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Thread: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

  1. #1
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    Sony recently supplied Clubsnap with several sets of its latest full-frame camera, the Alpha 99 (a99) for a hands on review.

    The sets came with a variety of accessories and fast lenses

    24-70 f2.8 zoom
    16mm f2.8 fisheye
    20mm f2.8
    35mm f1.4
    85mm f1.4
    100mm f2.8 macro
    135mm f1.8

    handgrip
    flash

    A few persons are currently using the system and they will be sharing their images, experiences and feedback with us over the next week or so.

    Sony a99 features and specifications can be found here in their website


    Sony Alpha a99 Full-Frame DSLR Camera | SLT-A99V | Sony USA


    While we wait for the guys to come in with their images and comments, here are a few videos below to keep you entertained ha ha
    Last edited by ed9119; 5th May 2013 at 11:24 AM.
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

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    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    Last edited by ed9119; 5th May 2013 at 11:14 AM.
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

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    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

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    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

  5. #5
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

  6. #6

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    Thanks for opening up this thread Ed!

    I got the SONY a99 very recently, and being the first SONY SLT camera I tried, my views are that of a virtual 'Newbie'. Meaning to say, I've hardly touched the surface of what this camera can or can't do.

    Usual caveats apply, and we don't do any tech tests.

    Here's a little more about the camera for quick reference and convenience.



    Introducing the SONY SLT-A99V!



    Sony's α99 is breaking new ground with the 24.3 megapixel 35mm full-frame “Exmor™” CMOS Imaging Sensor and the world's first Dual AF. Combined with the BIONZ™Image Processing Engine and Sony’s professional movie recording technology, it represents a major leap forward in quality and performance.

    - 24.3-megapixel 35mm full-frame “Exmor™” CMOS Imaging Sensor
    - Advanced Integrated BIONZ™ Image Processing Engine
    - Dual AF System (19+ 102 points)
    - Translucent Mirror Technology™
    - Full-HD 60p/50p Movie Recording*
    - High-Resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder






    The Full-frame Sensor for the Discerning Photographer


    As one of the world's leading image sensor developers, Sony's latest innovation is the α99's sensor, 1.5x more sensitive and 2x more effective at eliminating noise than the acclaimed α900. Capture beautiful, finely detailed images from corner to corner with a wide dynamic range and low noise. Photographers and cinematographers will also welcome the gorgeous bokeh and full compatibility with full-frame wide-angle lenses.






    Powerful 14-bit Processing for Fast, Responsive Shooting

    Advanced BIONZ™ processing easily handles the massive 14-bit data generated by the α99's 35mm sensor. Even when loads are heaviest, such as during high-speed continuous shooting and Multi Frame NR, Sony's new high-speed front-end LSI chip processes data with precision. Images are clear with low noise thanks to area-specific noise reduction, while 14-bit RAW output is delivered with exceptional quality and ultra-rich gradation.






    Taking Autofocus Further


    Dual AF System is the world's first* AF system to employ two phase detection sensors. By maximising the strengths of both sensors, it vastly improves subject tracking performance as well as focusing precision. The 19-point (11 cross-point) phase detection AF sensor mounted above the translucent mirror provides high-precision focusing performance and depth detection, while the 102-point focal plane phase detection AF sensor overlaying the image sensor offers the advantages of wider depth and width coverage. Together, these sensors deliver a new level of AF performance and functionality.

    * The world's first AF system in a 35mm full-frame interchangeable lens digital camera to feature two phase detection sensors as of September 12, 2012, according to Sony's internal survey.

    Revolutionised with the Dual AF System

    Sony's Translucent Mirror Technology™ replaces the swinging mirror of SLRs with a stationary translucent mirror, continuously directing light to the AF and images sensors. This innovation enables both full-time phase detection AF and full-time live view through the viewfinder and rear LCD monitor during single shot continuous and movie shooting.

    Now, Translucent Mirror Technology™ boasts another breakthrough — the Dual AF System. By simultaneously directing light towards two phase detection AF sensors, it essentially doubles the potential of autofocus — great news for serious

  7. #7

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review



    A Movie Maker's Dream Come True


    Capture movies in 35mm full-frame and Full HD resolution at an impressive frame rate of 60 fps. All while taking advantage of the α99's full-time continuous AF with three-level subject tracking sensitivity. This unrivalled combination of quality and speed enables first-rate still image extraction and superior post-production effects.






    What You See Is What You Shoot

    With Sony's new High-Resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder, every detail you've captured is faithfully reproduced on-screen. Since there's no backlighting, blacks are blacker, details are clearer and contrast is higher, no matter where you are. Professional specifications include a 33.3° viewing angle, high 27mm eye-point and 100% frame coverage. And with accelerated OLED response, motion blur and residual images are virtually eliminated when tracking moving objects or displaying recorded movies.




