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Just Posted: Sony Alpha SLT-A99 review

By dpreview staff on Dec 12, 2012 at 20:49 GMT
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Just Posted: Our review of the Sony Alpha SLT-A99. The A99 is Sony's flagship SLT camera - featuring a 24MP full-frame sensor and dual AF system, along with the level of build and direct control you'd expect from a range-topping model. We've put the A99 through its paces in a variety of situations, including an investigation of how its AF depth control performs in challenging shooting conditions. We've also looked at the advantages the SLT system and articulated screen bring to a camera at this level, as well as looking at their downsides.

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Sony SLT-A99

Comments

Total comments: 498
12
atamola
By atamola (Dec 13, 2012)

It's good to see how sony is shaking things up. More than 2 years ago I bought a A450L and I still consider it the worst camera I've ever had. But it looks like the "heck-I'm-going-to-make-all-the-mistakes-I-possibly-can-till-I-get-it-right" approach is paying off. I'm seriously considering giving Sony a second chance.

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Dec 13, 2012)

What was wrong with the a450?

0 upvotes
Valterj
By Valterj (Dec 13, 2012)

It looks like a fabulous camera... but it's too big and expensive!

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Dec 13, 2012)

Too big? At the day of release it was the smallest and lightest full frame DSLR on a market!

9 upvotes
Barry Fitzgerald
By Barry Fitzgerald (Dec 13, 2012)

UK price is scary high £2300. Looks like a £1300 camera to me

0 upvotes
topstuff
By topstuff (Dec 13, 2012)

It is'nt cheap, but UK buyers do seem to get ripped off. Mind you, the Canon 5D3 is even more scary priced.

At WEX in the UK, a 5D3 + 24-70 costs £4238
The Sony A99 + 24-70 costs £3748

Clearly both cameras are excellent. Both cameras are also much too expensive in the UK, thats for sure...

1 upvote
Barry Fitzgerald
By Barry Fitzgerald (Dec 13, 2012)

There has to be a cost incentive for people to consider EVF's and currently there is no reason to do so (unless you have a ton of Minolta lenses lying around)

DPR seem determined to "sell" EVF's to people, but never mention the real pros and cons of it.

Falling in love with technology is never a good thing for a review site, and the cost will rule it out long before anyone has even considered it. Surely a flop at this price

4 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Dec 13, 2012)

What 'real' pros and cons do you think we left unmentioned?

2 upvotes
Barry Fitzgerald
By Barry Fitzgerald (Dec 13, 2012)

Easy to point out you have enough pro points, but lack on the cons.

The video quality to my eyes is not very good lacking fine details, there are quite a few discussion on this already but I can see it clearly on the samples. They look pretty mushy to me

There are more disadvantages to the EVF than just action shooting, much higher battery drain, DR is low v an OVF, lag in lower light, resolution weak for landscape shooting. Granted there are some nice things focus peaking, can see WB etc.

The swivel LCD many would prefer a side out LCD esp for video shooting.

Lack of in camera development (raw) mentioned but not listed in cons

I also think with larger mp cameras around now the lack of a sraw (Canon) will be considered a problem for some users

Sony's video mode is odd at times you have to be in P mode for AF, you can't set the other modes unless you are in MF. Mentioned but not listed in cons.

1 upvote
topstuff
By topstuff (Dec 13, 2012)

I love the EVF ! Much less chimping. Barry Fitzgerald should simply accept that there are people who like the new EVF's and embrace the new tech. He doesn't have to buy it, just respect those who do.

1 upvote
Barry Fitzgerald
By Barry Fitzgerald (Dec 13, 2012)

I own an SLT A57 so I can quite happily comment on the pros and cons of EVF's and yes I've used the A77 too so I know the "better" EVF well enough to.

There are advantages and disadvantages with SLT/EVF some quite notable ones. It would be a mistake to suggest they have only good points or just bad points. But some of the limitations of EVF's are quite notable for some users.

Up against a full frame penta prism viewfinder the EVF is going to have a really hard time, where are the Canikon fans screaming for the EVF? They're not there are they..

FF EVF adoption is a far tougher nut to crack than entry level DSLR land

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Dec 13, 2012)

^^ Very valid points. But frankly I never go wow anymore when using my friends A900. I have come to accept all the advantages of an EVF but I do not shoot sports. If I did then yes I would prefer an OVF.

Also I generally prefer to use the LCD to compose. I hate being restricted to eye level shooting while using an OVF.

0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Dec 13, 2012)

@barry fitgerald,
For the vast majority of stills-oriented shooters video quality is going to be fine and you have a 60p option with very good AF speed.
The articulated LCD offers a wide range of positions, so we could hardly list the lack of side-mounted hinge as a con.
On a 36MP camera like the D800 we can list the lack of sRAW as a con, given how rarely most users need>24MP resolution.
In-camera raw is something we'd easily put in a 'pros' list, but would be less apt to list as a con, unless Sony had it in the previous model and then removed.
The MF-only exposure controls are a direct result of having fast full-time AF, but you do at least have exposure comp available.
As for battery drain, we can't justifiably criticize something for which there is no current technology solution. The consequence of an EVF and its advantages are shorter battery life. Throughout the review and in the conclusion we make it clear that for some, an EVF is likely a dealbreaker.

1 upvote
Cacophonic Visions
By Cacophonic Visions (Dec 13, 2012)

Rather than the suggestion of listing the lack of a side-mounted hinge as a con, how about listing the "lack of articulated LCD" on every other FF DSLR?
Now that that idiot suggestion is dealt with, I can say that I love the multi-hinged LCD in spite of nearly always using the VF.

I enjoyed the review greatly, it's nice to see a fair review for once. There are too many unfair reviews of EVF cameras out there which seem to go out of the way to list it as an outright negative. The only time an EVF is a true negative is with the poorly implemented ones.

0 upvotes
Barry Fitzgerald
By Barry Fitzgerald (Dec 14, 2012)

Amadou Diallo

You have to be consistent

Poor battery life compared to its peers- K30 DPR review

Can't be selective sure EVF drains the battery more but..the Pentax choice of going for a slim lithium to allow AA's means..poor battery life too.

DPR report they do not make judgements on compromises for design choices.

1 upvote
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Dec 13, 2012)

Firstly, comparing percentage points is a terrible way of reading reviews. You should go down the pros and cons of each camera, and pick the one that fits your needs best.
Secondly, regarding all the comments about the D600 being a crippled piece of junk: I respectfully disagree. The D600's AF system is FAR from being bad. In fact, I'm willing to bet that it outclasses the a99 by quite a bit, and not just by covering more area (it's been incredible in my experience with fast sports action). The D600 also has better battery life, an optical finder (better for fast action), and slightly better image quality. Oh, and it can do contrast-detect AF for tack sharp focus anywhere in the frame.
Of course, the a99 has its advantages, but I think it's completely wrong to paint the D600 as a primitive and crippled camera. Really, I'm tempted to think that people bashing the D600's AF just don't know how to use it.

They're both good cameras. Stop nitpicking on little review points.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
Illumina
By Illumina (Dec 13, 2012)

Agree with you.. Anyone saying D600 AF is bad currently don't know how to use it..

3 upvotes
Sam147
By Sam147 (Dec 13, 2012)

D600's AF is not that bad, but it isn't just fast and good enough as the a99! I've been told, they get more keepers from a99 than D600 who have tested both cameras side by side! And you can't compare a99 with entry level FF

3 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Dec 13, 2012)

I seriously doubt that, given my experience with Sony AF (granted, I used an a580, but Sony needs to have made a massive improvement since then for the a99 to compete with the D600). And even if the a99's single point performance has caught up, it still can't quite offer the flexibility of modes like dynamic area AF because of gaps in point coverage. The a99's AF module also covers less of the frame than the D600 - and the D600's AF point coverage is marginal already.

And why not compare the a99 with the D600? They share the same sensor (although the D600 gets more IQ out of it), and have similar specs. Yes, they differ on many points, but people considering a FF camera should consider both. That justifies a comparison.

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Dec 13, 2012)

Sony did huge leap with AF speed and capability with A77. A99 is even further improved thanks to on-sensor PDAF, so no wonder that it beats D600.

8 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 13, 2012)

When you're talking about AF, people must be referring to AF-S (Single Shot) as DPR's review found the A99 AF tracking to be sub-par compared to the rest of the field.

From the A99 list of cons:

* AF tracking accuracy lags behind its Nikon and Canon peers

There is more to AF than Single shot, and Nikon's predictive AF tracking is first rate. Canon's is not too shoddy either.

