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Sony announces Alpha SLT-A99 24MP full-frame camera

By dpreview staff on Sep 12, 2012 at 04:00 GMT
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Photokina 2012: Sony has announced the SLT A99, its flagship full frame interchangeable lens camera. The A99 features a 24MP 36x24mm CMOS sensor that features on-sensor phase detection, creating a dual AF system that promises improved focus tracking and focus precision. It also includes the Quick Navi interactive status panel and a host of features for video shooters, including a 'silent' control dial, mic and headphone sockets and focus peaking, to make the most of its 1080p60 HD capability.

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Press Release:

Sony Introduces New Full-Frame α99 Camera with Translucent Mirror Technology and Dual AF System

Flagship α A-mount camera delivers new levels of image quality, focus capabilities and video performance

SAN DIEGO, Sept 12, 2012 – Sony’s long awaited α99 digital camera sets a new performance standard for professional-class DSLRs, combining all of the benefits of full-frame imaging with the responsiveness and speed of Translucent Mirror Technology.

The successor to Sony’s flagship α900 DSLR, the α99 camera features a brand new 24.3 MP full-frame image sensor, a unique dual phase-detect AF system and a host of other innovative technologies that work together to deliver the best image and full HD video quality in the history of Sony’s acclaimed line of α cameras.

“The new α99 camera is the ultimate combination of Sony’s expertise and rich history of image sensor production coupled with our truly innovative approach to camera design” said Mike Kahn, director of the alpha interchangeable lens camera division at Sony. “It redefines what can be accomplished with a full frame DSLR camera.”

New Levels of Imaging Performance and Response

The flagship α99 model combines its new 24.3 effective megapixel Exmor® CMOS sensor with a highly advanced BIONZ image processing engine, delivering unprecedented levels of performance in both still and video shooting.

The full frame sensor is enhanced by a newly-developed separate multi-segment optional low-pass filter, increasing its resolving power. Assisted by an all-new front-end LSI, the BIONZ engine can process massive amounts of image signal data from the sensor at very high speeds. Together with a powerful new area-specific noise reduction (NR) algorithm, it allows to the camera to achieve 14-bit RAW output, rich gradation and low noise.

The evolved BIONZ processor also gives the α99 model a maximum sensitivity range (in expanded sensitivity mode) as wide as ISO50 – 25600 – a range of nine stops. Its unprecedented processing power enables the camera to shoot a burst of images at up to six frames per second at full resolution or up to 10 fps in Tele-zoom high speed shooting mode.

The new α99 digital camera features a unique dual AF system, a world’s first for digital cameras. This camera’s main focusing system – a 19-point AF system with 11 cross sensors - is complemented by a 102-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor overlaying the main image sensor. Harnessing the power of Translucent Mirror Technology, light is passed to both phase-detection AF sensors simultaneously and continually, measuring subject distance and position more completely than other cameras. This unique Dual AF System permits ultra-fast, accurate autofocusing that maintains tracking focus even if a subject temporarily leaves the frame.

The AF-D (depth) continuous autofocus mode* utilizes the Dual AF system for wider and more dense coverage of the frame, significantly improving AF performance with fast or erratically moving subjects against complex backgrounds. Additionally, during movie shooting, AF Duration control provides reliable depth focusing information and ensures that the camera maintains proper focus on its subject when objects or people cross the focal plane.  

A new AF range control allows photographers to manually select foreground and background distance to which the AF system will not respond, especially useful for shooting fast moving sports or animals through a nearby wire mesh or in front of a complex background that commonly distracts camera AF systems.

Crafted for Videographers and Movie-makers

The new α99 camera’s video capabilities build on Sony’s expertise in developing professional motion picture cameras, combining the unmatched resolving power and sensitivity of the full-frame sensor with several advanced features optimized for professional video production.

The flagship α99 model is the first full-frame DSLR to offer Full HD 60p/24p progressive video recording to meet AVCHD™ Version 2.0 specifications and Full-time Continuous AF Movie mode, allowing smooth, non-stop tracking of moving subjects. Other enhancements include real-time Full HD video output via HDMI®, and uninterrupted ‘dual-card’ recording using both of the camera’s media slots.

For added convenience while shooting video, a new silent, programmable multi-control dial on the front of the camera body allows silent adjustment of common settings during shooting including exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, aperture and much more.

The camera’s audio features are designed to meet the demanding needs of serious videographers. An audio level display and adjustable audio record levels are joined by a headphone jack for accurate in-the-field monitoring.  Additionally, the multi-interface shoe provides balance audio input for the optional XLR-K1M adaptor kit, which adds a high-quality mono shotgun microphone and pro-standard XLR connections for dependable audio acquisition.

Uncompromised Handing for Advanced Photographers

The camera’s XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ viewfinder offers 100% frame coverage on the viewfinder screen with exceptional brightness, contrast, clarity and resolution, ensuring a detail-packed view of the desired scene and subject. The unique electronic viewfinder will also maintain a 100% field of view with DT lenses that are optimized for APS-C sensor cameras, converting the angle of view automatically for image recording and display.

