Sony enters the video DSLR revolution FINALLY…a bit late but not too late!

What took you so long, Sony? It’s been almost 3 years since Nikon came out with the (admittedly, a bit poo) video function on the Nikon D90, and then Canon with their sexy as hell 5DmkII that just got better with updates (when they gave it manual control and 24p)

There have been attempts at video. 30FPS, not full manual blah blah blah from Sony, but not until this camera…the A77 popped up today on websites has there finally been a reason to get excited about DSLR video from them.

First off they have the rather killer function of the translucent mirror. A lovely ability to use the actual viewfinder to shoot video. Secondly the specs (although not sure these are confirmed):

Brand new sensor. Hopefully with the clever ability to down-sample the image to 1080p. No idea what the moire, aliasing, rolling shutter will be here. But apparently the new sensor has video recording in mind so theoretically we should have less of these…hopefully!

3 million dot OLED VF (!)
FULL HD recording in 60p, 50p, 25p and 24p. Now that is something special. No other DSLR does this…yet

AVCHD 2. This is a 28mbps rate rather than 24. This is great. 

No idea if there is a headphone jack or audio controls, but this a big step up.

Now…if this were a full frame camera I would be salivating. We STILL have no competition to the 5DMKII in that respect after all this time.

The new video cameras like the FS100 and AF101 are fantastic but have smaller chips. The aesthetic of the full frame has still not been beaten as far as I am concerned. If Sony can put this tech into full frame then Canon would HAVE to bring out a mkII replacement pretty damn sharpish!

Sure, it’s an Alpha mount but you can get adaptors, mostly for Nikon lenses of course. Not so good for EOS lenses, but that’s the story of our lives for us EOS lens owners!

I am excited about this camera. Small form video cameras in the DSLR form factor are very important to me. Yes I have invested in very expensive video cameras recently, but there will always be a need for me to have cameras of this size. Especially as a paid documentary filmmaker! But also for my fun personal projects.

Of course the proof will always be in the pudding. Until I get my hands on it and shoot something with it…Sony can I borrow one pretty please?!

Anyway…good for you Sony. Let’s hope Nikon and Canon are watching!!

Info from


  1. At least this confirms the continued adoption of Video in SLRs “Some rumors claimed the Video would take second stage in the future HDSLRs”. The GH2 was v1.5 this appears to be generation 2. If Canon delivers something similar with good scaling in the 5D Mk III they will have another 3 years of steady sales and dominance.

    On another missing feature note… Sony usually includes Smooth Slow Record in their camcorders limited to a few seconds. What is really so hard about taking a 3-4 second shot at 240FPS and wait for the camera to deliver a 960frame video of around 30 seconds even if it takes 3-5min to process. All about the buffer which shouldn’t be that huge for such a small time-frame.

    We are not asking for continuous slow mo but such a feature at full 1080p would create a huge stir.

    1. “If Canon delivers something similar with good scaling in the 5D Mk III they will have another 3 years of steady sales and dominance.”

      Canon is not really delivering anything like that, does it now? Neither is Nikon, as a rather telling matter of fact.

    1. Pricing info as of 8/5/2011:

      Sony SLT Alpha 65 body = US$899.00

      Sony SLT ALpha 77 body = US$1,399.00

      Pretty darn cheap for what they are giving you. And only another $600 for the brand new, 6,000-line resolving power 17-50mm F2.8 “stock” zoom.

  2. As one who has just sold all his Sony Alpha lenses and the a850, I don’t have much confidence that Sony won’t fizzle out – or least hobble at a snail’s pace -like it did with the Alphas. The a700 was a great camera but never got its much talked about successor despite many false announcements. The issue of noisy iso above 800 has been a constant problem and not fixed to compete with C & N. The hotshoe mount is problematic for using pocket wizards or other 3rd party flashes. Lens selection is still quite small comparatively. I was hopeful at one time but after a few years lost faith and switched to Canon.

    1. treborserrot, the A77 IS the replacement for the A700, like it or not. As far as IQ, Sony sensors have been trumping Canon’s for a couple of years now.

      My question to many is, why not choose the NEX-7? It is rumored to have the same video specs, and will be tiny and adaptable with any lens.

    2. New Sony cameras have fantastic high ISO performance.

      The a580 is the best high ISO APS-C camera out there, right along side the d7000.

      As for the hotshoe – a $10 adapter solves that “issue”

      And with releasing about 10 new products this year, I don’t think Sony is quitting the photography market quite yet 😉

    3. I have basically no experience with Sony still cameras but I have used the fs100 and it keeps low noise WAY above 800iso equivalent. Hopefully this camera will follow in the same footsteps.

