In this article I’ll compare the Nikon D7200 vs Sony Alpha A77 II vs Sony Alpha a6000. These are three difference cameras in their core, the D7200 ins a digital reflex camera (with a flipping mirror), the Sony A77 using Translucent Mirror technology and the Sony a600 is a mirrorless camera, which has no internal mirror.
It will be very interesting to see how the new Nikon D7200 is compared to the other two. Many of you asked me to compare the D7200 vs the A77 and a600 so that what I did. I will start with a short introduction to the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II which I think deserve the most explanation and move on to the ind-depth comparison – so let’s get started!
Sony Alpha A77 II
The Sony α77 II was announced on May 1, 2014. It’s the successor to the a77 which was announced on August 24th 2011. The a77 II is a host of many advanced technologies that Sony is so known well for. The a77 II utilizes the Translucent Mirror Technology. Like DSLR cameras, the a77 II does feature a mirror inside the camera body, but instead of flipping up, it stays in place. This mirror is translucent, which means that around 40% of the light is reflected up for the phase-detection autofocus sensor to use, and the rest passes through to the image sensor.
This allows the camera to take full advantage of phase-detection AF during Live View and video recording and also speeds up single capture capture time. The Nikon D7200 doesn’t offer continuous phase-detect AF during video recording, it relies on contrast-detect information only. The Canon 70D and 7D Mark II have continuous AF using phase-detection in Live View and video mode, but they are using a different technology with the phase-detection sensors being on the sensor. The Sony a6000 uses that same technology as well, but because the phase-detection is on the sensor, Sony was able to utilize even more advanced configuration with 179 phase-detect points, more than the A77. But let’s not forget that the a6000 is a mirrorless camera, and there is more space on the sensor for those phase-detect AF pixels.
Because the mirror is fixed in place and doesn’t flip up or down, there is no camera shake and you won’t notice any blackouts between shots. In DSLR cameras, when you shoot via the viewfinder, you’ll see a black screen the moment you press the shutter button, this is the moment the mirror is flipped up to let the light pass through to the sensor.
The A77 features a Sony-made 24.3MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor. This sensor uses gapless on-chip lens design promoting better image quality and higher sensitivity. The A77 II also features in-body image stabilization mechanism like the Pentax K-3 II. The built-in SteadyShot sensor-shift image stabilization works in 2-axis and helped minimize camera-shake blur. It works with any lens you attack to the camera.
Sony Alpha A77 II also enjoys a world breaking record of 79 phase-detection AF points autofocus system, 15 of them are cross-points located vertically at the center, center point is f/2.8). This AF sensor is also very sensitive down to -2EV, which means that it can focus under very dim lighting conditions.
This advanced AF system provides superb subject-tracking performance in for both stills and video recording. Sony also improved the autofocus algorithm from the a77 to make it more responsive and also an algorithm that takes subject movement continuity into account. Using this new algorithm, the AF sensor predicts the subject pathing and knows which area to continuously focus on. The camera can also lock-on the subject by analyzing its color and positioning in the scene. It can also capture a burst of 12 shots per second in full resolution and with AF tracking, but it’s limited to 60 frames in JPEG, pretty impressive considering the high resolution and the AF tracking performance.
Take a look at this super informative video by Gary Friedman that explains the A77 II focusing in-depth – Must Watch! (should I repeat it again )
Other AF options include Eye AF, AF Range Control (continuously focus on the subject even if another objects intersects with it), Expanded flexible Spot that make sure the AF system doesn’t loose focus on the subject if the AF point missed it, various focus area modes for different type of scenes and 5-step tracking adjustment that priorities stability or speed. The A77 II was designed to appeal to photographers who demand a professional AF performance without any compromises, and in this part at least, the A77 II is in its own class in terms of performance and features.
Other features include, among others: weather-resistant magnesium-alloy body (dust and moisture resistant), 2,359K-dots OLED True-Finder EVF, 3-inch three-way tilt and swivel 1228.8K-dots LCD display, built-in Flash, 150,000 shutter life, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, 1/8000 sec shutter speed (even in movies!), D-Range optimizer, picture effects, down to -2EV metering sensitivity, scene modes, advanced in-camera NR functions, advanced white balance settings, 1080p60 video recording, mic input and much more.
I’ll cover all the features in the comparison section. Sony put a lot of effort to make the A77 II a professional-grade photographic tool that should appeal to enthusiasts who can’t compromise on performance. You just don’t get to see those significant marginal improvements between each new model in other companies. This is why I admire Sony so much, it really pushes digital imaging innovation to the next level, and the A77 II is an excellent example of that.
A77 II vs D7200 vs a6000
OK, it’s time to move on. It’s easy to get very excited by looking at all the great bunch of features the A77 II offers, but how much all of those goodies cost?
- A77 II:
~$1500 (with the 16-50mm f/2.8 lens)
~$1500 (with the 18-140mm VR lens)
~$600 (with the 16-50mm Power Zoom lens)
* rounded up prices as of 5.5.2015 via amazon.com. Visit amazon.com for updated prices.
