A77/A65/NEX-5N Launch, Part 1

I was at the Sony Alpha SLT-A77, SLT-A65 and NEX-5N launch in Malaysia on the 24th of August 2011. I will skip the obvious facts that you can get from any review, and answer more specific questions.

Bear in mind that the firmware on these cameras are not finalized and are subject to change. Also, for the same reason, I will not be showing any noise samples (besides, I didn’t bother to make noise samples.)

Top left: The A77’s pop-up flash doesn’t get in the way of a regular Sony HVL-F43AM flash. I forgot to see if it would fire both.
Top right: Proper camwhore tilt angle!
Bottom left: All white balance settings can now have an Amber-Blue and Green-Magenta bias dialled in. This is handy for Auto WB when you want it to be just a bit greener or colder!
Bottom right: Again they left out the magnification factor (since the A550 if I remember.)

Also, good news – there is no flash lag on the A77! I experienced horrible flash latency with the A55.

Even more good news – the A77 is able to use the HVL-F43AM (and therefore, the HVL-F58AM, but not tested) to trigger off-camera flashes!

Another niggle from the A55 was that it could not record long videos due to overheating – the A77 fixes this by using electronic stabilization when recording video, which means it crops the sensor and moves this crop about.

They fixed everything except the buffer, making it last less long.

The Sony 16-50mm F2.8 DT SSM on the Alpha 900, with the lens release button pressed, has vignetting at 16mm…

…as well as 50mm. The vignetting happens throughout.

Non-camera models.

Me and Meng Keat’s Minolta 300mm F4 G HS APO.

Left: The A77 has a top LCD. They really listened to every whiner there was! I don’t need one and it’s funny how this is supposed to be a modern camera with an electronic viewfinder – I would think that a fan of top LCDs would also prefer optical viewfinders…
Right: Top LCD with the light on. Here the white balance is set to Amber +7 Green +7, and that is as far as it will go.

The smaller, cheaper, less-highly-specced SLT-A65.

Yeah, the back is pretty much like the A55, but the ISO button moved to the top, near the shutter.

Left to right, top to bottom:
– AF Microadjustment!
– Live View Display Setting Effect OFF lets the A77 auto-gain when you are shooting in a studio and using a flash adapter, PC Sync cable or trigger that the camera does not recognize as a flash. This was notably missing from the A33/A55.
– Pressing the Smart Teleconverter when shooting RAW or RAW+JPG is still not allowed.
– The 3-zone autofocus mode is nifty!
– Auto ISO lets you choose exactly what the lowest and highest ISO will be. Too freakin’ sweet!
– When setting the Kelvin White Balance, you can press Down from 2500K to go to 9900K. It also wraps the other way around.
– Half-pressing when Auto ISO is on, shows you what sensitivity that Auto ISO has selected!
– Exposure goes up to +5 and -5, on screen.
– It shows, obviously, on the LCD as well.

Left to right, top to bottom:
– You can really tweak the ^%(*& out of your buttons. I honestly don’t use AEL since the EVF already tells you your exposure, so I could change it.
– Spot Meter AEL Toggle is back as expected on a 7-series camera!
– Maybe I’d bind it to Object Tracking, a cool new feature where you aim the center at the subject and it follows as you reframe.
– You can rebind the ISO button, the Preview button, and the Focus Hold button. If Auto ISO is good enough for you (and it is!) then you can rebind the ISO button as well!
– White Balance now includes a few flourescent options!
– Smart Teleconverter takes a crop but only if you shoot JPG – RAW shooters may prefer to bind it to Focus Magnifier.
– Front Curtain Shutter reduces shutter lag.
– I forgot to test what the Shot Result Preview means.
– Peaking Level! This was included in the NEX-5 firmware v4.0 but not in the A55 firmware v2.0.

Hmmm I forgot to try to set the rear dial to change EV, as how I set up my cameras in Aperture Priority.

And now, for a test of the A77’s 24.3 megapixel sensor. I used the pop-up flash to trigger 2 HVL-F43AM flashes from both sides in classic butterfly lighting. The Sony 16-50mm F2.8 DT SSM was used at the 50mm end, at F8 ISO100 1/200s.

Click here for the original JPG out-of-camera.

This is a 100% crop from the JPG. Yes that is 24 megapixels alright, just like I am used to, from my A900. The color is all there, too, and it’s not mushed into brown ala Nikon nor detuned in reds ala Canon.

Another 100% crop. Again, fantastic color separation – you can see the difference in the color tones of the upper and lower lip.

More tomorrow, specifically about the Alpha NEX line. 🙂

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