0 upvotes
cplunk
By cplunk (Dec 13, 2012)

@clamchouder - there is a very huge difference in the AF between an A580 and A99. They started using the 'SLT' mirror in the A55 and then the A77. This wasn't something they started doing only for the EVF, it was also to improve the AF performance.

0 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Dec 13, 2012)

There is likely a big difference between the a580 and a99. However, the D600's AF system is very good indeed, with flexibility that the a99 cannot match. I can't speak about single point tracking performance since I don't own an a99, but I can tell you that the D600 does very well in that department too.

0 upvotes
Filterless Sensor
By Filterless Sensor (Dec 13, 2012)

This is what gets me here. Isn't the point of putting dual AF systems in the a99 to improve tracking? The thing is it seems like they are building a movie theater in a ghost town. It's been discussed how EVF cannot compete with OVF for action, yet they build their AF system around tracking, which is still sub par. It seems they just wanted to test out their new on sensor PDAF and forced a99 owners to pay for it.

0 upvotes
Cacophonic Visions
By Cacophonic Visions (Dec 13, 2012)

Tracking on the A99 using AF-D is a vast improvement over previous models. AF speed and accuracy seems to be at least on par with the A77, which according to tests is faster to achieve locks than even the 1DX. Even with screw-drive lenses it's blisteringly quick.

The upcoming AF-D updates for the firmware will only make this feature better by adding more lenses.

0 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Dec 13, 2012)

Great review.

Decent camera. Not as light as one hopes for the SLT design, but acceptable.

Took a peek at Sony store for some lenses... Ewwwww... far too limited. Cannot compare to the m43 arsenal, much less Canikon range.

Good effort. Try harder next time Sony, especially your lens department.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Dec 13, 2012)

I am curious. What Alpha lenses are missing ? And does m43 have any lenses available for wildlife and or birding ?

And I hope you are joking about m43. Most of the lenses are overpriced and there are a lot of overlaps between Panasonic and Olympus.

If you take into consideration 3rd party lenses for Alpha mount then there is absolutely no contest between Sony Alpha and m43.

If you are referring to Sony NEX then yes I wholeheartedly agree that no of lenses available is grossly inadequate.

11 upvotes
Peter 111
By Peter 111 (Dec 13, 2012)

autofocus Zeiss, enough said ;)

13 upvotes
iHedo
By iHedo (Dec 13, 2012)

I myself completed what I want for my lens line up. I didn't get the experience of those like lens-problematic-people. What lens are you looking for that Sony doesn't have, that you have literally? If you can't find it try getting the Sony G or Carl Zeiss to compensate.

1 upvote
gillamoto
By gillamoto (Dec 13, 2012)

really, I never understand why many people complaining about some particular brand's lens line that has less than canon and nikon range. like they will buy all of the canikon lenses.

lens buying is based on our needs (unless for LBA people), and most of big brands already have lenses for various photography needs.

2 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Dec 13, 2012)

A-mount line-up doesn't match m4/3?! Hhahahahahaha, try harder troll.

6 upvotes
Gionni Dorelli
By Gionni Dorelli (Dec 13, 2012)

Well.... they surely have more lenses you can even remotely afford to buy.

1 upvote
John De Bord Photography
By John De Bord Photography (Dec 13, 2012)

Comparing a m43 to a FF? Really? That is a complete apples to oranges comparison. As far as having limited lenses, the only thing which is limited would be lenses for wildlife and other than that, they are loaded. http://www.cameralabs.com/lenses/Sony_Alpha_DSLR_lens_guide_range.shtml

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Dec 13, 2012)

I count 191 AF lenses for Sony/Minolta Alpha mount, as opposed to 30 for Micro Four thirds.

And they range from a 4.5mm Sigma fisheye to a 800mm lens.

Micro Four Thirds has a very impressive lens catalog right now, but it still doesn't come close to this.

2 upvotes
Archer66
By Archer66 (Dec 13, 2012)

Canikon might have more lenses but thats bc they have lenses with and without stabilization.

How many primes Canon has with IS ?

1 upvote
Wally626
By Wally626 (Dec 13, 2012)

Canon and Nikon have a slight advantage in having mid ranges lenses that Sony Lacks. For instance Sony has a very nice 300mm f/2.8 but does not have a 300mm f/4.

Sony is expecting the people wanting the lower cost long telephotos will be happy with the Zoom lens like the 70-300 or 70-400mm.

In some lines they do have the intermediate priced lenses and have started to develop a line of nice DT (crop) lenses that are more mid-range performance but good prices.

There are a few specialty lenses as well Sony lacks. For the vast majority of people you can get the job done with Sony or Pentax.

0 upvotes
Markas
By Markas (Dec 14, 2012)

Do you own every Canonikon lens? Tell me which lens is missing in the Sony range that an average photographer is needed. Unless you can hire 10 people carrying lens for you shoot.

0 upvotes
Spectro
By Spectro (Dec 13, 2012)

if the translucent mirror flipped I would be interested.

2 upvotes
waitformee
By waitformee (Dec 13, 2012)

Translucent mirror to flip where? It is a limitation in the old SLR design thats why the mirror need to flip. else it will be blocking the sensor. So if can dun flip then why you still want to flip?

3 upvotes
Alpha Jack
By Alpha Jack (Dec 13, 2012)

I wish for that too, but it's not a deal breaker. If absolutely necessary it is easily removed.

0 upvotes
gl2k
By gl2k (Dec 13, 2012)

Is the glass half full or half empty ?

This could be the perfect AFFORDABLE FF sports camera. Up to 10 fps in crop mode is exactly what many non-pro sports shooters would die for. But then ... Sony spoils it. The still lagging/stuttering EVF combined with an AF that is good but not excellent kills the A99 as a sports cam. What a pity. Even more sad since Canikon obviously don't care about high fps in their "below $6k" cameras.

Other than that I think the A99 is a strong competitor. Unfortunately though the D800 has reached such a low price point that it's a no-brainer to buy.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
ventur
By ventur (Dec 13, 2012)

lagging EVF?? what are you talking about? i shoot mainly sports with my A77 and dont have any lag... are you moving the camera like a mad man?

try a good EVF first (A99 or A77), and i dont mean in a store...

1 upvote
danny006
By danny006 (Dec 13, 2012)

Dpreview is not the holy grail ... doesn't mean they are right in every way. I should wait for more reviews and see what they have to say about AF speed.
The AF speed of the A77 beats a lot of Nikon/Canon camera's and I don't think the A99 will be any slower.

2 upvotes
Cacophonic Visions
By Cacophonic Visions (Dec 13, 2012)

From using the A77 and A99 side by side, the AF seems to easily be just as fast, until the camera is switched into AF-D mode, it gets faster.
As for those who keep spewing the "lagging/stuttering EVF" garbage, you've apparently never laid eyes upon Sony's OLED EVF. There is no lag, nor stuttering, it's not small, nor dim.
Sure, when burst shooting, there is the "last image shot" thing with the EVF. However, unless you're using a $6-7k SLR body, you have NO VF at all during bursts because your mirror is in the way.

2 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Dec 13, 2012)

I have used a Sony OLED EVF - the one in the NEX-7. It was ok when pointed at bright light, but in indoor light, it was definitely lagging and stuttering, with plenty of blur if you moved the camera. Noise was heavy in the EVF, too.
And your statement about having no VF during bursts on DSLRs is completely incorrect. With any DSLR, the mirror is down between frames in a burst so you can see your subject in real time and keep tracking it.

0 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Dec 14, 2012)

well, in the EVF you see what the sensor sees, the cheating soft in the camera does not play here.

0 upvotes
jmmgarza
By jmmgarza (Dec 13, 2012)

I am starting to find your reviews quite tedious. My D800 is perfect.

2 upvotes
Peter 111
By Peter 111 (Dec 13, 2012)

How is the A99 review tedious? It's thorough just like when they reviewed the D800 and 5D3.

12 upvotes
waitformee
By waitformee (Dec 13, 2012)

tedious is because D800 is perfect. Since D800 is perfect then the rest will never be good. The Best camera is always the one in your hand.

4 upvotes
Markas
By Markas (Dec 14, 2012)

Your D800 is perfect ONLY if Sony supply the sensor. :)

0 upvotes
Peter 111
By Peter 111 (Dec 13, 2012)

Overall score A99: 84%
D800E: 84%
D800: 82%
5D3: 82%

"It stands out as the only full frame camera to offer in-body stabilization, an EVF and articulated rear screen." WYSIWYG EVF, throwing away the Hoodman now. Sold my D800 and got an A99, loving it :)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
22 upvotes
jmmgarza
By jmmgarza (Dec 13, 2012)

Good luck with the Sony. I love my D800. The Nikon is perfect for exhibition-quality work.

