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  • Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    Sony SLT-A77 and Nikon D3X Side-by-Side

    Sony A77 and Nikon D3X

    You might be wondering why we would want to compare the Sony A77 and Nikon D3X in terms of ISO performance. A better match might be to compare the Sony A900 to the Nikon D3X. After all, it is rumored the D3X uses a sensor manufactured by Sony. Considering that, and both the A900 and the D3X are 24 megapixel (plus some change) full-frame cameras, one might conclude those are the two cameras to compare. And, especially when you realize the A900 retails for $2700 and the D3X retails for $8000. So, you are probably still wondering, why the A77 and D3X?

    Well, the Sony A77, like the D3X for Nikon when it first came out, is the first camera of its kind. It has a 24 megapixel (plus some change) APS-C sized (1.5x crop) sensor. A lot of people are weary of packing more pixels into a sensor without increasing the sensor size at the same time. The idea is that if each pixel, or photosite, is smaller it will likely get bombarded with more photons of light than a larger photosite in a given amount of time. Oppositely, the smaller photosite is like a "net" and, being a smaller net, it is less likely to capture as many photons in a given instance. So, if you have a lot of light the smaller photosites will get saturated and turn white, and if you don't have much light the photosites will stay dark. Either way, you will have a loss of detail: blown out highlights, and blocked shadows. This may also translate into a noisier or "grainier" image at higher ISOs.

    Our fascination and the reason for comparing these two cameras is to see how the APS-C 24 megapixel sensor of the $1400 Sony A77 compares to the full-frame 24 megapixel sensor of the $8000 D3X. The full-frame size of the 24 megapixel D3X means each individual pixel is physically larger than the pixels of the A77. This means the D3X may likely have greater dynamic range in capturing scenes with more contrast than the A77, but that kind of comparison is not our goal here. We wanted to strictly take a look at the noise levels/sharpness of each.

    Please see the following comparison shots below. We set up a quick scene and shot both cameras with similar settings, changing only the ISO in between each shot. As we used Aperture Priority mode, the exposure evaluation was up to each individual camera. In addition, we shot both cameras at their highest-level JPG setting. How these cameras handle JPG processing may be very different, and seeing the RAW images from these cameras may be a lot different than what you see here. We have included 100% crops, side-by-side. We won't tell you which one was shot by the Sony A77 and which was shot by the Nikon D3x, until you get to the bottom. Which do you think are the A77 images, and which do you think are the D3X?

    Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    ISO 400

    Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    ISO 800

    Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    ISO 1600

    Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    ISO 3200

    Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    ISO 6400

    OK, so you are probably wondering which is which? Or, maybe you've already figured it out. The left side of each image is from the Nikon D3X, and the right side of each image is from the Sony A77. We noticed the D3X tends to look sharper (at least in the brush), but at the expense of more noise or "grain". The A77 images look less noisy/grainy at higher ISOs, but it looks like you can't pick out as many bristles in the brush. What do you notice? Which one do you think looks better overall?

  • Update: Availability of Sony A77, A65, NEX-5N, NEX-7 and New Lenses

    As noted in our previous post comparing the features of the Sony A77 and Sony A65, we have received a lot of interest in the new Sony cameras and lenses that were recently announced: Sony A77, A65, NEX-5N, NEX-7, SAL1650, SEL24F18Z, SEL50F18, and the SEL55210. A lot of the interest has been a curiosity in when these new products will be made available. We were able to get a release schedule from Sony, and we are providing this information here. Each item links to our website where you will be able to purchase the items when we receive them in stock. If you would like to pre-order an item to be one of the first to receive the product, please contact us at sales@gmcamera.com, or (802) 244-0883. All pre-orders are first come, first serve. We currently have all of these products on order with Sony, and will therefore be part of the first shipments as the products are released.

