Sony A77 vs Nikon D7000 – Camera Side by Side Comparison

September 13, 2011

Sony A77 vs Nikon D7000

When we take a closer look at both the Sony A77 and Nikon D7000, we can’t overlook why so many people compare this two cameras one versus the other. Both are among the most awaited cameras targeted towards the enthusiast photographer’s crowed. The A77 costs approximately $250 more than the D7000, but we can expect the price to drop in the following months and be around the same as the D7000.  Both cameras has their strengths and weaknesses as we’ll soon see. The Sony SLT-A77 certainly grabbed a lot of attention, not just because it’s new and got a large media coverage, but because it packed with a lot of features that every enthusiast photographer can dream of. The fact that it utilizes the Translucent-Mirror technology, that by itself allows the camera to boost it performance in several ways. One of the is the 12 fps continuous shooting, which doubles the 6fps burst rate of the D7000. In this side-by-side comparison review I want to take a closer look at both cameras and help you out making a buying decision. Let’s start!

Before we start comparing the two cameras side-by-side, let’s read a short introduction about each camera and we’ll continue discussing the differences from there.

Sony SLT-A77

The Sony A77 (α77) replaced the A700. Sony has decided to upgrade the A700 to include a translucent-mirror, in order for the camera to carry enhanced features that couldn’t be achieved otherwise, at least not in that price segment. One of the most noticeable change is the existence of a brand new 24-megapixel Exmor APS-C HD CMOS sensor. It’s not that this camera had to have such a high-megapixel resolution, but I assume that Sony understood that their is a large demand for a mid-range DSLR camera with a higher resolution. This is a new sensor that was designed specifically for high-quality image output and high-ISO performance. We can find the same sensor in Sony’s latest mirrorless camera, the Sony NEX-7.

Sony A77

Sony A77

The A77 features a 12 fps continuous shooting using the camera’s highest resolution (*when the exposure and focus are locked). This is one reason why Sony has decided to use a Translucent-Mirror technology, so it can provide a high burst rate. 12 fps at 24.3MP resolution is really a high achievement, which doesn’t exist in any other APS-C camera to date. Certainly a dream come true for sports photographers who needs this high speed for action shots.

More than that, the camera now features unique articulating 3-inch 921K-dots LCD that utilize an articulating arm that can cause the screen to face forward towards the front of the camera. Great for group and self-shots as well.

The Sony A77 also features the best Electronic Viewfinders on the market these days. It’s the first camera that comes with an OLED 2359L-dot (XGA) viewfinder with 100% frame coverage. Many people were put off buying SLT cameras due to the low-resolution of the EVF. This is now an issue of the past, and you no longer need to worry about that. You’ll get the same viewing experience as if you use an optical viewfinder.


The next evolutionary feature comes in the form of Full HD 1080p60 video recording. Before that, all previous models could only capture interlaced scan videos at this high frame-rate. Now the A77 allow videographers to capture movies with both fields for each frame in a progressive scan mode, also called 60p. The camera also allows videographers to capture videos at 60i (interlaced scan) and 24p (cinematic progressive 24 frames per second). The camera takes advantage of the AVCHD Progressive Version 2.0 to achieve this.

More than that, the A77 has the SteadyShot Inside, a built-in sensor-shift image stabilization mechanism that stabilize the image for every lenses that you attach to the camera.


Nikon D7000

What can we say that not already been said on the Nikon D7000. This is among the most popular Nikon DSLR cameras out there. A camera that doesn’t limit the creativity of the photographer, but serves as the perfect tool for coming home with gorgeous photographers. The D7000 was announced on September 15, 2010. It’s not the newest DSLR on the street, but it still have time until we see its replacement.

