Sony A77II ISO test
Thanks to the upgraded sensor and processor, the Sony A77II has a wider sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 25,600, where the Sony A77 maxed out at ISO 12,800. The lower end of the range can be extended to ISO 50, but you can also now opt for ISO 64 and ISO 80 extended settings.
A word on my testing procedure
I won’t be discussing in camera noise reduction here. Instead, a captured all these images as RAW and converted them to jpg without NR using Image Converter.
At 100% crop, Iso starts being visible at around ISO 320 but remains well under control up to 1600. I feel that the A6000 did a little bit better here, although the A77II’s overall experience feels much more professional.
ISO Auto covers a range from 50 to 3200, non-adjustable unfortunately in Auto and Scene mode, but possible in P, A, S, M and video. Most RAW photographers will prefer setting max ISO at 1600, as the noise is clearly visible at 3200 and starts deteriorating clarity, edges and colours. With good noise reduction software, however, these Sony A77II’s images at ISO 3200 are still quite usable if you’re not obsessed with totally clean pictures.
Sony A77II ISO settings on day 2
After my experience yesterday with Auto mode and my little studio ISO test, I tried out P, A, S and M on the Sony A77II today. You can change Auto ISO in these modes (not in iAuto mode), so I did, to 100-800. I decided to try two other lenses too, the Sony 20mm F/2.8 and the Sony/Zeiss 50mm 1.4.
These are all street photography shots, so everything has to go fast. The Sony 70-300G is great (and affordable) for this, but at 300mm it’s min F/5.6, so ISO steps up quickly to maintain a fast shutter speed. Noise is visible from ISO 320 upwards at 100% crop, although, for everyday shots, it doesn’t bother me that much personally. Not comparable to the performance of the Sony A7, of course. But then again the Sony A77II has superior autofocus. Useable for sports and action shots with a fast zoom.
Talking of action shots, there is a dedicated fast continuous shooting mode (marked 12 on the mode dial for obvious reasons), optimised for this type of photography. It does work well, although some minor tweaks to the AF settings are needed to get the best results I noticed today (changing the flexible spot points to 15).
You notice that this is a 2nd generation camera, all functions are at your fingertips, and once you get used to changing everything on-the-fly. I’m currently leaning towards the opinion that the Sony A77II is a fantastic camera in regards to functionality and operation, but lacks a bit in ISO performance. But one always expects the best from a new purchase, and it sometimes takes a while (and some real experience) to r appreciate it. For now, I’m euphoric I still have an A7 too…