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Sony A77 vs A900

The Sony Alpha SLT-A77 and the Sony Alpha A900 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2011 and September 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (A77) and a full frame (A900) sensor. The A77 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the A900 provides 24.4 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Sony A77   Sony A900
Sony A77 Sony A900
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Sony A mount lenses Sony A mount lenses
24 MP, APS-C Sensor 24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video no Video
ISO 100-16000 (50-25600) ISO 200-3200 (100-6400)
Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots) Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 921k dots 3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
12 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
470 shots per battery charge880 shots per battery charge
143 x 104 x 81 mm, 732 g 156 x 117 x 82 mm, 895 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 and the Sony Alpha A900? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony A77 vs A900

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A77 and the Sony A900 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Sony A77 vs Sony A900
Compare A77 versus A900 top
Comparison A77 or A900 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A900 is notably larger (23 percent) than the Sony A77. Moreover, the A900 is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the A77. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Sony A77» 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 25.8 oz 470 Y Aug 2011 1,399- i Sony A77
 
Sony A900« 6.1 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 31.6 oz 880 Y Sep 2008 2,999- i Sony A900
 
Canon 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
 
Nikon D600« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
 
Panasonic GH5« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
 
Pentax K-3« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 28.2 oz 560 Y Oct 2013 1,299- i Pentax K-3
 
Sony A9« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A99 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
 
Sony A6500« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
 
Sony A7S II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.1 oz 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
 
Sony A77 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 22.8 oz 480 Y May 2014 1,199 i i Sony A77 II
 
Sony A99« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 28.6 oz 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony A99
 
Sony A850« » 6.1 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 31.6 oz 880 Y Aug 2009 1,999- i Sony A850
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The A77 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 53 percent) than the A900, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony A77 vs A900

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A77 features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A900 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A900 is 135 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A77 and Sony A900 sensor measures

With 24.4MP, the A900 offers a higher resolution than the A77 (24MP), but the A900 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.91μm for the A77) due to its larger sensor. However, the A77 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 11 months) than the A900, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The Sony Alpha SLT-A77 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 16000, which can be extended to ISO 50-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A900 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.

A77 versus A900 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Sony A77» APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178Sony A77
 
Sony A900« Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-23.712.3143179Sony A900
 
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
 
Nikon D600« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094Nikon D600
 
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
 
Pentax K-3« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i23.713.4121680Pentax K-3
 
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
 
Sony A99 II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792Sony A99 II
 
Sony A6500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585Sony A6500
 
Sony A7S II« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
 
Sony A77 II« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Sony A77 II
 
Sony A99« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.0155589Sony A99
 
Sony A850« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-23.812.2141579Sony A850

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A77 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the A900 does not. The highest resolution format that the A77 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A77 vs A900

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A77 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), while the A900 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the A900 has a higher magnification than the one of the A77 (0.74x vs 0.73x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A77, the Sony A900, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Sony A77»2359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y Sony A77
 
Sony A900«optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A900
 
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 n n Canon 6D
 
Nikon D600« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n Nikon D600
 
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
 
Pentax K-3« »optical Y 3.2 1037 fixed n 1/8000s 8.3 Y Y Pentax K-3
 
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y Sony A9
 
Sony A99 II« »2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Sony A99 II
 
Sony A6500« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y Sony A6500
 
Sony A7S II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
 
Sony A77 II« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y Sony A77 II
 
Sony A99« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 6.0 n Y Sony A99
 
Sony A850« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n Y Sony A850

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A77 has one, while the A900 does not. While the built-in flash of the A77 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The A77 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the A900 does not have a selfie-screen.

The A77 writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the A900 uses Compact Flash or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A900 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A77 only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Sony A77 vs A900

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 and Sony Alpha A900 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Sony A77»YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony A77
 
Sony A900«Y----mini2.0---Sony A900
 
Canon 6D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
 
Nikon D600« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D600
 
Panasonic GH5« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic GH5
 
Pentax K-3« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Pentax K-3
 
Sony A9« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
 
Sony A99 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A99 II
 
Sony A6500« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6500
 
Sony A7S II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
 
Sony A77 II« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Sony A77 II
 
Sony A99« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Sony A99
 
Sony A850« »Y----mini2.0---Sony A850

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the A77 and the A900 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A900 was replaced by the Sony A99, while the A77 was followed by the Sony A77 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.


Review summary: Sony A77 vs A900

So how do things add up? Is the Sony A77 better than the Sony A900 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha SLT-A77:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More flexible LCD: Has full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (143x104mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 163g or 18 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (53 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the A900 launch.


Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A900:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.73x).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (880 versus 470) out of a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A77 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

A77 11:06 A900

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A77 and the Sony A900 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A77 or the A900 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Sony A77 vs A900

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Sony A77»91/10081/100-4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,399- i Sony A77
 
Sony A900«+ ++ +4.5/54/55/5 Sep 2008 2,999- i Sony A900
 
Canon 6D« »+ +83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
 
Nikon D600« »+ +87/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
 
Panasonic GH5« »+ +85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
 
Pentax K-3« »-83/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,299- i Pentax K-3
 
Sony A9« »+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A99 II« »-85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
 
Sony A6500« »+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
 
Sony A7S II« »+-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II« »+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
 
Sony A77 II« »-80/1004.5/54/55/5 May 2014 1,199 i i Sony A77 II
 
Sony A99« »-84/1004.5/5o4.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony A99
 
Sony A850« »-75/100-4/54.5/5 Aug 2009 1,999- i Sony A850
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Sony A77:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A900:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Sony A77 vs Sony A900

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Sony A77 Sony A900
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Sony A mount lenses Sony A mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2011 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 1399 USD 2999
    Sensor Specs Sony A77 Sony A900
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.6 mm 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 366.6 mm2 861.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.2 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6048 x 4032 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.91 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 6.55 MP/cm2 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-16000 ISO 200-3200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-25600 ISO 100-6400 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 78 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.0 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.2 12.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 801 1431
    Screen Specs Sony A77 Sony A900
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x 0.74x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2359k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fully flexible screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Sony A77 Sony A900
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingNo Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 12 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards CF or MS cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Sony A77 Sony A900
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Geotagging GPS built-in
    Body Specs Sony A77 Sony A900
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FM500H power pack NP-FM500H power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)470 shots per charge880 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 143 x 104 x 81 mm
    (5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
    156 x 117 x 82 mm
    (6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 732 g (25.8 oz) 895 g (31.6 oz)

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