4 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (Dec 13, 2012)

In my book EVF counts against the camera, not for it. Nothing beats a true real time optical viewfinder. EVF will always have too much lag for precisely timed shots. Not even a 10fps spray and pray can replace it. Sony is for amateurs who do not know better.

4 upvotes
waitformee
By waitformee (Dec 13, 2012)

@jmmgarza
I believe the one who produce the perfect photo is the photographer and not the camera.

@Petka
you memtioned that EVF will always have too much lag for precisely timed shots. May I know how much lag are you talking about? Sony is for SONY users only

5 upvotes
zinedi
By zinedi (Dec 13, 2012)

EVF is great disadvantage in my eyes - lagging, abruptly changing unreal colors and contrast, no space feeling, eye weariness, ... EVF has a meaning in mirrorless systems for bulk saving - but not in slr/slt, where speed is first.

4 upvotes
Sam147
By Sam147 (Dec 13, 2012)

Like you have used the class leading OLED EVFs, talking about contrast and colors, thats what we Sony shooters need, to preview how the final image is going to look! You take 3 shots adjusting exposure and WB, we get it done in a single shot! SLT and EVF saves time! Hey, we are little advanced!

9 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Dec 13, 2012)

zinedi - never used A99 EVF for serious shooting, so don't comment on things you have no clue about as you only make a fool out of yourself.

2 upvotes
zinedi
By zinedi (Dec 13, 2012)

No, I shoot RAW - don't need to play with WB or exposure on place - actually I save time - it is not so accurate on a small LCD/OLED - better on PC. And it is known that there is some difference between what you see in EVF/LCD and on PC screen/paper.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 13, 2012)

Agree with Petka and zinedi - DPR is saying EVF like it's a plus, when it may actually be a minus for the majority of professional and enthusiast users.

1 upvote
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Dec 13, 2012)

In the review we specifically mentioned, alongside the advantages of an EVF, that it's a feature that will not a appeal to some photographers. We even mentioned specific shortcomings with regard to shooting sports.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
fox-orian
By fox-orian (Dec 13, 2012)

I have the A77 (same EVF as 99) after years of owning EOS XXD line bodies. I'm not sure what you guys are saying about lag -- I've used the 77 a lot and what you see going on in the EVF is probably no more than a single tenth of a second behind what's going on in front of you. (For the record I don't do sports photography.)

If you're talking about EVF proximity detect lag, I haven't found the split-second change-over any problem. If you close the screen, the EVF is already on by time the viewfinder is fully up to your eye.

The color reproduction isn't wildly different either, I find the EVF to be closer in color to what I get on my computer monitor when I upload the pictures later which is pretty cool -- you get a better idea of what the shot will be like even before you take it. I can't even remember the last time I took a "test shot" with the SLT.

Make no mistake: the Sony XGA OLED viewfinders are nothing like any 800x600 LCD finder seen in other cameras before it.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Dennis Phillips
By Dennis Phillips (Dec 13, 2012)

Petka, your eye-to-finger signalling mechanism has too much lag for precisely timed shots.

With OVF and EVF, the best you can do with timing is to anticipate (unless you are using external triggering mechanisms).

0 upvotes
Filterless Sensor
By Filterless Sensor (Dec 13, 2012)

I wouldn't say they are horrible, but light travels at 186,270 miles per second. There is no way any electronic device can process and display an image as fast as the light can get to my eyes. This coupled with the slideshow issues makes any EVF a deal breaker for action. It's too bad sony cannot fuse their newer features with an OVF, could be good.

0 upvotes
Cudacke
By Cudacke (Dec 15, 2012)

When Zinedi said that he don't care exposure on place because he is using RAW, it reveals that he is not out the newbie world yet........

2 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Dec 13, 2012)

Hope Sony releases again something like the DSLR-a850. That was an amazing camera for the money. Now on today standards, I know Sony can release something cheap while using the new great FF 24MP sensor. Don't want all those video features.

2 upvotes
jdc562
By jdc562 (Dec 13, 2012)

I have been using the Sony A99 intensively for about 6 weeks now, doing critical tests during the first 4 weeks, when I could return it in exchange for a Canon 5DmkIII or Nikon D800--which I planned to do if the A99 didn't meet my expectations. I do a lot of wildlife photography, mostly flying birds. I found that I prefer the electronic viewfinder (EVF) over optical ones. Sony's EVF is as sharp as optical versions (it's not some grainy screen), plus it gives me a live preview of the image, including exposure, contrast, etc., spelling the end of mistaken settings for exposure compensation. The "peaking" function in the EVF highlights the parts of the live view image that are in best focus--great for manual focus, including focus stacking. I get many more than 400 images per battery charge--easily covering a day's worth of shooting. The Sony Zeiss and Sony G lenses are excellent (see the independent tests). The A99 has done very well. So, I'm not switching to the Canon or Nikon.

30 upvotes
Amateur Sony Shooter
By Amateur Sony Shooter (Dec 13, 2012)

My own experience matches what you described. I also have Canon 7D for wildlife shooting, in my experience, the A99 and Sony 70-400G combo yield more keeper rate than Canon 7D, and that's quite a accomplishment for a full frame body which is not really designed as "sports machine".

13 upvotes
gl2k
By gl2k (Dec 13, 2012)

The WYSIWYG concept is indeed very tempting compared to the need for continuously chimping after critical shots.
Might be a real selling point.

3 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Dec 13, 2012)

The EVF has quite a few useful features. I used to simply HATE an EVF and I got a camera with EVF only because Sony did not make a DSLR with an OVF. However after a few months of usage I realized I was being overtly critical of something I never gave a chance to appreciate.

I feel weird whenever I use an OVF now as I have come to appreciate all the pros an EVF offers.

11 upvotes
Chris R-UK
By Chris R-UK (Dec 14, 2012)

I see no mention of the aperture limitations at high fps rates with, for example, the A77 where apertures had to be wide open or a minimum of f/3.5. I think that this was to enable enough light to reach the PD arrays for AF in these modes. I think that there was also a limitation in video mode.

Have they solved this problem with the A99? Perhaps FF allows more light to reach the PD arrays or perhaps the PD sites on the sensor help?

0 upvotes
chiumeister
By chiumeister (Dec 13, 2012)

I wish for a Sony RX1 review before the camera is widely available.

0 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (Dec 13, 2012)

The camera is widely available.

7 upvotes
Gionni Dorelli
By Gionni Dorelli (Dec 13, 2012)

To my eyes, looking at the tests on calibrated monitors, the a99 has more dynamic range than all the other FF at every iso.
For example the canon 5d III and the nikons are even barely a match of the older a900, for dynamic range and colors up to 800 iso.
details is about the same for all, except the Nikon d800, of course.

one big con on the a99. IMO, is the AF sensors that are too close to the center.

0 upvotes
naththo
By naththo (Dec 13, 2012)

Wow very nice review except Dynamic Range problem probably due to translucent mirror and the lose of 1/3 of light enter into sensor. Nex-7 has better DRO than the latest A99. I am unsure or was it an error in review? I don't have $$$$ to get A99 so I went for Nex-7 except one single problem from Nex-7 is portrait is too red. ;)

2 upvotes
Couscousdelight
By Couscousdelight (Dec 13, 2012)

You don't lose 1/3 of light with a transculent mirror, but 1/3 EV.

5 upvotes
Wally626
By Wally626 (Dec 13, 2012)

The Sony numbers are that the mirror reflects 30 percent of the light, close enough to 1/3. 30 percent less light is just under 1/2 stop.

1 upvote
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (Dec 13, 2012)

Fair to say Sony wants your dollars with this camera. Fantastic detail and flat out gorgeous color. Full frame in all its glory. Bravo!
And well shot samples, gentlemen :^)

18 upvotes
3systermuser
By 3systermuser (Dec 13, 2012)

hey guys thanks , really a great review and I have to say this review proved that you guys have been unbiased(neutral).

so, great work and thanks again publishing this amazing honest review before Christmas.

5 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Dec 13, 2012)

Thanks. This was the last big to-do item on our pre-Xmas list, so we're just as glad as you are to have it see the light of day.

7 upvotes
aarif
By aarif (Dec 13, 2012)

one thing has been overlooked as a con. battery only 300 shots now that is very poor

4 upvotes
TrojMacReady
By TrojMacReady (Dec 13, 2012)

410 (EVF) to 500 (LCD) according to CIPA tests. Much less than the competition using their OVF's, better or comparable when they also use LV.

