Sony A77 – No moire but HDMI output not full HD?

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Sony A77 HDMI

In a chat with a very helpful Sony gent in the UK I asked whether the HDMI output stays on during recording on the A77.

His answer is rather surprising:

The A77 does not output full HD 1080p during live view. Only when record is activated does the full resolution get output.

Now there is always a chance this Sony chap might be wrong. The camera was hooked up to a Sony Bravia during the talk and there was a lot of shooting info cluttering the screen but the feed didn’t seem to change resolution when record was hit – instead a black box appeared for a few second saying that recording was starting – but  the video feed then didn’t become full screen and all the display info was still visible including AF points. I am sure the shooting info can be disabled somehow for a clean HDMI feed to external recorders and monitors but we have no evidence of that yet.

It’s not clear why this is or whether HDMI is uncompressed or 4-2-2 8bit, 10bit, etc.

If resolution does actually change between live view and record mode some monitors and EVFs might blank out when record is hit like with the Canon 600D so this may be an issue with the A77.

He also claims that moire, aliasing and rolling shutter have been solved and should not be a problem.

The other current issue is the lack of audio control. Sony want people to choose the VG20 for monitoring via HDMI and manual audio control it seems, though the situation is much better than before – at least now we have the essential basics and I still recommend the new Sony cameras for aspiring filmmakers.

Firmware update anyone?

Update: Sony also say the overheating issues of the A55 in video mode have been diminished and were caused by the movement of SteadyShot inside. With the A77 SteadyShot is electronic rather than sensor shift.

Good to see Sony taking the time to talk openly like this and thanks to Paul for answering out questions.


About Author

British filmmaker and editor of EOSHD, Andrew works in Berlin on his own self funded filmmaking and video projects.

40 Comments

  1. It’s a good chat. They demonstrated HDMI, didn’t seem to change resolution during live view and recording but the screen was cluttered with all kind of info and black border.

  2. How odd to have the HDMI 1080p during recording but not during live view! I suppose you may still be able to use an external recorder though, but not if you can’t clear the screen. Hmm we’ll have to wait and see…

  3. I think this Sony guy was a bit mixed up because later in the chat when he showed it on the TV it didn’t change res between LV and rec mode… Let’s wait and see with this one… Be nice to get rid of all the on-screen crap though!

  4. i wont believe that the moire, aliasing, and rolling shutter are solved until i see a thorough test, your title is misleading.

  5. I am sure there is still some rolling shutter, I am more interested in to what degree. With fast enough moving objects it is easy to make it look worse than it is. An improvement on the GH2 would be a good start. Rolling shutter is not the height of my issues really.

    Also Engadget have a pre-production model. Let’s wait for confirmation on this, it’s certainly no deal breaker!

  6. I agree I’m more interested in video resolution. I wonder why some reviews sites posted hundreds of pics comparisons but not even a single video clip!

  7. I wouldn’t base any opinion on the engadget video. I think that Sony is more than capable of limiting the Moire, Aliasing and RS problems to acceptable levels. Just looking at the rest of their product line suggests that they have the ability to do this. HX9 video looks pretty good and that’s at the bottom of the acceptable range. I”m looking forward to more tests in the future.

  8. if you want movie mode, get a camcorder. The companies will not ruin the sales of camcorders, Also to properly equip this for vid it would send price skyrocketing

    No Canon new model for a year yet

  9. True… HX9 has a good image, and remember that is also scaled from a very high resolution chip (16MP) even though it’s a compact.

  10. Hi Andrew,
    unfortunately there is aliasing, even color moiré with the VG20 (and therefore probably also with the other cameras as they use the same processor). You can download an original MTS-file here:
    http://www.aktiv-verlag.com/~webvideos/testvideos/2011/sony/SONY_NEX_VG_20_Vorserie.MTS
    At the very end of the video you can see at the top of the video a board with text. The small fonts of this text have very strong color moiré, unfortunately!!! I’m not shure if Sony did it deliberately for differentation of their consumer cameras to the FS100, or if they just didn’t care about aliasing when developing the camera. So the GH2 is the only camera right now without Aliasing and Moiré…

  11. thanks for those. though neither of the samples that dpreview posted were situations that would cause moire or rolling shutter. and they blocked downloads of the original files, so it’s hard to really pass judgement on quality with so many compression artifacts.

  12. oh yes I do. Place yourself in the position of Canon executives. Speak to them as I have. I own a 5D and own a little production company. I have a full time professional director. We have speoken about this many time

    The companies will not give video capability as in a vid camera as it will be expensive and will have the costs knocked on to the consumer. Given DSLRs are about entering the video market cheaply, this defeats the purpose of it

    It is not the job of the companies to supply, with intent, a cheap video capable DSLR, when they have cheap dedicated vid cameras. No economic sense to it Those of us that use DSLR will have to put up with it

    There will be no new 5d for a year, and no new DH2 for 2 years

  13. this is definitely better than the a77 samples ive just seen now from dpreview. the a77 looks worse than canon, no kidding! It’s so soft! and the interlaced ones (watched deinterlaced of course) have the worst moiré ever.
    This means that Canon will do the same thing, since they’ll continue the megapixels war they’ll release the new cameras with AT LEAST 24mp and will result basically how the current canon line considering the NEW amount of data to work with. There must be a reason if the didn’t use those big sensors with high end camcorders like the fs100 ! The vg-20 is a camcorder and they put this useless 16mp sensor to get a worse resolution, they do it on purpose.

  14. well, if that is the case we are better of with the GH2

    It is fair to say Sony would not develop the recently available new product, the FS100, to threaten it’s sales with a cheaper product, the VG20

    Pity really, I was hoping the VG20 would be better than you claim, but I guess i should have realized

  15. Andrew, I have to agree with amband. We have been at this HDSLR thing for a few years now and it’s pretty much the same old story. The gh2 is amazing for what it is,and is almost a miracle.