Complementing the Tru-Finder EVF is a three-way tiltable 1229k-dot (VGA equivalent) XtraFine LCD™ display with WhiteMagic™ technology to boost overall screen brightness. It’s especially useful for framing and shooting with the LCD in outdoor, sunny conditions.

Despite its impressive pro-class credentials, the α99 camera is the world’s lightest 35 mm full-frame interchangeable-lens digital camera. Constructed of high-rigidity magnesium alloy panels, it weighs in at just 733g (without lens and battery). Translucent Mirror Technology, which eliminates the need for a full-frame moving mirror mechanism and heavy glass pentaprism, also contributes to the extremely light design.

Additionally, the camera is weather-sealed and all buttons and controls have been ruggedized. A redesigned shutter block, tested to approximately 200,000 releases, further ensures the camera’s stamina and reliability.

The camera’s enhanced ergonomics include a re-designed grip and differentiated designs of several switches and buttons that allow for intuitive fingertip operation. A new exposure mode dial lock prevents accidental rotation, and a newly-developed Quick Navi Pro interface gives quick, intuitive one-handed access to common shooting parameters and controls.

The new model can also be operated via remote PC connection. Supported functions include switching between still and video shooting plus automatic transfer of still images from camera to PC for an improved studio workflow.

Designed for Professionals: New α Lens and Accessories

The full-frame imaging capabilities of the α99 camera make it an ideal partner for the new 300mm F2.8 G SSM II (SAL300F28G2) lens. Designed for demanding sports and wildlife applications, this bright super-telephoto offers a significantly improved optical design and handling compared with its predecessor. The Sony-developed Nano AR Coating assures flawless still images and HD video with reduced flare and ghosting, offering enhanced contrast. Further, a new LSI drive circuit offers faster, more accurate autofocus with enhanced subject tracking. The new lens is also dust- and moisture-resistant, making it an ideal candidate for the toughest outdoor shooting assignments.

Additionally, a new wide-aperture Carl Zeiss® A-mount prime lens is now under development. Optimized for superb results with the camera’s new 35mm full frame image sensor, the Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM will be available next spring.

Offered exclusively for the α99 camera, the brand-new VG-C99AM vertical grip can house and manage three batteries in total (including the camera’s own on-board battery). Resistant to dust and moisture, the grip is ideal for lengthy shooting sessions in the studio or outdoors.

The brand new, range-leading HVL-F60M is a powerful flash (GN60, in meters at ISO 100) with built-in LED light that’s ideal for creative applications with still image or movie shooting. Smart functions include wireless multi-flash ratio control and Sony’s unique Quick Shift Bounce adjustment, while operation can be controlled quickly via the flash’s intuitive Quick Navi system. Also resistant to dust and moisture, the HVL-F60M flash comes supplied with a bounce adaptor for flash and a color conversion filter for use with LED lighting.

Compatible with 49mm and 55mm diameter lenses, the new HVL-RL1 Ring Light offers highly effective LED illumination of small subjects and is ideal for macro shooting**. Its high output level (approx. 700 lx/0.3m) is approximately four times brighter than the previous model, and operation can be switched between full-ring illumination and half-ring illumination.

The new XLR-K1M XLR Adaptor Kit is designed to meet the most demanding audio needs. It provides two pro-standard XLR terminals for connecting the α99 camera with professional microphones and mixing consoles and offers MIC/LINE input selection and separate adjustment of two channel levels to maximize operating flexibility. The adaptor kit comes supplied with Sony professional ECM-XM1 monaural shotgun microphone, but may also be used with a wide range of professional microphones. An optional bracket is required when using the XLR-K1M kit with the α99 model.

The RMT-DSLR2 Remote Commander allows wireless shutter release for still images and start/stop control of video shooting. It’s compatible with the new α99 models as well as other α A-mount and E-mount cameras that include a remote control receiver.

Styled to reduce carrying fatigue, the new LCS-BP3 Backpack can hold the α99 camera body, an attached telephoto zoom lens plus the VG-A99AM vertical grip as well as three to four spare lenses, accessories and a laptop up to 15.5”.

The ADP-MAA is a new shoe adaptor that allows Multi Interface Shoe cameras to be used with Auto-lock Accessory Shoe accessories. This adaptor will be supplied with the new HVL-60M flash and HVL-RL1 ring light mentioned above. Conversely, the ADP-AMA shoe adaptor allows Auto-lock Accessory Shoe cameras to be used with Multi Interface Shoe accessories.

Lastly, the PCK-LM14 Screen Protector Semi Hard Sheet safeguards the camera’s LCD screen against dust, scratches and fingerprints, and is supplied with a separate protector sheet for the top display panel.

Sony’s new SDXC memory UHS-1 memory card, SF-64UX (64 GB) is ideal for burst shooting with the α99. It’s ultra-high speed interface (UHS-1) compatibility offers high transfer speeds up to 94 MB/s (read) and rapid data rates when transferring large RAW files of video files to PC. The new cards are water-resistant and designed to perform under a wide range of operating temperatures. For additional data integrity, Sony’s File Rescue Software can help recover photos and videos that may have been accidentally deleted.