The a6000 is the cheapest among the three, it’s considerably cheaper than the other two. The D7200 is obviously a more direct competitor to the A77 II, as those two appeal to a different market segment than the a6000. The A77 II price dropped quite significantly since launch. It started with a suggested retail price of $1200. $900 is an excellent price for a camera like this, and this is one reason why so many photographers are debating whether to buy the A77 II instead of the D7200.
Sony now also have the A7, A7 II, A7R and A7 S – all are full frame interchangeable lens cameras. Keep in mind that only the A99 uses the Sony Alpha mount, the other full frame cameras are mirrorless cameras, not SLT cameras, that utilize the Sony E mount.Sony also released dedicated Full-frame E-mount lenses (“FE”) to match its FF mirrorless cameras. Just something that I think you should be aware, as you night want to go with the mirrorless path and buy a Sony full frame camera. It might tickles you when you see that the Sony a7 full frame mirrorless camera sells for around $1000 (as of the time of writing). The new version, the A7 II body sells for $1500. Just something to keep in mind if you ever thought about buying a FF camera instead of cropped-sensor camera.
OK, we are here to compare the A77 II vs D7200 and a6000, so let’s focus on that. Let’s see how the A77 II compares to these two other cameras!
|Sony a77 II||Nikon D7200||Sony a6000|
|Announced||May 1, 2014||March 2, 2015||February 12, 2014|
|Build Quality||Magnesium-alloy rear cover||Magnesium alloy top and rear, polycarbonate front-plate||Magnesium-alloy top and back plate, front polycarbonate|
|Weather Resistance||Dust and Moisture resistance|
(inc. sealing around main buttons and dials, double protection around openings)
|Weather-resistant and anti-dust capabilities Same as the D800 and D300S.||No|
|The a6000 is the only camera among the three that lacks weather-sealing.
Regarding the build quality, many sites report different things. I checked sony.net and it's written "Magnesium alloy rear cover". So it doesn't state that it's a full magnesium alloy body. So the a6000 and D7200 seems to be more durable in that respect as they have magnesium-alloy top and rear plates.
I also checked on store.sony.com and there is an image there showing only the rear being magnesium alloy.
|Shutter Life||150,000 cycles||150,000 cycles||?|
Has an OLPF
1.3x crop mode
Exmor APS HD CMOS
|Pixel Size||~3.92 microns||~3.92 microns||~3.92 microns|
Boost: up to 102400 (Black and White only)
51200 with Multi-frame NR
|All three cameras feature the same sensor size and the the same image output resolution. It's interesting to see how the three sensors perform considering roughly the same specs, let's take a look.
BTW, the Nikon D7200 sensor has higher dynamic range across the board according to DxOMark tests, around 1EV stop better (source).
|a77 II vs a6000:
First we want to see how the two Sony cameras are compared. I am using imaging resource comparometer tool to inspect the high ISO performance.
The A77 II high ISO performance isn't impressive to say at least. It holds on quite well up to ISO 1600. The a6000 performs only slightly better but I hold it to its image processing. From what I've understood, the A77 II uses the same sensor as the a6000. At ISO 6400 and up you notice no difference. Both cameras high ISO performance is virtually the same.
I wasn't that impressed with the high ISO performance, it's good up to ISO 1600 but falls from that point on, Let's see how the D7200 does?
a77 II vs D7200:
The Nikon D7200 did better. At ISO 3200 is looks cleaner, but at ISO 6400 there is a significant different in NR processing. The D7200 shows significant amount of chrome noise but still maintains good amount of details , the A77 II image suffer less from chrome noise but has much more aggressive NR which have a higher impact on small details. The bottle curves are no longer straight and bit jaggy and noise patterns are more like painted color than dots. I prefer how the D7200 handles noise.
Overall it's a small difference in my opinion, but I favor how the D7200 handles noise in JPEG. The D7200 does better, but not by a large margin. In my opinion, the A77 II JPEG noise reduction is just too high by default.
(Up: 150º; Down: 180º, Rotation angle:180º clockwise and 90º counterclockwise.)
|The a77II has the most flexible display among the three, also allowing selfie capture, but non of them have a touch-sensitive panel and therefore no touch-control operation.|
|AF System||79-point phase-detection AF points|
(15-point cross type, f/2.8 center)
Detection range: -2 to +18 EV
Phase-detection AF for video recording and Live View.
|Multi-CAM 3500 II|
51 point AF
f/8 supported by 1 sensor
Detection range: -3 to +19 EV
- 1.3x crop mode
Contrast-detection AF for video recording and Live View.
|179 points phase-detection AF
25 points contrast-detection AF
Detection Range: 0 to +20 EV
aka "Fast Hybrid AF"
|For video and live view both the a77 II and the a6000 will do better due to the phase-detection AF, especially when shooting fast moving subjects. The a6000 has more phase-detection points, but the a77 II features more advanced AF settings that can help you tweak it to handle various situations that might appose difficulties to the AF sensor. It also has f/2.8 center point and 15-point cross-type that should give it an advantage when shooting in dimmer lighting conditions.