5 upvotes
3systermuser
By 3systermuser (Dec 13, 2012)

buy a spare battery, that that easy.

14 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Dec 13, 2012)

aarif,
We didn't overlook it. We actually mentioned battery life on page 10 of the review. But it does provide enough juice for a fairly full day of stills shooting, so we can't really emphasize that as a con, particularly as it's a direct consequence of a feature that is central to some of the camera's strengths.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
7 upvotes
Peter 111
By Peter 111 (Dec 13, 2012)

I got 4 generic batteries for my A99 on Amazon for $6 each, they're working just like the original Sony battery so far :)

6 upvotes
jdc562
By jdc562 (Dec 13, 2012)

I have been using the A99 for six weeks of intensive shooting. I always get more than 400 shots per charge--which covers my day of shooting and leaving more than "40%" of the charge. Fewer shots per charge may result from more reliance on the LCD, or setting the LCD to be illuminated for longer periods of time before auto shut-off. Since the amount of remaining charge is clearly displayed, and the battery can be replaced in a few seconds, I don't see a serious problem here.

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Dec 13, 2012)

Luckly Sony is using the same batteries for like... 8 years or so, meaning that it's really worth to get them anyway - you'll be able to use them for long long time, and sale on e-bay with not much loss if you'll ever decide to switch brand. I got 4 batteries myself, all of them charged and placed in different locations always ready to pop if needed.

1 upvote
aarif
By aarif (Dec 13, 2012)

You can have as many batteries as you want but you need to charge them too, imagine you are traveling and you want to have at least 1000 shots of charge a day to be on the safe side. so how many hours you will spend charging batteries in a hotel room.

Their is nothing wrong with pointing out this issue maybe Sony will do something about it in the future models

1 upvote
Cacophonic Visions
By Cacophonic Visions (Dec 13, 2012)

Equip the grip with the 2 added batteries and then bam, well over 1000 shots in a day without changing batteries.

If they would re-release or make a new version of the old 2 battery intelligent charger from the A900, a lot of people may not gripe so much. I use one of those old chargers for my A77 and A99's batteries.

1 upvote
Alpha Jack
By Alpha Jack (Dec 13, 2012)

I remember thinkning how cool it was that I could get 36 shots per roll. Changing a battery is much easier than changing a roll of film and I may be wrong, but I think you can put 2 more batteries in the grip so you can easily get over a thousand images without changing batteries if that is what you need. I understand it is about comparing to it's peers therefor it IS a con, but one to simply consider on the whole, not one to seriously rule it out.

2 upvotes
Dennis Phillips
By Dennis Phillips (Dec 13, 2012)

If you're concerned about recharging back at the hotel, get a 2nd charger from ebay. They come with spare batteries and they can be recharged from your car's 24v system. I have so many things to charge when travelling (laptop, tablet, batteries, phone, etc.) that I bring a multi-outlet mains extension and recharge everything at once.

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Cacophonic Visions
By Cacophonic Visions (Dec 13, 2012)

@ Alpha Jack: Yes, the A99's grip holds 2 more batteries, which the camera puts priority to the use of. If you happen to have extra charged batteries around, the batteries in the grip can be changed on the fly without turning the camera off. It also uses the same battery rail as the A77's grip.

I also feel that changing a battery is much simpler than changing a roll of film.

0 upvotes
Josh SZ
By Josh SZ (Dec 13, 2012)

Thanks for the review. But the first camera photo in the review is so bad, I am sorry to say that.

2 upvotes
digitalshooter
By digitalshooter (Dec 13, 2012)

Great review thanks! It is what it is!

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (Dec 13, 2012)

Nice camera, great news for the Sony faithful. I like how Sony pushes the technology envelope. Great time to be into photography.

5 upvotes
jmmgarza
By jmmgarza (Dec 13, 2012)

Can't compare to the better Nikon or Canon system... no way.

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Dec 13, 2012)

Sure you can. dPreview just compared it. And Sony offering won.

4 upvotes
Gionni Dorelli
By Gionni Dorelli (Dec 13, 2012)

For what I know, neither Canon or nikon have AF Zeiss and in body stabilization.
Those are deal breaker.
Sure you cannot compare if do not have those!

3 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Dec 13, 2012)

If someone now can explain to me why a camera with a ton more features, with more comfort in use, with better sharpness, but with just a stop lower high ISO performance can get 3 points less then the Nikon D600. D600 AF is the worst Nikon ever made, the camera has quality issues, has not tilt and swivle screen, nor AF range setting for lenses to capture within a certain range, no focus peaking for MF, no composed image shooting for handheld in dark light and, and, and, and. DPR, you become more and more ridiculous.Compared to the A99, the D600 body is a cripple and here the fact the it has 39AF points opposed to 19 is not an excuse. The AF performs better than Nikon D600 AF, the major point where almost all Pro's who use it complain about. So, what on the end justifies this "bad" note compared to D600. Comparing both cameras is comparing a Ferrari to a Volkswagen, Nikon's D600 is primitive and Nikon has not make any effort to make this camera a modern tool, even D5200 offers more.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Dec 13, 2012)

If you compare what is comparable, in 24 mpix, D600, A99, NEX-7, Canon Mk3 that is close to this resolution, you will see that in raw, D600 loses on all points, the raw's are blurry, not sharp at all compared to the others. Also you can see in the chart comparing that Nikon applies noise reduction in raw, the A99 shows uniform noise in all iso range, while Nikon shows smear, mainly in the blue section. It is no doubt that Nikon handles noise better on jpeg shots than Sony, but on the end, compare what is comparable, looks what a A99 offers and what a Nikon D600 offers and you just forget about D600. Crappy quality control, quality issues that should not occur, is that what one needs to get 3 points higher while the camera does not even offers 60% of A99 features.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Dec 13, 2012)

Come on people, step the feet on the ground. EVF against OVF is a question of taste and once you have used EVF, you stick to it, what you see there is what you get. Only the ancient "stick to the old" people will here say it the other way, like always, same as you well never convince Leica users that they shoot "old" stuff. So, again a deception in rating showing clearly to what world DPR belongs to and for what industry they work or to what brand they stick to. The rating you give to this camera is based on high iso performance only, all the rest around is seem not to exist for you. Time you wake up, I am not the only one who claims you to be ridiculous with your ratings.

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 13, 2012)

The D600 is a different class of camera on DPR (Entry Level FF), and DPR scores are not comparable across classes.

That said, I'd take a D600 over an A99 any day. Amazing IQ, high ISO ability, DR, nice sharp video, a proper OVF and Nikkor lenses. But some might prefer the A99 no doubt a good camera.

7 upvotes
JohnBee
By JohnBee (Dec 13, 2012)

I think the D600 stands-out as the most affordable FF camera every made.

3 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (Dec 13, 2012)

The D600 and Sony A99 are in different scoring class. And by the way, the Nikon D600 is one of the highest resolving cameras out there. from the DPR review " With its 24MP sensor, the D600 ranks among the highest resolution full frame DSLRs on the market, falling shy only of the 36MP Nikon D800.Impressively, it does this without introducing the sharpening-inducing halos that we've observed in rivals like the 24MP APS-C Sony SLT-A77 or the 22MP full frame Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Raw files can resolve a bit more detail here and can tolerate slightly more aggressive than usual low-radius sharpening for output that again compares very well against its peers.".

Nikons default sharpening is traditionally set to low, it sharpens beautifully. You do realize the D600 and A99 use the same sensor, don't you?

BTW, Nikon does not use NR in raw except for long exposures.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (Dec 13, 2012)

Sony has the most affordable FF camera ever made, the A850.

5 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 13, 2012)

@AmaturFotografer
Too bad they dumped the A850 along with the A900, the only two Sony cameras I ever liked for the big, beautiful prism housing.

0 upvotes
3systermuser
By 3systermuser (Dec 13, 2012)

actually the worst camera Nikon announced this year was the experimental camera called D800/E,which had several very infamous known design flaws.
I got 4 bad D800 bodies in a row and I decided to give it up altother.
the dust issue of the D600 is not as serious as the AF issue , the LCD issue or the build quality issue of the D800.
and I even got a D800 with dead LCD.
AFAIK ,Sony has had much better QC record than Nikon.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
3systermuser
By 3systermuser (Dec 13, 2012)

@marike6,actually,noone really cares if you like the A99v or not , we all know you are a fanatic Nikon fan and looking for any chance to trash Sony or Canon.
so no worry , anyone really expect you to say anything good about Sony.