Nikon D7000

Nikon D7000

The Nikon D7000 has a 16.2-megapixel (effective) CMOS sensor that has proved to be one hack of a good sensor with its low-light performance. As the Nikon D90, the D7000 will always be remembers as a classic camera, a DSLR camera that stood above the rest when it comes to features and performance. Some people may argue whether it would be wise to upgrade from the D90 to the D7000, but for those who know how to take advantage of the upgraded features, it’s not even a question. The D7000 features a more accurate and fast AF system, 100% coverage optical viewfinder, 1/8000 sec max. shutter speed (twice if the D90), faster 6 fps burst, 1080p video recording and new look and better build quality.


The battery life has also been improved as well, allowing 1050 shots to be taken on a fully charged battery (compared to 850 shots with the D90).  It’s not a revolutionary camera, but it doesn’t have to be. For many photographers, this is the camera to buy this year.  The image quality is great, the handling and performance is top notch. Overall a great camera that even that it was announced a year ago, it certainly a camera to consider buying today – and the price is lower than before.


Side by Side Comparison

By looking at the specs, we can see why the Sony Alpha SLT-A77 looks so attractive. Considering its initial price and features, it seems like one of the top contenders for the best enthusiast camera out there. Some people raised an eye-brow regarding the sensor resolution. It’s quite high when you come to think of it, and the sensor is still the same APS-C sensor size. we aren’t dealing with a full-frame DSLR here. Luckily we didn’t need to wait too long to see the high-ISO performance of the A77. The high ISO performance is very good considering the resolution of the sensor, but that just make us wonder how good it could have been if Sony opted for a lower resolution. The A77 won’t give you the same low-light performance as in the Sony NEX-5N, which is among the best out there. However, it’s not always about high-ISO performance, but about other unique features that makes one camera become an all-around winner in its category.

In this section I want to compare the Sony A77 versus Nikon D7000 side by side. As we compare the specs you can get a nice overview of the key differences between those two cameras. This comparison can really help you understand the cons and pros of each camera when compared one versus the other. Of course in the next section we’ll talk about image quality. but right now, let’s stay focused on the dry textual specs only. After that, we’ll analyze the differences and get into details about the difference in image quality, if there is any difference.

Feature Nikon D7000 Sony A77 Notes

Announced September 15, 2010 August 24, 2011 A77 newer

Sensor 16.2-megapixel
(23.6 x 15.7 mm)
(23.6 x 15.6 mm)
A77 much higher

Image Stabilization
(only through the lens)
A77 comes with built in IS
that works with every lens
to stabilize image and reduce blur.

ISO 100-6400
boost: up to 25,600Hi-1 (ISO 12,800)
Hi-2 (ISO 25,600)
boost: ISO 50
 Nikon D7000 offers higher ISO sensitivity. The A77 restricted probably due to its high megapixel sensor (just an assumption)

Raw Yes Yes

Focus Points 39 19 D7000 more focus points. Great for tracking moving subjects across the frame. Should give the D7000 an advantage for fast action photography.

LCD 3-inch
A77 has the edge with its fully articulating screen which tilt up 150 degrees and down 180 degrees, and it can rotate 180 degrees clockwise and 90 degrees counterclockwise. None of them have a touch-screen.
Viewfinder Optical Viewfinder
Coverage: 100%
Magnification: 0.95x
Coverage: 100%
Magnification: 1.1×
As I read on the web and from people who try both, there isn’t any real difference between Sony’s latest OLED EVF and an optical EVF in terms of quality. The EVF has an advantage because it allows you to see more info on the screen and give you a clear view of how the image looks (ex. how white balance effects the image) before you push the shutter button.

Max. shutter speed 1/8000 sec 1/8000 sec

Built-in Flash Yes (12m) Yes (12m)

Continuous Shooting (max. at full res) 6 fps 12 fps Certainly a huge advantage to the A77 with 12 fps vs 6 fps. That certainly opens a wide range of possibilities for fast-action sports photographers. This feature by itself can attract many new customers.