The D7200 has better detection range and should provide the best AF performance under very limited lighting conditions. The a6000 has the lowest detection range among the three.
Also keep in mind that the D7200 has a 1.3x crop mode, which uses partial part of the sensor and affects the focal length, but at the same time the AF points cover almost the entire area of the frame, which greatly improves the subject tracking performance compared to the regular mode where there is more space that the AF system doesn't cover.
|AF Micro Adjustment||Yes||Yes||Yes, with LA-EA2 (optional)|
0.5 type OLED
0.71x magnification (35mm equiv.)
0.63x magnification (35mm equiv.)
0.39 type OLED
0.70 magnification (35mm equiv.)
|The a77 II seems like a superb choice for sports photographer. Having said that, I personally prefer shooting with an optical viewfinder and not EVF when shooting sports. The a77 II viewfinder is large and bright and has a very high resolution.
It is probably the best alternative to an optical viewfinder, and has its advantages in brightening up dark scenes and displaying ore information.
Some people like it, others prefer the optical option.
- extra fine: 53 images
- fine: 60 images
- standard: 64 images
- 26 images
7 fps in 1.3x crop
JPEG: 100 images
RAW: 18 images
JPEG: 49 images
RAW: 21 images
|Both the a6000 and a77 II have very fast burst. The D7200 has the largest buffer for JPEG bursts.
The a77 II should provide better AF performance in continuous shooting mode because of its translucent mirror technology. This makes it an excellent choice for sports photography and when shooting fast-moving subjects.
|Shutter Speed||30 - 1/8000 sec||30 - 1/8000 sec||30 - 1/8000 sec|
|Hot-shoe||Yes||Yes||Yes (via Multi Interface shoe)|
|Flash X Sync Speed||1/250 sec||1/250 sec||1/160 sec|
|Exposure Compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±3 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)||±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)||±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)|
Stereo sound (Dolby Digital AC-3)
|1080p60 (1.3x mode only)|
|Image Stabilization||in-camera (SteadyShot)||Lens-based||Lens-based|
|The a77 II is probably the best camera for shooting videos because of its fully articulated display, 1080p60 (not in crop mode like the D7200), Dolby digital sound, mic input and the use of in-camera stabilization that also works for video for non stabilized lenses. The A77 II lacks headpohone jack though, something that some videographers would love to have or must have. Also the high ISO performance isn't spectacular.
The A6000 hybrid AF also should give you better AF performance than the contrast-detect of the D7200 in video mode.
(highlight overexposed highlights)
|Wireless||Wi-Fi / NFC||Wi-Fi / NFC||Wi-Fi / NFC|
|480 shots||1110 shots||420 shots|
|The D7200 has significantly longer battery life than the other cameras.|
|Dimensions||143 x 104 x 81 mm (5.63 x 4.09 x 3.19″)||136 x 107 x 76 mm (5.35 x 4.21 x 2.99″)||120 x 67 x 45 mm (4.72 x 2.64 x 1.77″)|
I know it’s a bit hard taking all that information in. But by looking at each camera key features, you can start to understand what each camera does best. The Sony Alpha a77 II is an excellent camera. It a bit disappointed me with its high ISO performance and heavy noise reduction when shooting JPEG. That said, it has weather sealing, has tremendous amount of ways to tweak the AF to suite your needs. I love the vari-angle display, the large and bright high-res EVF, super fast burst speed, wireless connectivity, IBIS and 1080p60 video recording.
The a77 II is hard to beat. But if you put it against the D7200, you can see that the D7200 has better high ISO performance (*although see my notes above) and higher dynamic range, can focus better in low-light conditions, has the 1.3x crop mode that also promotes more precise focusing and can extend the range, it has an optical viewfinder, larger JPEG buffer and excellent battery life.
The a77 II is a more robust if you need more speed, flexible AF solutions and faster and more accurate AF during video recording or in Live View. It’s a tough call, I can understand that.
The a6000 is still very impressive considering its price. It offers excellent value, accompanied with very good all-around performance, but it can’t match the versatility and performance of the other two cameras. I think it’s a great cheaper alternative to the a77 II. In some areas it even can match the a77 II performance for general use, including its AF performance, burst speed and image quality which is identical to the a77. You get all that goodness in a very little package. The a6000 value is very hard to beat.
Some of you might prefer investing less money on the body and buy a better lens or even two more lenses. This can easily widen your creative options compared to if you buy the a77 with a single lens. You also need to consider the upgrade path if you ever want to upgrade to a Full Frame camera and lenses you plan to buy until then.
The decision isn’t easy, but I think that this comparison should make it easier for you to make up your mind. All the three are superb cameras, each one in its own right. Just make sure that you pick up the camera that best matches your particular shooting style so you won’t waste money on features that you won’t be taking advantage off.
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