Pro Photog A77 Thoughts + Hands on Experience

Started Oct 5, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Minolta Pro - NZ
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Pro Photog A77 Thoughts + Hands on Experience
Oct 5, 2011

Hi all,

I've had my first A77 for 2 days now and feel able to offer some constructive thoughts and opinions which may be of use to others considering this camera

I live in New Zealand where the A77 isn't due for a week or 2 yet, so as I'm about to start a new 10 month long commercial shoot, and wanting to have the continuity of the same image files throughout the shoot, I imported an A77 from Asia and it arrived 2 days ago ( sadly just after a varied commercial shoot that would have been a good test for it )

I ordered the 16-50 lens with it ( my first 'kit' lens purchase in the last 15 years ) but that has yet to arrive so most of my experience so far has been with the following

Sigma 8-16mm, Sony 85mm 1.4, Minolta 70-200 2.8 SSM ( thought as soon as we get a cloudless night here I'm dying to try the Minolta 600mm f4.0 on the A77 )

Aslo a bit of a disclaimer, I'm not here to pixel peep, or nit-pick ISO levels etc, I'm aiming to provide useful information for the typical user. Also, I'm of the belief that the ultimate digital camera is one that produces usable JPG's out of the camera, without much PP at all so I won't be drawn into an argumant over the benefits of a RAW over JPG workflow. JPG's work for me, and after 24 years as a professional photographer, I'm busier and busier every year. My clients love the work I produce and that's all that matters from a commercial shooters point of view.

I must also say that I've never shot any other brand of SLR other than Minolta or Sony, so won't be doing comparisons against other brands, I'm just passing on my impressions of this camera versus it's predecessors.

I've also never even picked up a SLT such as the A33 or A55 so it's all new to me

My Camera has firmware version 1.02 installed at present

FIRST INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

  • It's VERY quiet, and a totally different noise compared to a regular Sony SLR

  • It's very disconcerting to have your shot preview in the viewfinder, ( but for the work I do, also very useful )

  • Initial Colours are very pleasing as JPG's straight out of the camera

PROS

  • Price is very competitive when all of the features and power are taken into account. You don't expect to be able to purchace a Ferrari for the price of a Skoda........ ( Sorry to Skoda fans........

  • Peaking is an AWESOME feature and again, due to a lot of manual focus work, will be very useful

  • The EVF will be very useful to me as I can see white balance in real time during factory shoots under combinations of artificial lights

  • The ability to micro-adjust the white balance via a small colour checker type board is a great idea

  • Bringing back the 3 memory options is great but it would have been nice to be able to choose between the 3 via a dial rather than the menu

  • GPS could def be useful to identify locations of some shots

  • Ghosting, personally I have found no issues with this yet, but my shoot tomorrow could change this, I will be shooting directly into some very powerful lighting, and don't have an option with this, will re-post after the shoot if I have a Ghosting issue

  • Memory Cards, at least the card front faces the user now as opposed to the A580 where it faces the other way and the user is unable to easily see which card is installed

  • M/AF Button has returned, as has the 2 dials again - Thanks Sony !!

  • Same Battery as other upper level models - please don't change this

  • Uses larger version of the USB plug at the camera end of the cable

CONS

  • I miss the metering dial

  • A 'small' lag waiting for the review to appear in the viewfinder, not a biggie, but could annoy some people ( For some reason, the lag time changes with different lenses - dramatically less lag with Sigma 8-16 than Sony 85mm )

  • BAD Purple AND Green fringing in some shots with the 85mm 1.4 Sony lens

  • Card Door a bit small and fiddly

  • Unable to 'cut' rather than copy files from card via windows explorer, Sony please fix this issue

I'll update with more thoughts as I find them with use.........

Hope this is helpful

Regards, Stu

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Stu Jackson
Fulltime Professional Photographer since 1987 - using Minolta/Sony exclusively!
Photo-One
P.O.Box 400
Timaru
New Zealand
+64 274 342 372
minolta@photographs.co.nz - all comments welcome

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