~$1,400
Camera

Sony Alpha SLT-A77

Sony had a busy morning, introducing a slew of new and exciting cameras; the most important of the bunch is probably the Alpha SLT-A77 (~$1,400, aka α77), a mid-priced DSLR rival with a host of new technology inside. Several things set it apart from earlier rivals, starting with 24.3 megapixel resolution: SLT-A77 packs the latest version of Sony’s Translucent Mirror system, which enables accurate 19-point autofocusing, electronic viewfinder accuracy, and high-speed shooting. Twelve shots per second at 24 megapixels is nothing to sneeze at, and full HD AVCHD 2.0 video recording is included, as well.

One big change over past models is that there’s no optical viewfinder; instead, Sony put in a large, high-resolution OLED digital viewfinder that is impressing many early testers, alongside a nice 3” screen that can be used for full-time live view previewing if you want. Another key to SLT-A77’s appeal is the performance of its sensor, which despite its small size delivers comparable or better light sensitivity to lower-resolution DSLRs, plus a significant boost in captured detail. While current high-end DSLR users may not feel the need to upgrade to this new body, A77 comes closer than ever to matching the specs of more expensive Canon hardware, at a considerably lower asking price. It’s a really good option for first-timers who are ready to jump in, and will likely be regarded as the best DSLR Sony has yet released.

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