Sony bets on speed with the second edition of its Alpha A77 DSLR

The Alpha portfolio from Sony is pretty well stacked, what with cameras like the newly minted, 4K-ready A7s. To add to that, the Japanese electronics giant today's announcing the A77 II, a successor to the 24.3-megapixel shooter it revealed back in 2011. Similar to its predecessor, Sony's A77 II features the same amount of megapixels and Exmor APS-C sensor, but this is now coupled with the Bionz X image chip that's found on the Alpha A7 and A7R cameras. There's also an OLED electronic viewfinder, which lets you see the total frame; a 3-inch LCD that can be tilted in three different positions; and NFC, so you can share pictures wirelessly to a smartphone, tablet or VAIO PC.

But the aforementioned specs don't tell the entire story. Sony wanted the most important improvements over the original Alpha A77 to be all about speed, both in terms of shooting and processing. The A77 II has a brand new focusing system, lead by 79 AF points (compared to 19 on the previous version) with 15 crossing sensors, which allow it to handle a continuous burst of up to 60 full-res photos at a maximum of 12fps -- Sony hopes this is more than enough to lure in those of you who like to take a lot of action shots. What's more, the A77 II brings improvements in the ISO department, going from 16,000 to 25,600 at its highest level, or 52,000 when expanded -- if you're a night owl (or just have a thing for the dark), you'll no doubt appreciate this.

For Sony, it's not only about stills, though: the company wants videographers to really consider the A77 II a solid alternative to, say, something like Canon's Mark III. While there's nothing surprising about the fact it can shoot 1080p movies at 60 and 24p (AVCHD 2.0), Sony believes the improved AF system inside its A77 II, which offers things like continuous face-detection, is an attribute that makes it standout from the rest of the pack. And, because we know you're going to ask, there's no 4K output to be found here.

While Sony may not have taken the biggest leap with the A77 II, there's no doubt it is still a nice upgrade. But is that plenty for you? It'll be available in June for $1,200, body-only; a kit with a 16-50mm f/2.8 lens will be sold for $1,800.