Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Detailed Comparison

In this article, we take a look at two semi-pro cameras that are, to a very decent extent, closely matched. And just to be clear, this is the Sony Alpha a77 vs Nikon D7100 comparison.



Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100
What Camera
Get the Sony Alpha a77 now!Get the Nikon D7100 now!

The general feel of this article is comparison, as the title already suggests. So, we’ll be comparing everything; the specs, the good points, the not so good points and even other people’s opinions. We aim to help you find out which camera better suits your specific needs.

However, because you might be in a bit of a hurry and need to make a quick decision, we’ve decided to include the comparison overview and comparison table sections. These two sections contain the ideas of this article in bite sizes so that you can make that quick decision you need to and still be right.

Nonetheless, we implore you to read through the entire article in order to get as full a data base as you can. We also suggest that you check out some other Sony-Nikon reviews, like the Sony a68 vs Nikon D7000, for a wider frame of reference.

Table of Contents

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Comparison Overview

Here’s a quick rundown of the basic ideas in this review

Overall Review Of The Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100

It is our opinion that as it concerns the quality of photos and videos, both cameras are evenly matched. However, they do differ in certain other factors that are there to make your shooting experience more enjoyable. Whatever the differences, though, we do consider both cameras really good semi-pro cameras.

Rating Of The Features Of The Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100

The first thing we need to point out is that while both cameras are DSLRs, the Sony Alpha a77 has an electronic viewfinder while the Nikon D7100 has an optical viewfinder. Furthermore, both cameras weigh enough that they could be regarded as heavy cameras in certain circles.

Still on the features they share in common, both cameras have an impressive 24 megapixel sensor resolution and a 1920 by 1080 video resolution. They both also have a microphone port and are weather sealed.

However as we said earlier, the differences between these cameras either do not directly affect the quality of output or are so small they are almost insignificant.

For one, the Sony a77 has an in body image stabilization feature while the Nikon D7100 doesn’t. And while this is very important, we have to remember that there is a remedy for this as the Nikon D7100 has a number of optical stabilization lenses.

Some other interesting features which the Sony a77 has include a tilting screen, an inbuilt GPS feature and a continuous shooting rate which is twice the 6 frames per second the Nikon D7100 offers.

The Nikon D7100, on the other hand, has the better battery life (950 shots as against 470), more than one storage slot, a better low light ISO (1256 as against 801) and more focus points (51 as against 19). So, you can see what we meant.

Price/Value Ratio – Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100

In our opinion, the Nikon D7100 is a pretty affordable camera, especially considering the features it offers. On the other hand, the Sony Alpha a77 is pretty expensive. We do not deny or cannot dumb down the impressive features it offers but for that price?

About The Brands

Sony

The Sony brand is pretty popular for its entertainment arm. However, its camera producing arm also has a decent following. In fact, it is probably the most popular producer of cameras, after Nikon and Canon that is.

Sony cameras are known to have a really impressive sensor resolution and a not very impressive battery life.

Nikon

Nikon, as we earlier pointed out, is one of the most popular producers of cameras in the world. It has been in the business of producing cameras since 1948. This is why Nikon cameras will offer you a wider selection of spare parts and lenses than Sony cameras will.

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Comparison Table

 

Sony Alpha a77

Nikon D7100

Weight 1.6 pounds 1.7 pounds
Dimensions 5.6 by 4.1 by 3.2 inches 5.4 by 4.2 by 3 inches
Viewfinder Electronic Optical
Screen Resolution 921k dots 1229k dots
Screen Size 3 inches 3.2 inches
Articulating Screen Yes No
Image Stabilization Yes No
Continuous Shooting 12 frames per second 6 frames per second
Battery Life 470 shots per charge 950 shots per charge
Headphone Port No Yes
Number of Storage Slots 1 2
ISO Range 50 to 16000 and can be expanded to 25600 100 to 6400 and can be expanded to 50 to 25600

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – A Comparison Video



Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100
What Camera
Get the Sony Alpha a77 now!Get the Nikon D7100 now!

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Which Is Better For What?

Sony Alpha a77

Nikon D7100

This camera has twice the continuous shooting rate of the Nikon D7100. And as a result, it is the better camera for the kind of photography where speed is required including wildlife and sports photography. The Nikon D7100, on the other hand, has a longer battery life. So, if you don’t want to pack too many extra batteries with you, consider getting this one.
Also, this camera has an articulating screen. So, if you’ll be doing a lot of shooting and recording by yourself or you’ll be taking a lot of overhead shots, consider getting this camera. Also, it is definitely worthy of mention that this camera is a lot more affordable than the Sony Alpha a77. You’ll be getting a good number of the features that the Sony Alpha a77 has and then some for a lot less.


Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100
What Camera
Get the Sony Alpha a77 now!Get the Nikon D7100 now!

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Common Features

In this section, we get to see how similar the Sony Alpha a77 and the Nikon D7100 are. This is why we have put together the features that you are sure to find in both cameras. Note though, that while some of these features will be exactly the same, some of them will be slightly different.

1. Viewfinder

Both the Sony Alpha a77 and the Nikon D7100 have a viewfinder and we are happy about this. Why? Not all mirrorless cameras actually have a viewfinder.

Some of the mirrorless cameras that do not have one come with an external port to which you can attach an external viewfinder. Others do not have any provision for that. So, you’ll have to make do with the LCD screen.

That said, there are basically two kinds of viewfinders; the optical kind (which you’ll usually find with a DSLR) and the electronic kind (which you’ll usually find with a mirrorless camera).

The optical viewfinder which is usually found in DSLRs works kinda like a window. That is, when you look through an optical viewfinder, it is basically like through a window; the images are not altered in anyway.

While this is a nice idea as the optical viewfinder responds really fast and doesn’t use a lot of battery, it doesn’t offer a really good representation of what your camera sees, seeing as your camera sees digitally.

On the other hand, an electronic viewfinder is basically a miniature LCD screen. So, the images that you see on the screen are digital and a really close representation of what your camera sees. However, this viewfinder doesn’t have as quick a response time as the optical viewfinder and it also uses up a bit of battery power.

Now, the interesting thing is, while both cameras in this review are DSLRs, the Sony Alpha a77 actually uses an electronic viewfinder instead of an optical one. Only Sony seems to have been able to crack the code and combine the use of mirror with an electronic viewfinder. More on how the mirror thing works later.

2. Sensor Resolution

The sensor resolution is really concerned with the after effects of the photos shot. That is, if your camera has a really impressive sensor resolution (which is measured in megabits), you have more room to edit the photos. Allow us explain.

Both cameras have a 24 megapixel sensor resolution and as a result, you’ll have a good number of details. This way, even when you crop your photos, you do not lose so much details and you still have really impressive photos.

An impressive sensor resolution like both these cameras have also allows you print large photos without losing the details too.

3. Flash

If you’ve ever tried taken a picture before (and you probably have with this selfie craze that doesn’t seem to end), you’ll have come to appreciate the role of the right lighting to taking the right picture. But then again, you’d probably also agree with us that lighting isn’t something you always have control over.

This is why certain cameras like the Sony Alpha a77 and the Nikon D7100 have an inbuilt flash. The inbuilt flash is meant to be a quick fix for bad lighting. So, if the flash is on and you take a picture, there is a quick burst of light that brightens up the space.

Now, while we like the inbuilt light for its availability, we cannot get over the fact that it isn’t as impressive as an external flash. Thankfully, both cameras have an external shoe to which you can attach an external flash. The external flash is generally a better light source and has a longer and wider reach than the inbuilt flash.

4. Auto Exposure Bracketing

A camera’s exposure is what determines the brightness of a photo and it is determined by a combination of the ISO, aperture and shutter speed. So, different combinations of these three factors in varying degrees will give different degrees of brightness to the photos you take.

To get a particular kind of exposure, you’ll have to manually set these three different features. However, if your camera has the Auto Exposure Bracketing feature, it can automatically select and exposure for you.

What it usually does is select about 3 different exposures for the same photo. You can then decide which exposure works for you and keep it. Aside this, the Auto Exposure bracketing feature will also come in handy for HDR.

5. Weather Sealing

Both the Sony Alpha a77 and the Nikon D7100 have a sort of weather sealing. When we say a camera is weather sealed, we basically mean that the camera is protected against certain weather elements, usually water and dust.

A weather sealed camera could be dust resistant, dustproof, water resistant, waterproof, a combination of some or a combination of all. In this case, both cameras are dustproof and water resistant.

What this means is that they can be used under intense dusty situations or in intensely dusty places but cannot be used under intense water situations or in intensely wet places. So, while both cameras can be used in a desert they wouldn’t be used while one goes swimming or diving.

However, that a camera is dustproof does not take away the responsibility of cleaning the sensor from you. Every once in a while, you will need to clean out your sensor.



Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100
What Camera
Get the Sony Alpha a77 now!Get the Nikon D7100 now!

