Will a summer A77 firmware obviate the pending release of a new APS-C model A78?

Started Apr 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
Allan Olesen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,391
Almost all my a77 complaints are firmware related, not hardware

In my opinion, my a77 is a fantastic piece of hardware which is limited by a mediocre firmware which doesn't fully utilize the options that SLT makes possible.

For example, why don't we have an option of self-calibrating AF micro adjust? The SLT concept is perfect for this, because the image sensor sees what the PDAF module sees in real time. So a finetuning of the PDAF module using contrast detect information from the main sensor would be an obvious advantage over classic DSLR cameras.

I would probably buy an a78 with the same hardware specs as my a77 if it had major firmware improvements - but I would feel cheated. So if they instead will try to make the a77 more competitive by improving the firmware, I will be very happy.

Some will probably say: "But we need better high ISO performance!!! And that is hardware!!!". Sorry, we will not get that in an a78 anyway, unless they get the mirror out of the way. The a77 sensor (like most modern sensors) is so close to theoretical perfect low light performance that future improvement will be marginal - probably unmeasurable.

So what is left of possible hardware improvements anyway? I only have imagination for a rather short list:

  • A lock on the program wheel, like its grandfather, the Minolta 7D, had. I doubt we would have seen that in an a78.
  • Better strap lugs, smooth with the surface (as the ones on the a77 battery grip). I doubt we would have seen that in an a78. Sony seems to reserve the best lugs for their cheap models.
  • A mirror which can be manually flipped up for mirrorless operation. I doubt we would have seen that in an a78.
  • Secondary image sensor for the viewfinder so we can get rid of the slide show effect in burst mode. I doubt we would have seen that in an a78.
  • More responsive operation. We would perhaps have seen that in an a78.
  • Tethering - if it even is a hardware limitation. None of us know for sure if it could be added in firmware. But since the a58 got it, the a78 would probably have had it too.
  • A better GPS. We would perhaps have seen that in an a78. Or at least an option of keeping it turned on for some minutes or hours after the camera enters standby so it doesn't have to get a new fix every time the camera wakes from standby. I don't know if that would require hardware changes.
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