There is something for everybody in this camera. Novices will appreciate the options for automation and more advanced users will appreciate the options for manual and custom settings as well as the built-in technology for streamlining your workflow by using the camera to do some of your post processing (noise reduction, HDR, panoramas). My camera shipped with firmware v1.04 which I updated to 1.06. The update proceeded successfully without incident. As with any flexible and powerful tool, and I always say this, you must be smarter than the tool to get the most out of it. Fortunately there are good support resources out there (Gary Friedman's color pdf e-book, for example, excellent resource IMHO). I like to keep somewhat current with advances in the technology. This camera replaced my aging but fully functional Minolta Maxxum 7D which moved to a more receptive household. My second body which remains is the A700. The lack of dedicated tethering is more than sufficiently addressed in my opinion by the use of the third party Eye-Fi Pro X2 16GB card which I obtained. The camera firmware recognizes the Eye-Fi card and handles it nicely. I set my laptop up for private wifi usage based on the transmitter in the card using the Eye-Fi Center software and have verified its operation on my Win7 x64 laptop. The receiving software Eye-Fi Helper operates my computer's radio independently of the system software so I don't have to manually turn the radio on which is convenient. The Eye-Fi card uploads pix as they are shot to a watch folder which my copy of Adobe Lightroom v4 is set to automatically import. Raw files take about 10 sec to upload each with computer set to crawl, not too bad. I have a high end gaming computer and I normally operate it with the speed throttled down unless I am executing my photo or video workflows. I've used both the 7D and the a700 with a wired tether on WinXP x32 and I believe that I prefer the wireless method, less confining. The camera DOES eat the battery a bit more than the a700 does, but this is not a major problem. You can swap out a few extra batteries. I have a Quantum Instruments Turbo 2x2 battery pack and I cobbled together a custom cable of my own to power Sony Alpha cameras using the a700 cable termination which persists in the a77 as does the nominal power requirements. I can shoot the camera and power the HVL-F58AM flash simultaneously all day and night without stopping or thinking about it which is convenient for me. At the very least I would suggest purchasing the Vertical Grip if you want to shoot non-stop for more than a few hours. To minimize power consumption I also recommend: - No review or 2 sec auto review;
- 10 sec display power save;
- GPS off if you are not using it;
- Eye-start AF off;
- Both still and video SteadyShot off unless you really need it;
- No focus tracking unless you need it. Enjoy. I'm very happy with it and am looking forward to the benefits of the technology.