6. Microphone Port

Both the Sony Alpha a77 and the Nikon D7100 have a microphone port. The implication of this is that you need not bother yourself about the inbuilt microphone seeing as it doesn’t offer you the best audio quality. Just attach an external microphone with an impressive audio capture quality and you’re good to go.

7. RAW Support

Both the Sony Alpha a77 and the Nikon D7100 can shoot in RAW and basically every digital camera is able to shoot in jpeg. In a bit to save space perhaps, the jpeg format usually compresses photos. And while this is a good thing, the compressed photos usually lose a bit of their quality and will lose more if they are edited.

This is why professionals and generally people who need as good a quality as they can get with their photos like the RAW format. RAW photos are saved in their original quality; nothing compressed or altered. So, you can go ahead and do the editing that is needed and, all things being equal, the photo retains its original quality.

8. Face Detection

Finally, both the Sony Alpha a77 and the Nikon D7100 have the face detection feature. This feature enables the camera to notice faces (even in crowded places) and zero in on them.

Once the camera has the face(s) locked down, it is able to take shots of that face(s) without blurring it. This feature makes both cameras suitable for shooting portraits.

9. Weight

Yes we know that the weight of a camera isn’t exactly a feature but it is something very important you need to consider when you choose your camera so allow us talk about it for a bit.

The Sony Alpha a77 weighs 1.6 pounds while the Nikon D7100 weighs 1.7 pounds. So, while the Nikon D7100 weighs more than the Sony Alpha a77, we do not exactly consider the difference very significant. But this is just the weight of the body.

Both cameras are interchangeable lens cameras, so, we’ll have to consider how much both cameras will weight once a lens has been added. We cannot exactly put a number on it since both cameras have different lenses available to them and the different lenses vary in weight.

However, we can find out if adding a lens to either camera will affect the weight difference between the cameras. How? By checking out their respective sensor size. If one camera has a larger sensor size than the other, the camera with a larger sensor size will need lenses that are larger and heavier than those of the other camera.

That said, both cameras have an APS-C sensor of the same size. So, while attaching lenses will affect the individual weight of the cameras, it won’t affect the weight difference between them.

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – A Sony Alpha a77 Demonstration Video

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Unique Features

In this section, we see how different these cameras are from each other. This section contains those features that you’ll find in one camera but not the other. It also contains those features that you’ll find in both cameras but are really different.

1. ISO Range

The ISO of a camera determines how much light the camera lets in at a particular point in time. The idea of the ISO is that we cannot control how much light is available in our environment but we need to be able to control how the amount of light that affects the photos we take.

Say you are out in the sun, there is a lot of light in that setting and you really do not want all that light in your photo. What you’ll do is set your camera to a low ISO. The camera, in a low ISO, only lets in as little light as is needed to get the right photo.

On the other hand, if you are in a dark place, you need to set the camera to a high ISO so that the camera can compensate for the lack by letting in as much light as is necessary. However, bear in mind that the higher the ISO, the higher the possibility of having grainy photos.

That said, while nether camera has the most impressive ISO range we’ve ever seen, the Sony Alpha a77 does have a better ISO range than the Nikon D7100. The Sony Alpha a77 has an ISO range that is between 50 and 16000 while that of the Nikon D7100is between 50 and 6400.

However, we do concede that you can expand the ISO range of both cameras as far as 25600 which is pretty impressive.

2. Continuous Shooting

A camera’s continuous shooting mode allows it shoot as many photos as necessary in just one second. This mode is absolutely necessary if you’ll be doing the kind of photography where the subjects move around pretty fast or you have a limited time to shoot like wildlife photography and paparazzi.

Knowing this, you’ll agree with us that the higher the continuous shooting rate (which is measured as frames per second by the way) the better suited it is for the kind of photography where speed is required.

That said, the Sony Alpha a77 has twice the continuous shooting rate of the Nikon D7100. With the Sony Alpha a77 you get 12 frames per second while the Nikon D7100 offers 6 frames per second. This feature makes the Sony Alpha a77 the better option for speedy photography.

3. Articulating Screen

An articulating screen is that kind of screen that can be moved or angled in different directions without having to move the camera body. The idea of an articulating screen is to allow the photographer or videographer take shots from some somewhat impossible angles, including overhead shots, that would have been difficult to achieve with a fixed screen.

Furthermore, there are basically two kinds of articulating screens; the tilting kind and the full-flex screen. A tilting screen can be moved upward and back down again while the full-flex screen can be rotated if need be.

That said, of the two cameras only the Sony Alpha a77 has an articulating screen which is a tilting screen. And you’ll agree with us that an articulating screen is always a better idea than a fixed screen.

