Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Ken McMahon, April 2012

Sony Alpha SLT-A77 vs Canon EOS 7D quality

Support me by
shopping below

To compare real-life performance, I shot this scene with the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 and the Canon EOS 7D within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on both cameras were set to an equivalent field of view and both were set to Aperture Priority exposure mode.

The ISO sensitivity was manually set to 100 ISO on each camera.


  Sony SLT-A77 results
1 Sony SLT-A77 Quality
2 Sony SLT-A77 RAW vs JPEG
3 Sony SLT-A77 Noise
4 Sony SLT-A77 Handheld Twilight
5 Sony SLT-A77 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 with the 16-50mm F2.8 kit lens. The lens was set to its maximum wide angle position at 16mm to provide an equivalent field of view to the 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens on the Canon EOS 7D. With an Aperture of f5.6 the camera metered an exposure of 1/1600 at 100 ISO. The original Extra fine JPEG image size was 16.78MB. The crops are taken from the areas marked with red rectangles and presented here at 100%.

For this tripod-mounted test stabilisation was disabled. Contrast enhancement on both cameras was left on the default settings - auto DRO on the SLT-A77 and Standard Auto Lighting Optimizer on the EOS 7D. The SLT-A77's lens correction was also left on the default - shading and chromatic aberration set to auto and distortion correction off. The EOS 7D metred a slightly longer exposure for this scene so I set exposure compensation of -1EV to produce the same exposure as on the SLT-A77.

Overall, the SLT-A77's 24.3 Megapixel sensor delivers contrasty, well saturated results at the best quality JPEG setting, though the white balance has the typical Sony blue bias. The level of detail is excellent and edge sharpness good, though the processing is a little softer than on some consumer DSLRs.

Looking at the crops individually, The top one shows good detail in the chapel but it lacks the hard edges and contrast of the NEX-7 for example. This softer approach to processing is also evident in the lighthouse crop. The lens is resolving a high level of detail and the sensor is recording it, but the SLT-77's slightly less aggressive approach to processing provides a very natural looking result. The edge of the window frames in this crop are a little soft, but I'd be surpised if there wasn't scope to produce a crisper result from the RAW files, or by adjusting the in-camera sharpness and contrast, if that's what you prefer.

The third crop shows what the SAL 1650 SSM zoom can do in conjunction with the A-77's lens correction firmware. There's just the tiniest hint of a fringe down the edge of the drainpipe, but nothing you'd notice unless you were examining the image closely at 100 percent view. The edge detail is amost as well resolved here as in the centre of the image.

Which brings us to the final crop. Here again, the fine detail and edges are clearly picked out, but are not as punchy as they might be with more aggressive processing. But the detail is there with clear separation between the balcony rails and the scaffolding poles cleanly defined.

The Canon EOS 7D's 18 Megapixel sensor produces smaller images than the SLT-A77 hence the larger crop area. Let's first talk about the comparitive performance of the two lenses. The EF-S 15-85 IS USM is effectively the new kit lens for the 7D which is bundled with either this or the EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS. In my tests on the 7D with this lens, the biggest quality determinant was the edge-to edge performance with some quite noticeable softness and chromatic aberration at the edges of the frame. This is most clearly visible in crops one and three.

Comparing crops two and five with those from the Sony SLT-A77, aside from the white balance, the most obvious difference is the 7D's more agressive processing which produces more crisply defined edge detail and a punchier overall result. This is most apparent in the final crop from the centre of the frame. If you compare the window frames, balcony dividers and scaffold poles it's clear that the 7D is producing a crisper, punchier result with cleaner edges. As I said earlier though, this looks to be mainly down to different processing approaches and you could tweak the SLT-A77 results either in-camera or via the RAW file to achieve something similar. Check out the A77 RAW vs JPEG results on the next page or see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in the A77 Noise results.


Sony SLT-A77 with SAL-1650 SSM
Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 15-85 IS USM
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

Sony Alpha SLT-A77 results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise
/ Handheld Twilight

If you found this review useful, please support me by shopping below!
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ Best Cameras / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs