Sony A77 II “bursts” onto the scene at a fraction of the price of pro SLRs (Video)

by John Shafer

posted Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 10:49 AM EDT


Last week, UPS (a.k.a. "Brown Santa") dropped off a huge package from Imaging Resource headquarters. It contained Sony's second-generation top-of-the-line crop-sensor DSLR, the 24-megapixel Alpha A77 II. Sony has been very aggressive with their DSLR features, specs and pricing and the A77 II is no exception. In many ways, it appears to be competing with pro-level full-frame cameras instead of other APS-C sensor DSLRs like the Nikon D7100 and Canon EOS 7D. A couple of standout features are the new auto focus system and high-speed burst rate. It has a new 79-point auto focus system – that's more AF points than any other DSLR – even top-of-the-line professional digital SLRs. The A77 II is super quick, too. It can shoot full-resolution RAW bursts at up to 12 frames per second – that's as fast as Canon's EOS-1D X, a purebred sports DSLR that sells for about 5x more than the A77 II's very compelling $1200 price tag.

To provide some more visceral perspective on the A77 II, I made a short video comparing its burst rate to the Canon EOS-1D X and the EOS 7D. (Not to pick on Canon; I'm a Canon shooter, and the 7D and 1Dx are my two primary shooting bodies, so I happened to have them on hand. Nikon and others would face the same challenge against the A77 II's price/performance combo.) Watch and be impressed:


Speed isn't everything, of course. Auto focus performance, reliability, and image quality are a few other critical elements. (AF is especially critical for sports shooting, and Sony along with pretty much everyone else has had a hard time competing with Canon and Nikon in that area - the 1Dx's AF is fast and just dead-reliable) I've already been experimenting with the A77 II for a few days, and I should be able to write the first part of my Shooter's Report very soon. I was actually planning to buy the A77 II myself when the guys at Imaging Resource offered me the opportunity to help them with their review. I think it could be a very worthy replacement for my Canon EOS 7D. The 7D has been the reigning standard for APS-C action cameras since it was introduced back in 2009. But Canon's 70D didn't really advance image quality over the 7D, so I'm hoping for better image quality, speed and auto focus from the A77 II. It's great to get some hands-on demo time with the camera before I actually pull the trigger and commit. Based on what Sony's done over the past few years, I have very high expectations for the A77 II. This will definitely be an interesting review. Stay tuned!

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