So, what about that A77m2? At the time it was presented by Sony, the A77m2 was praised for better ISO performances, better AF and better buffering. Well, to be perfectly honest, I have both cameras, and those improvements aren’t that spectacular, and the issues with the A77 are still here. It’s still a fixed translucent mirror APSC A-mount 24MP camera.
With modern post processing ISO performances are the same. Image quality is the same. Handling is the same. Burst speed is the same, 8fps, or 12fps with the same fixed aperture, but the buffer is twice as big.
It’s actually a lot of the same with a “II” in the name and a noticeably bigger used price.
Sony allegedly improved the video capabilities: maybe. Don’t know, don’t care. I’m a photographer, not a film maker.
EVF and LCD screen are marginally better.
The GPS is gone, and you get wifi, with a crappy phone/tablet app that totally sucks and is basically useless for anything else but sharing some snapshots online. I don’t give a crap about wifi, but the GPS is a nice option in any camera that I use a lot. I even made a GPS for my older cameras.
I think it’s really not that much of an upgrade. It basically handles like the A77. Ergonomy is still not great. Minolta DNA is a thing of the past. The controls lag is not really improved and the menu is still a happy mess which doesn’t make more sense than the A77 and some settings moved in new sub menus. At least, the fast menu looks better and you can modify it to your liking. Still nowhere near the practicality of real knobs, switches and dials.
At least the A77 battery grip is compatible and you won’t have to invest in another one.
What really changed?
Well, as I wrote before, basically the AF system is supposed to be MUCH better. The thing is, if you know how to shoot, it’s just marginally better but offers a lot more options. The problem being lots of those options are incompatible with various settings, or have a dubious ergonomy.
The big issue with continuous AF is inconsistency, which is made worse when stabilisation is turned on. Same with tracking, You can't trust you AF therefore is not very usable in real shooting conditions. It’s also overly complicated with two different tracking mode that are incompatible with AFC or AFS.
In the end, the fastest, most usable, consistent and reliable mode is single shot AF with spot sensor. It’s the same as the A77, with more sensors. I didn’t notice it to be really better in any way.
Really, I have no idea why everyone was so ecstatic about that “new” AF. My 2007 D3 is better at tracking than this Sony that is really not that much better than the A77 especially when considering the price difference.
Buffer depth is twice the size of the A77. Is it worth the price difference? You decide.
Sony added a focus limiter: very good implementation, easy to use, and efficient. With the kinda fly by wire after focusing thing, it makes older glass a bit more modern, and helps a lot with long lenses.
The jpeg engine is supposed to be a bit better. I don’t really care: I shoot raw…
Everything else is basically the same as the A77. Same good, same bad, same reliability issues with even more reports of weird failures with low shutter count for no clear reason: stabilisation dying, camera error, flash dying, shutter failing, sensor failing. Some say it’s planned obsolescence. I just think it’s poor engineering and quality control. Something to keep in mind when buying one. It just may not be as durable as a Nikon or a Canon.
I had the A77m2 before the A77 but never really used it because the original Minolta 7D is so much more a joy of a camera to shoot despite a smaller sensor, ridiculously low frame rate and basically only one AF sensor. And for other work I was a Nikon shooter.
Now that I can compare it with the first A77 I’m not convinced at all that buying a used A77m2 in 2022 is a good deal. Maybe if you find a good one for a little more than $300, go for it. But paying $600 or more? No way. If you like Sony, you’re very close to the price of an used A7 series with an adapter for your Minolta glass… I’d go that way. On a limited budget, I still think the A77 is a better option. On a more limited budget, MPB has pretty often an A700 in good condition for under $100…
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