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Old Nov 6, 2011, 1:07 PM   #1
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Default First experience with the A77

I got to spend a few hours playing with the A77 this last week. These are my personal feelings and my first impression with this new camera.. I have experience using the KM5D, A700, A550 and A850. I have used the A200, and A55 and Canon 7D for multiple shoots. With the experience of using these cameras this is how the new A77 left me feeling

It's feels about the same size and weight as the A700 when in hand. Those are about the only similarities. From that point on Sony has without question changed direction from the A700, A850 and A900. Those 3 cameras all work very similar to one another and have been considered Sony's semi/pro cameras.

From the second you grab the A77 and go to turn it on you start noticing differences with this camera. The ON switch is next to shutter button near the front dial on the grip. The new on-off switch works in reverse when compared to the A55 with on being on the opposite side.

After turning on the camera and removing the lens cap I finally was able to look at the new improved EVF. I must admit that this what I was most looking forward to. The EVF of the new A77 is a noticeable improvement over the A55 (which I also had with me for comparison). It's a brighter, bigger viewfinder then the A55s and will have advantages over any OVF with the capability of seeing the overlay tools. There is a trade-off I noticed that will take getting used to and it's the dynamic range of the EVF when compared to an OVF. The clipping of highlights and shadows are the first thing I noticed looking down a dimly lit hallway with a bright window at the end of it. It was possible to pull up the shadows with the exposure compensation dial at the expense of blowing out the highlights. That's something you don't have with a OVF.

With the exception of the on/off switch the button placement is good on the top plate with WB, ISO, EC and drive buttons. It was easy to navigate these buttons without looking coming from an A700. The lcd light on/off button was accidentally hit while trying to navigate the other buttons. Something to watch out for.

The rear of the camera is quite different then the 3 other bodies mentioned earlier and in my opinion not as intuitive. The placement of the buttons on the 3 older bodies when combined with the quick-navi menu was one of the best features that Sony had. Simple, intuitive, speedy the quick navigation was a better system then any other manufacture had. Well, it's gone! Navigating through the new system reminded me of my old A550. More typical of a entry level DSLR. I'm not happy with that.

I took just a few shots outside to get a feel for the AF. It felt very responsive but I will have to spend more time with it to have a honest opinion.

I'm don't think I'm happy with the direction Sony has taken. It leaves me scratching my head wondering about the logic used while designing this camera. It's not like they had to rush to get it out. Some things are an improvement but others are not, in fact I would say that it's one step forward and about one step backwards for me at this point

Now for the ISO and noise issues, I won't discuss that on this post it's been mentioned all over the web and I'm sure that all of you are aware of it. The sample low light/ISO 1600 photo's taken with this camera and 16-50 looked good to me, but thats another discussion for later.

Anyone else try the A77/16-50 yet? I would like to hear what you think.
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Old Nov 7, 2011, 2:20 PM   #2
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Thanks Mike for taking the time to give your impressions. I was considering the going from my A55 to an A77 but I think I will hold off for a while until more users like yourself get more experience with the camera.
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 5:54 PM   #3
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The camera and lens where returned. The lens was not sharp at 16mm and it was a kit.
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Old Nov 9, 2011, 8:09 AM   #4
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That was the $2199 package? That was supposed to be the lens to "showcase" the camera wasn't it?
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Old Nov 9, 2011, 12:44 PM   #5
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Yes Clint it was the A77/16-50 f2.8 SSM kit purchased through Amazon. It is not my kit, it's a good friends. He suspected a problem with the lens so I loaned my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 do to some comparisons and the results I saw where clear. Unfortunately he could not send back just the lens so now he's out of camera and lens (he still has an A55).

The wide end until about 18mm was very soft, but the long end was at least as sharp as the Tamron.

He's a little disappointed.
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Old Nov 9, 2011, 2:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
It is not my kit, it's a good friends. He suspected a problem with the lens...
That's what I'd suspect, too (something wrong with the lens). The new Sony 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM is an excellent lens from virtually all accounts.

See this review for test results (it would be very hard to beat, and is probably sharper wide open at f/2.8 at 16mm, compared to most lenses with the aperture stopped down some and zoomed in a bit).

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...ct/1449/cat/83

Sony probably wanted to design a new lens with superior optics for use with their new 24MP APS-C size sensor, and is offering it at a great price when bought as a kit with the new A77.

So, I'd suspect your friend got a "bum" lens (that happens), and/or the camera settings for compensating for lens specific focus errors were "out of whack" (the A77 lets you make adjustments so that you'll get accurate focus when lenses are not calibrated properly). So, your friend may want to try some of the available adjustments in case it's just a settings problem that could be easily corrected.

You'll find some samples using one in our A77 preview here. But, I don't see any photos taken at 16mm. The closest in our current samples using the new Sony 16-50mm is this one taken at 20mm:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/camer...7/DSC00406.JPG

Check back later after we get a camera in for review and publish one (those were taken at a launch event), and we should have some more photos taken at greater variety of focal lengths in more conditions.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 5:53 PM   #7
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It's been reported that some have had issues (but most haven't) with the A77's "kit" lens. Of course, if you are one of those having the issue, you can always just send the lens into Sony for repair and still have use of the camera. I'm waiting for either Sony, Amazon or B&H to get this A77 kit back in stock. Hopefully I don't have to wait too long.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 6:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambler358 View Post
I'm waiting for either Sony, Amazon or B&H to get this A77 kit back in stock.
In stock again now:

http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/sto...52921644827503
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 6:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
No, not yet. Click the link for the item you want, and you'll see:
"Estimated ship date: 01/30/2012"

Yes, you can pre-order it but still not in stock.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 6:24 PM   #10
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Yep... You're right. I thought they had them back in stock. But, it's just a preorder listing.
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