Sony’s a77 II Has Arrived, and It’s Packing an AF Sensor Worth Drooling Over

a77 II_TMT_01-1200

Since the last A-Mount Sony came out with, we’ve seen the a7, the a7R, the a7S, the a3000, the a5000, the a6000 and the a3500. But don’t let the names fool you, not a single one of those was actually an A-Mount. This has led many to wonder if Sony had given up on the A-Mount.

Well, today those people have their answer in the form of the a77 II — in other words, a resounding “No.”

Three years after releasing the first a77, Sony has come back to the APS-C SLT market with a vengeance in the form of a new processor and impressive autofocus. How impressive? Well, it’s not often a company deigns to include a picture of their AF sensor in the press materials, but here you go:

a77 Mk II_AF_sensor-1200

Just in case you can’t tell anything about the performance from the picture, though, let us fill you in. This baby boasts 79 AF points, 15 of which are cross-type. That, paired with the translucent mirror technology built into Sony’s SLTs, means 12fps for up to 60 high res JPEGs with continuous autofocus.

But it’s not just fast, it’s capable too. It can spot your subject at -2 EV, features a new “Expanded Flexible Spot” system that will activate 8 spots around your chosen focus point if that point loses track of the subject, the ability to dial in the subject tracking duration depending on how fast whatever you’re tracking is moving and more you can read about in the press release. The photo above takes on a whole new meaning…

That AF sensor is joined by a 24.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor (that tops out at ISO 25,600), the powerful Bionz X processor, a 2.35M-dot OLED ‘Tru-Finder’ EVF, 3-inch tiltable LCD (that is, of course, selfie compatible), Full HD 60p video capability, and built-in WiFi and NFC.

Here’s a closer look at the camera:

a77 II_front-1200

a77 II_rear_close-1200

a77 II_rear-1200

a77 II_SAL1650_tilt_lcd_1-1200

a77 II_SAL1650_tilt_lcd_3-1200

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a77 II_wSAL1650_SS-1200

The AF sensor is the real headliner here. The rest of the features, like the higher sensitivity sensor and the viewfinder and the wireless, are all to be expected in an update three years in the making. The AF sensor is something special.

And that special-ness can be yours starting in June for $1,200 if you just want the camera body, or $1,800 if you want that body in a kit with the very respectable 16-50mm f/2.8.

For more details, head over to the Sony Press Room by clicking here.

  • E-Nonymouse A

    I’m really not keen on crop sensor cameras these days after experiencing what full frame has to offer but this camera is very impressive, all the way down to the kit lense. I don’t think ive even heard of a 16-50 2.8 before, let alone seen it included as a kit item. Bravo sony!
    I can think of a few relatives who have taken interest in photography after I started getting serious about it, who could benefit from using this.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Times like these, I have to ask myself the advantages of sticking to a Canon or Nikon system.

  • Cinekpol

    Stable system with certain future. Sony is juggling with it’s cameras like there’s no tomorrow and you never can be sure what will come next or if it’ll come at all.

  • TrevT

    I bought a sony A55 when it came out. It was my first dSLR so I can’t compare it to the other manufacturers. All I can say is they’re very capable and create very impressive photos. When you wow a couple of your photography teachers with your photos and you get them asking you what type of a system you use, that’s saying something (though of course it’s the person behind the paintbrush that makes the art).

  • arachnophilia

    15 cross types? how are they distributed?

  • Matt Biermann

    Except this is what the “industry” has been saying about Sony A mount since they bought Konica-Minolta camera tech in early 2006. In the last eight years, they’ve released three different FF bodies, twenty different consumer bodies, and four prosumer crop bodies, along with introducing a mirrorless system, and basically taking over the OEM sensor market and supplying tech for everyone but Canon.

    But they’re not serious about cameras.

  • Cinekpol

    I never said they’re not serious. I just pointed out obvious truth. If I’m wrong, please, show me the successor of A450, or A290, or A65, or A850… I hope you get the picture. Sony is totally unpredictable, and it’s not just bodies, it’s the same with lenses (35mm f/1.4 begs for update pretty much since day 1), accessories (macro flash for a new hotshoe), and well… their generic lack of clue on what’s going on the market (eg. lack of Live View in A900 or fail to deliver video in DSLR till everyone else had it). Sony is great with gadgets (NEX) but if you consider camera to be an investment – go with Canikon instead. Especially now when Sony does very little to reassure people about long-term perspectives for any of their camera families with exception of full frame E-mount (their newest baby), though even that is doubtful when rumors run around talking about Sony working on a new medium format system.

