Sony Alpha SLT A65 vs. A77 - a comparison

There has been a lot of talk about the new Sony flagship SLT camera, the Alpha SLT-A77. It takes so much spotlight, one could easily forget it also has a more budget friendly sibling: the A65. Considerably less expensive, the A65 has the same image quality and the same incredible XGA OLED viewfinder. I plan on getting the A77, but couldn't dismiss the A65 so easily. So I made a table with all the small and big differences between the two. While the A77 holds a clear advantage, is that advantage worth the substantial premium?

Images © DPReview.com

SLT-A65SLT-A77
Sony SLT-A65 and SLT-A77 compared - front view

Sony SLT-A65 and SLT-A77 compared - rear view

Sony SLT-A65 and SLT-A77 compared - top view

Price (body only)$900
€875
$1400
€1300
User manualSony SLT-A65 user manualSony SLT-A77 user manual
Dimensions132 x 97 x 81 mm143 x 104 x 81 mm
Weight (with battery)622g732g
Body materialPlasticMagnesium alloy
weather sealed
File formatsRAW
RAW+JPG
JPG - standard
JPG - fine
RAW
RAW+JPG
JPG - standard
JPG - fine
JPG - extra fine
Creative styles613
Pop-up flash
guide number
10m @ 18mm12m @ 16mm
AF assistPopup flashDedicated beam
ISO rangeManual: 100-16000
Auto: 100-1600
Manual: 50-16000
Auto: fully selectable range
Exposure compensation+/- 3 EV
1/3 EV steps
+/- 5 EV
1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
Flash exposure
compensation
+/- 2 EV
1/3 EV steps
+/- 3 EV
1/3 or 1/2 EV steps
AE Bracketing3 frames
1/3 or 2/3 EV steps
3 or 5 frames
1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 2.0 or 3.0 EV steps
ShutterBulb
30s - 1/4000s
X-sync 1/160s
Bulb
30s - 1/8000s
X-sync 1/250s
High speed mode10 frames/s12 frames/s
Main LCDTilt / swivel
2 hinges
Pull-out / tilt / swivel
3 hinges
AF unit11 focus points total
of which 3 cross type
19 focus points total
of which 11 cross type
3 focus point groups
Memory slots for settings (MR)-3
Freely assignable buttons2
(AEL, ISO)
3
(AEL, ISO, AF/MF)
Optional vertical gripNoYes
AF micro adjustNoYes
Main controllerDirectional padJoystick
AF mode selectorSwitch
AF, MF
Dial
MF, AF-C, AF-A, AF-S
AF/MF thumb buttonNoYes
Direct Manual Focus
(DMF) option
NoYes
Release priority optionNoYes
AF speed optionNoYes
AF point selectionRequires extra keypress,
dismissing other direct buttons
Direct
Top LCDNoYes
Control dials12
PC sync socketNoYes
Neck strap connectorsLugsTriangles

I will highlight the most important differences, in favour of the A77:

  • weather sealed magnesium body
  • extra hinge on the LCD
  • 3 MR memory slots
  • larger number of (cross) AF points
  • ability to take a vertical grip
  • AF/MF thumb button
  • AF micro adjust option

These differences are, in my opinion, worth the substantial premium. Furthermore:

  • ISO 50 option
  • fully adjustable auto-ISO range
  • freely assignable buttons
  • faster shutter
  • dedicated AF beam

...are all nice bonuses

UPDATE (May, 2015): In the end, I didn't actually pull the trigger at all. I waited out on the next iteration of a high spec A-mount APS-C camera. In 2014, the A77II was introduced. The A77II has several upgrades over the A77, most notably an updated image sensor, a much more elaborate autofocus system with 79 widespread phase detect focus points and tracking, and a larger memory buffer for continuous shooting. Other changes include a sharper rear LCD, Wifi, NFC and 3 physical positions on the dial for custom settings. All this was enough for me to go out and buy the A77II.

I usually go by DPreview.com for buying advice, but DPreview didn't review the A77II. It took them about a year to post the half-arsed (but deadly honest) review. But instead of comparing it to its peers, they classified it as a professional camera, and in that regard it scored pretty average. And it gets even worse: it scored lower than its 3 year old predecessor. DPreview has now lost its last shred of credibility, and I've stopped visiting their website. They used to be an authority on camera reviews, but they've sunken below sea level.

Comments

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