4. Image Stabilization

A camera that doesn’t have an image stabilization feature is in danger of producing blurry photos. The idea of an image stabilization feature is to stabilize the sensor so that even if the camera is jostled as you take a shot, the photo will still come out looking alright.

However, of the two cameras, only the Sony Alpha a77 has an in built image stabilization feature. So, the Nikon D7100 still has that challenge of producing blurry photos. Thankfully though, this can be taken care of by getting an optical stabilization lens for the Nikon D7100.



Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100
What Camera
Get the Sony Alpha a77 now!Get the Nikon D7100 now!

5. Headphone Port

The headphone port or inbuilt speaker will only be necessary for you if you’ll be using your camera to record videos. Almost all digital cameras have an inbuilt speaker so that you can payback whatever it is that you’ve recorded.

However, just like the inbuilt microphone, the inbuilt speaker doesn’t offer very good audio quality. So it is sure a good thing that the Nikon D7100 has a provision for you to attach a pair of headphones or any other output device that will offer you the playback audio quality you want.

6. Battery Life

Another factor that isn’t exactly a feature but is really important is the battery life. Sony hasn’t exactly been known for having an impressive battery life so our fingers were surely not crossed for this one.

However, while the Sony Alpha a77 doesn’t have the most impressive battery life, we give it credit for doing better than a lot of its Sony camera mates. 470 shots per second is better than a good number of Sony cameras can do. On the other hand, the Nikon D7100 boasts a pretty impressive 950 shot per charge.

7. GPS

This is one feature that doesn’t really do much for the quality of the photos taken. However, it is a nice feature to have as it records the places that photos are taken. It is just a cool way of keeping tabs and knowing where what was taken. Of the two cameras only the Sony Alpha a77 has this feature.

8. Available Lenses

Seeing as both cameras are interchangeable lens cameras, it is imperative to know how many lenses they each have available to them. The Sony Alpha a77 has 143 lenses available but that is no match for the Nikon D7100’s impressive 302 lenses.

In addition to this, the Nikon D7100 has 88 optical stabilization lenses available in order to make up for its lack of an in-body image stabilization feature.

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – A Nikon D7100 Demonstration Video

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Unique Pros

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Pros of The Sony Alpha a77

  • First off, the Sony Alpha a77 has an in-body image stabilization feature which eliminates the possibility of having blurry pictures without having to get something external.
  • Furthermore, we like that this camera has an articulating screen as it allows one take shots from some supposedly impossible angles.
  • Also, while the expanded ISO of both cameras is exactly the same, the Sony Alpha a77 has a more impressive primary high ISO than the Nikon D7100.
  • The Sony Alpha a77 has an inbuilt GPS that will help you note where what shot is taken or video recorded.
  • Furthermore, this camera is slightly lighter than the Nikon D7100 which isn’t much of a difference but is still something to think about.
  • Also, this camera has a really impressive continuous shooting rate that is twice that of the Nikon D7100.
  • Finally, you can connect an off-camera flash to this camera because of its flash synchronization port.

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Pros Of The Nikon D7100

  • First off, the Nikon D7100 has a more impressive battery life than the Sony Alpha a77. So, you’ll be able to use it for longer periods at a time than the Sony Alpha a77.
  • Furthermore, this cameras has more focus points (51) than the Sony Alpha a77 (19).
  • Also, this camera has a higher screen resolution (1229k dots) and screen size (3.2 inches) that the Sony Alpha a77 (921k dots and 3 inches respectively).
  • The Nikon D7100 has a headphone port.
  • Furthermore, this camera has 2 storage slots unlike the Sony Alpha a77 which has only one. This will come in handy if you’ll be taking a lot of pictures as you’ll have double the regular storage space.
  • Also, this camera has a time-lapse recording feature that helps you record really creative videos.
  • The Nikon D7100 has a better dynamic range (13.7) than the Sony Alpha a77 (13.2).
  • Furthermore, this camera has a center point autofocus aperture while the Sony Alpha a77 doesn’t.
  • Finally, this camera has more lenses available to it than the Sony Alpha a77.

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Unique Cons

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Cons Of The Sony Alpha a77

  • The Sony Alpha a77 doesn’t have the most impressive battery life.

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Cons Of The Nikon D7100

  • The Nikon D7100 does not have an in body image stabilization feature and as such, photos shot could come out looking blurry. However, this can be prevented by getting any of its 88 optical stabilization lenses.
  • Also, this camera’s fixed screen might not do much for your creativity.

