full-time phase-detection autofocusing.
    • A new 19-point autofocus system with 11 cross sensors provides Precision AF tracking of moving subjects.
    • The broad sensitivity range of ISO 100-16,000 is expandable down to ISO 50 and up to ISO 25,600.
    • A new 'electronic first curtain' exposure capability reduces shutter lag by activating the exposure electronically instead of waiting for the first curtain of the shutter to rise. It's done by controlling voltage levels across the sensor to enable it to record light in a wave that sweeps down the surface of the sensor. Shutter noise and vibration are noticeably reduced and Sony claims a lag time of 0.05 second, which is on a par with other high-end DSLR cameras.
    • Full HD Movie shooting is supported at 50p (progressive) frame rates using the AVCHD (Ver. 2.0) format. Cinematic 25p shooting is also available, along with support for manual focusing and P/A/S/M exposure modes while shooting video. Phase Detection maintains accurate focus during video shooting.
    • The SteadyShot Inside sensor-shift image stabilisation system has been improved to provide between 2.5 and 4.5 EV of shake correction and works with any lens fitted to the camera.
    • A dual-axis level gauge is available to help users correct pitch and roll to ensure level horizons and minimise perspective distortion in shots.
    • In-camera lens correction (vignetting, lateral chromatic aberration and distortion) is provided for four lenses: the SAL1650, SAL1855, SAL55200-2, and SAL18250. (More lenses will be added via firmware updates.)
    • The NP-FM500H rechargeable lithium-ion battery is the same as in the Alpha 450, 500, 550, 560, 700, 850 and 900 and the new SLT-A65. The A77 is CIPA rated for approx. 470 shots with the OLED Tru-Finder or approx. 530 shots with the LCD monitor.

    The A77's mode dial contains the same shooting modes as the A55's: AUTO, AUTO Advanced (AUTO+), Programmed AE, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, Manual, Memory Register (MR), Scene Selection, Sweep Panorama, 3D Sweep Panorama, Continuous Advance Priority AE and Movie. There are eight settings in the Scene Selection sub-menu: Portrait, Sports Action, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight and Night Portrait.

    The Memory Register mode allows three groups of camera settings to be saved for later recall, while the Sweep Panorama settings are the same as in the A55. In the standard modes, a burst of images is recorded while the shutter button is held down.

    The images are then automatically stitched into a panorama, the size of which depends on whether standard or wide has been selected. Panoramas can be captured by sweeping the camera vertically or horizontally. The 3D panorama mode generates separate left- and right-eye views of the scene, producing widescreen images suitable for viewing on Sony's Bravia 3D TV screens.

    Shutter speeds range from 30 seconds to 1/8000 second and there's a Bulb function that appears to be unrestricted. Flash sync is at 1/250 second.

    The Continuous Advance Priority AE mode is similar to the A55's - but faster. Burst speeds of 12 frames/second are achievable at full resolution. The buffer memory can hold up to 11 RAW+JPEG pairs, or 13 Large/Extra-Fine JPEGs or ARW.RAW files or 18 smaller JPEGs.

    The A77's metering system samples 1200 separate zones in a scene and has a working range from EV-2 to EV17 at ISO 100 with a f/1.4 lens. Multi-segment, Centre-weighted, and Spot metering patterns are available and there's a dedicated AE Lock button. Exposure compensation of +/-5EV is available in 1/3 and 1/2EV steps.

    Thirteen white balance settings are provided with an Auto mode plus pre-sets for Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, Day White Fluorescent, Daylight Fluorescent and Flash. A Custom measurement mode is also provided. Kelvin temperature adjustments are supported between 2500K and 9900K.
    Fine tuning is available across 15 steps in the G/M and B/A axes. And, like the A55, the A77 provides two levels of WB bracketing: Lo, which shifts colour values by 10 mired and Hi, which changes the colour balance by 20 mired.

    Face detection is available during live view shooting and users can register up to eight faces for prioritisation. Without registration, up to eight faces can be identified by the system. Smile Shutter triggering is also supported with three levels of sensitivity. (Fortunately, it can be disabled.)

    The built-in flash has a GN of 12 (m/ISO100) and can cover lenses to 16mm. Selectable modes include Off, Auto, Fill, Rear-sync and Slow-sync and red-eye reduction is available. Flash metering options include pre-flash TTL and ADI and manual adjustment is available, along with +/-3EV of exposure compensation. Flash bracketing is also supported and the pop-up flash can be used as a wireless controller for off-camera flash units. A flash hot shoe is also provided.

    Sony has added five new Picture Effect modes to the suite provided with the A33 (and available for the A55 via a firmware update): Soft High-key (which replaces the High-key mode), Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, and Miniature. The Posterisation (colour or black & white), Pop Colour, Retro Photo, Partial Colour (red, green, blue or yellow), High Contrast Mono and Toy Camera modes continue.