Pricing and Availability

The α99 full-frame digital system camera will be available this October as body-only for about $2800.

The SAL300GF28G2 lens will be available this November for about $7500.

The VCG-C99AM vertical grip, HVL-F60M flash and HVL-RL1 ring light will be available this October for about $380, $550 and $350, respectively. The XLR -K1M XLR adaptor kit and RMT-DSLR2 remote commander will also be available in October for about $800 and $30, respectively.

The LCS-BP3 backpack and PCK-LM14 screen protector will be available in October as well for about $160 and $17, respectively.

The new camera, lenses and all compatible accessories will be sold at Sony retail stores (www.store.sony.com) and other authorized dealers nationwide.

Please visit blog.sony.com/a99 for a full video preview of the α99 camera follow #SonyAlpha on twitter for the latest α camera news.

Sony Alpha SLT-A99 specifications

Price
MSRP$2,800/£2,480 body only
Body type
Body typeMid-size SLR
Body materialMagnesium Alloy
Sensor
Max resolution6000 x 4000
Other resolutions6000 x 3376, 3936 x 2624, 3936 x 2216, 2640 x 1760, 2640 x 1488
Image ratio w:h3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors25 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.8 x 23.8 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorBionz
Image
ISOAuto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600
White balance presets8
Custom white balanceYes (3)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsExtra Fine, Fine, Standard
Image parameters
  • Contrast -3 to +3 steps
  • Saturation -3 to +3 steps
  • Sharpness -3 to +3 steps
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (Clear Image Zoom + Digital Zoom)
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points19
Lens mountSony/Minolta Alpha
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3
Screen dots1,229,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT Xtra Fine color LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.71×
Viewfinder resolution2,359,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • iAuto
  • Superior Auto
  • Program
  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter Priority, Manual
Scene modes
  • Portrait
  • Sports Action
  • Macro
  • Landscape
  • Sunset
  • Night Scene
  • Hand-held Twilight (6 shot layering)
  • Night Portrait
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via Hot-shoe)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, High Speed Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in, Wireless
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modes
  • Single-frame advance
  • Continuous advance
  • Continuous adv Priority AE
  • Speed Priority Continuous
  • Self-timer
  • Self Portrait Self-timer
  • Continuous Self-timer
Continuous drive6 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes ( 3 frames, H/L selectable)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60, 24 fps), 1440 x 1080 (30fps), 640 x 424 (29.97 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, AVCHD, H.264
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesMemory Stick PRO Duo/Pro-HG Duo; SD, SDHC and SDXC
Storage includedNone
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (mini HDMI Type C)
Remote controlYes (Wired or Wireless (Optional))
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes (Dust and moisture resistant)
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NP-FM500H rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)500
Weight (inc. batteries)812 g (1.79 lb / 28.64 oz)
Dimensions147 x 111 x 78 mm (5.79 x 4.37 x 3.07)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo
GPSBuiltIn

Additional images

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Sony SLT-A99

Comments

Total comments: 92
Xentrax
By Xentrax (Sep 20, 2012)

The camera is good, so it's a dissapointment that it seems to have small AF area and it does not have built-in flash (for emergency cases and for driving wireless flashes). I'm not switching to Nikon becaue I like in-camera stabilization but I am not spending money on A99.

0 upvotes
Kwang M Yi
By Kwang M Yi (Sep 15, 2012)

Two new full frame camera announced so far for 2012.
Amazon has D600 as #1 seller, even before its released date, and Sony A99, no where in the ranking.... Nikon/Canon will prosper selling lens, and the Sony, its old customers, they're stuck holding onto mostly Minolta lens developed in ancient time, priced far more than its equivalent, latest and best offering from Nikon/Canon lens...
How does Sony believe consumers can lured to invest on their system, when their ancient 75-300mm lens compare to Canon incorporating latest USM Motor, costing 25-40% more, or Nikon equivalent costing less than half of Sony brand?
It doesn't and shouldn't be a difficult to simply dump its body, and just get the newer Nikon/Canon equipment.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Sep 16, 2012)

Yep, Sony definitely underinvests in lens design.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

Disregarding the $3,000 D800 for the moment, I would compare the VIDEO FEATURES of Sony Alpha 99 to NIKON D600 as follows:

Alpha 99 advantages:

OLED viewfinder that is usable during recording mode. Reliable autofocus, but only when the lens can be set to F3.5 or brighter.

Swivel LCD screen (D600's is fixed)

1080/60p recording for slow-motion effects -- Nikon D600 can only record at a maximum of 30fps (30p) frame rate in 1080p, 60p is only in 720.

D600 advantages:

Optical VF for framing and compositing. EVF/LCD only during video recording.

Autofocus will work in video down to iris setting F8.0, which is a lot better than just F3.5, as with Alpha 99. I am not certain on this, anybody has the head-up?

Generally better lens availability/quality (favoring F-mount lenses over Alphas).

Amazing that Sony now also has a fixed-lens FF model for the same lofty price than this Alpha 99 goes for, can't quite figure that one out. A fixed lens camera is basically a P&S -- for US$2,800?

