The 79-point phase-detection system on the Alpha 77 II includes 15 cross-type points in the centre.

‘This aids super-accurate focusing, even with horizontally striped subjects that confuse many other cameras,’ explains Sony. The original Alpha 77 contains 19 AF points.

To help precise focusing when using large-aperture lenses, there is a dedicated f/2.8 AF point at the centre of the sensor.

The new A-mount model carries an APS-C-size imaging sensor and is due in shops this summer, though a precise launch date has not been announced.

Boasting ‘dust and moisture-resistant seals’ (around the main buttons and controls), the Alpha 77 II is expected to cost around £1,000 body-only and £1,550 as a kit with a 16-50mm f/2.8 lens.

An improved AF system is a key part of the makeover, almost three years since the original A77 was unveiled.

A new AF algorithm aims to predict a subject’s next movement, by combining AF metering data with information on a subject’s position.

Using ‘lock-on AF’, photographers can choose one of four AF area modes: wide, zone, flexible spot and expanded flexible spot (the latter designed to maintain focus even if the selected AF point loses track of the subject).

The duration of subject tracking can be controlled using five steps – including one designed to allow more responsive focusing when rapidly shooting different subjects (such as wildlife), at various distances.

Photographers should be able to automatically focus on a people’s eyes, using the Eye AF function.

ISO is extended to 100-25,600.

‘Thanks to an array of latest-generation imaging innovations, it now offers 20% greater sensitivity than its predecessor and the same pixel count.’

Sony claims that the Alpha 77 II can shoot 60 full-resolution JPEG fames at up to 12 frames per second.

The imaging sensor on the magnesium-bodied Alpha 77 II – which uses Translucent Mirror Technology – features the same ‘gapless’ design as the 24.3MP Exmor CMOS sensor on board the A7R and A6000.

Its Bionz X processor, as featured on the A7 and A7R, is designed to be three times faster than Sony’s original Bionz engine.

The Alpha 77 II carries an OLED electronic viewfinder and a tilting, 3in, Extra Fine LCD screen.

Built-in NFC and Wi-Fi should give users one-touch wireless connection, and control via an Android smartphone.