Brian's Photo Blog — Article 35
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New Big Brother
Friday 11 November 2011   —   Category: Equipment
Two days ago there arrived a new addition to my Sony family — my eight-month-old Sony Alpha α55 camera now has a big brother: the new Sony Alpha α77! And I, the proud father, am overjoyed!

So why did I buy a new, more expensive camera, when I've had my α55 for only two-thirds of a year? Is it something beyond gadget-lust? Well, I would like to think so, but as the Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Anyway, the α55 was already a great camera, but there are a number of nifty features on the α77, that the α55 doesn’t have, which made me so eager to upgrade, including:
  • A larger (about 15%), mid-sized body, as opposed to the smaller, compact-sized body of the α55, which always seemed a bit small and hard to hold on to, even in my smallish hands.
  • A 6000 x 4000, 24 megapixel sensor, as opposed to the α55’s 4912 x 3264, 16 mexapixel sensor — but this is not necessarily an advantage, as the images can end up having more image noise problems.
  • Many more ISO settings that don’t exist on the α55: ISO 50, 64, 80, 125, 160, 250, 320, 500, 640, 1000, 1250, 2000, 2500, 4000, 5000, 8000, 10000 and 16000. I especially like being able to go down to ISO 50 in bright-light situations.
  • A pull-out, three-hinge, tilt/swivel, 920k dot LCD screen, as opposed to the LCD screen on the α55, while, though similar, has only two hinges. The new hinge system on the α77 allows the screen to be angled in a number of useful positions which the α55 cannot manage.
  • A magnesium alloy and high-grade plastic exterior, as opposed to the standard plastic-only body of the α55.
  • A 19-point phase-detection autofocus system, as opposed to the 15-point autofocus on the α55.
  • A number of the dedicated buttons on the body can be reprogrammed to perform other functions, as the user may desire.
  • A rear control dial, in addition to the front control dial that’s also found on the α55.
  • A small, top-panel LCD which shows the current settings, including shutter speed, aperture, battery life, white balance, image quality, remaining number of images, exposure compensation, and drive mode — it even has a switchable backlight, so you can see it in the dark.
  • A large, next-generation, uncropped electronic viewfinder with a 2.4 megapixel, 1024 x 768 resolution and progressive update, as opposed to the α55’s 1.4 megapixel, 800 x 600 viewfinder, which is updated one color at a time (therefore, in three passes instead of one).
  • A 12 frames-per-second continuous shot mode, as opposed to the α55’s 10 fps mode.
  • A new electronic front curtain shutter which has a number of technical benefits (follow the link to find out what they are!), but basically makes the camera more responsive, and helps increase the continuous frame rate (see previous point).
There are numerous other differences between these two camera, but I think that will be enough to give you a good idea of the main points.

I’m excited to see what this baby can do! From now on, it will be my primary camera, with the α55 held in reserve as a spare / second camera, or a camera I might use in a situation where there is the possibility of damaging the camera. Of course, all the lenses and accessories I bought for the α55 also work on the α77, so I will be able to make full use of them on either camera.

Well, that’s enough talking about this new camera. Now it’s time to go out and USE it! Future photo albums on this Web site will reveal what I’m able to accomplish with this wonderful new addition to the family.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 35
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