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

D600 is priced $700 cheaper than Alpha 99 is priced at -- $2,100 versus $2,800. And of course priced at an unbelievable $1,400 cheaper (!!!) than the Canon 5D Mark III.
Phew..... suddenly, we have got a lot of lovelies to contend with, eh?

One thing I know: compared to this year's Photokina releases so far, Canon's 5D Mark III at US$3,500 is a venerable museum piece already. Especially for video, since the 5D does not even output pristine uncompressed 1080p video, like the Alpha 99, D800, D600 all do. Wow, what was Canon thinking, and demanding $3,500 for the 5D -- nothing short of an outrage, really.

The market will decide soon enough, that's for sure.

0 upvotes
SiliconVoid
By SiliconVoid (Sep 12, 2012)

Sony steps up to the plate, knocks the dirt from their cleats, a practice swing to loosen up while assessing their competitor...
Its a swing, and miss! Strike Two..

I understand completely the 'digital age photographers' only have to see the technologically lazy marketing tags on a product (Digital, Electronic, Power Drive, EVF, etc) and think xxx product is the end all be all, the next greatest thing... but I'm sorry.. with no real viewfinder - not even some hybrid implementation with optical for standard and wide angle lenses, then an EVF mode for zooms - is a major fail at this product level. And please do not even attempt to argue the pixels the EVF has.. The human eye (by comparison) has an infinite pixel level, and therefore no EVF will produce the clarity and zero-lag of an optical viewfinder.

This toy, like Sony's recently announced ~$2700 fixed-lens mirrorless keychain fob, represents only one, functional, thing - fostering competition.
For that alone I applaud Sony.

2 upvotes
VDG
By VDG (Sep 12, 2012)

Perfect product for the target market :) as they say ignorance is a bliss..

1 upvote
Taliones
By Taliones (Sep 13, 2012)

>The human eye (by comparison) has an infinite pixel level,

Totally false, the human eye does NOT have an infinite pixel level. But it does have a great processor.

>therefore no EVF will produce the clarity and zero-lag of an optical viewfinder.

lol... that reminds me of the people that said "therefore, heavier than air travel is impossible"

I applaud you. Your post is quite humorous.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
shakyone
By shakyone (Sep 13, 2012)

I've been using a SLT-A33 for the past year as a stop-gap waiting for this camera. My previous DSLR was damaged beyond repair. I wasn't keen on the idea of an EVF. I'm now a convert. Bottom line,

It works.

My guess is, you have never used a "Good" EVF, and just blasted out your opinion.

I don't miss the optical viewfinder anymore. DPR stated it beautifully in the SLT-A77 conclusion, and I couldn't agree more:

"...its full-time live view system, and as we've already stressed at several points in this review, the system works extremely well."

and

"The A55's EVF was extremely good, but the A77's is a revelation. Quite apart from the crispness and detail of the live view image (which is excellent), the mere fact that shooting data, gridlines and a level gauge can be overlaid in the finder, plus of course 'live' exposure simulation make it inherently more useful in many respects than even the best optical design."

My guess is they would know better than you, given it is their job.

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

At least give it a try, and when you do it, then post whatever you think about the camera and specially about the EVF. To me, the EVF is the future and current SLR will be phased out by mirrorless and when that happens, OVF will be history.

SLT by Sony is just a small step for future mirrorless and what many people see with their current A77 is really good. Give it a try, really.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

@ SiliconVoid: something is definitely VOIDED on your end, it seems.

@ Rooru S: I guess you are already burying optical viewfinders. I could almost bet you had already buried film as well, hmmm? Let's kill 'em all and bury 'em, huh?

@ shakyone: Re. the Sony EVFs -- no clue what the big deal is about how great they are, really.

Checked out Alpha 57's LCD EVF. Not good at all in my view, pretty awful, really. Tearing was well in evidence. Low quality colors, general unpleasant experience. Next to impossible to set critical focus with it. Also, due to the design you are forced to press your nose against the backside. EVF should come backwards by 15-20mm to be human head friendly.

Also Checked out Alpha 99's OLED EVF. It was only slighly better overall for quality, but the tearing when panning was definitely reduced. I am not understanding the folks waxing poetic over the Sony OLED EVF over the LCD variant.

1 upvote
shakyone
By shakyone (Sep 14, 2012)

@ Francis Carver

The DPReview A57 review just went up today (It got a GOLD award). They felt the same was as you do about the tearing. They acknowledge it is much less of an issue in the A77. The difference is the OLED though. So it does matter. It annoys in the A33 too. Clearly EVF tearing isn't a factor in the overall grade from DPReview.

I agree, EVFs are not perfect. I never said they were.

I do feel EVFs enhance my situational awareness regarding what is going on with the camera as I shoot. Additionally they display more helpful information efficiently versus a traditional OVF readout below the viewfinder. (FWIW I have tried many other DSLR cameras, aside from the 5D).