    4. Have you actually read this? The A77 *is* the A700 successor and *is* an Alpha. As for high ISO, have a looked at the A580? The one that uses the same Sony sensor as used in the D7000? The sensor that is better than the stale Canon one.

      You can get a hotshoe adapter for a couple of dollars on eBay. I constantly fail to understand the issue people have with the Minolta hotshoe mount.

  3. * sounds great!!
    * some sites are stating very high ISO values with limited noise, which, to my ears, sounds as no-line-skipping that leads to noise cancelling out with proper downsampling; great news indeed, specially if it also means real 1080 resolution
    * it doesn’t seem to be artificially crippled in any way, so I guess the 30p omission is just a typo, or lack of information
    * I’m SO glad all my lenses are vintage, manual, leica-R mount that’s easily adaptable to canon, nikon, sony, m43, anything! This was partly because of your advice, so thanks a lot

    1. Samuel, apparently neither the Alpha 65 nor the 77 top-notch model can record 30p or 25p, AFAIK. Not only that, these cameras are not for worldwide use, as there is not NTSC vs. PAL switching available in the menu.

      For example, if you buy the Alpha 65/77 in North America, you could record high-def video this way:

      1080p at 60fps

      1080i (60 interlaced fields from the sensor’s 30 frames)

      1080p at 24fps

      And that’s about it. No 25P, no 50P, and no 50i, in other words. For that, you need to buy your Alpha in Europe or somewhere where they use PAL and 50 hertz. Somewhat of a bummer, too. Of course, you can de-interlace and frame-rate convert your acquired footage in post rather easily.

  4. great post Philip, I’m stepping into the world of DSLR’s shortly so this looks very interesting to say the least.

    is this camera just a rumour or is there more information on it anywhere?

  5. If this camera turns out to be good you can get the old Minolta Auto Focus and they will work with the Sony DSLR.

    Honeywell sued Minolta for stealing technology they Minolta used to make the first Auto focus camera. Honeywell took Minolta to court and won and Minolta had to paid 80 million dollars.

    Minolta did not have the money so they sold their camera line to Sony.

    1. Just to get the facts correct: Honeywell sued in 1987, and Minolta was ordered to pay approx. $125 Mio. in 1991. One year later, Minolta and Honeywell settled out of court. In 2004 Minolta merged with Konica and in 2005 they started a joint venture with Sony. And in 2006 Konica Minolta finally stopped the camera production and transferred all assets to Sony. So where do you see a connection between the dispute with Honeywell and the selling of the camera division to Sony 14 years later? There is none.

  6. “sexy as hell that just got better with updates 5DmkII”?
    Am I on the same page? 2.0.9 wasn’t exactly a barn burner. It “corrects misspellings in the menu screens displayed in Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai.” which is a good thing to fix but not quite up there with more frame rates / bit rates? Or maybe your timescale for “just”is different?

    (sorry to bring this up in a sony thread but that sentence rather jumped out at me especially with your state of play post recently)

    1. i have rephrased it for you to make it clear. It was a history sentence. The D90 was shit. The 5dmkII was sexy as hell that got better with firmware updates…remember manual controls and 24p. Not talking about the incremental ones.

  7. Thanks! That makes sense. Sorry if I didn’t get it at first glance but we’re always hoping for another 5d mkii update to make our filming that much better!

  8. Sony was speaking a few months ago about a translucent mirror,does this camera have that feature? because if it has in theory you`ll have an optical viewfinder that u can use while shooting video

  9. Sounds like it could be the one to watch.

    Sony must have been biding their time with this one, considering the input of DSLR users on the creation of the FS100, so it’s fair to assume they would have addressed many of the DSLRs technical shortcomings. Surely?

    I have had several ‘run ins’ with large UK corporations who had departments which didn’t speak to one another, and made my communication with them a nightmare, but I wouldn’t expect that of a Japanese company.

    I really hope this is a ground breaking camera, to kick Canon and Nikon up the ass.
    Oh, for a headphone jack!!

  10. I wonder when these vendors will capitalize on the real estate of an enlarged battery grip to add pro-level, external monitoring jacks?

    Don’t know if the bandwidth is available between the camera body and the battery adapter, but if we’re talking new camera design anyhow, why not?

    Or put a port on the battery grip which uses a break-out cable, so the camera can be kept small and tidy with all the SDI/XLR connections 12-18 inches away?

  11. i can’t believe how people in the land of your stable, pull out a speck off the horses back they are riding to say its unclean when it just had a bath and knows what its doing. what does the speck have to do with riding anyways? These types of posts literally make me laugh and shake my head a smidge. Praises to you Mr. Bloom for dealing with such levels of insane minutia. I see it all the time and it blows my grey matter right through the back wall of my skull.

