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August 24, 2011

Sony Announces Innovative A77, A65, and NEX-7 Cameras with Full 1080/60p Video

Sony has announced several new hybrid still/video cameras, and they've got a number of innovative features to go with impressive specs. The flagship camera, the $1,399 A77, might just be the first significant new camera in the HDSLR market in quite some time -- if it delivers on its numbers. First off, the 24MP camera goes from 1080p/24p all the way up to 1080p/60p (NTSC models; PAL cameras go up to 50p) and is based around the newer AVCHD 2.0 standard (which ranges from 17Mbps up to 28Mbps). The A65 and NEX7 use the same APS-C sized sensor and retain these same specs. Sony's bringing a number of intriguing new features to the table as well.

The A77 has a number of innovations that will be new to Canon/Nikon shooters: first off, it has a fixed, translucent mirror that enables an electronic viewfinder to be used while shooting video. This viewfinder is an OLED unit at 1024x768 resolution and is apparently incredibly sharp. The translucent mirror also allows phase-detection autofocus that should be several times faster than most other HDSLRs to date. The cam's also got a neat tilt-and-swivel LCD screen, that allows for self-, low-, and side-angle shooting. And there's a built-in GPS.

I know what you're looking for: a video review of the camera in German. Well, I have just the thing for you! It is subtitled in English, though, and in HD:

Is it just me or do many of those shots seem overexposed and washed-out?

The A77 shoots at an incredibly fast 12FPS, which you'll note is half that of 24p video -- it's hard to imagine what a 24MP sensor shooting at 24FPS (with a mechanical shutter) would look like. Here's a look at the A77 and its cheaper cousin, the A65, from Engadget:

So, how's the video look? Hard to tell at this point. Here are a couple of clips from Engadget showing off the autofocus speed, but they inexplicably used the lower-quality 1440x1080i 12Mbit MPEG-4 codec instead of the higher-resolution progressive AVCHD codec. Yes, that's aliasing in the first clip, but would it be there at 1080p? There's also plenty of jellocam:

The video doesn't look particularly cinematic, but... slap some prime lenses on the camera (though there are questions as to which lenses will adapt to the A77), use the better codec, and then let's talk.

Sony A65

The Sony A65 keeps most of the A77's features, dropping the fully-articulating LCD in favor of a more simple tilt-only screen. The A65's has 4 less AF points (15 instead of 19), no secondary text LCD, and no support for a vertical grip. However, it apparently supports all of the video features of the A77, and comes in at a $900 (body only) price. Will it be better for filmmakers than the Canon T3i? Again, it's going to depend on the video quality. We'll know more when it ships in October; actually, we'll probably know more much sooner, as more footage is sure to come out.

Sony NEX-7

As for the more compact NEX-7, it will apparently offer full manual control in video mode along with 24p video, for a $1,200 list price ($1,350 including kit lens). It's got the same 24MP sensor, OLED viewfinder, and 1080p/60p capabilities. Here are a couple of promo videos:

More on the VG20 in a post right after this. The A77 and A65 should be shipping in October and the NEX-7 in November. What do you think?

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10 Comments

Very very knowledgeable......

August 24, 2011

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Brij Pruthi

That's why it says "more on the VG20 in a post right after this."

August 24, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

there's a bunch of very detailed preview at dpreview:
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/sonyslta77/
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/sonyslta65/
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/sonynex5n/

* the NEX-5N also has 1080p60
* the PAL versions don't have 60p, 30p or 24p, just 50p and 25p
* the NTSC versions don't have 25p or 30p, but 24p at 24 Mbps should look great
* the tilt screen seems more limited than the one in the canons

BTW the EOSHD post on which lenses can work on an alpha mount is very useful (and, gladly, all my lenses except two are leica-R)

August 24, 2011

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most of those videos were surprisingly awful. The only one that somewhat impressed me was the new-7, but that's because i expect images like that from that small of a package, but from DSLR's and Camcorders? no; especially not from the same guys making the F3 and the fs100

August 24, 2011

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Agreed -- but I'm curious to see what would happen w/ some fast, quality primes, using the best codec, and exposed about 2 stops under from what we're seeing above...

August 24, 2011

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

dpreview has updated some info, in particular adding a 1080p60 sample from the A77 (direct download of the camera video file, I think) and a further explanation of what the swivel screen can do:
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/sonyslta77/page8.asp
not the best sample I could imagine, but quite useful
in particular, I don't see any aliasing/moire

August 25, 2011

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new sample video here:
http://www.vimeo.com/28193317
still no signs of moire/aliasing

August 27, 2011

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I noticed on the two Sony Alpha 77 sample videos that when certain trucks pass by, the back part of the truck had a slight slant to it. This indicates that the sensor is not capturing the images all at once, but scanning it from top down causing a distortion when objects move horizontally through the frame.

August 27, 2011

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yes, it's called rolling shutter

you'll find the same, to different degrees in almost any camera using a CMOS sensor (CCDs are usually global shutter, CMOS are usually rolling shutter, but you could also build, say, a CMOS sensor with global shutter; they're not made because that would create other problems)

that includes all DSLRs from canon, panasonic and nikon, plus some very high-end stuff, such as the RED; it's just a matter of gradation: the RED has a much faster sensor readout and you'll only notice there's a problem with very fast moving action

the next episode of the 2011 zacuto shootout will include a chapter on rolling shutter

August 27, 2011

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