    Creative Style additions include Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, and Sepia complementing the Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset and Black & White modes in the earlier cameras. Contrast, saturation, and sharpness are adjustable in +/- three-steps for each setting. The Dynamic Range Optimiser function, Auto HDR mode and Hand-held Twilight carry over from the A55.
    Custom Controls
    The A77 is the most customisable of any camera released by Sony thus far and this feature distinguishes it from its 'sister' model the SLT-A65. The Custom menu contains 29 functions, with highlights including the following:
    • Eye start AF can be switched on and off.
    • Three grid overlays are available, including a rule of thirds grid.
    • The peaking level display introduced in the NEX-C3 is available with three levels plus off. As in the NEX-C3, the colour can be selected from red (the default), yellow and white.
    • The AEL button can be re-assigned to provide access to 29 different camera settings, among them a focus magnifier, 'Smart Teleconverter', depth-of-field preview, image size/quality, Picture Effect and Creative Style settings as well as DRO/Auto HDR adjustments.
    • Two AF drive speeds are available: fast and slow.
    • Automatic lens compensation is selectable for shading, chromatic aberration and distortion.

    Sensor and Image Processor
    The 24.3 effective megapixel Exmor APS-C sized HD CMOS Sensor and enhanced BIONZ processor are brand new. Measuring 23.5 x 15.6 mm, the sensor has the same 1.5x crop factor as the A55 - and also the same Bayer colour filter. Its 3:2 aspect ratio provides a maximum image size of 6000 x 4000 pixels. The graph below shows typical image sizes for all image size and quality settings.

    Image size


    Aspect ratio

    Approx. File size

    Extra Fine




    6000 x 4000




    6000 x 4000


    L: 16M

    6000 x 4000





    M: 8.4M

    4240 x 2832




    S: 4M

    3008 x 2000




    L: 14M

    6000 x 3376





    M: 7.1M

    4240 x 2400




    S: 3.4M

    3008 x 1688




    Panorama (Standard/ Horizontal)

    8192 x 1856

    4.4:1 (approx.)


    Panorama (Standard / Vertical)

    3872 x 2160

    1.8:1 (approx.)


    Panorama (Wide / Horizontal)

    12,416 x 1856

    6.7:1 (approx.)


    Panorama (Wide/ Vertical)

    5536 x 2160

    2.56:1 (approx.)


    3D Sweep Panorama (Standard)

    4912 x 1080



    1920 x 1080



    3D Sweep Panorama (Wide)

    7152 x 1080



    The BIONZ image processor enables the SLT-A77 to offer sensitivity settings from ISO 100 to ISO 16,000, with the Auto setting encompassing ISO 100 to 1600 by default - and up to ISO 12,800 with adjustment. Manual over-rides provide extensions to ISO 50 and ISO 25,600.

    High ISO noise-reduction processing is applied by default with three settings available: Low, Normal and High. Long-exposure noise-reduction processing is also available and with the Multi-frame Noise Reduction setting, you can specify the ISO sensitivity within a range of ISO 100 to 25,600 and the camera will combine multiple exposures to create a single image with reduced noise levels.

    Playback and Software
    Nothing much has changed since the SLT-A55. Playback options in the A77 include: Single shot display with or without shooting information, 4- or 9-frame index view, magnified playback (Large 13.6x, Medium 9.9x, Small 6.8x), Slideshow display, Panorama scrolling and RGB histogram plus highlight/shadow warning. Delete and Protect functions are also available.

    You can set the auto review to display for two, five or ten seconds or switch it off. Auto rotate can also be switched on or off. Folder selection is available for still shots and forward and rewind controls for movie playback.
    The supplied software disk contains the latest versions of Sony's standard software applications: Image Data Converter SR, and Image Data Lightbox SR and Picture Motion Browser (PMB). We've already covered these applications in our reviews of the Sony DSLR A900 and SLT-A55.

    Like the A55, the version of PMB supplied with the A77 can display Map View, which shows a thumbnail image of the selected shot superimposed on a map of the location in which the shot was taken. The standard Google Earth options of Map, Satellite and Hybrid views are also available.


    Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


    Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


    30-second exposure at ISO 100; 20mm focal length, f/2.8.


    10-second exposure at ISO 800; 20mm focal length, f/4.


    5-second exposure at ISO 6400; 20mm focal length, f/7.1.


    5-second exposure at ISO 12,800; 20mm focal length, f/10.


    5-second exposure at ISO 16,000; 20mm focal length, f/11.


    Flash exposure; 50mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/2.8; ISO 100.


    Flash exposure; 50mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/5.6; ISO 800.


    Flash exposure; 50mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/8; ISO 6400.


    Flash exposure; 50mm focal length, 1/100 second at f/13; ISO 12,800.


    Flash exposure; 50mm focal length, 1/125 second at f/13; ISO 16,000.


    Wide brightness range subject without DRO or HDR processing; 26mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/7.1.


    The same subject with Auto DRO processing; 26mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/7.1.


    The same subject with HDR processing set at 2EV; 26mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/7.1.


    The same subject with HDR processing set at 4EV; 26mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/7.1.


    Twelve frames taken with the high-speed burst mode; 50mm focal length, ISO 640, 1/1000 second at f/3.2.