  12. I believe Sony is on a roll. The F3 and FS100 are great big sensor cams and then they did a good job on the low end with the HX9v and HX100v. Now they can really hit a home run if these new cams do have the features in these rumors!!! I’m very interested in the VG20. I think they missed the mark on the VG10, but it was a worthy attempt. Now they can fix the issues with the VG10 and I think the VG20 could be a huge success.

    It’s partly the form factor and partly the focus of the cam being a video camera 1st and this bit of focus can make a huge difference even if it’s more in line with a Consumer Video cam. I have hope that Sony will upgrade the VG20 to a point that will make it a hit this time for low end film and Documentary. If they can somehow slip in just enough functionality to key features it could be a serious tool. It could be like a Canon XA10 with a DSLR sensor, so to speak! That’s my hope.

  13. Philip, What is that giant thing that that have screwed to the bottom of the camera. In the old days we would have called it a motor drive. Does the camera work without it? Is it a large RAID array? It doesn’t look very compact to me…

    1. AF takes 1/10th of a second and is uninterrupted in video. You can even lock on an object or human face, keep zooming in and out, and as the subject moves to/from the camera, the Alpha’s AF will keep it in focus. Amazing, really. Sorry, Canikon fans.

  14. The cost savings of not having to buy an EVF or rack focus rig (though both are getting cheaper) will be sweet. Not to mention like Phil did that the lack of these because of the awesome SLT design will save size and weight.

    One can’t over hype phase detection AF in video enough – for weddings and photo journalism where “things move fast” it is a worth its weight in gold.

    Sony said almost 4 years ago that they “would not do video in a DSLR” unless they “did it right.” Well SLT backed by these stats (rumors atm) look right on the money.

    Ill bite and buy one the minute they hit the stores – (and I own Nikon gear).

    Bravo Sony.

    Thanks for the Tip about it Phil! Cheers!

    1. Davis, you can pre-order the Alpha 65 & 77 already on Amazon and elsewhere. US $899 and $1,399.

      Phase-detection AF is practically instant and works throughout the lens’ zoom range as well.

      Re. the EVF, yes, it is a massive 2.5MP screen, with the 109% magnification, it appears really, really large. Also, it is OLED and not LCD, which makes a world of difference. Once you look at an OLED screen (or VF), you likely not want to look at another LCD ever again.

  15. It would be great if this had a similar look to the FS100 and could be a decent b-cam. At the same time, the use of Alpha lenses here makes the FS100 e mount even more perplexing. Oh well.

  16. re the Sony DSLR

    Unless there is efficient audio, what’s the point!

    Also, I can’t see Canon upgrading the DSLR, as they will commit to suppying a camcorder the price of the SF100.

    The DSLRs will stay the same in my admittedly humble opinion

  17. AVCHD 2 —

    In my opinion a killer. Especially if one plans on adding color corrections to his images. And in order for took look like cine.. That is ALL that matters.

    AVCHD 2 – is nice for displaying the recorded material. But as soon as you start to get dirty with in Post it looks like crap.

    For the world of me, I cant understand why they bring on a cam which is supposed to be ‘video’ minded and then use AVCHD 2.

    Be like adding Volkswagon motor to a Space Shuttle

  18. What are the differences between this and an FS100 then? Is it just audio controls and size of the body? Wonder if this will have peaking controls??

    Still if its going to be quite a bit cheaper than the FS100 I’m struggling to see why any one would shell out the extra cash. Somebody please explain.


  19. Phil did you buy a PMW f 3 i bought the NEX sf 100 from sony…but i didn’t know if you got your with the cine lenses or not …or even if you bought a PMW f3 are you going to sell your pmw ex3 what are you going to do with it do you still have any use for it ?

  20. I was hoping Sony would leapfrog the competition and be the first out with a 4K (or at least “4K2K,” a.k.a. Quad HD) prosumer camcorder, preferably with 10- or 12-bit HDMI output. Maybe Vassiliy Kisselev will try his hand at hacking, er, modifying the VG20.

    1. What is everyones fascination with 4k?

      Until TV’s, media players and consumer media cables catch up, their is no demand for it in reality.

      i do understand the fascination with with the fauxpan and fauxtilt, but i believe the negatives (file size, render times, computer hardware costs etc..) far outweigh the positives,

      I would much prefer a sweet 2k sensor with large pixels, instead of a scaled down 4k to FHD sensor, or even a raw 4k sensor. Especially in the DSLR world, as it defeats the three major benefits of the DSLR camera, size, weight and price. A 5d with a zacuto shoulder rig, a kipro, an Evf, a tamron dr-100, a set of CP.2’s, to shoot a 30 second tv ad or an indie music video seems ridiculous to me, especially when the heart of the monster (5d) has so many issues.

      Sony F3, on the other hand, with a 4k sensor, would be effing amazing and move it into the cinema realm.

