Don’t be confused by the older “SLT” (for single lens translucent) nomenclature applied to the predecessor of this model, the Sony Alpha SLT-A77. Strictly speaking, the a77 II isn’t a traditional digital single lens reflex (dSLR) (which has a pivoting mirror that flips up during exposure to allow light to continue unimpeded to the sensor when the shutter opens). Sony’s SLT lineup replaced that moving part with an innovative semi-transparent mirror that remains fixed while you take pictures. That mirror allows 70 percent of the light passed by the lens to continue to the sensor, while reflecting makes it possible to use live view and advanced phase detection autofocus all the time.

For most intents and purposes, a camera like the ...

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