5 upvotes
Illumina
By Illumina (Dec 13, 2012)

Ah... This is the typical fanboy comment that I've been waiting for..
I'm a Nikonian and I don't bash other brands.. Every brands are good nowadays.. It's down to personal preferences..
U said D600 AF is the worst ever?
There are only 2 possibilities :
1. U are a true fanboy and troll
2. U don't have the skill to focus properly
As a reminder, A99 is more expensive than D600.. So it's not a surprise if A99 has more feature..
For me personally, the only thing that I want from A99 is it's multi hinge screen..
But as I said in my opening sentence.. It's down to personal preferences, and I still prefer Nikon over Sony..
If D600 only manages to get 80% score, I will not complain and bashing like you do.. Why should I? I'm happy with my purchase.. Numbers / awards cannot make you take better / worst picture..
And for the info.. Not every D600 is dust sucker.. I've taken 5000 exposure ( include video ) and I'm very happy with the result..

0 upvotes
Gionni Dorelli
By Gionni Dorelli (Dec 13, 2012)

Nikon cannot do inexpensive DSLR that are reliable and sturdy enough. It is in their DNA.
All the affordable Nikons, begin to fall apart earlier that other's makers affordable DSLR. It has always been like this since the '80ies.

1 upvote
Comitant
By Comitant (Dec 13, 2012)

How about $800 in difference? Is that enough for two points? Or do you need those two extra points to feel better about your Sony gear?

Stop freaking out, both cameras are great.

1 upvote
xdfortier
By xdfortier (Dec 13, 2012)

Seriously, any camera released in the last 2 years, FF, crop or m43 will produce amazing photos in the right hands, and last 3+ years without negligent handling.

I'd also like to point out that NEF files NEED to be converted with either Capture NX2 or Capture One software. Adobe makes nikon files look like garbage with default settings. I didn't believe this until I loaded up my d7000 files with capture nx2 and my jaw dropped at the colours and sharpness difference.

Lightroom/ACR is literally a disgrace for nikonians.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 13, 2012)

@3systermuser Don't feel bad, I said the A99 was a good camera, what more do you want?

The "experimental" D800 will outsell the A99 by a huge margin. I'm sorry you had trouble with your 4 D800s, not my experience at all.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Photophiliac
By Photophiliac (Dec 13, 2012)

The D600 performs well but too bad it's built horribly. Focus problems , aperture issues and now shutter lubricant issues leaking all over the sensor. Nikon really missed on this camera. Nikon is very aware of all these major issues and my friends that have bought this cam are getting a big "F.U" from Nikon about replacements. Sure the A99 is a bit more expensive but I would much rather pay a bit more for a camera I can actually use vs one that spends a lot of its life in repair.

2 upvotes
Ak pinxit
By Ak pinxit (Dec 13, 2012)

some interesting artifacts on sample 05DSC01726 , in the green light area ;
ISO 3200 looks like ISO 3200 always looks like - smudgy :) , doesn't matter on brand or how it looked like in the studio conditions

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Ak pinxit
By Ak pinxit (Dec 13, 2012)

what a difference between Sony lens and Zeiss !

0 upvotes
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (Dec 13, 2012)

Price??

3 upvotes
Superka
By Superka (Dec 12, 2012)

OVF is the best.

3 upvotes
Ak pinxit
By Ak pinxit (Dec 13, 2012)

have you ever used 100% cover optical prism VF ?
to me that would be among first reasons not to switch

2 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Dec 13, 2012)

That is your meaning, I shoot DSLR's for more than 45 years now, I use the EVF and am surprised how good it performs, specially I see what I get. For me the Sony EVF is a bargain over any OVF, but it is all a question of taste and habit.

7 upvotes
JohnBee
By JohnBee (Dec 13, 2012)

I really like what EVF has to offer over OFV.

1 upvote
3systermuser
By 3systermuser (Dec 13, 2012)

OVF is a thing of the past , I , for one , much prefer the EVF in the Sony over any lousy digital camera tunnel OVF of Nikon or Canon or Pentax.

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
Ak pinxit
By Ak pinxit (Dec 13, 2012)

set aside prism vs EVF technical and optical compare , OVF is the last analog (natural) device in the DSLR , which gives me ability to keep in check a color gamma - on LCD and EVF you'll get close , but not true colors of picture you just took ; in other words - through OFV and lens you see , what sensor "see" , while with EVF (and LCD) you see the way EVF is capable to show you

1 upvote
pdelux
By pdelux (Dec 13, 2012)

You are a fool if you believe the sensor "sees" what you see.
What we see is a composite of multiple frames and exposures moulded together in our minds in real time. The cameras Only capture one exposure.

1 upvote
Cacophonic Visions
By Cacophonic Visions (Dec 13, 2012)

With the EVF in the A99, you see an extremely close approximation of what the sensor is "seeing", combined with (or without if you choose) the effects of camera settings, as the sensor is showing it to you. It may not be able to show the absolute DR of the sensor, but it's easy enough to remember that you always get more DR and less noise than what you see in the EVF.

Through OVF you see the color of the lens, and that of the VF. The scene may look close to what the light hitting the sensor might be, but it's not what the sensor actually "sees". Since the sensor does not match the DR of our own eyes, you never get as much as you're seeing.

2 upvotes
Natan Lorenzi
By Natan Lorenzi (Dec 12, 2012)

Now, I'm Sony because of it. A99 is revolucionary!

My way on Photo Canon -> Nikon -> Sony...

5 upvotes
intensity studios
By intensity studios (Dec 13, 2012)

thanks for sharing!

0 upvotes
Deeso
By Deeso (Dec 12, 2012)

Probably it wont "steal" many sales from Nikon or Canon, but at least new FF users have a new, lighter option and Minolta/Sony users a modern body to fit their glass.

7 upvotes
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Dec 12, 2012)

DPR, why do your news items get stamped with GMT time while posts in the forums will tell how old they are based on where a user is logging in from? I'm sure you can program your site to tell when a news item was posted in the time zone the visitor is in, right?

1 upvote
Dianoda
By Dianoda (Dec 12, 2012)

Does the D600 RAW output have less sharpening applied to it compared to the rest? D800/A99/5D3 @ ISO100 are all noticeably sharper at the pixel level compared to the D600 at the same ISO...

0 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Dec 13, 2012)

what I said, D600 Raw are blurry and un-sharp compared to others. Include NEX-7 in it and you will see. Even is NEX-7 must step back after ISO800, it's image quality and resolution is not beaten by any of the FF boxes yet.

0 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (Dec 13, 2012)

Nikon traditionally does not use much in body sharpening.

0 upvotes
Amateur Sony Shooter
By Amateur Sony Shooter (Dec 13, 2012)

Most likely that's due to different focus areas.

0 upvotes
Vladik
By Vladik (Dec 12, 2012)

I want one :)

1 upvote
schufosi777
By schufosi777 (Dec 12, 2012)

Pity I cannot buy it. I am an English speaker living in Japan and it comes with Japanese menus only and Sony will not allow it to be imported from anywhere. So its down to the other two who do have English menus.

0 upvotes
Vitruvius
By Vitruvius (Dec 12, 2012)

Don't new cameras have menus built-in? Then a firmware upgrade to english version would give you english menus. Right???

0 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (Dec 12, 2012)

No, the Sony cameras bought in Japan with default Japanese language can't change the language, neither from menu nor from FW upgrades. You can change the language on cameras bought anywhere else outside Japan.

1 upvote
Vladik
By Vladik (Dec 12, 2012)

Japanese have always been a very particular culture :)

4 upvotes
Deeso
By Deeso (Dec 12, 2012)

Indeed. It's like they don't expect foreigners to live in their country D:

4 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (Dec 12, 2012)

No, the reason is that Sony doesn't want Japanese models to be imported outside Japan in grey market.

3 upvotes
caterpillar
By caterpillar (Dec 13, 2012)

It seems it is only a Sony thing. In our country, you can buy a gray Kiss camera (for Japan market vs the Rebel name in the USA and the xxD numbering elsewhere) and the menus are in english. It is user selectable.

0 upvotes
Gionni Dorelli
By Gionni Dorelli (Dec 13, 2012)

Japanese are really welcoming to foreigners in general. even they immigration system is quite less complicated than those in the US and Europe.
Only their appliances made for the domestic market are really stubborn...

0 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (Dec 13, 2012)

Jeez, of course you can buy an A99 with English menus in Japan! It has been like that for ages, simply buy an overseas model: http://www.sony.jp/products/overseas/contents/newproducts/SLT-A99KITJE/index.html

5 upvotes
sensibill
By sensibill (Dec 13, 2012)

As an English speaker living in Japan wouldn't you say it's time to learn some very basic (menu text) Japanese..?