  21. I really liked the quality of video of my t2I. But I sold it beacause the auto focus sucked. Spoiled by a Panasonic camcorder. Not everyone is enamored with manual focus. If you do weddings and sports, you do not have time to manual focus. Sony is way ahead of the pack on this element of video, and the value is great, i.e. price vs. features and ease of use. Not all of us are pro DP’s.

    1. Cristi, what does Canon have got to do with Sony? Looks like some folks here have been awaiting the “waking up” of Canon for years. What’s the use?

      Also, I am not sure what a Canon EOS 5D Mk III would have that a Canon XF-305 does not already have right now, besides a different size sensor?

        1. Strictly for shooting video, one definitely would need to go with the Canon XF-series of dedicated video camcorders if one must have a Canon camera. Of course, downside is the tiny 1/3-inch sensor, an imager size that is pretty much totally obsolete as of late August 2011.

  22. Official annoucement for the A77 on 24/08/11, alongside the A65, the NEX-7 and the VG20. Seems that the release date will be 16/09/11 for Japan and early October for the rest of the world.
    24.3Mpx Exmor HD CMOS sensor, ISO 100-16000 (ISO 50 in option), 12fps, built in GPS, SD & MS slots (no CF)
    price tag: 1200/1300$ body only.
    philip, a new challenger for the 5DmkII will be release in 2012 with the Sony Alpha A99 and his 36MPx Full frame sensor.

  23. Hi folks!
    Can someone please clarify something for me?

    I’m just now saving money to start building my rig kit.
    There’s a line of thought that affirms that the best long term investment in lenses for DSLR film-making is on Nikon lenses.
    If so, and I start buying Nikon glass, is there some way to use those Nikon lenses on Sony A mount? I know there are some adapters, but all of them seam to rely on optical elements, and I don’t want that.
    Any Nikon-to-A-mount adapters out there without the optical element?


    (sorry for my limited english)

    1. Lenses with manual aperture is the best way to go for sure. Personally, I will be investing in a set of cp2’s shortly. As for adapters, look into fotodiox. I am not sure if they have the sony A mount but something leads me to believe that they do…

  24. Trusting the marketing departments @ Sony they will manage to have some major ‘gotcha’ or illogical feature so as to not cripple their prosumer video camera sales…

    I’m thinking two versions will be available – one PAL at 25P with no 24P and the other NTSC with 24P and 30P…

    Perhaps another limitation may be 10 minute record time? .. Or a 4K recording feature that only lasts 60 seconds?

    I’m almost certain it will be artificially crippled somehow even although the hardware will be completely capable.

    If Sony/Canon/Panasonic can milk early adopters by bringing out incrementally upgraded cameras they will use that to their advantage. No manufacturer would bring out the perfect camera because once people buy it, they would never need to buy another one! (until of course wear and tear took its toll)…

    1. Richard, that is all incorrect.

      The PAL version of the Alpha 65/77 can do 1080 at 24p. And 50p. And 50i. But not at 25p.

      Also, the NTSC version of these cameras will do 24P, but not 30p.

      Why exactly do you need 30p, anyhow, when the camera can record 1920 x 1080 at 60i and 60p? I’m not getting it, I guess.

      There is no “10-minute limitation of recording time,” either. Nor is there 4K recording. Just where are you getting your technical specs information from, I wonder? Certainly not from Sony, correct?

      Anyhow, it does not look like the new Sony Alpha 65 and 77 HDSLRs would be the cameras for you at all.

      1. 30p is an aesthetic liked by many…not me, but by many

        the time limitation is 29 minutes and 59 seconds due to the higher compression rates than the canons but still stuck by the EU tax rule.

        The videos I have are so far average. Hoping to test it soon to see what it can do

  25. Can’t wait to trade my a55 in! I’ve been shooting with it for almost a year now, and other than the audio being crap, being limited to 30fps, the occasional auto exposure freak-out, and typical rolling shutter problems, I love it. Great color profile, loads of dynamic range, and most importantly for me a usable autofocus. I picked up a few older Minolta AF prime lenses, and they work perfectly for very little $$. Can’t wait to see some more footage, and what that 3D setting on the dial does!

  26. He-he-he, feeling rather sorry for those folks who have invested in the Canikon racket. These Canon and Nikon DSLRs, they are really not all that good for videography, are they now?

      1. He-he-he, just a lame joke on my part at the expense of the Canikoners. Seriously though, the truth in the pudding will be the thorough testings of the upcoming SLT Alpha 65 and 77 cameras. With that massive 24.3 megapixel imager, I am not sure how the camera will derive a usable 1920 x 1080 video size 9i.e. downscaling/downsampling or merely line-skipping).

Leave a Reply