    Other Highlights include:

    6 fps Continuous Shooting

    Capture the decisive moment with clarity and precision by shooting at speeds of up to 6 fps using the Continuous Advanced Priority AE mode.

    Area-Specific Noise Reduction
    Intelligent noise reduction divides the image into areas based on patterns and reduces the noise in each area, especially when shooting in dimly lit environment.

    3-way Tiltable LCD
    Tilt and swivel the new LCD to the most natural viewing angle, whatever your shooting position.

    P/A/S/M Manual Movie Modes
    Achieve the desired brightness and dynamism by adjusting the background blur and manually controlling exposure.

    14-bit RAW Output
    The α99 outputs 14-bit RAW image data of extremely high quality, fully preserving the rich detail generated by the image sensor.

    Ready-use Headphone Jack
    Monitoring the sound using headphones during movie recording and playback is now easier.

    Audio Level Display and Rec Level Control
    You can easily monitor and adjust the microphone recording level precisely while shooting movies.

    Silent Multi Controller for Movies
    When shooting movies, you can adjust the image and sound settings without producing any noise that can get captured in the soundtrack.

    Simultaneous Full HD Movie Output via HDMI
    Transfer full HD movie signals in real time to an external monitor for accurate, large-screen viewing and listening.

    Optional XLR Adaptor Kit
    XLR terminals on the adaptor kit enable you to record via wide-ranging professional microphones and
    line-in connection for sound input, leading to versatile, high-quality sound expression.

    Images and info courtesy of SONY SG

  8. #8

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    As usual, one of the very first things you notice when you pick up a camera for the first time is the 'feel' in your hands ... the heft, and how well does it fit the hand.

    In this respect, the deep grip of the SLT-A99V (shortened to a99 from now on) was a winner for myself, and many that I showed the camera to.




    What also helps is the thumb rest at the back of the camera. In this respect of 'gripability' and 'hand-feel', it reminded me of the Leica S2 medium format camera, an eminently comfortable walk-around camera!




    As you can see, many of the buttons and controls feel familiar, but for someone like myself who has never touched a SONY camera, it took me a bit of time to get used to it. I tended to switch from the EVF to the LCD to make camera adjustments, but later found that I could do it quite comfortably in the EVF as well.

    Only nit-pick is that if your a99 is switched on, you could accidentally move the front dial before switching it off because the On/Off and front dial is placed very closely together and the switch is rather flat.


  9. #9

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    It's been a very busy period recently, and I didn't really have the time to shoot with the a99 much, but it felt like a very capable, and solid machine that I jumped at the chance on an evening when it did not rain! And I wasn't disappointed!

    From my first 'real' test image, I knew sensed several things:

    1) That the camera had fantastic resolution
    2) I can adjust my +/-EV with more finesse as compared to some other cameras, and
    3) I was looking at the possibility of a camera with an interesting dynamic range.

    While I shot in RAW + Finest JPEG, I later decided to shoot only Medium JPEGS for this review.



    Here's one of the first few images of a nightline at Robertson Quay. Yes I know it's very slightly tilted, but left it that way.

    All the wider shots were taken with the SONY 35mm f1.4G lens.






    I really like the colour palette of this camera! Even though you might say that you can adjust almost every thing in a Post software, you'll notice that each sensor and the camera designer's engineering algorithms give a unique output.




    A different angle to show how accurately colours are captured on AWB which is almost spot-on. I did not have a colour meter to check both the scene's actual colour temp, and the RAW data colour temp.






    What more could you ask for when you have a lovely Beauty gracing the bottom of the bridge!

    This was taken with the Zeizz 85mm 1.4 with some NR.




    Walking along Roberston Quay is an entirely different experience than Clark Quay or Boat Quay. I guess because there are more residences here, people seem to be more relaxed and hardly minded even when I stood for some time for the next shot!


  10. #10

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    Walking along the river, a young couple is spotted. Lovin the bokeh on the Zeiss 85! I tiny bit of hand-shake though.




    Looking towards Clark Quay, I spot some wonderful lights reflected off the river!




    Some Walk-Way cafes have a place in my heart. It reminds me of when things used to be simpler ... more peaceful ... friendlier


  11. #11

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    On to the madding crowd of Clary Quay, I spot a lone rider waiting for a customer ... so many tourists, so little business says he!




    In almost pitch darkness, it locks on quite securely when there's contrast! Single AF point of the face of the girl.




    The river-fronting portion of a Japanese Restaurant.




    And along the way, some street craftsmen - in this case, a husband and wife duo making wonderful figurines out of dough!




