The Sony SLT-A77: The Unofficial Quintessential Guide – #photography #bookreview

The Sony SLT-A77: The Unofficial Quintessential Guide
Carol F. Roullard and Brian Matsumoto
(Rocky Nook,

The Sony SLT-A77 “single lens translucent” digital camera is a remarkably feature-rich device for shooting still photographs and HD video.

Unlike a digital SLR camera, which must move its mirror out of the light path to its sensor, the A77’s “translucent mirror technology” effectively splits the incoming beam, sending part of it up to the viewfinder and allowing the rest of the light to pass through the mirror to the sensor.

The A77’s many capabilities make it a complicated camera to master without help from a good manual. This 255-page “unofficial” guidebook was written by photography experts who use A77s. They clearly love the camera, yet they are not hesitant to point out A77’s occasional shortcomings and drawbacks, as well.

The new Sony camera has a 24.3 megapixel sensor, and its translucent, fixed mirror provides at least three key capabilities. The camera can fire multiple fast shots (up to 12 frames per second) with a single button push. There is almost no vibration when the shutter button is pressed. And the camera’s automatic focus responds much quicker than older methods while shooting video.

“The Sony A77 works effectively for all users, regardless of their level of expertise,” the authors state. “It can be used with automatic setting, so beginners can take pictures by pointing and shooting. As you become more proficient, you can alter the A77’s exposure and focus settings. Eventually, you can take full control by setting the camera to manual and disregarding its recommendations.”

The book is organized with chapters for beginning, intermediate, and expert photographers.

  • Chapter 1: Getting Started
  • Chapter 2: Photography Basics and the A77’s External Buttons
  • Chapter 3: Managing Your Images
  • Chapter 4: Automatic Settings
  • Chapter 5: Customizing the Camera
  • Chapter 6: Taking Control of the Camera
  • Chapter 7: Manual Operation of the Camera
  • Chapter 8: Additional Features
  • Chapter 9: Using Accessories
  • Chapter 10: Flash Photography
  • Chapter 11: Recording Movies
  • Appendix A: Menu Commands
  • Appendix B: Common Error/Warning Messages and Resolutions

If your interests include specialized photography, the authors note that the A77 can be mounted to many types of telescopes, and it works very well with certain small telescopes “that can double for terrestrial field work.”

The A77 also offers several advantages for those who currently use single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras with microscopes. “Its live preview solves the problem of accurate focusing, giving you a bright image that can be magnified,” the two authors point out. “Because it previews the image, errors in color balance can be corrected.” Also: “Perhaps the A77’s most important feature for the microscopist is the absence of camera vibration during image capture. A fixed mirror eliminates mirror slap, and the electronic first curtain shutter is vibration free.”

One of the “additional features” described in Chapter 8 is a built-in GPS receiver. “The A77 can be set up to capture GPS information and store it with still pictures recorded at the site,” the two authors note. “The camera’s software goes further by also correcting date and time information that may have changed due to entering a different time zone. So, when you return from trips where you see a new location every day, you don’t have to try to reconstruct which pictures came from where. The saved GPS information does that for you when you view your images through Sony’s PMB software.”

The Sony SLT-A77: The Unofficial Quintessential Guide includes numerous photographs, viewfinder shots, control close-ups, menu screens, menu steps, and other illustrations.

“The Sony A77 camera is complex and can be daunting with its scores of menu commands, functions, and options,” the two writers concede.

But their new guidebook can help you master the Sony SLT-A77, one feature, one choice, and one click at a time.

Si Dunn

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