Sony Alpha A77 Digital Camera Review$1,999.99
Ease of Use
- Automatic Features
- Buttons & Dials
- Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
- Instruction Manual
The A77 is not designed for beginners, but any good camera should have a decent auto mode as well. The A77 has two: regular Auto mode, which leaves all of the metering and exposure settings up to the camera but sticks with single-shot exposures, and Auto+, which leaves all of the metering and exposure settings up to the camera but is more likely to use a multi-shot composite mode for dynamic range or noise correction.
Buttons & Dials
The button layout is great. At a glance, it looks a bit haphazard: no neat columns of keys like most DSLRs have. But all the keys, dials, and joysticks fall under the fingers comfortably.
A total of 12 shooting modes earn a slot on the mode dial: Both auto modes, the PASM modes, the scene preset index, a memory recall index, and specialized shooting modes including manual video recording, 12fps burst, 3D capture, and sweep panorama modes all make an appearance. It's a tried and true way to get what you need quickly and easily.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
Though the A77 is a serious camera for enthusiasts, it still includes a number of scene presets, effects, and special shooting modes.
Shooting with the A77 is a pleasure in large part because of its menu system. With so many hotkeys, we didn't have to spend too much time in the menu system. When we did, it was fine. The Fn menu is a bit cluttered, but all of the most useful settings are on that control panel. The deep menu system is legible and logical. The rear control dial scrolls through pages, while the joystick controls vertical scrolling and changing settings.
Aside from the helpful in-camera guide, the A77 has an in-depth manual. We didn't receive a retail version of the camera, but we believe that it comes with a paper copy of the guide. It's also available for download from Sony's website.