Today saw the launch of’s latest and much-leaked range of stills/video cameras. In particular, people anticipated the would be ’s response to Canon’s popular prosumer cameras like the 60D and . It has much newer video technology than the competition with full manual control of aperture and shutter speed in video mode, a 2.4M dot OLED viewfinder, an articulating rear screen, 1080/60P and 24P AVCHD in NTSC countries (1080/50P and 25P in PAL land), peaking in manual focus and fast autofocus in video mode thanks to translucent mirror technology. But it falls down in one of the most important areas for news shooters – audio.
For many DSLR news shooters, torn between working with cameras like theand large sensor camcorders like the and Sony FS-100, audio has become a serious issue. Whilst there are many workarounds such as sync sound or audio XLR adapters for DSLRs, many want a simpler life and opt for a camcorder instead. The offered Sony the chance to address this by adding in greater manual audio control and on-screen levels. Instead, it seems they decided to cripple the audio functions and set in-camera audio to full auto only (this is still to be confirmed 100% and early reports may be incorrect).
That means that the A77 is basically unsuitable for anything other than sync sound set-ups in terms of real world shooting – just like the Canon.
DPreview has a full rundown of the camera here and notes that the A77 only does AF in Program mode and not manual exposure, due to the need for the camera to control aperture. They also note that there is a sensor crop when entering movie mode that is greater than just a regular 16×9 crop of the S35 sensor.
All this doesn’t mean the camera is useless, but personally I would only use it as a B-camera in a multi-cam shoot, or for slow motion work. For Sony camcorder users it may be the ideal compliment to aor F3 setup though and potentially share some of the lenses.