Sony A77 / A800: what you need to know

Sony A700 replacement
The Sony A700 replacement in a skeletal casing, as seen at CES in January.

This article is continually updated with news and information regarding the Sony A77 / A800.

UPDATE - 23 August 2011: Sony a77 announced- read full details, specs, pricing and release date information.

The Sony A77 was one of the worst-kept secrets until a release date was finally confirmed in March.

We can now expect a Sony A700 replacement by mid-summer, Sony says, and company officials have been divulging the Sony A77 specs at trade shows for some time now. So while we all wait for the official release date, we have created this one-stop shop for everything you want to know about the Sony A77, with spec wishlists from our head of testing, all the latest news and more.

Sony A77 release date

UPDATE: On the 14 February 2011, Sony announced a 'mid-year' release date for the new camera as well as released an image showing a prototype of it's long-rumoured Alpha 700 replacement in a translucent skeleton casing.

Thought to be called the Sony A77 to fall in line with last year's Sony A33 and A55 releases, the Alpha 700 replacement will feature translucent mirror technology, Sony said.

Other Sony A800 / A77 specs include Full HD video recording and Sony's newly developed Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor. The Sony Alpha 77 / Alpha 800 body will also feature a new battery grip and new flash, Sony said.

The company did not confirm a Sony A77 price upon its release, nor did it reveal other specs such as how many megapixels the Sony A77 release will offer. It is thought, however, that the Alpha 700 replacement will feature an 18-megapixel sensor. A Sony spokesperson told us that recent reports that the Sony Alpha 77 release would boast a 25-megapixel sensor are untrue.

The full Sony announcement, according to Google Translate, reads: "Adopted a semi-transparent mirror 'Translucent Mirror Technology' and the newly developed "Exmor" APS HD CMOS sensors will be installed in series A mid-mount machine concept model (skeleton model) on display.

The intermediate unit, will be available later this year and 2011, it works fast and accurate auto focus at all times, full HD video and still there was always the focus (AVCHD) delivers picture. The standard zoom lens suitable for intermediate unit, the flash will exhibit together with vertical grip."

UPDATE: On 7 April 2011, Sony Alpha Rumors said its sources claim the earthquake and tsunami in Japan will not delay the Sony announcement of a Sony A77 release date, which it expects in July of this year.

UPDATE: On 12 August 2011, Sony Alpha Rumors has posted a video which apparently shows the a77.

The video, which comes from a brand new account on YouTube is labelled simply as 'sony alpha A77 ?' and apparently shows the new advertising campaign for the upcoming camera.

In the advert, the camera is shown resting on the sand at a beach and being dusted off before use by a photographer, suggesting that the camera will be at the very least dustproof, if not waterproof also.

If the advert turns out to be genuine, we could see an announcement and release date very soon.

Sony A77 specs

Sony a77 a800 release date and specs

[Originally posted 13 January 2011]

Sony has revealed a a replacement to the high-end Alpha 700 DSLR, which it will release this year, according to a press report.

A spokesperson for Sony tells us the company has shown a prototype for what could be the Sony A800 at CES 2011 in Las Vegas, but adds that this is the same Sony Alpha 77 prototype shown at Photokina last autumn despite other press reports claiming it is a new mock-up and not the final design.

The spokesperson also tells us that a Sony A77 release will use the translucent mirror technology introduced with last year's Sony Alpha 33 and Sony A55 cameras. The Sony Alpha 800 will also feature "an APS-C sensor, Exmor CMOS, HD video with AVCHD format, and be targeting the EOS 60D market segment," the spokesperson said.

He added that reports that the Sony A700 replacement could boast 25 megapixels as well as high ISO settings in the hundreds of thousands, are untrue.

The Sony spokesperson could not confirm a Sony A77 release date, but indications are that a Sony Alpha 700 replacement will come this year.

Sony a77 a800 specs - translucent mirror technology

UPDATE - February 2011: the Sony A77 specs got a little clearer after Sony officials revealed at an event in Spain that all future Sony Alpha cameras will feature the company's translucent mirror technology, introduced last year with the Sony A55 and A33 cameras.

UPDATE - March 2011: PhotoRadar's head of testing, Angela Nicholson, shares which 10 specs she would like to see on a Sony A77 release:

- Translucent mirror technology to allow faster phase detection AF when using live view to compose images
- Electronic viewfinder
- At least an 18 megapixel APS-C Exmore sensor (some reports have claimed 25 megapixels)
- 3in LCD screen with at least 920,000 dots, possibly more to beat the 1,040,000 dots of the EOS 60D
- Articulated screen, the Alpha 55's articulated joint movement is a little restricted, Sony may resolve this with the A77
- Full HD video with AVCHD format - a dead cert.
- Sensitivity expandable to at least ISO 25,600, but probably higher
- Sweep Panorama with 3D
- A digital level is a feature of all recent DSLRs and there's bound to be one in the A77
- Built-in GPS to geotag images in-camera, in place of the Sony GPS-CS1 external unit

Keep in mind, as well, that a spokesperson from Sony has already told us: "The [Sony A700 replacement] mock-up shown at CES was the same one used for Photkina, which I stated at the time was not a final design. It will be Translucent Mirror, APS-C, Exmor CMOS, HD video with AVCHD format, and be targeting the Canon EOS 60D market segment."

UPDATE – 4 March 2011: Sony Alpha Rumors has posted a French photographer's analysis of the layout of the Sony A77 body. Is he correct?

Sony A77 rumours

Sony Alpha users have been eagerly awaiting a replacement for the Sony A700 for at least a year. Announced in 2007, the A700 was - and still is - Sony's most convincing prosumer APS-C DSLR, and the closest thing to the fondly remembered Konica-Minolta semi-pro film SLRs of yesteryear.

Three years on and the Sony faithful are feeling neglected. Three years, and two full-frame DSLRs (the Sony A900 and its near-clone, the Sony A850) plus a flurry of somewhat uninspiring entry-level and midrange Alpha-series models later, and the A700 is looking decidedly isolated. So will they or won't they?

All indications now are that Sony will replace the Alpha 700. Prototypes were on display at Photokina last autumn and CES in January. And just recently a Sony spokesperson confirmed to PhotoRadar that there will be a replacement to the Sony A700, and the Sony Alpha 800 (of possibly the Sony A77) will use the translucent mirror technology like that introduced with the Sony Alpha 33 and Sony A55 (read our Sony A55 review) cameras last year.

We expect some more leaks, and then an announcement in the early part of this year. But don't hold your breath.

2011 Sony A77 release date probability: 90% - but Sony might still surprise us.

UPDATE – 6 May 2011: Photo Rumors has spotted the Sony A77 listed in Sony's latest consumer repair guide. While we've already known that a Sony A700 replacement is due for release this summer (see the post at the top of this page), what's significant about this is that until now there was still speculation as to whether the Sony A700 replacement would be called the Sony A800 or the Sony A77. This would appear to confirm we will see a Sony A77 release date before too long.