    The good thing is that the feature set on small chip camcorders under $3000 right now is amazing. The VG-20 is a toy compared to an XA10. There are so many features an $1800 HMC40 has that is completely lacking in an HDSLR.

    I don’t agree that properly equipping it would send the price sky rocketing for the manufacturer at least.The previously mentioned camcorders being my best proof of this. These corporations are doing this to maximize profits. Plain and simple. See the example of the broken up canon line. So there is some sense in amband’s statement. As for a 5D replacement no one knows when that will come. In other words the imho the somewhat overpriced FS100 and AF100 should show us all what these companies are clearly thinking.

    For video DSLR’s area one trick pony, and will stay that way for awhile(except the GH2).

  16. im going to guess that when all is said and done, concerning image quality, these new cameras will end up below the gh2, and right alongside the canons. im also going to guess that when the gh3 does come out, it will be better than the gh2 in the stills department, but not in video. the reason im thinking this is because panny and the industry dont want the gh2 around much longer because of its capabilities for the price, look at the zacuto shootout, its been proven that panasonic said not to include it but to include the af100, because thats the camera they want you to buy. those of us with gh2’s are lucky to have them, because it seems like the “dslr revolution” is over, and we are about to see companies leave us with the only option of either large chip camcorders with poor performance or good performers at a high price.

  17. My eyes tell me all I need to know about DSLRs. No charts or specs can compete with my own eyes. That I am still using them and not an FS100 says a lot!

    You guys are in a minority.

  18. Seems the Sony man told us a few porky pies.

    If Sony themselves are telling filmmakers and blogs complete bullshit it is no wonder people are disappointed when the cameras eventually drop into their hands.

    It is not quite the end of the world some seem to think it is though!

  19. What a lousy clip can’t tell anything! I really do wish Sony would get their new cameras in the right hands for a change at least to avoid this kind of thing – 30 second long static shots of fake flowers.

  20. I agree with you I am in the minority as far as DigiCine is concerned. I am not nor will ever say DSLR’s are not usable for some applications, as I am an extreme early adopter. I just still feel that DSLR’s are a stopgap solution. Eventually when the economics serve these corporations, we will have products that reflect the true convergence that we are all currently experiencing. Red’s concept is the closest to what I would like. The FS100 takes a good shot but is too pricey. If the A77 was adaptable to more lenses it would be enough for me to switch as other than some pro features(waveform/XLR’s/HDMI out)it hits closest to what I would need in my day to day work. Also image control on most video cameras are still far more flexible than DSLRs period. I don’t care what film makes it into Sundance shot on a $600 rebel. People are going through a lot of hoops with DSLR’s, and due to economics they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So Andrew I am not really disagreeing with you. They look awesome and tons of people will use them. I am just saying that DSLR’s will only advance with slight increments and always lag behind prosumer camcorders on feature-sets.

    Basically I am over using DSLR’s. I honestly never thought I would say this two years ago. I was so done with 35mm adapters 3 years ago so I now feel about the same.

  21. As a concept a video DSLR is not a stop gap solution, look at what it really is…

    – Hybrid stills / video camera
    – Mass market
    – Small

    That is not a stop gap in fact to me it looks very much like the future.

  22. a minority? Can your own eyes figure out why a 5D has 12 minute video?
    ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” lousy audio?
    ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” has too heavy DOF and is a focus puller’s nightmare and why it overheats?

    Remember, I own and use a 5D used under the supervision of a professional director for TV production. It is a still camera with a video as an afterthought

    50% of your vid is audio. They all have lousy audio in the DSLR range. Technically, I suppose the GH2 is not a DSLR, but whatever it is, it is the better of the lot as Pana have not treated the vid as an afterthought. It’s 14-140 lens, the equivalent to 35mm DSLR 28-280 is optimized for vid, but it still is not a camcorder

    Buy the time you equip a DSLR with all the aftermarket stuff to mimic a shoulder held camcorder, it is more expensive than an FS100 on tripod, which has built in dedicated audio

    The new Sony A77 from what I see is a great still camera. 12fps great for sports shooting still, but is it a better still camera than a 5D or 7D or nikon? Nope! Does it have video optimized features of a GH2? Nope, not that I know of

    So I will relegate my 5D to wide shots and for shallow DOF when required and use 2 GH2s for general video, and I will rent pro camcorders as the need arises. I, m not a fan boy I have Macs & PCs but admit to preferring mac ) . I use what works for the job on the day, but a couple of GH2s will frequently come in handy, and they are cheap to purchase

    The whole idea of the 25mm DSLR ” revolution ” is about getting into video production cheaply, for those who can’t afford the real pro camcorder kits. It ain’t all beer & skittles to coin a phrase, and is frought will technical difficulties

    Anyone using DSLR who wishing to make a living will, when they can afford to do so, convert to the camcorders

  23. it is indeed for the mass market video. The mass market video is amateur taking holidays vids

    The companies will go for them as they are in their millions. However, they will never be used in heavy commercial applications, and yes, we all know about the ” House ” episodes

    Jonathan makes a good point re ” stopgap” for the budding pro.

  24. 16 mp is fine for vid. The reason the 5D overheats is due to it’s high 21.1 mp working with both vid & still. It’s under strain. The DH2 is only 18mp, it could and perhaps should be lower, and this means there is more than enough mp for vid. Please remember, the GH2 is optimized for vid, hence the lower mp, and it won’t overheat over 30 minutes continuous use unhacked, stock standard. It’s still photos are not the quality of 5D, but there is the trade off

    High mps are for stills. Lower mps for vid

    So the next 5D should ideally have between 12-18 mp and better audio to compete with GH2

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