1 upvote
TheChefs
By TheChefs (Dec 13, 2012)

sensibill: you are not wrong, most of the menus on cameras are in Katakana which takes few days to learn. Not to mention all katakana words are just japanified version of english... And katakana takes around 3 days to learn. Not a hard task.

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Dec 13, 2012)

" It has been like that for ages, simply buy an overseas model"

Well, that's going to be far less widely available, and likely more expensive than the domestic model, plus it all but eliminates you from buying or selling on the Japanese used market.

That's an inane decision by Sony. Nikon doesn't do that. Nor does Pentax. I doubt Canon does either. You buy the camera, dive down to the setup menu, switch the language to English.

"As an English speaker living in Japan wouldn't you say it's time to learn some very basic (menu text) Japanese..?"

I speak and read enough Japanese to know the menus, but its still far easier in English. Ah, Sony, still alienating customers to protect your interests I see. Haven't bought a Sony product in a decade for exactly that reason : I know that if I did, sooner or later Sony will screw me.

0 upvotes
schufosi777
By schufosi777 (Dec 13, 2012)

Yes hiragana and katakana are easy to learn however a lot of the the menus also contain a lot of kanji as well, the third alphabet the Japanese use, which is very difficult. That said, most of the menus are icon based so its a matter of learning the manual inside out. Panasonic are the other company that sell Japanese menu only cameras in the Japanese market. I do not have any trouble with my FZ 150 now, although it did require a lot of extra effort matching the menu pages to the English manual especially where that naughty kanji presented itself. The A99 is a very complex and feature rich camera so would take more time to master. The up side is you end up learning the manual and camera inside out.

0 upvotes
Irbis82
By Irbis82 (Dec 13, 2012)

I know in Japan there are some official Sony stores that sell special TOURIST (or overseas) modifications of devices with English menu. Please look here for products http://www.sony.jp/products/overseas/contents/products.html
and stores:
http://www.sony.jp/products/overseas/contents/shop.html

1 upvote
EricWN
By EricWN (Dec 13, 2012)

Just another weird decision to not have something so simple as a language switch so that a manufacturer can play his worn-out game of "grey market" cameras. My computer and phone have worldwide warranties, regardless if I buy them in the US, Europe or wherever.
But then, Sony has lost me with their stupid decisions on memory card formats as well as with their total fail when the Playstation network got hacked already.
Otherwise - this looks like a good camera that I'm sure many will enjoy.

0 upvotes
J Parker
By J Parker (Dec 12, 2012)

Excellent review for an excellent camera -- and stunning gallery images. I admit, as a Nikon shooter, I used to not take the Sony cameras seriously -- until I actually used one. For example, the Zeiss lenses on Sony's 10 year old F707/F717 models (2.0 at 38mm, 2.4 even at 192mm) give any of my Nikon primes a run for their money. Regardless of what brand you shoot with, innovations from companies like Sony, Fuji, etc. can only benefit the consumer in the long run.

5 upvotes
RStyga
By RStyga (Dec 12, 2012)

An upper IQ limit of ISP 6400, and then it gets visibly worse than the competition.

Typical Sony DSLR IQ... strong sensor manufacturer but somehow they mess up when using them in their DSLR.. it doesn't make sense...

4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 12, 2012)

Nikon seems to pull much more out of Sony sensors than Sony. Ditto for Pentax with the K-5 and the 16 mp Exmor.

2 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (Dec 12, 2012)

No Nikon doesn't score better. Nikon D7000 and Sony A580 both scored 80 points on dxomark. A55 scored lower due to SLT mirror. Sony cameras also tend to score slightly lower in DR on dxomark due to stronger CFA filter. This is all well known.

Butr no, Nikon doesn't do better. All the scores (with cameras without SLT mirror) are within margin of error.

Comment edited 57 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 12, 2012)

Nobody said anything about scoring better on dxomark. I said that Nikon and Pentax get better high ISO out of the same sensor, see the D600 and K-5.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (Dec 13, 2012)

K-5 uses RAW NR. If you go by jpegs, Nex-5N and Fuji cameras both do better than K-5. Even OMD with smaler sensor does better.

D600 doesn't do better than RX1 at high ISO. Wrong again

3 upvotes
TrojMacReady
By TrojMacReady (Dec 13, 2012)

In the case of the Pentax, "better" is as subjective as any type of NR. I take my own recipe over Pentax NR. Your mileage obviously differs.
As for the D600, remove the mirror and they should be about the same (see D7000 vs A580 or NEX).

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 13, 2012)

JPEGs are meaningless. But the K-5 gets 14 EV of DR, and over 1200 high ISO / low-light score (the highest of any APS-C camera tested on DxOMark). The X-Pro1 may equal it or better it, we don't know. The OM-D scores around 800 ISO, nowhere near any of the better APS-C cameras (D7000, K-5 I and II). It also produces about 2 EV less DR than a K-5 or D7000. But good try.

The D600 is in another league where it scores 2950 ISO, close to a D3s. No Sony or Canon camera has ever reached such high low-light scores on DxOMark. Only the D800 and D4 put up such low-light/sports scores in their tests. That's just the way it is. Don't shoot the messenger.

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (Dec 13, 2012)

D600 is not in "another" class. It uses 24 MP sensor made by Sony, just as D800 uses a Sony sensor. A99 should be 1/2 stop lower due to SLT mirror and RX1 should be pretty close to D600.

And while we at it. VG900 that shoots RAW stills should be very close to D600 too. D600 is not in any special class. Both RX1 and VG900 should have very close RAW performance.

All these cameras are using the 24 MP Exmor sensor made by Sony, not Nikon

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
TrojMacReady
By TrojMacReady (Dec 13, 2012)

Funny you call jpegs meaningless and then tout the Pentax low light scores a few seconds later. Which are affected by quite a bit of RAW NR, just like OOC jpegs. As also noted repeatedly by reviewers and DXOmark. In fact, the loss of resolution as a result has been measured and is clearly visible.

0 upvotes
RStyga
By RStyga (Dec 13, 2012)

I'll have to agree with marike6 about the significance of JPEG IQ. JPEG in-camera engines are limited and, especially in high-end DLSRs, shooting RAW is the norm for high-IQ.

As for Pentax NR RAW, it might be true mostly for K-30 and K-01, but only slightly, and it does not practically affect resolution; I'll have to disagree on the negative resolution argument. The AA filter, yes, does have a detrimental effect on resolution but not the slight NR applied on RAW.

I don't know or care very much about the measurbation side in this case because what I see in the DPR test image tells me that SONY A99 over ISO 6400 suffers not only noise-wise but also detail-wise. So no NR algorithm will retrieve extra detail from A99 (unless in the form of made-up or interpolated detail) at, say, ISO 8000 or 12000.

Regards,

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Gionni Dorelli
By Gionni Dorelli (Dec 13, 2012)

Better high iso does not necessarily means better image quality for everybody use. especially since the differences are very marginal.
Sony sensor technology, has over all, much more to offers than Nikon and canon that only blindfolded people cannot accept this fact.
I have used Nikon for 20 years and Canon for 6, but i would go back to it only if Sony stops making cameras.

0 upvotes
EarthQuake
By EarthQuake (Dec 13, 2012)

Sony has IBIS so in certain situations with certain lenses(IE fast primes which hardly any of canon or nikon's lenses come with IS) you'll be able to use a couple stops lower ISO. Not for fast moving subjects of course but it still helps in a lot of situations.

So a 1/2 stop iso penalty can be overcome by IBIS.

I used to shoot canon and now sony, the IBIS is a huge advantage.

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Dec 13, 2012)

@Troj- you can mention Pentax NR at higher ISO all you want but the truth is, the K-5 is still- even with that- amazing at high ISO.
Even if you preferred to do your own NR somewhere else.

3 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Dec 13, 2012)

@ET2 -Yes, JPEGS on K-5 are not bad but some others do better. But if you want to count what the camera can really do, with RAW the K-5 outclasses the OMD-5. The Fuji probably goes neck and neck with some pro's and cons. The Fuji is indeed pretty darn good.

1 upvote
zxaar
By zxaar (Dec 13, 2012)

@Raist3d,the thing people do not understand that even with that NR pentax gives files with equal or more resolution to cameras that do not apply that raw NR. So in the end pentax user can also apply further NR and do still better than what others would get from their methods on other cams. Results may not be largely different but pentax would still be better.

