2019 Buying Guide: Best cameras under $1500
Published Mar 14, 2019 | dpreview staff
12 Sony a77 II
Sony Alpha SLT-a77 II
24MP APS-C CMOS sensor | In-body image stabilization | 1080/60p video
What we like:
- Fast burst shooting
- Good continuous AF performance
- Solid ergonomics
- Effective in-body image stabilization
What we don't:
- High ISO image quality isn't competitive
- Subject tracking behind that of its peers
- Camera locks up while clearing buffer
The Sony a77 II features Sony's 'SLT' design which uses a fixed, semi-transparent mirror that provides light to its AF sensor at all times. The advantage is that the phase-detection autofocus system can always see what's going on, the disadvantage is that some of your light is always being diverted away from the image sensor.
The a77 II may look just like a DSLR, but its SLT design means that has an electronic rather than optical viewfinder. It has a solid, magnesium alloy body with a comfortable grip. If an EVF isn't you thing, the a77 II also has a 1.23M-dot LCD, which is on an articulating arm that can put it into nearly any position.
Other features like built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, a three-way articulating LCD and a magnesium-alloy body make for an exceptional upgrade to the original a77
The AF system comprises a total of 79 points with 15 cross-type points and 40% frame coverage. Performance is good, and the a77 II is more than capable of keeping up moving subjects in most situations. Better subject tracking is available for the money, though. Unwavering autofocus is also available for live view shooting.
Image quality is good at lower ISO sensitivities, but starts to slip behind other APS-C competitors like the Nikon D7200 once you get to ISO 6400 or higher. The maximum native ISO is 51200, but things look pretty crunchy by this point (which is the trade-off for having a mirror in front of the sensor at all times).
Video specifications are solid without being cutting-edge, but the quality is good and the autofocus remains dependable, making it that bit easier to get good-looking results. Focus peaking and zebra warnings are provided, for if you plan to take more control over the process.
Although high ISO performance and autofocus subject tracking lag a little behind the best of the competition, the a77 II's high burst rate, good video quality with reliable focus, comfortable ergonomics and in-body image stabilization round out an impressive spec list for this price range.
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