Every time a DSLR snaps a picture, the mirror inside has to flip up and down--which is why smaller cameras tend to have faster burst speeds (until you get into the $3,000 DSLRs) and why the Sony a77II's 12 fps is such a big deal. Sony's high-end APS-C DSLR shoots 12 frames per second in priority auto exposure and up to eight in the other available settings. The closest competitor, the Nikon D7100, only shoots 6 fps.
While the speed on the Sony a77II looks excellent, this June 2014 release looks to be a well rounded camera overall. Designed as an upper-end DSLR without getting into the full frame options, the A77II has dual control wheels a second screen at the top displaying shooting information and a lot of physical controls so adjusting settings can be done quickly, without going into the menu. The large 3" LCD screen also tilts, for capturing those shots at tricky angles. Dual slots allow you to use two memory cards in the camera at once.
Wrapped up inside is a 79 point phase detection autofocus system. And when the need arises for manual focus, the LCD screen includes focus peaking, which highlights the portions of the image that are in focus. The shutter speed can hit a nice 1/8000, while the ISO settings range from 100-25600 with a noise reduction system.
The a77II uses Sony A-Mount lenses and there's a good variety of them available. The vibration reduction system is actually built into the body, which makes the lenses a bit more affordable than Nikon or Canon lenses that need a shake reduction system.
Along with a good set of everything you'd expect from a DSLR (including a viewfinder, manual modes and RAW), there's also several options that are more typical of smaller cameras. Picture effects offer different digital filters and even the panorama option is included. Face detection and smile detection is also available.
The battery on the A77II is rated at 410 shots, which is on the low end for advanced DSLRs (The D7100 has a 920 shot life in comparison).
Overall, the Sony a77II looks to be a highly competitive DSLR at this price point, holding a particular edge in speed. The DSLR will sell for an MSRP of $1,199.99 for the body only or $1,799.99 with a 16-50mm f2.8 kit lens.
Sony has been at the forefront of the market for consumer electronics for the past 30 years by offering innovative imaging products in response to changes in the market. Sony has made cameras that are ideal for casual users, hobbyists, and professional photographers through their dedication to implementing the most current technology with a sleek and minimal style, resulting in an end result of the highest quality.
Sony was the first to put a full-frame sensor inside of a mirrorless camera, the A7 and A7R, and a little later, the A7S. While the first-of-its-kind cameras aren't without flaws, Sony executed their ideas fairly well and made some pretty solid cameras to start the new line.
Speaking of first-of-its kind, Sony also designed a “camera-without-a-camera,” the QX10 and QX100. These cameras have a sensor and lens, but no operating system—instead, consumers use their smartphone via wi-fi or NFC to operate the camera. While the cameras certainly have flaws (mainly in the slow response due to operating through wi-fi), we still have to applaud Sony for the way they've responded to the rise in smartphone photography (plus the cameras have actually sold remarkably well).
Sony has also been highly successful with the RX compact camera line that began with the RX100, a compact camera with a 1” sensor, excellent image quality and full manual modes. The camera has since seen some solid updates, and remains a good option. Sony also added the RX10, a camera with a 1” sensor but instead of focusing on compact size, adds a much bigger zoom.
While their focus is on more advanced models, it’s usually a pretty safe bet to pick up a Sony compact, even a budget priced one, and still get a lot of bang for your buck. We're also big fans of Sony's designs, making their cameras easy to use and adjust, like the HX400 that has an automatic sensor on the electronic viewfinder as well as a control ring around the lens.
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