I see your point about the "Nose against the backside." I have the A33, and it protrudes a little more than the A57 appears to, (as well as more than the A99 probably will). I can deal with it after 6 years with a Minolta 5D, which, like almost all DSLRs, doesn't protrude at all.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
kevin_r
By kevin_r (Sep 12, 2012)

No sweep panorama shooting? REally strange.

0 upvotes
shakyone
By shakyone (Sep 13, 2012)

It has it.

0 upvotes
Kwang M Yi
By Kwang M Yi (Sep 12, 2012)

What did Sony do for last three years?
Nothing, other than copying themselves, make full frame out of super-expensive and unmarketable a77, and add another $1,000 to a price tag. Only positive thing I can look forward to is to see people dumping super-expensive lens. No wonder Sony's stock price is hovering at all time low....

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

Let me venture a wild guess -- besides Sony, you hate a whole lot of other things as well, correct?

0 upvotes
Kwang M Yi
By Kwang M Yi (Sep 14, 2012)

Mr. Carver
I'm so glad I found a Sony royalist. Would you care to buy my soon to be functionally obsoleted Sony lens? I'll let you have 70-200mm at $1,500, only for devoted Sony fan like you.... How is that sound, hmmmmm?

0 upvotes
toughluck
By toughluck (Sep 17, 2012)

Wow, you're really clueless. Sony's photography division is very successful and profitable. The fact that the TV division is a huge mess and a loss generator and that PS3 was not as successful as they anticipated does not mean that the whole company is going down.

0 upvotes
toughluck
By toughluck (Sep 17, 2012)

And honestly, $1,500 for 70-200? You can get it for $1,000 if you look hard enough, but the price is low only due to the fact that Sigma 70-200 is better at a lower price, that the Tamron is expected to be at least as good and much cheaper and that it's a given that an updated version of 70-200 will be shown soon.

0 upvotes
GabrielZ
By GabrielZ (Sep 12, 2012)

An impressive lump of a camera. But I think for a full-frame flagship SLR they should of stuck with a traditional pentaprism / reflex mirror layout.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

They call those CANON, NIKON, SIGMA, etc. This one here is called a SONY. No 1930s era prism, pentaprism, flipping-flapping mirrors with them, you see.

2 upvotes
Donnie G
By Donnie G (Sep 12, 2012)

Sony's A99 is a handsome looking beast. Looks absolutely huge with the vertical grip attached. Even though I'm not sold on their SLT concept, I'm glad that they are sticking with it, as it gives them a very distinct brand identity that separates them from the rest of the players. I'm guessing that there are a lot of photo enthusiasts who are plunking down their cash for Sony's SLT equipped and ILC mirrorless cameras, so now we get to see how many pros will do the same. It's a big gamble for Sony, but they are doing it right by backing their offerings with massive lens, accessary, and advertising support. Now we just have to wait and see if the strategy pays off for them. Go Sony!

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

"It's a big gamble for Sony..."

Why exactly is that, Donnie? I just don't see the "gamble" or game of hazard part here at all.

0 upvotes
Michaels7
By Michaels7 (Sep 15, 2012)

"Big Gamble." If it works, it works. So far it's been working for them. People are taking pictures with good results. All of the camera companies have flaws. I don't see any major flaws in the SLT concept.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Donnie G
By Donnie G (Sep 17, 2012)

Will enough people buy the A99 over what is being offered by the competition to make the camera into a marketplace success, or will its fans just continue to blog about the virtues of the SLT vs. SLR design while still spending their money on traditional DSLRs? That's the nature of the gamble for Sony, and we will all know the outcome in about 6 to 8 months.

0 upvotes
Maxfield_photo
By Maxfield_photo (Sep 12, 2012)

Hey, they put a normal hotshoe on it, good for them.

2 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 12, 2012)

Not really. There's only 1 flash compatible with new hotshoe. Ok: 2 flashes if you take the ring one into account. Kinda sux, doesn't it?

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
vtinitus
By vtinitus (Sep 12, 2012)

Is it only me, or are there additional pins at the front of the hotshoe visible in the tom left picture?
Interesting step by Sony anyway, they seem to make serious moves towards pro users and they sure deserve it, their SLT technology is on the ege (love my a55) and there are a lot of lovely Minolta lenses flying around for cheap.

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 12, 2012)

Yea, they got electronic contacts to support functions offered by iISO hotshoe. It also allows them to use additional accessories mount on it - AFAIK the external sound output accessory is using it right now, there seems to be an OVF and external EVF available also (useless on A99, but worth all the money for RX1)

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

Can the Alpha 99's iISO hotshoe be used as any old normal cold shoe to mount whatever (like for instance an audio recorder or LED video light) on it?

0 upvotes
Michaels7
By Michaels7 (Sep 15, 2012)

@Plastek. It also gives us the same luxuries of using Pock Wizards and like, without having to add an adapter.

0 upvotes
Bexter
By Bexter (Sep 12, 2012)

Another half assed Macro ring light, we need a ring flash as my at least 15 year old Minolta one won't last forever...

0 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Sep 12, 2012)

Wondering Why Sony choose to use a single Bionz Processor instead of Dual as they did with A900... Not sure, but maybe by using a single Processor, they're limiting themselves to 6fps and not 8 or 10 fps that everyone was expecting given the use of SLT.