    Release Schedule for Sony A77, A65, NEX-5N, NEX-7, and New Lenses

    Sony NEX-5N Body Only (Black) First Week of September
    Sony NEX-5N 18-55mm Lens Kit (Black) First Week of September
    Sony NEX-5N 18-55mm Lens Kit (Silver) First Week of September
    Sony Alpha SLT-A65 Body Only Mid-to-Late October
    Sony Alpha SLT-A65 18-55mm Lens Kit Mid-to-Late October
    Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Body Only Mid-to-Late October
    Sony Alpha SLT-A77 16-50mm f/2.8 Lens Kit Mid-to-Late October
    Sony NEX-7 Body Only Early November
    Sony NEX-7 18-55mm Lens Kit Early November
    Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM Lens (SAL1650) Early November
    Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 Lens (SEL24F18Z) Early December
    Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens (SEL50F18) Mid December
    Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens (SEL55210) Mid-to-Late October
  • Sony Alpha A65 and A77 Feature Comparison

    We recently reported on Sony's introduction of the Alpha SLT-A65 and Alpha SLT-A77. That post has received a lot of interest and we have already started to receive a lot of questions. A question that we are hearing again and again is "What are the main differences between the A65 and the A77?"  We decided there has been enough interest and enough people asking this question that we should just post the main differences here.

    Sony Alpha A65 and A77 Feature ComparisonOne big factor that differentiates the two cameras is the pre-packaged kit lens. The A65 is available as body only or with the Sony 18-55mm lens as a kit. The A77 is also offered as body only, but is also offered with the new 16-50mm f/2.8 lens as a kit. That difference alone may be appealing for some customers to decide one way or the other, and there is a big difference in price to support that decision. The A65 body is $900, and the kit is $1000. The A77 body is $1400 and the kit is $2000. Customers who already have a strong investment in Sony and Minolta glass may not care too much, and will opt for the body only approach. If you are interested in the A77 and acquiring the new 16-50mm f/2.8, the kit is $100 less than buying the lens and body separately (the lens as a standalone purchase is $700).

    Certainly there are more differences than just that:

    A65 A77
    Strong Polycarbonate Body Magnesium Alloy Body with Moisture & Dust Resistance
    Up to 10 FPS with AF In Speed Priority AE Up to 12 FPS with AF In Speed Priority AE
    2-Way Tilt TruBlack LCD 3-Way Tilt TruBlack LCD
    15-point AF; 3-cross type 19-point AF;11-cross Type
    Single Front Dial & Function Button Front & Rear Dials, top LCD Panel, Multi-direction Control Stick & Function Button
    1/4000th Sec. Top Shutter Speed
    1/160th Sec. Flash Sync Speed
    1/8000th Sec. Top Shutter Speed
    1/250th Sec. Flash Sync Speed
    + / - 3.0 EV + / - 5.0 EV
    Optional Vertical Grip
    DMF Direct Manual Focus Function
    Programmable 3 Memory Recall Function
    PC Flash Sync Post
  • New Sony Cameras and Lenses Announced! (A77, A65, NEX-7, NEX-5N, SEL24F18Z, SAL1650, SEL50F18, SEL55210)

    We are excited to share today's announcement of new Sony digital cameras and lenses. Two new cameras featuring Sony's "Translucent Mirror Technology" have been introduced. These cameras build on the popular Sony Alpha SLT-A33 and Sony Alpha SLT-A55, and will be sold along with the new Sony Alpha SLT-A35, which is available now (lens kit, body only). Sony today announces the Alpha SLT-A65 (lens kit, body only), and the Alpha SLT-A77 (lens kit, body only).

