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Sony Alpha A77 Digital Camera Review$1,999.99
The A77 captures reasonably accurate JPEG colors by default. The most realistic color profile is Standard. We measured a minimum average color error of 2.6 (quite good by system-camera standard) with 106.5 percent saturation, which incurs a tiny penalty. Oversaturation is pretty typical of all Sony cameras, and it can be adjusted for individual color modes in the camera. Greens, blues, and yellows are all pretty much spot-on, though reds are pushed a bit for extra intensity. More on how we test color.
NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.
All of the cameras in this comparison group display mostly realistic colors. We measured a minimum color error below 3.0—our line in the sand for reasonably accurate colors—for every camera. The A77 falls in the middle of the field, outdone by the NEX-7 and Nikon D7000, but finishing ahead of the Pentax K-5 and Olympus OM-D E-M5.
The A77 has six preset color modes. Standard is the most accurate. Vivid intensifies and oversaturates. Neutral mutes and undersaturates. Portrait pushes yellows and reds, ostensibly for more radiant skin tones. Landscape pushes reds, blues, and greens. A black and white profile rounds out the options.
White balance is reasonably accurate in the A77, with a decent auto mode, strong custom white balance, and a large handful of presets.
Automatic White Balance ()
Auto white balance works very well in daylight and other medium color temperatures. It struggles in warm, incandescent lighting, which is common, but also in cooler fluorescent lighting, which is unusual.
Custom White Balance ()
A manual white balance should work well in just about any lighting. It balanced out daylight, fluorescent light, and incandescent light quite well in our tests. It isn't perfect, but close enough for quick work.
There isn't really a bad camera in this bunch for white balance; they all earned reasonably similar scores. The A77 is better than most at custom white balances, though auto white balance is somewhat less effective, particularly in warm lighting.
White Balance Options
Aside from auto white balance, presets include daylight, shade, cloudy, incandescent, warm fluorescent, cool fluorescent, day white fluorescent, daylight fluorescent, and flash settings. There's a direct color temperature entry (in Kelvin). Three custom settings are available as well.