Main concern here is, the EVF... I really want an EVF as big as the old A850/A900 OVF and really hope they corrected some little issues while panning.

1 upvote
James A.
By James A. (Sep 12, 2012)

According to the preview the EVF is as big as the optical viewfinder found in the A900. 6fps is plenty for me but I imagine they went with a single processor to keep the costs down. Only guessing though on that ;)

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

Keeping costs down in order to get away with a single processor in September 2012 might be a tad harder to justify for a US$2,800 camera body.

Now that the NIKON D600 will be shipping for US$2,100 next week, ha-ha-ha.

If the A99's EVF is the SAME as the A77's, then it is NOT the same size as what was in the A900 predecessor.

I carefully looked at both types of Sony EVFs on Alphas in the store -- LCD EVF and OLED EVF. I am still waiting for something great to say about either.

0 upvotes
Michaels7
By Michaels7 (Sep 15, 2012)

@Rooru. I'd like an explanation for this too. Seeing that they want us to pay a lot of money for this unit, 8 to 10 fps would've been nice.

0 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (Sep 12, 2012)

this is one hell of a mofo...look at that grip!

where are the anti-nikon, anti-canon boys? where are you guys?! come out and celebrate!

no~~ this is not a D800/5D3 killer. yes~~ i am laughing at sony fans now...LOL!!!

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

What is your stated position, please? As I haven't gotten any of your assorted ramblings.

0 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Sep 12, 2012)

EVF on an SLR is just wrong.

3 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 12, 2012)

use one for a while and you'll be surprised :) Some people even don't want going back to OVF after that, lol.

2 upvotes
shakyone
By shakyone (Sep 13, 2012)

Plastek is right... it takes a little time, but I will never go back.

0 upvotes
Gordon7373
By Gordon7373 (Sep 13, 2012)

Why, oh why? The camera creates the image electronically, so why the heck wouldn't you want to see it the same way???
The OVF was created and had its place in the analogue era - it is now redundant!

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

@ JackM: EVF is on a DSLT here, not on a DSLR, if it was a DSLR, than it would not have an EVF, kapish?

If you do not want an EVF, why don't you look at a Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc DSLR instead, huh? No EVF on those, see?

Gee-sus... there is no pleasing some people, I guess.

Having said all this, I am yet waiting to be shocked and awed by Sony with their Alpha system LCD and OLED EVFs.

@ Gordon: Analog/analogue has got absolutely nothing to do with optical viewfinders, Friend. For instance, you can get OPTICAL VIEWFINDERS for all the better class, current model digital film cameras of today made by Aaton, Arri, Panavision, Sony, etc.

These are high-end DIGITAL cameras. With OPTICAL viewfinders on them, see? Plus, you can plug external LCD monitors into them as well, double whammy!

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Sep 12, 2012)

That is a very impressive camera. Two years ago we would have thought it would be impossible to pack all of those features into a $2800 camera body.

6 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (Sep 12, 2012)

No.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

"Two years ago we would have thought it would be impossible to pack all of those features into a $2800 camera body."

And today, we know that it can be pretty much packed into a $2,100 body as well (i.e. NIKON D600).

0 upvotes
Michaels7
By Michaels7 (Sep 15, 2012)

@Francis. My advice, buy the Nikon. From what I've seen, A99's target is not the same one that the D600 is targeting. Two different consumer. A99 is targeting the D800 market. Will they get that market? Probably not. But if you look at the promotion that Nikon is doing with the D600, it makes that an expensive camera too, considering their target. I know several Nikon users that don't see the point of this camera and target due to the high price. It's like Apple over the top price for their computers that they know the average consumer can't afford. So what do they do? The make a Mac Mini.

Several years ago, dslr cameras cost 10,000 grand and up. The technology from those cameras can't even compete with today's point and shoot cameras. The fact that we have dslr/dslt cameras that can beyond those cameras for 1000 and up is very good.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (Sep 12, 2012)

Why did they make it SLT ? How do sony people clean that mirror ? I can't imagine working with a camera like this at slow apertures. Is the dust a problem for those switching lenses frequently ?

0 upvotes
Bexter
By Bexter (Sep 12, 2012)

Same problem as without a mirror, instead of the dust getting on the sensor, it gets on the mirror. What difference do "slow" apertures make?

1 upvote
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (Sep 12, 2012)

A slow aperture shows the dust, a fast one does not. Same dust is invisible at f/2.8 and very visible at f8. And I seem to get much more dust on the mirror than on my sensor, swapping my primes outside.

Also, cleaning the sensor is one thing, cleaning a delicate mirror is another. In theory at least, that is why I asked those questions, hoping that a SLT user would fill me in. Cheers.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 13, 2012)

@ nicolai: Just get a Rocket dust blower pump from B&H or Adorama and your problems are solved and over with.

Anyhow, if you are a fan of the TRANSLUCENT MIRROR TECHNOLOGY, get a Sony Alpha-cam.

If you are not, how about a CANON, NIKON, SIGMA, etc DSLR? They all have the prisms and flipping mirrors that you like and can keep, right?