    Standard Sweep Panorama shot (horizontal); 18mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/10.


    Wide Sweep Panorama shot (horizontal); 18mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/11.




    Image sensor: 23.5 x 15.6 mm Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.7 million photosites (24.3 megapixels effective)
    Image processor: BIONZ
    Lens mount: Sony A-mount lenses. Operation also confirmed with Minolta and Konica Minolta AF lenses
    Focal length crop factor: 1.5x
    Image formats: Stills -ARW.RAW, JPEG (Exif 2.3), RAW+JPEG; Movies - AVCHD 2.0, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264); Audio: Dolby Digital (AC-3) / MPEG-4 AAC-LC
    Image Sizes: Stills - 3:2 aspect: 6000 x 4000, 4240 x 2832, 3008 x 2000; 16:9 aspect: 6000 x 3376, 4240 x 2400, 3008 x 1688; Sweep Panorama: Wide: horizontal 12416 x 1856, vertical 5536 x 2160, standard: horizontal 8192 x 1856, vertical 3872 x 2160; 3D Sweep Panorama: Wide: 7152 x 1080, Standard: 4912 x 1080, 1920 x 1080; Movies: AVCHD: 1980 x 1080 (50p / 28Mbps, 50i / 24Mbps, 50i /17Mbps, 25p 24Mbps, 25p / 17Mbps), MP4: 1440 x 1080 (25fps / 12Mbps), VGA: 640 x 480 (25fps / 3Mbps)
    Image Stabilisation: Body-integrated SteadyShot INSIDE
    Dust removal: Charge protection coating on low-pass filter and image-sensor shift mechanism
    Shutter speed range: 30 seconds to 1/8000 second plus Bulb; flash synch up to 1/250 second
    Exposure Compensation: +/- 5EV in 0.3EV steps
    Exposure bracketing: 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 2.0 EV, 3.0 EV increments, 3 or 5 frames (2.0 EV, 3.0 EV: only 3 frames)
    Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay; 3 or 5 frames after 10 seconds
    Focus system: TTL 19-point phase detection AF system with 11 cross sensors
    Focus modes: Single-shot AF, Automatic AF, Continuous AF; AF/MF selectable
    Exposure metering: 1200-zone evaluative metering with Multi-segment, Centre-weighted and Spot modes
    Shooting modes: Auto, AUTO+, Scene Selection (Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night View, Handheld Twilight), Sweep Panorama, 3D Sweep Panorama, Continuous Advance Priority AE, Movie, Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter-speed priority (S), Manual (M)
    Picture Effect settings: 11 modes (15 effects): Posterisation (Colour, B/W), Pop Colour, Retro Photo, Partial Colour (R,G,B,Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High-key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature
    Creative Style settings: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait , Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn leaves, Black & White, Sepia with +/- 3 steps of contrast, saturation and sharpness adjustments
    Colour space options: sRGB, Adobe RGB
    Custom Functions: 29
    ISO range: AUTO (ISO 100-1600, ISO 100-12800 selectable with upper or lower limit), ISO 100 to 16000 selectable (expandable to ISO 50), Multi Frame NR (extendable up to ISO 25600)
    White balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (Warm white/Cool White/Day white/Daylight), Flash, C. Temp 2500 to 9900K, C Filter G7 to M7 A7 to B7, 15-step, Custom, AWB micro adjustment
    Flash: Auto pop-up, GN12 (in metres at ISO 100), FOV coverage up to 16mm
    Flash modes: Flash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync., Rear Sync., Red-eye reduction (on/off selectable for Autoflash and Fill-flash mode), Wireless, Hi-Speed Sync
    Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 2EV in 0.3EV steps
    Sequence shooting: Continuous Advance Priority AE: Max. 12 images/second for 13 ARW.RAW, 11 RAW+JPEG or 13 Extra Fine JPEGs
    Storage Media: Memory Stick PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo; SD/SDHC/SDXC/UHS-I (single slot)
    Viewfinder: 1.3 cm (0.5 type) XGA OLED electronic viewfinder with 2,359,296 dots, 100% frame coverage, five display modes and three grid line display modes
    LCD monitor: Articulating 7.5 cm (3.0-type) type TFT, Xtra Fine LCD with TruBlack technology and 921,600 dot resolution
    Data LCD: Yes
    Playback functions: Single-frame, Index (4 or 9 frames), Enlarge (7.2x to 14x), Slideshow, Picture rotation (auto mode available), Panorama scrolling, Histogram (independent luminance/RGB available), Shooting information
    Interface terminals: USO 2.0, HDMI (Type C Mini for BRAVIA Sync, PhotoTV HD), external stereo microphone terminal, remote controller
    Power supply: NP-FM500H rechargeable lithium-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 470 shots with Tru-Finder; approx. 530 shots with LCD monitor
    Dimensions (wxhxd): 142.6 x 104.0 x 80.9 mm
    Weight: Approx. 653 grams (body only)

    RRP: $1899 (body only)Distributor: Sony Australia; 1300 720 071;





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