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Sony SLT-A77

We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

The Sony SLT-A77 DSLR by Sony features 24.7-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor, and a 3-inch LCD monitor. The SLT-A77 offers a sensitivity range of ISO 100 – 16,000, with the lower end of the range capable of being extended to ISO 50. The SteadyShot sensor-shift image stabilization system allows for 2.5 – 4.5 stop correction, and acts as a utility for any mounted lens of any focal length. Full HD 1080p video capture is available on this device. Additionally included are hi-speed USB 2.0, a NP-FM500H rechargeable lithium-ion battery, good for approximately 470 shots per charge, and a SD card slot.

Features List:

– 24.7-megapixel CMOS image sensor

– 921,600-dot resolution, 3-inch LCD screen

– 1080p HD video capture enabled

– USB 2.0

– Rechargeable lithium-ion battery

– 10 creative exposure modes

– SD card slot

Digital Trends’ Camera Buying Tips:

What are some basics I should look for?

Your new digital camera should have these key features:

  • At least a 6MP imaging device for a D-SLR
  • At least a 7MP imager for a point-and-shoot
  • Optical zoom of 3x, not just a digital zoom
  • The highest quality optics
  • A large LCD screen; the more pixels, the better the quality
  • The widest range for aperture (f/stops), shutter speed and ISO
  • An AF Illuminator or AF Assist mode for best flash shots in dim light
  • A variety of Scene Modes for more convenient shooting in a variety of situations
  • Make sure you do your own ergonomic hands-on test

Memory card buying tips

Name Brand: Buying a name brand memory card can sometimes cost an extra few dollars, but along with the name comes a trustworthy company, a good warranty, a generous exchange policy and a reputation for stability – something that’s much more critical than it sounds.

Speed: Not all Flash Memory cards are created equal. Some are terribly slow and others are turbo charged for high-end digital photography. True high-speed Flash Memory cards will have their speed ratings prominently displayed, whether on the card itself, the product packaging or both. You’ll see ratings like 80X, 133X, 266X, or perhaps 8MB/second, 20MB/second or 40MB/second. If you don’t see this number, inquire with a sales rep. If they don’t know or if the manufacturer hides this info, don’t buy the card. Look for a card that has at least a 9MB/second or 60X rating. Why is this speed important? If you’re taking numerous photos in succession, you don’t want the camera to stop taking photos so it can slooowwly save the images to the memory card.

Storage capacity: There are many factors that affect how many photos you can store on a single card – how many “megapixels” the camera is rated for, whether you’ve selected highest-quality photo settings or if you’ve set your camera to take slightly smaller photos. For example, an 8 megapixel Canon point-and-shoot camera can fit around 2,200 high-quality photos on an 8GB Secure Digital card. By this standard, even a 1GB memory card could hold up to 275 high quality photos. A whopping 16GB card could hold nearly 4,400 pics! That’s a lot!

What’s the difference between optical and digital zoom?

Like megapixels, manufacturers frequently throw around big numbers relating to digital zoom. Like megapixels, you should ignore them. Optical zoom uses real optics to get you closer to your subject, while digital zoom merely takes the same amount of pixels you would have in a standard shot and blows them up to fill the frame. The camera captures no more detail. It’s the same zooming or cropping trick you could pull in Photoshop, done in the camera on the fly. While that can sometimes be handy, image quality suffers severely as a result, and most photographers would never use digital zoom.

Key differences between SLR and Point-n-shoot

Price: According to industry analysts, the vast majority of cameras sold go for less than $200. Making the leap to a DSLR will definitely set you back, but many shoppers obviously believe that the investment is well worth it.

Speed: Speed is the one of the most critical factors. If you’ve ever used a compact digicam, you know that these devices take time to focus and save images to memory cards. During these delays, you can easily miss a smiling face or a running child. To put things in perspective: Point-and-shoot digital cameras generally capture 1 frame per second, while most DSLRs take 3 frames per second or more, making them better suited for fast action shots or sporting events. The difference between snagging the perfect picture and missing it entirely is one of the biggest factors weighing heavily in DSLR cameras’ favor.

Image quality: Compact cameras use much smaller imaging devices. By cramming so many megapixels on a small chip, digital noise is a constant problem. In our reviews, we always recommend keeping the ISO (sensitivity) of a digicam at 400 or less. DSLRs have much larger APS-C sized imagers, meaning you’ll encounter less noise in low light situations and better picture quality overall. Using one, you can shoot in more dimly lit conditions without a flash with little image degradation. In addition, if huge prints are in your future-or extensive cropping-DSLRs should be in your sights.

What are my options?

There are two basic types of digital cameras-point-and-shoot and D-SLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex). Point and shoot digicams-or as we like to call them “aim and forget”-make up the vast majority of models sold (over 90 percent). The reason is simple: in a single gadget you have everything you need to take good photos. Just aim, zoom in on your subject, press the shutter and the camera does all the work. More sophisticated D-SLRs have interchangeable lenses that let you unleash your inner Annie Leibovitz-they offer higher quality, faster response time and more flexibility. They also are a lot heavier and cost much more. Your decision between the two is purely personal and totally dependent on your level of commitment to photography. No matter which way you go there are basics that hold true for all cameras. Learning them will help you make the right decision.

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