1 upvote
Ionian
By Ionian (Dec 12, 2012)

The video clips looked like mush, though. The stills look great. I'm surprised the reviewer couldn't see how mushy the video was. If he's not capable of seeing that it makes one question the entire review. Thankfully they post the video clips so it's easier to compare for ourselves as well as judge the level and competence of the reviewer and adjust the review accordingly. That being said, regardless of the questionable skills of the reviewer, the a99 does look to be a phenomenal stills camera. Videos needs a lot of work, though.

2 upvotes
Shield3
By Shield3 (Dec 17, 2012)

Couldn't have said it better myself. A great stills camera, but not very good at all in video mode. Blows out highlights, mushy, low resolution, IS is all but worthless etc. in video mode. The moire and aliasing are pretty bad too.

0 upvotes
snow14
By snow14 (Dec 12, 2012)

to me this camera is just oh ok

3 upvotes
Dapple 101
By Dapple 101 (Dec 12, 2012)

Thanks for sharing snow14, now I don't need to waste time reading the full review!

9 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Dec 12, 2012)

Gold Award.... and well deserved.

Sony has done it again.

4 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Dec 13, 2012)

yes, but with 3 points behind a D600 that is just a cripple compared to it, when it comes to compare all features and technology. Comparing a D600 to an A99 is comparing old stuff to modern hi-tech.

1 upvote
Gionni Dorelli
By Gionni Dorelli (Dec 13, 2012)

Shamael, you are right, but at the end who bloody cares...

I'm a Pro using Sony and very happy that most of Pros, that are my competitors BTW, do not use it.
It is a bit like being a Leica user, they would not care what a Nikon lover has to complain about Leica.

2 upvotes
Cacophonic Visions
By Cacophonic Visions (Dec 13, 2012)

D600 got a bunch of extra points for the low price tag, in spite of not really being a value at even that price point. Lack of features and shoddy build should have knocked some points off, but it's an entry-level model with good IQ, so it gets by even with the defects and lack of QC.
The D600 might end up being closer to worth the price tag once the price drops again, although I'd still never buy one as I don't like the color rendition of Nikkors.

0 upvotes
mediman30
By mediman30 (Dec 12, 2012)

I AM SONY. I AM INNOVATION

I AM SONY. I AM RX100

I AM SONY. I AM RX1

I still love my A77! Merry Christmas to all!

6 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Dec 12, 2012)

what the...

3 upvotes
rusticus
By rusticus (Dec 12, 2012)

congratulation and good for you

2 upvotes
io_bg
By io_bg (Dec 12, 2012)

I am | small AF point coverage on an expensive FF camera

Merry Christmas :)

3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Dec 12, 2012)

I AM FANBOY. I AM FULL OF KOOL-AID!

17 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Dec 12, 2012)

I worship companies. I pay them money for the privledge of giving them free advertising.

7 upvotes
senn_b
By senn_b (Dec 12, 2012)

.. and I am Sony, I am R1 !!!

unforgettable ..

0 upvotes
senn_b
By senn_b (Dec 12, 2012)

.. and I am Sony, .. I am R1 !

0 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Dec 12, 2012)

I'm not James Bond so I do not need it ;-)

1 upvote
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Dec 13, 2012)

You must be Ashton Kutcher and you shoot bambi with Nikon...LOL

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Amateur Sony Shooter
By Amateur Sony Shooter (Dec 12, 2012)

The review is pretty much as I expected. 84% is a fair final mark, Gold or Silver I could care less since I already bought it. The only thing DPR missed on A99's key feature/benefit is the AF-range which to my opinion is truly "must-have" feature for any long tele lens, regardless whether or not the lens has it's own focus limiter switch.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
LKJ
By LKJ (Dec 12, 2012)

How much less could you care?

5 upvotes
MGJA
By MGJA (Dec 12, 2012)

Actually, they didn't miss that at all, spending some ink and giving us a shot of how it works and what they think of it.

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Dec 12, 2012)

What happened to the horizontal charts for Dynamic Range. Those were so much easier to compare than the current line graphs. Please bring back the old horizontal charts.

5 upvotes
Couscousdelight
By Couscousdelight (Dec 13, 2012)

Who cares about DPR dynamic range test ?
They are testing Jpgs !

0 upvotes
Digiman69
By Digiman69 (Dec 13, 2012)

Same is for the old and clear resolution charts!!!!

0 upvotes
EDWARD ARTISTE
By EDWARD ARTISTE (Dec 12, 2012)

The camera market is ridiculous.

Sony has long been a company with terrible support for its products. Yet its camera are dusting the competition who are scared to break beyond thier marketing approaches to camera.

This body sounds all kinds of awesome...well, except that its sony. I will never, ever buy another sony product save for their game console. Ive been crapped on too many times by this company. I used to swear by their XBR tvs.

Otherwise, their lack of glass selection is a shame- plenty of photogs should get to enjoy all this technology without having to be dismayed about what was carefully x'ed off the feature list (im looking at you idiots at canon)

however, if i hit the lotto, id be on this and a few zeis pieces like white on rice.

4 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Dec 13, 2012)

Bashing products because of a personal bad experience (if true...) is as bad as the marketing some Companies go along with.

But in line of your bashing: I do think it is a good idea to do a review upgrade after at least a period of practical usage and do take after service of a product into account..but that counts for all reviews of user products.

0 upvotes
intensity studios
By intensity studios (Dec 13, 2012)

yeah, you are spot on. sony has a terrible track record of making proprietary BS (i.e. memory stick, etc.) and dumping their products when not enough people adapt

0 upvotes
JohnBee
By JohnBee (Dec 13, 2012)

I'm not rich but I see Sony and Zeiss in the near future :)

Why the Canon insults. - not cool

0 upvotes
starwolfy
By starwolfy (Dec 13, 2012)

As Edward I have the same feeling regarding Sony.
I won't buy anything from this brand again either due to bad experience with their products and after sales service.
They make innovative and high performance products that's for sure. But their products, in my experience, are breaking too easily.

0 upvotes
Illumina
By Illumina (Dec 12, 2012)

I'm waiting for comments like : 'why it's only 84 %, there must be some conspiracy happened in here..' 'Dpreview is no longer credible since Amazon bought them' etc..
LOL..
Have a great day folks..

4 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Dec 12, 2012)

A conspiracy, yes: DPR is really biased in favor of Canon and Nikon, but tries to fool everyone by giving high rating to a Sony. Don't be tricked by scores. Listen to those bats in the bellfry!

8 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Dec 13, 2012)

For some reason the Pentax fanboys light up the boards if they feel the score is even 1 percentage point less than the camera deserves. Everyone else pretty much skips that section...

1 upvote
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Dec 12, 2012)

Curious why they spent so much time and money developing a translucent mirror system when they could have knocked it out of the park with a pentaprism system. This, alone, would have swawyed the leary thinkers such as myself long ago instead of trying to sell viewfinder-lovers the headache-inducing EVF version of a finder. They may have made a great machine here but I just will never be able to get over having to turn it on to see through the finder and the ever-present flicker ...

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Dec 12, 2012)

An A950 with this sensor and technology would have been one hell of a camera. However, I think Sony has proven that the SLT concept can hold it's own against anyone.

I really like what Sony is doing. Leading the way sure beats following the pack.

7 upvotes
my username was already taken

How do you do phase detection autofocus during video recording without the fixed mirror?

2 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Dec 12, 2012)

@Marty, I know they are. They dominated the personal stereo craze, the home stereo market, the computer market ... basically every electronics field there is. And that, my friend, is why I like my Pentax K-5 better than any thing.

4 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Dec 12, 2012)

@ my username was already taken - simple i don't shoot video. That's for video cameras. not stills with video enabled.

/me lights fuse, gets away

I can't stand this argument. I don't like EVFs period, so you can give up on pedantics early.

1 upvote
Erik Magnuson
By Erik Magnuson (Dec 12, 2012)

Without SLT, then people will just buy Canons and Nikons. At least that appears to be what Sony learned from the A850 and A900. Selling to the existing base does not grow market share, particularly when your existing base is much smaller than the other guys.

5 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Dec 12, 2012)

@Erik Magnuson - I just dumped all my Canon gear and switched to Pentax about 6 weeks ago - haven't looked back since, nor will I.

2 upvotes
LKJ
By LKJ (Dec 12, 2012)

@my username was already taken:

By integrating it into the imaging sensor. Like Fuji, Canon or Nikon already do.

1 upvote
ventur
By ventur (Dec 12, 2012)

and Sony

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 12, 2012)

I agree. The A900 and A850 were such nice cameras because they had proper pentaprism VFs.

