A850 died, is upgrading to A99 a good move today?

Started May 4, 2014 | Discussions thread
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A850 died, is upgrading to A99 a good move today?
May 4, 2014

Some background:

I am mostly shooting landscape, portraits (studio and outdoors), events and occasionally some action, like fashion shows. I am long time Minolta/Sony shooter with plenty of glass (CZ 24-70/2.8, Sony 70-200/2.8 and Minolta 50/1.4 being most used ones).

My A850 died a week ago, with what appears to be either aperture arm mechanism or shutter failure, after 40k shots. Camera is on it's way to the Sony service center in europe, without any estimate on when it could be back. Before my camera died, I was going to sell the glass I dont use too often and consider switching brands if I do not like the direction Sony is going.

Since I need a working setup ASAP, switching now is not really an option - I cannot afford ~6k$ to get comparable setup, without selling something first, but selling takes time. So most likely I will have to upgrade to A99 now, keep repaired A850 as backup or sell it, and decide on brand switch later.

I have tried A99 in a store, and generally it seems to be fine, but I have some questions to existing A99 users:

1) Flash system. Is it any better compared to A850+5600HSD? My main problem with current setup was that some people always get caught blinking, either due to pre-flash or due to mirror slap sound scaring them. On A850 there is a work-around of using manual flash or using mirror lock-up (pre-flash happens before mirror is locked up, thus giving longer delay between pre-flash and exposure).

2) Focus point coverage. On A850/900 they are already quite centered, but on A99 even more so. Is this a real problem for shooting action in AF-C/D, or just a minor annoyance?

3) Battery life. In real life, how much worse than A850/900 is it? I have 3 batteries from A850, so that would bring me to total of 4 if I got A99. Is that enough to do full day of fashion show, with constant focus tracking (say 1000-2000 frames)?

4) EVF with studio strobes. I remember reading that Sony EVF had some issues when used with studio strobes. Is this still an issue with A99, or has it been fixed already?

Thanks in advance for any tips or info

 Jekabs's gear list:Jekabs's gear list
Sony RX100 II Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 Sony SLT-A99 Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G +12 more
Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 Sony SLT-A99
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