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Common Pros

 

Sony Alpha a77

Nikon D7100

Viewfinder While the Sony Alpha a77 is a DSLR, it has an electronic viewfinder. Whatever the kind of viewfinder, though, it is always a better idea for a camera to have a viewfinder than for it not to. This is because a viewfinder does a better job of framing the subject to be shot than an LCD screen. Same as the Sony Alpha a77. However, this camera has an optical viewfinder instead.
Flash We like that this camera has an inbuilt flash as it is always available being inbuilt and all. However, even much more, we like that an external flash can be attached to this camera. And this is because the external flash is a better source of light and has a longer coverage. Same as the Sony Alpha a77.
Weather Sealing This camera is both dustproof and water resistant. So, you can use it in certain conditions that you can’t use a camera that isn’t weather sealed. Same as the Sony Alpha a77.
Microphone Port An external microphone can be attached to this camera which is a good thing seeing as the inbuilt microphone does not offer much in terms of audio quality. Same as the Sony Alpha a77.
Auto Exposure Bracketing This camera has the Auto Exposure Bracketing feature which automatically chooses about 3 different exposures for a particular photo for you. You can go ahead and choose which exposure works best for you. Same as the Sony Alpha a77.
Top Level LCD Screen The top level LCD screen is located at the top of the camera (of course) and will help you make quick changes to the settings of your camera without having to twist and turn the camera. Same as the Sony Alpha a77.
Shutter Life Duration The shutter of this camera can last for as long as 150000 cycles. Same as the Sony Alpha a77.
RAW Support This camera can shoot RAW photos. RAW photos retain their quality because they are not compressed. However, you’ll have to bear in mind that RAW photos are heavy files. Same as the Sony Alpha a77.
Face Detection Finally, this camera is able to detect faces and focus on them, thereby ensuring that the portraits they take are not blurry. Same as the Sony Alpha a77.


Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100
What Camera
Get the Sony Alpha a77 now!Get the Nikon D7100 now!

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Common Cons

 

Sony Alpha a77

Nikon D7100

Wireless Connection The Sony Alpha a77 doesn’t have an inbuilt wireless connection feature. As a result, it cannot be connected with the internet. Same as the Sony Alpha a77.
Near Field Communication In addition, this camera does not have the Near Field Communication feature. The Near Field Communication feature is supposed to help the camera connect with other devices and form a means via which files can be transferred from the camera to an off-camera device. Same as the Sony Alpha a77.
Bluetooth Finally, this camera does not have a Bluetooth feature. And added to the fact that this camera does not have the NFC feature, transferring files to an off-camera device cannot be done wirelessly. Same as the Sony Alpha a77.

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – What People Think About Both

Sony Alpha a77

Nikon D7100

One of the things that people can’t seem to stop talking about is the fact that as a DSLR, the Sony Alpha a77 has an electronic viewfinder. Also, it looks like it is general consensus that this camera is pretty fast and its auto mode is pretty effective. Of course, the articulating screen is something that people like about this camera as it allows them flexibility of positions. People are excited about this camera and maybe doubly so because of its price. It looks to us like people regard this camera as doing quite a lot for its price. But of course the actual features are also things that people are excited about. The picture quality that it offers and the video quality too are some of those things. Then there is the fact that the camera has two storage slots. This one is more appreciated by people who take a lot of shots.
However, people have complained that the weight of this camera hinders them from using it as frequently as they would have wanted. However, people are not excited about the fact that this camera does not have a wireless connection or any other means of transferring files wirelessly.


Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100
What Camera
Get the Sony Alpha a77 now!Get the Nikon D7100 now!

Sony Alpha a77 Vs Nikon D7100 – Our Take

Sony Alpha a77

Nikon D7100

We consider the Sony Alpha a77 a pretty impressive camera. The electronic viewfinder on a DSLR is definitely something that we praise the Sony brand for. And for what might be considered its flaws, this camera is still able to shoot really decent photos and videos as well. It also does help that the camera is pretty fast and has an in-body image stabilization feature are some other things that this camera gets absolutely right. We also like this camera and believe that it competes favorably against the Sony Alpha a77. It has a decent array of features and we actually believe it does better than the Sony Alpha a77. To crown it all (for us, that is), this camera is way more affordable than its opponent.
However, a camera that cannot transfer files wirelessly? We are not totally cool with that. Nonetheless, if this camera still works for you, get the Sony Alpha a77 now! However, the absence of a wireless means of file transfer is something we are still not cool with. Nonetheless, if this camera still works for you, get the Nikon D7100 now!

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