    Ending my walk along the crazy crowds of Clark Quay and Central, it was a nice respite to be able to take a photo like this!





    I need to get to know this camera a bit more, and hopefully, the other reviewers can also post their comments and photos up soon!

    CHEERS!
    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 8th May 2013 at 11:56 PM.

  12. #12
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    As usual, one of the very first things you notice when you pick up a camera for the first time is the 'feel' in your hands ... the heft, and how well does it fit the hand.

    In this respect, the deep grip of the SLT-A99V (shortened to a99 from now on) was a winner for myself, and many that I showed the camera to.

    Only nit-pick is that if your a99 is switched on, you could accidentally move the front dial before switching it off because the On/Off and front dial is placed very closely together and the switch is rather flat.
    I have casually used the a99 and I agree with you totally on both points

    1. the grip is deep and very comforting
    2. the a99's top is so loaded with dedicated buttons (love it) nearby that it made little sense locating the on/off switch at such a 'traditional' position... should put it somewhere else next to the LCD perhaps ? Accidentally moved the front dial or pressed one of the nearby buttons a few times already. Not fatal but just need to be a little careful

    That articulating LCD totally rocks
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

  13. #13

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    Quote Originally Posted by ed9119 View Post
    That articulating LCD totally rocks
    ...especially with the full-speed PDAF in liveview (since technically the A99 is 100% live view all the time). This makes it so easy to get shots from unusual angles (I love getting fast and accurate AF when shooting overhead for example - very handy at concerts, crowds, weddings, etc).

    As for the grip, I agree it's fantastic, though feels a *bit* less comfy than the A900, which had excellent ergonomics.
    Alpha

  14. #14

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    Been a bit of a crazy weekend, but managed to get a couple of shots along the way.

    Usual Caveats apply, meaning "I AM NOT A MACRO SHOOTER!"

    Just wanted to put the 100mm 2.8 Macro through a bit of an initial trial.

    Immediate impressions?

    Startlingly SHARP lens! Great Contrast and even though it's not a Zeiss, the Micro-contrast is almost Zeiss-like. Creamy Bokeh. Really Creamy!

    Usual slow focusing and hunting which appears to be characteristic of many short-tele AF macro lenses or at least the ones I've tried. Have not tried focusing on further distances yet.















  15. #15

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    Besides the 100mm 2.8 Macro lens, SONY SG has graciously loaned, in this set, the superb trio of lenses such as the 35mm 1.4G, Carl Zeiss 85mm 1.4 and the Carl Zeiss 135mm 1.8.

    On the whole, we're looking at some serious BOKEH MONSTERS!



    All the shots taken by me will be with these lenses. The above shot was taken with the SONY 100mm 2.8 Macro lens.
    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 13th May 2013 at 11:15 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    Street and Candid photographers tend to use slightly wide or at most, normal lenses, but here, I decided to use the excellent Carl Zeiss tele lenses for this application!

    Straight-off, the 85mm 1.4 and 135mm 1.8 produce really sharp results wide open. And the BOKEH is really to die for!

    And their heft also affords quite a bit of stability.

    Some Streets and Candids ...














  17. #17

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    Since I did not have any AF-D (Depth control AF) lenses, I decided to try what ever I could - AF-Continuous with subject Tracking.

    Interestingly enough, while there may be the 9th degree of tracking lag in the EVF or LCD, even when using the Carl Zeiss 135mm 1.8 wide open, the a99 did a marvelous job keeping everything in focus as long as you initially half-click the shutter button with a single AF spot that activates the tracking.

    In this case, I half-shutter pressed on the little girls face. Her speed on the scooter was slow-moderate.















  18. #18

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    This used to be my Playground, this used to be the place I'd run to ...

    Not many older style playgrounds exist nowadays. Many residences and parents complained that they were 'too dangerous', and that the sand probably contained too much bacteria! Is it any wonder that the children of Singapore now have such low immune systems?

    However, such sand playgrounds still do exist, normally in defunct estates, or near enbloc apartments. The people living in the blocks around this playground have been almost completely evicted, and once again metal gates have been put up, so if you want to shoot, it might be good to be quick.

    Tried the SEPIA mode in the a99. Not bad at all! Taken with the SONY 35mm 1.4G lens.








    The 'stairway to heaven' for many, many kids in the past!




    The body of the Dragon


  19. #19

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    While I was there, 3 kids came by to play! No smartphone, tablets or PSP in tow! They only stayed awhile before rushing home.




    Bye-Bye ... you'll never know when Dragon is going to go.


  20. #20

    Default Re: Sony a99 full-frame DSLR Review

    could you try shooting some mynah in flight?
    and tell us about tracking as well as the view finder against bright sky?

    thanks

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