Sony Alpha A77 Digital Camera Review$1,999.99
Overall, the A77's sharpness results were quite good. We measured an average of about 1580 MTF50s across all focal lengths, apertures, and areas of the frame. At 24.3 megapixels, the sensor can resolve a heck of a lot of detail, though the 16-50mm f/2.8 kit lens obviously has a big part in the overall score.
With that in mind, we noted wide variations in sharpness, which dragged down the final score. At the widest, brightest setting, (16mm f/2.8) we measured both the sharpest and softest results in our resolution test. It produced over 2300 MTF50s at the center of the frame, which is fantastic, but as little as 560 MTF50s midway between the edge and the center. That's an incredible variation (we reproduced it in other shots, too).
As the aperture stopped down and focal length increased, we saw much more consistent results across the frame, with edge results in the same ballpark as the center, and midway sharpness still lagging, but not as notably. The most reliably sharp details come in the middle of the aperture range at any focal length, weighing in at about 1800-1900 MTF50s. The smallest aperture (f/22) is never particularly sharp.
A bit of in-camera edge enhancement is at work—the borders are slightly darker than the rest of the black wedges in our crops below, with a slight halo effect. We left in-camera sharpening and contrast at the default settings, but they can be turned down for a softer, more natural look, or ramped up for a punchier, more contrasty look. (Most of the fuzziness in our crops below is due to chromatic aberration rather than poor sharpness—a problem that the camera can correct with one setting.) More on how we test sharpness.
The in-body SteadyShot stabilization is very effective. We measured a 58 percent improvement in sharpness when stabilization was activated compared to no stabilization (tested in continuous shooting mode at the telephoto setting). This should keep handheld shots crisp at shutter speeds a bit lower than 1/30, which allows for lower ISOs in dark settings and overall crisper, cleaner shots.