    Sony Alpha SLT-A65 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens

    Sony Alpha SLT-A65 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens

    Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Digital SLR Camera with 16-50mm f/2.8 Lens

    Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Digital SLR Camera with 16-50mm f/2.8 Lens

    The A77 and A65 both feature a newly developed Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.3 effective megapixel resolution, as well as the world’s first XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ viewfinder, which features an astounding 2.3 million dot resolution. The sensor teams with the next generation of Sony’s BIONZ® image processing engine to handle huge amounts of high speed data from the camera sensor, enabling unprecedented response times and flawless image quality with ultra-low noise when shooting still images or Full HD video. The A77 is the world's fastest digital SLR with 12 FPS continuous shooting, and the A65 sits just behind with a still incredible 10 FPS continuous shooting. In addition, both cameras offer an extreme sensitivity with an ISO range of 100-16000. The A77 offers a durable magnesium alloy body and weather-resistant sealing for less-than-ideal shooting environments.

    For more information about the A77, including a look at the new 16-50mm f/2.8 lens (SAL1650) that is offered as a kit, check out the video below:

    In addition to the Sony A77, A65 and 16-50mm f/2.8 lens, Sony has also announced the introduction of two new NEX cameras, which will be sold along with the new NEX-C3 (available now). The two new NEX cameras announced today are the NEX-7 (lens kit, body only) and the NEX-5N (lens kit, body only, silver kit).

    The Sony Alpha NEX-7 is being pegged as the "all-in-one" compact interchangeable lens digital camera. Unlike many other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, the Sony NEX-7 has a built-in viewfinder.

    Sony Alpha NEX-7 Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    Sony Alpha NEX-7 Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    The NEX-7 camera features a new Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.3 effective megapixel resolution – highest in its class -- that complements the latest generation of Sony’s BIONZ®  image processing engine.

    The Sony NEX-7  offers a unique combination of sensor and processor technology and delivers flawless image and HD video quality with very low noise and exceptionally fast shooting responses. An ultra-high sensitivity range extends from ISO 100-16000, making it easy to capture clean, low-noise images in dimly lit interiors or exteriors.

    Response is accelerated even further by a shutter release lag of approximately 20 milliseconds– the fastest of any interchangeable lens digital camera (as of Aug 2011). In speed priority continuous mode, the NEX-7 camera captures fast-moving action at up to 10fps (AF/AE is fixed) – the world’s fastest burst shooting speed of any mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (as of Aug 2011).

    Sony Alpha NEX-5N Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    Sony Alpha NEX-5N Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    The Sony Alpha NEX-5N features an Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with 16.1 effective megapixel resolution and is complemented by a specially-optimized version of the powerful BIONZ® image processing engine, resulting in exceptionally clean, low noise images. Maximum sensitivity is also boosted to ISO 25600,the highest among mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (as of Aug 2011), allowing for very high-quality handheld shooting in low-light conditions.

    One of the highlights of the Sony Alpha NEX-5N is that it is the first E-mount interchangeable lens camera from Sony that features an intuitive new Photo Creativity Touch interface. Background Defocus, Exposure, Picture Effect and other adjustments can be quickly and easily previewed, applied and combined via the LCD touch panel and control dial, with traditional “photo jargon” simplified for beginner shooters.

    In addition to the camera's mentioned above, Sony has also announced some very exciting new lens additions to both the A mount and E mount systems. As already noted, Sony has introduced a high-end, fast-aperture A mount lens, the Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM lens.

    Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM Lens for A-Mount Cameras

    Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM Lens for A-Mount Cameras

    In addition to this lens, Sony has also introduced three new E mount lenses. Perhaps the most highly anticipated of the three is the new Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 24mm f/1.8 ZA lens. Sony NEX users have been waiting for a Carl Zeiss lens to be introduced into the highly popular NEX camera system.

    Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 ZA Lens

    Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 ZA Lens

    Sony also announced an E 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens, and an E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS lens. The 50mm f/1.8 OSS is the first lens of a fixed focal length of 50mm with a large aperture to feature optical image stabilization built in to the lens. The 55-210mm is a welcome addition to the NEX camera system for people looking to shoot objects at greater distances.

    Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens

    Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens

    Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens

    Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens

    For a closer look at all of the products mentioned above, plus some extras, please check out this video:

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