0 upvotes
Digiman69
By Digiman69 (Sep 12, 2012)

Nothing of amazing considering the price point, maybe the best FF DSLR for videos, but for those just interested in photography:
- 24MP? I have same resolution in my trusted oldy A850
- 19 AF point?? not on pair with the one of the D800
- Nothing to say against the EVF Oled technology (even coming from the bright big A850 OVF) but I was waiting for same if not better 0,74x magnification
- high iso? It will be better than A850/900 but I don't think again on pair with the D800
On the other "Nex" side the 6 is a great one!
I will skip this A99

2 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 12, 2012)

"19 AF point?? not on pair with the one of the D800" - I'd wait and see, or rather: actually test the camera. It's not just 19 points but rather 19 + looooaaadddsss of assist points so it got a huge chances to easily outmatch D800 performance.

As for the viewfinder - A77 got similar one and there's just one word for it: it's brilliant with all the advantages it brings. So far aside from medium format cameras that's the only viewfinder that allows fully comfortable manual focusing with any lens.

1 upvote
Yinle
By Yinle (Sep 12, 2012)

D800 is having a Sony manufactured 36MP sensor. It might be Nikon-tweaked but it's still Sony's technology. I don't think 36MP's sensor will have cleaner high ISO than 24MP's.

0 upvotes
VirtualMirage
By VirtualMirage (Sep 12, 2012)

And 24MP isn't enough? I would rather have 24MP that offers better noise control and greater dynamic range than a higher MP camera. Plus, you can still get loads of detail out of 24MP I know I am getting plenty out of my A77.

It is more than 19AF points. Don't forget the 102 assist points on the sensor. And if those 19AF points are similar or the same as the A77, then they are pretty good for the "few" AF points that you get.

I wonder if the .71x magnification is a typo since it should be the same OLED used in the A77. The A77 had a .73x magnification equivalent when compared to full frame viewfinders. Just remember, though, that your A850 only had 98% coverage while this viewfinder is 100% coverage.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 12, 2012)

I am surprised as well SONY did not push a better EVF with the flagship. NEX-7 & A77 is a year old and not flagship like A99. I was kinda expecting 3.93M dot (1280*1024*3) EVF w/100% coverage and magnification.

As it stands the only advantage over FF OVF is full time PDAF which people cannot tell at first glance.

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 12, 2012)

All we know is that current EVF got same resolution as one in A77 and NEX7. This doesn't mean much as even EVF in A77 is noticeably better then one in NEX7 despite if... well... being nearly identical. I wouldn't make any judgment before trying it out and comparing with A77.

0 upvotes
VirtualMirage
By VirtualMirage (Sep 13, 2012)

Yep, it was a typo. If you check now, the viewfinder is now listed as a .74x. So you should be happy now.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 14, 2012)

As of today, "best" FF 135 digital camera for videography is probably the NIKON D600 and not the Alpha 99. But they are close, for sure, at least on paper.

Nikon's price is $700 LESS than Sony's price, that will present some hurdles for Sony sales folks to overcome.

Not sure about Sony OLED EVFs in general, I tried the Alpha 65's in the store (probably the same as Alpha 77) and was not floored, like most here. Also tried Alpha 57's LCD EVF, that thing tears so much, it is extremely unpleasant for my eyes.

Yeah, Alpha 99 flagship probably should have had a different/larger size/higher resolution EVF than mere Alpha 77's.

For me and strictly only for FF videography, I now has to decide between Alpha 99 and D600. Maybe toss in there the GH3 as well? ;-)

0 upvotes
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (Sep 12, 2012)

Not competitive enough, but not bad ..... for a hard working player like Sony! Interesting week before Photokina ......

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Sep 12, 2012)

Sony needed to hit one out of the park to compete with Canon and Nikon and instead they just bunted.

19 AF point, 6fps and an EVF no bigger than the OVF on Canon/Nikon. On top of that I lose 1/3 stop of light. Why would I pick this over 5Dmk3 or D800?

2 upvotes
zstan
By zstan (Sep 12, 2012)

it has 102 on sensor phase detection points....

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 12, 2012)

Video, Zeiss AF glass, tiltable LCD screen, lots of functions for video (easily C 5D mk3 killer in this regard), full time PDAF AF always available (in live view, in video, in continuous shooting), list goes on....

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Sep 12, 2012)

OK, fair points. I just feel it is pretty conservative. Sony needs to come out swinging if they want to get a hold in the FF market. They still seem afraid to go big.

I was expecting a Sony SLT at this price point to have a HUGE viewfinder, fast framerates and more "real" AF points. Even if only to win the specs-on-the-box war.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 14, 2012)

Get a Canon instead, tkblsc. Or keep on using your point of view P&S.

0 upvotes
Ronj2
By Ronj2 (Sep 12, 2012)

That grip looks way too big for the camera and does not seem to fit well. Otherwise nice looking camera.

3 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 12, 2012)

it's called "comfortable". Especially with VG. I know that comfortable grips disappeared ever since the spam of mirrorless cameras - but it's good to see someone still bothers with this little, but important thing.