@my username was already taken - no serious HDSLR videographer uses AF. Ever.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
TrojMacReady
By TrojMacReady (Dec 13, 2012)

Chicken vs egg. No serious video tool in these price ranges would offer fast AF to begin with. Simply because it wasn't doable, certainly not with shallower DOF. It opens up opportunities that might otherwise be restricted to large and heavy setups, trial and error, staged sets, etc.
And as fir on sensor AF, that has a ton of limitations still, especially in less than ideal light. A me-too offering from Sony will be dead in the market.

0 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (Dec 13, 2012)

"6 weeks ago"
lol

2 upvotes
sensibill
By sensibill (Dec 13, 2012)

Always going to be stubborn 'this is better than that' folks. There were 'no way is this newfangled thing gonna replace my traditional film camera' types just a scant few years ago, and this is no different.

0 upvotes
JKP
By JKP (Dec 13, 2012)

The translucent mirror should flip away from blocking the light if user chose that. Can't be too hard to design it to work that way.

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
tonywong
By tonywong (Dec 12, 2012)

Figures. Reviews with non-SLRs get 100 complaint comments about how DPR isn't reviewing SLRs fast enough but when a SLR/SLT review *does* happen it's tumbleweeds in here.

Keep up the good work on the reviews!

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Dec 12, 2012)

You posted that within the hour the news item was posted, I think.

1 upvote
Airless
By Airless (Dec 12, 2012)

Looks like Canon is now the #3 brand in the Pro DSLR market.

17 upvotes
Juck
By Juck (Dec 12, 2012)

Not in this universe, boy.

6 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Dec 12, 2012)

They are number 5 in my book.

1. Nikon
2. Sony
3. Olympus (OMD EM5)
4. Panasonic (GH3)
5. Canon

8 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Dec 12, 2012)

Not when you look at the systems as a whole and the whole body of pro photographer's needs. Sony does have the better sensor right now, obviously, but it takes more than that to be a pro system.

8 upvotes
Mike604
By Mike604 (Dec 12, 2012)

Really... Omd and gh3 over 5D3? Give your head a shake.

19 upvotes
rusticus
By rusticus (Dec 12, 2012)

no!
1. Pentax
2. FUJI
3. Nikon
4. Sony
5. Canon
6. Leica
7. Olympus and Panasonic

;)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Dec 12, 2012)

Canon may well be #3 in terms of fans, product placement in movies and important stuff like that. But in terms of how many cameras and lenses are sold, I think Nikon and Canon will be able to hold on, even with some nice Sony cameras.

1 upvote
underxposed59
By underxposed59 (Dec 12, 2012)

@ risticus
Your middle name has to be MAX.
;-)

1 upvote
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Dec 12, 2012)

I didn't think sony entered the pro market. The 5D3, d800, and a99 are enthusiast 35mm cameras. Everyone's big reason for not using sony for professional work is lack of proper service support in a timely manner that pros need.

4 upvotes
JohnBee
By JohnBee (Dec 13, 2012)

I'd factor in Pentax above that as well ;)

0 upvotes
Lee W
By Lee W (Dec 12, 2012)

Beats the D800 hands down!

6 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 12, 2012)

In some respects... ;)

9 upvotes
io_bg
By io_bg (Dec 12, 2012)

How? With resolution or AF performance? ;)

8 upvotes
Erik Magnuson
By Erik Magnuson (Dec 12, 2012)

Well, video AF performance....

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 12, 2012)

It doesn't beat the D800 at all. AF tracking, IQ including high ISO and likely DR, and video quality all favor the D800. DPR does a great job, but they got the D800 score wrong.

Wait for the DxOMark numbers, and if the A99 knocks off the D800 from the top of the list, I'll buy you a...Zeiss 24-70.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
io_bg
By io_bg (Dec 12, 2012)

marike6, DxoMark compare only sensors, not cameras!

5 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 12, 2012)

@io_bg
And the sensor is directly responsible for IQ. Besides Nikon always seems to get so much more out of Sony sensors than even Sony.

The point is if the A99 doesn't have better IQ than a D800 it doesn't "beat it hands down".

2 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (Dec 12, 2012)

marike6 is known to post stupid comments. Of course D800 will score higher on dxomark as the Sony sensor in D800 doesn't have the SLT mirror in it's way. Just scoring higher on dxomark doesn't mean one camera is better than the other. If that was the case, all Canon cameras ever made were worse than all Sony cameras ever made. Yes that's stupid, but that is marike6 for you.

In any case, as it happens, A99 on dpreview ended up scoring higher than both D800 anmd 5D Mark III.

Live with marike6, instead of venting your frustration here.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 12, 2012)

@ET2

Who do you think you are? I said nothing "stupid". The SLT mirror only loses light, affecting high ISO performance, not DR or color depth.
But you are to dense to understand that the D800E and non-E are better cameras with better IQ than an A99, that's your problem. You like the Sony, go buy it. If a top-of-the-line FF camera can't is not good at AF tracking, has worse IQ, and no pentaprism VF, how is it hands down better?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
mick232
By mick232 (Dec 12, 2012)

@io_bg: you are wrong

If DXO did that, the A99 would have exactly the same score as the D600. The NEX7 would have exactly the same score as the A77. But they don't. The compare sensors built into a body.

1 upvote
ET2
By ET2 (Dec 12, 2012)

marike6 , funny you say you don't post stupid stuff than you go on to claim that SLT only affects high ISO, not DR and color depth scores on dxomark. This is factually false. Check A55 and A580 scores on dxomark.

Yes you post stupid things, as you did just again. A580 and D7000 both scored 80 points. Nikon doesn't score higher with the same sensor without SLT mirror. Sony makes the sensor, not Nikon.

I have now seen you in RX100, RX1, A99, A57, F55 and F5 articles. You seem to have an issue with any positive review of Sony by DPReview.

A99 scored higher than D800 on DPreview .. does that pain you?

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 12, 2012)

@ET2

Moron? That's funny, your mother said the same thing about you last night.

The SLT nonsense looses light, therefore directly affects high ISO. Everybody knows this but you, apparently.

Sony makes OK cameras, nothing more. If they ever figure out how to make a decent lens without Zeiss, maybe more than one pro will adopt the Sony system.

By the way, D800E 84%, Sony A99 84%. Too bad about the soft video and poor AF tracking.

By the way, you are pretty tough on the internet. Impressive.

1 upvote
ET2
By ET2 (Dec 12, 2012)

I know SLT affects high ISO. You didn't know that it also affects DR score on dxomark. That's why I said you are known to post stupid things, and you confirmed it. Thank you very much.

Yes, SLT has slight affect on image quality (1/2 stop pretty minor) but there are positives too (no mirror vibrations, EVF, video PDAF AF, EVF in video mode, less shutter lag due electronic first shutter curtain, faster fps at lower cost, etc).

Glad you admitted that on DPreview A99 scored higher than D800 and 5D Mark II .. must pain you a lot, huh?

Ah ... that's so sad ;)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 12, 2012)

@ET2
Good thing Sony adopted SLT on all their DSLRs. Great move.

Why would I care what DPR scores a camera. DPR does a good job, but they are not the ultimate authority on cameras. I care which one has better IQ, AF, and an OVF and that would be the D800.

If you like the A99, go buy it and take some photos.

By the way, I'm waiting for an apology. Any time you're ready.

2 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (Dec 13, 2012)

You obviously care, as you are whining about it. Why are posting on this thread? Why were you posting on RX1, RX100, A57, and F55/F5 threads? You seem to have obsession.

DPR may not be the ultimate authority on cameras, but you definitely are no authority. You haven't even touched most of these cameras ..

1 upvote
sandy b
By sandy b (Dec 13, 2012)

Actually, it ties the D800E. Kudos Sony. So, will they come out with a variant to compete with the D600/6D? I almost think they have to.

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
JohnBee
By JohnBee (Dec 13, 2012)

I believe the A99 AF outpaces the D800 by a significant margin.
That being said, the EVF and LCD alone would do the trick.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 13, 2012)

@ET2 Actually I own a D800, and I used to be a 5D Mk II user. What do you shoot with? Judging from your gallery nothing.

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Dec 12, 2012)

WHAT?! Another phone review? When are you guys going to quit diluting the site with mobile articles and get back to real photography?

Oh, wait, sorry. Habit.

19 upvotes
thirup
By thirup (Dec 12, 2012)

hahaha, that's funny. Made me laugh out loud. I think the DPR guys are doing a great job. Keep it up :-)

4 upvotes
Total comments: 498
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