Skip to main content

The A77 is coming — and a note on why I shoot Sony now

Sony yesterday announced the Alpha A77 "SLT" (single-lens translucent) camera. This is the successor to the A700 as Sony's top-of-the line APS-C camera and at the same time the successor to the A55 and A33, the first SLT cameras released last year. The best discussion of the A77 available right now, as far as I can tell, is over at Luminous Landscape.

This matters to me. I shoot Sony. When I abandoned Pentax a year ago, instead of going with either of the safe choices (Nikon or Canon) I decided to go with Sony. Why? No doubt partly because I'm a contrarian. It was also partly because Nikon and Canon DSLRs don't have image stabilization built into the body, which strikes me as, well, a big disadvantage of the Nikon and Canon systems. But I chose Sony mainly because it is clear to me that digital cameras are now primarily electronic devices and Sony knows more about electronics than Nikon and Canon combined. While Nikon, Canon and Pentax are trying and to a great extent succeeding at making digital versions of their classic film cameras, Sony is busy trying to make new kinds of products. Personally, I think the NEX bodies are nutty and I've said so here; but nobody listens to me and apparently they are selling like hotcakes. As for its alpha-mount cameras, the A55 made history last year and the A77 looks like it will do the same again this year. Sony makes the best sensors around, and the sensor is the most important part of a digital SLR body. My primary body, Sony Alpha A580 (which is basically an A55 but with an optical viewfinder), gets top grades from the independent DxO Mark testing site, besting even the Nikon D300s, which costs twice as much. Not saying that Nikon or Canon don't make great cameras. They do. A large majority of the best photographers in the world prefer Canon or Nikon. I could in all honesty switch to either line this afternoon, and if I win the Texas lottery, perhaps I will pick up a few high-end bodies from both of those makers. I'm not a fan-boy for Sony. Still, Sony is really innovating, and since innovation for its own sake is meaningless (see Ricoh or Sigma), I hasten to add that Sony's innovations are, in very large part, major and valuable successes.

Sony seems to understand at a deep level just how digital photography isn't just a matter of digital capture, but rather, a fully digital workflow. Sony understands that most photos (at least by serious photographers) get processed after capture, and moreover, that photos, once processed, go on to be shared via digital media like the Web.

Anyway, I for one am excited about the imminent arrival of the A77.

*

Postscript...

I'm not saying I'm rushing to order the A77 myself. There were some issues with the A55 SLT and flash use, and since flash use is critically important for me, I'm going to have to confirm that those issues have been resolved. I'm not sure I need 24MP, although I don't see that as a huge problem. More important, there is, at the moment anyway, some doubt about whether the A77's image quality will be as good as the image quality of the A580. More megapixels does not mean better image quality, certainly not automatically. See for example this comparison of the new A35 with the A580; the A35 apparently has a sensor identical to or similar to the one in the A55, which is (as I understand it) the same as the one in the A580. But the A35 rates lower in every category than the A580, presumably because of the SLT design. Have to wait a month or two until the tech-heads have had a chance to work with production models of the A77 and we can see the results. I would also like to hear more about whether a full-frame SLT (A99?) is coming. Some rumors suggest that it is. If that is the case, I might skip the A77 and jump to the A99. Anyway, no decisions have to be made this week!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Wireless control of Olympus OM-D E-M1 with OI.Share app

The Olympus Image Share or "OI.Share" app for smartphones allows you to do some very neat things with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera, like control focus, shutter and other settings, download photos to your phone, and geo-tag your photos. The only problem with this partnership between camera and phone — at least for me as a micro-four-thirds and Olympus novice — was getting it to work.

The documentation provided in the app and in the user manual for the camera is typically bad. I wrote this blog article from the notes I started making as I was trying to sort this out for myself. I hope I save somebody else an hour and some worry.

Ingredients To get started you'll need to have an EM-1 and a smart phone with the OI.Share app installed. I'm using an iPhone 5 running iOS 7 and version 2.1.1 of the OI.Share app. I downloaded the app from the App Store.

Addendum 7 January 2015: This article was first published a little over a year ago, in December 2013. I just went through the…

Why DxO Optics Pro 10 stays in my toolbox

You can read this post here, or read my reposted version over over at Medium.


I've used over a dozen apps in the last decade to convert my raw files and process my digital images. Today I rely on four main tools to process my images: Lightroom 5.7, the Nik suite of apps (now owned and published by Google), onOne Software's Perfect Photo Suite 9 — and DxO Optics Pro 10. I want to talk about Perfect Photo Suite some other time; it's my replacement for Photoshop and I really like it. But today, I want to say nice things about Optics Pro 10.

Might seem an odd thing to admit, but I don't really want to use Optics Pro. It can't hold a candle to Lightroom for browsing and managing images. And it doesn't support layers (like Perfect Photo Suite) or much in the way of selective editing (like Lightroom, Nik and Perfect Photo Suite do). I'm able to get what I want from most of my images using Lightroom, or Nik or Perfect Photo. So most of the time, I don't need Op…

Why I switched from Lightroom to Aperture

Read today an excellent article, "Why I use Aperture instead of Lightroom," by Mel Ashar; it's posted at the Aperture Expert blog edited by Joseph Linaschke. Ashar, a landscape and architectural photographer, provides a useful catalog of some of the reasons Aperture is a strong choice for photographers who use Macs. He focuses on the file-management advantages of Aperture that arise from the fact that Apple controls an entire file ecosystem, comprised not just of Aperture, but of iCloud and the file systems on both Macs and iOS devices (iPhone, iPad).

Now, notwithstanding the advantages Ashar enumerates, the consensus seems to be that, Aperture as a photo processing app lags way behind Lightroom. I disagree with the consensus. In fact, shortly after the public beta of Lightroom 5 became available, I started looking again at Aperture and this time I really gave it the old college try. To my surprise, I discovered that I liked it. I liked it a lot. So, instead of upgrading…