3 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (Sep 12, 2012)

No, it's called: "the grip makes the camera look ridiculous".

3 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 12, 2012)

Yea, cause how camera looks like is the most important thing.

From 5 meters noone will find it different from any other DSLR anyway - it's still a large black camera. ;)

2 upvotes
Superka
By Superka (Sep 12, 2012)

very good, but somewhat ugly

2 upvotes
CarvingPhoto
By CarvingPhoto (Sep 12, 2012)

Hmmm....Battery life of 500 shots?

2 upvotes
Tenken911
By Tenken911 (Sep 12, 2012)

This camera is "live view" only. It actually compares favorably to other cameras when shooting in "live view". Even the 5dmk3 drops from 950 all the way to 200 shots.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 12, 2012)

I guess that's why they gave an option to use 3(!!!) batteries at the time.

0 upvotes
Anfernee Cheang
By Anfernee Cheang (Sep 12, 2012)

Come on DPR, you scared everybody!

The ISO is 100-25600 in still mode, with 100-6400 in Auto.

And it's 100-6400 in movie mode, with 100-3200 in Auto.

I was shocked when seeing the spec table, sigh......

BTW, all above numbers are from Sony Store.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Anfernee Cheang
By Anfernee Cheang (Sep 12, 2012)

I know what happened. DPR copied the spec table from a900, uhhh......

Look at that storage types, it's still Compact Flash...

9 upvotes
Tony Hall
By Tony Hall (Sep 12, 2012)

That shocked me when I saw it. DPR better fix before there's an uproar.

4 upvotes
RStyga
By RStyga (Sep 12, 2012)

Disappointing.. 3200 ISO limit (and 6400 with boost)?? I suspect below average high ISO IQ... Smells like A900/850 performance... After all these years and still stuck with getting high ISO IQ to meet the competition... ts ts ts tsk...

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 12, 2012)

It's got ISO 25600. Not 3200.
They copied over specification from A900 without bothering to almost change anything in it.

5 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 14, 2012)

Whatever has happened to DPR?

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
madecov
By madecov (Sep 12, 2012)

First I wish to congratulate Sony and it's users on having a new Full Frame option.
I left Sony after there was no replacement for the A700 and moved to another brand. In any event the only thing I see as a problem is the change in Hot shoe. But the additional contacts in the front of the shoe indicate many optional accessories to come. It is great that there are more options in the market, it keeps the other two big manufacturers on their toes.

2 upvotes
FTW
By FTW (Sep 12, 2012)

any FF dslr that exceeds 2000$ nacked body price is too expensive. 3200 ISO limit is hilarious anyway. The D800 36 mpix even does better. I awaited this new A99 and it seems to be a deception. Looks to me like it is an A900 with a new worksuit.

0 upvotes
louie c
By louie c (Sep 12, 2012)

Let me do my best DPReview forum troll impression...

PPPPFFFFFFTTTTT!!!! As IF this is good enough for anyTHING, totally WRONG. Way to go SONY just built another BRICK for my doorstop to sit on. It looks like an electric car dash GONE WRONG. I'll SAVE my money and wait PHOTOKINA 2014 MAYBE the you'll get it RIGHT.

1 upvote
Charrick
By Charrick (Sep 12, 2012)

I'm dying to try this camera out. Sony is going in the right direction and I see it gaining a huge market share in the next few years.

2 upvotes
Nathaniel George Weir
By Nathaniel George Weir (Sep 12, 2012)

200-3200 ISO Range with 6400 Boost (according to specs sheet) haha give me a break! I'll stick with my 5D Mark III thank you very much.

0 upvotes
hippo84
By hippo84 (Sep 12, 2012)

from press-release: "The evolved BIONZ processor also gives the α99 model a maximum sensitivity range (in expanded sensitivity mode) as wide as ISO50 – 25600 – a range of nine stops."

3 upvotes
Nathaniel George Weir
By Nathaniel George Weir (Sep 12, 2012)

from Dpreview stats table 200-3200 ISO probably the higher and lower ISOs boosts

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 14, 2012)

DPR had screwed this one up bad. Poor Sony Alpha 99, now it is only an Alpha 900, he-he-he.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 12, 2012)

So $2800 is right. Still too expensive. $2000~$2400 is much better

5 upvotes
Frame Seeker
By Frame Seeker (Sep 12, 2012)

I think it is very competitively priced compared to the Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D Mark III.

2 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 12, 2012)

Maybe an A88 will be announced in three months at $1800 with nothing more than a spec change.

0 upvotes
winedarksea
By winedarksea (Sep 12, 2012)

Hey, you have some major mistakes in this post. First, you say that the additional lens is the 28-75 SAM< which was released maybe three years ago. The new lens is a new 300 f2,8.

And the ISO rnage seems to be for som eother camera, not recognizable for a recent up-market Sony camera. I believe that this camera has ISO from 100-25600 without boost, to 50 with boost, in third of a step increments.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 14, 2012)

Must be a nasty virus lurking in the DP Review servers. All the specs and pictures are all messed up.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 92