The Sony Alpha SLT A77 II is semi-pro camera with fast continuous autofocus and shooting. Announced in May 2014, it comes almost three years after its predecessor, and indeed some time since the last SLT model. With all the focus on the mirrorless models, particularly the full-frame A7 series, you could be forgiven for assuming Sony had abandoned its innovative SLT line which employ a fixed semi-transparent mirror to allow full-time phase-detect AF for stills and video, but now we have a new flagship model with the A77 II.
The Alpha A77 II shares a great deal with its predecessor, from the weather-proof body and controls to the 2.4 Million dot OLED viewfinder, hinged screen, 24 Megapixel resolution and 12 fps continuous shooting. The major new feature is the phase-detect AF system, sporting 79 points / 15 cross type sensors compared to 19 points / 11 cross types on the previous model. 79 points is the most around, at least for a traditional AF sensor, and while top-end pro bodies may enjoy more cross type sensors, the A77 II’s specification is still beyond that of other models in its class.
The actual APS-C imaging sensor may share the same 24 Megapixel resolution as before, but it’s a new design, and the screen panel also enjoys the benefit of additional white pixels for a more vibrant image. Meanwhile the built-in GPS may have gone, but in its place is Wifi with NFC, and I hope the Play Memories app can now exploit a GPS log from your smartphone.
It all adds up to what should be the toughest and fastest APS-C camera to date, and arguably delivers the upgrade which owners of the Canon EOS 7D or Nikon D300s have been looking for. Yes, I know it doesn’t have an optical DSLR viewfinder, but there are benefits to electronic composition, plus Sony’s SLT design allows its powerful phase detect AF module to be used while capturing stills (not just inbetween frames) and also for video. The SLT A77 II costs $1199 USD body alone and is expected in June 2014. I’d love to hear what you think!