Exposure Compensation ±5 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps) ±5 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)

AE Bracketing ±5 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps) With 1/3EV, 1/2EV, 2/3EV, 2.0EV, 3.0EV increments, 3 /5frames (2.0EV, 3.0EV : only 3frames) selectable

(max. res)
+ sound options

Sound: Mono

Notes: Optional external stereo mono-pin jack 3.5mm

1080p24Sound: Stereo (AC-3)Notes: Optional external stereo mono-pin jack 3.5mm
SLT-A77 offers more frame-rate selection. D7000 only 24p though. The A77 records videos with stereo sound, compared to mono on the D7000. Both offers 3.5mm jack to connect external stereo mic.

Memory Card SD/SDHC/SDXC

Dual-card slot

SD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo

Single-card slot

Advantage for the Nikon D7000 which has dual-card slot (“backup”, “overflow”, “JPEG+RAW”)

Weather Resistant body Yes Yes

Battery Life
1050 shots 530 shots D7000 much better battery life, actually twice the the frames on a fully charged battery!

(inc. battery and card)
780 g 732 g D7000 heavier just a bit.

Camera Size 132 x 105 x 77 mm (5.2 x 4.13 x 3.03″) 143 x 104 x 81 mm (5.63 x 4.09 x 3.19″) A77 a bit larger
(optional as an external accessory)
A77 comes with a GPS!

Awards 2011 Awards TIPA – Best DSLR Advanced

EISA Award – Best Product 2011-2012 – Advanced SLR Camera

None yet

(body only via


the above Nikon D7000 vs Sony A77 feature comparison table gives us a clear view about the differences between those two digital SLR cameras. We can see that the Nikon D7000 wins when it comes to battery life (twice the power), more AF points, dual memory-card slot and higher ISO top range. The Sony A77 on the other hand certainly have some advantages over the D7000, which includes: the articulating screen, twice the fps in continuous shooting, built-in GPS, more frame-rate video shooting selection and higher resolution.

Some people will be attracted to the Nikon not only because of the above pros that I’ve mentioned, but because of the Nikkor lens range. When photographers go out and choose a DSLR, they don’t just look at the camera body alone. It’s important not to forget about the accessories and selection and availability of interchangeable lenses. Right now Nikon has certainly has better availability of lenses in many countries, but Sony do offers a very nice selection in the A-mount lens lineup. That includes the ultra-fine high quality G-lenses and Carl-Zeiss brand lenses. However, in some countries not all lenses are available. It’s a good practice to search the web for the availability of some lenses in your country, just to be sure.

Some of the high quality A-mount lens includes the 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM lens, Carl-Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8 ZA SSM Vario-Sonnar T* lens, Carl-Zeiss 85mm F1.4 ZA Planar T* lens and Sony E30mm F3.5 macro lens.  No doubt that Sony accelerated its interchangeable lens selection in the past few years, and it’s no longer and issue of lens selection. Most of us will be just fine with two or three lenses max.


Image Quality – High ISO

Right now we still don’t have a many reviews and sample images taken with the A77. Luckily has already taken some sample images with the Sony SLT-A77 and uploaded them to the site. We can now view and compare the image quality of both the A77 and D7000 side by side using the Image comparison tool on the site.

* Important notice: the image of the A77 on were shot with a pre-production prototype of the A77. The image in the final version might produce images better than the one presented on that site.

When it comes to colors in JPEG, the A77 produces warmer and more saturated photos, that’s quite clear when you compare the test shots side by side.  I was eager to see how both cameras compare in high-ISO, so I jumped straight to ISO 800 and climbed up the scale while comparing the two cameras side by side. So which one is better? – Let’s see..