  • David Vaughn

    I think he’s mostly referring to Sony seemingly moving away from DSLRs and focusing more on mirrorless and compact cameras. From what I understand, Sony hasn’t had just a REALLY strong DSLR contender since last summer. And then it was a year before that when another DSLR was announced. (I could be wrong…). They’re serious about cameras, but…

    Consumers are not sure which direction Sony is going to really stick to, so they’re wary of investing in them right now.

  • Marcus Okun

    If canon released this badged as the 7d mark 2, we’d be celebrating its virtues from the rooftops. This is the competition canikon will have to beat with their next pro crop bodies if they want to survive the next few years.

  • Keith R

    Pentax has a weather-sealed, DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 lens. (Though it’s not a kit lens.)

  • Keith R

    If you read the press release, it states, “…15 cross points within the central area of the sensor.”

    So my guess it’s all cluttered onto the centre of the viewfinder. An array of 5 by 3 perhaps?

  • Tim

    I’m not convinced continuity of product-lines is a particularly good thing, except perhaps in cases of actual hardware compatibility (ie lens-mounts). Either you’re in the market for a camera, in which case you choose a distance-metric to find the closest available for your requirements, or you should be out using what you’ve got… ;]

  • Cinekpol

    It is a good thing, otherwise you loose whole groups of customers (eg. A850 – first sub-2000$ Full Frame gained quite a bit of popularity among A-mount users yet Sony did nothing to continue it, be it SLT or DSLR version – so everyone that used it and wanted to upgrade went for Nikon D600/Canon 6D when these got released cause it came out switching systems is cheaper than upgrading to A99, with the fact that this camera was little more than FF A77 discouraging people even further).

  • Tim

    You lose whole groups of customers on a per-product basis, the same as you gain them by producing an applicable product. Continuity is, at best, of interest to investors in a company – people who are interested in seeing whether Canikon have various price-points and target markets covered. These do not necessarily correspond to centres of profitability – if your criteria are “sub-$2000 full-frame” then there’s the A7, it’s just that to get it, you have to enjoy being mirrorless into the bargain.

    Consumers have images to be making, bringing requirements for the hardware. You buy to satisfy those requirements, not because you liked something the same company produced for your category of consumer last time around: the number of roman numerals in the badge on the front is not a high priority compared to sensor parameters and ergonomic suitability.

  • Omar Salgado

    Not everything is AF points to the max nor excess of FPS.

    I have to wait for a thorough review, but I bet Pentax is still the best in APS-C, underrated though.

  • gnbs

    Where is the GPS? And that awesome AF illuminator? I had this thing in my a700 and I just loved locking focus on blank walls, lol

  • Dover

    Canon and Nikon will survive for almost the same reason the iPhone is so successful: people buy them like crazy. Even if they are not, in some peoples opinions, the best. This Sony will not bring on the downfall of either of those companies.

  • 1LifeSoLiveIt

    Well, Pentax is now using Sony sensors on their APS-C cameras and 645 medium format camera too. The problem with pentax is the availability of lenses and 3rd party offerings that fit Pentax mount.

  • 1LifeSoLiveIt

    The new AF system seem to be powerful enough without the AF illuminator… maybe.. we’ll see

  • 1LifeSoLiveIt

    I am using Sony DSLR’s since 2007. It’s been 7 years now and I upgraded 5 models since than, all A-mount. The rumor is true that Sony is now investing more on E-Mount cameras but looking at Canon development on 50D-7D-60D-70D and their sensor performance on these cameras, nothing seems to be changing. Same dynamic range and low light performance in all 4 cameras. Nikon, on the other hand, is now using Sony sensors from APS-C to FF models. I don’t think that Sony will stop producing A-mount cameras while producing sensors and holding a very large portion of OEM sensor market share. Mirrorless systems are going to develop more and I think they will surpass DSLR’s in near future in means of technical capabilities and FF on DSLR chassis will slowly diminish and MF cameras will be the new industry standard for professional photographers.

  • Albin Roussel

    yea the original A77 has a 16-50 2.8 kit lens as well.
    I own the A77, I like it a lot.