  • ISO 800 – The D7000 and A77 both have the same amount of noise, very little. Although it’s quite obvious that the A77 uses a stronger NR algorithms. Even with its resolution advantage, when you look at 100% scale photos, the D7000 was able to maintain the fine details better than the A77. BUT, the A77 certainly can extract finer details that the D7000 just can’t (see the green shirt). I was looking at the hair of the woman doll and could see that there are more details on the D7000 than on the A77. Check the comparison here and see for yourself.
  • ISO 1600 – Details start to look not so great on the A77.  When you look at 100% scale images of the A77 you can see that the noise has a smudges patterns to it, not like the grainy noise on the D7000.  I prefer the D7000 performance because it lets me get read of the noise better with noise reduction software. On the other hand, when the advantage of resolution of the A77 is clearly a winner here. When you look at the shirt you can see the texture better on the A77 than on the D7000. In fact, I think that the A77 does a better job in the fine details where there is a good contrast / separation in the colors. That’s the reason why it does a better job with the green shirt with the fine texture than in the doll’s hair.
  • ISO 3200 – Noise is certainly kicks in hard on the A77. Some color noise patterns are evident on the A77 image. The Nikon D7000 photo suffers less from color noise patterns. The D7000 has a bit less noise, considering the stronger NR on the A77. Considering the A77 resolution, the performance is very good I must admit.
  • ISO 6400 – Think that in this sensitivity, things are more in favor of the D7000. The hair on the A77 looks smudgy and many of the fine details are no longer there. The D7000 on the other hand was able to maintain a lot of details, even at this high-ISO. The A77 photo looks like it was passed through a Photoshop paint filter. The D7000 photo looks much better. In this ISO we can see where the A77 resolution hurts the sensor’s ability to perform well, while the D7000 continues to show its strength. Great performance on the D7000!
  • ISO 12,800 – now for there extreme ISO sensitivity levels. This is probably a limit for today’s APS-C DSLR cameras. If you want to shoot at ISO12800 and get out with usable images, you should probably consider a Nikon D3s or a full frame DSLR in general. The D7000 start showing color noise patterns everywhere (yellowish ones).  The Sony A77 photo looks like a big mass.  I must give this one to the D7000 that even with the yellow patches all over, the details are still well preserved. That just shows us how good the Nikon D7000 is, a really great achievement for the D7000!

Again, consider the fact that the images taken with a pre-production model of the A77. However, I can’t see a big improvement even with the final model. Even with 15% improvement, we can clearly see that the high resolution of the A77 limit it from capturing high-quality photos at high-ISO sensitivity. We already seen the performance of the Sony NEX-5N. It means that the sensor technology is really good, but with fewer pixels the A77 wold be a beast.  Don’t get me wrong, the A77 high-ISO image quality is good, but not great.

Many enthusiast and pro photographers will probably shoot most of their images at a maximum ISO of 3200. That’s where the A77 performance is very good. The Nikon D7000 is a clear winner here. If the resolution matters more than the high-ISO performance, the A77 is a very good choice. Just for the comparison sake, I took a look at a Canon EOS 60D test image at ISO 12800. The D7000 puts the 60D to shame and considering the resolution advantage of the A77, the A77 does a pretty good job.



Choosing between the Sony SLT-A77 and the Nikon D7000 is not easy. However, both cameras defer in a few ways that can help us make up our final buying decision. In favor of the A77 is the in-camera GPS (for those who really need it), Higher resolution, articulating LCD, 12 fps burst, in-camera image stabilization and 1080p60 (progressive scan) video recording. The D7000 performs better in the higher ISO range, has much better battery life, has dual memory card slot and more AF points. I recommend going over the comparison table again just to be sure that you understand the differences between them. No doubt that the Sony A77 pose a great threat for the current enthusiast camera models on the market. The 12fps and articulating screen will cause some photographers to get the A77 over the D7000.

However, don’t forget to consider lens availability. In some countries oyu won’t find a large range of A-mount lenses, but Nikon lenses you can find almost anywhere. I hope that this article helped you understanding the differences between those two cameras. Both are highly-recommended mid-range cameras and are great performers. I don’t think that you can go wrong picking any of those two. Choose a camera that you know that can help you fulfill your goals as a photographer. If you enjoy reading this article, please do share it with your friends. Thanks and see you soon..


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