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Camera Menus

The A99's menus will be immediately familiar to anyone who's shot a Sony DSLR (or a Minolta, for that matter, since they've evolved from that system). Here they feature 107 menu items spread among 21 pages, divided into seven categories. Unfortunately, unlike 'tabbed' menu systems from Nikon and Canon, you can't jump from one category to the next. You're forced instead to flip through each page in a category to get to the next one. On a menu system with as many options as the A99, this can mean flicking through as many as 10 pages to get to the one you want.

To be fair, it's usually quite easy to work out where the setting you're looking for is going to be, even if it takes a while to navigate to it. One of our first tasks then with any Alpha model is to set the option to revert to the last-used setting when you re-enter the menu system, which can save a lot of time otherwise spent repeatedly scrolling through pages. Most helpfully though, the reintroduction of the Quick Navi menu means that your trips to the main menu are significantly reduced.

The rear dial can be used to scroll through pages, while the front dial scrolls up and down through the options - looping onto the next page if you reach the bottom or top of the page you're on. Alternatively you can use the joystick on the back of the camera. A key setting to find early on is the 'Menu Start' option (Setup page 1) that allows you to decide whether to re-enter the menu at the first option or back at the last setting you used. In menus this long, we're recommend the latter.

The A99's menu contains 107 options spread over 21 pages. For this reason we think it's worth setting the 'Menu Start' option to 'previous' so that pressing the Menu button returns you to the last edited setting, rather than to the first menu page.

Shooting menu

The four shooting menu pages cover some basic behavioral operations (such as SteadyShot and whether pressing the shutter button sets exposure or focus) and image settings (size, color and processing).

Option Values / Actions Notes
Page one
Image size  • L: 24M (20M in 16:9)
 • M: 12M (8.7M in 16:9)
 • S: 4.6M (3.9M in 16:9)
- 6000 x 4000 (6000 x 3376 in 16:9)
- 3936 x 2624 (3936 x 2216 in 16:9)
- 2640 x 1760 (2640 x 1488 in 16:9)
Aspect Ratio  • 3:2
 • 16:9

Quality  • RAW
 • RAW & JPEG
 • Extra Fine
 • Fine
 • Standard
(Raw & JPEG creates a Fine JPEG)
Panorama: Size  • Standard
 • Wide
Only available in Panorama mode
Panorama: Detection  • Right
 • Left
 • Up
 • Down
Only available in Panorama mode
Page two
Clear Image Zoom  • On
 • Off
 
Digital Zoom  • On
 • Off
 
Long Exposure NR  • On
 • Off
 
High ISO NR.  • Normal
 • Low
 • Off
Increases noise reduction at ISO 1600 or above.
Flash control  • ADI Flash
 • Pre-flash TTL
 
Power ratio  • 1/1
 • 1/2
 • 1/4
 • 1/8
 • 1/16
Only available when Manual Flash is selected
AF illuminator  • Auto
 • Off
 
Page three
SteadyShot  • On
 • Off
 
AF drive speed  • Fast
 • Slow
 
Color Space  • sRGB
 • AdobeRGB
Silent Controller  • Focus Mode
 • AF Area
 • Select AF area
 • Exposure Comp.
 • ISO
 • Metering Mode
This setting can also be adjusted by holding the Silent Controller's central button down
Page four
Exposure step  • 0.5 EV
 • 0.3 EV
 
Priority setup  • AF
 • Release
 
AF w/ shutter  • On
 • Off
 
AEL w/shutter  • On
 • Off
 
Memory  • Select  

Movie menu

Although the A99's core movie capabilities are very similar to those in many of the company's other current cameras, it offers a few extra features and settings. These include defining the role of the 'Silent Controller' dial on the front of the camera and setting how persistent the autofocus is when tracking a target.

Option Values / Actions Notes
Page one
File Format  • AVCHD
 • MP4

Record Setting  • 60i 24M (FX)
 • 60i 17M (FH)
 • 60p 28M (PS)
 • 24p 24M (FX)
 • 24p 17M (FH)
50i/p in European units
SteadyShot  • On
 • Off
 
AF Tracking Duration  • High
 • Mid
 • Low
 
Auto Slow Shutter  • On
 • Off
 
Silent Controller  • Audio Rec Level
 • Focus Mode
 • AF Area
 • Select AF area
 • Exposure Comp.
 • ISO
 • Metering Mode
 • Shutter Speed
 • Aperture
This setting can also be adjusted by holding the Silent Controller's central button down (While recording)
Page two
Audio Recording  • On
 • Off
 
Wind Noise Reduct.  • On
 • Off
 
Audio Rec Level  • Level, 0 – 31
 • Reset
 
Audio Level Display  • On
 • Off
Shows the audio level (Movie mode only) when rec level is being changed
Audio Output Timing  • Live
 • Lip Sync
Lip Sync delays audio output by the slight delay taken to record the video

Custom menu

The A99's custom menus run to six pages, and allow a pretty high degree of camera configuration. Here you'll also find all the settings relating to the user interface.

Option Values / Actions Notes
Page one
Eye-Start AF  • On
 • Off
Sets the camera to AF if it detects an eye has been put to the viewfinder.
FINDER/LCD setting  • Auto
 • Manual
Switch between rear LCD and EVF
Red Eye Reduction  • On
 • Off
 
Release w/o Lens  • Enable
 • Disable
 
S. Auto Cont. Shooting  • Auto
 • Off
Continuous shooting in Auto+ mode
S. Auto Image Extract.  • Auto
 • Off
Saving all images that were shot continuously in Auto+ mode
Page two
Grid Line  • Rule of 3rds Grid
 • Square Grid
 • Diag. +Square Grid
 • Off
 
Auto Review  • 10 Sec
 • 5 Sec
 • 2 Sec
 • Off
 
DISP Button (Monitor)  • Graphic Display
 • Display All Info.
 • No Disp. Info.
 • Level
 • Histogram
 • For viewfinder
Sets which screens are available on the rear display when shooting.
DISP Button (Finder)  • Graphic Display
 • Display All Info.
 • No Disp. Info.
 • Level
 • Histogram
Sets which screens are available in the viewfinder when shooting.
Page three
AF RANGE Button  • AF Range Control
 • In-Camera Guide
 
AF Range Control Assist  • On
 • Off
 
Peaking Level  • High
 • Mid
 • Low
 • Off
Sets the sensitivity of the
Peaking Color  • Red
 • Yellow
 • White
 
Live View Display  • Setting Effect On
 • Setting Effect Off
Defines whether the preview represents exposure brightness
Page four
Func. of AEL button  • Exposure Comp.
 • Drive Mode
 • Flash Mode
 • Focus Mode
 • AF area
 • Smile/Face Detect.
 • Auto Port. Framing
 • ISO
 • Metering Mode
 • Flash Comp.
 • White Balance
 • DRO/Auto HDR
 • Creative Style
 • Picture Effect
 • Image Size
 • Quality
 • AEL hold
 • AEL toggle
 • Spot AEL hold
 • Spot AEL toggle
 • FEL Lock hold
 • FEL Lock toggle
 • Object Tracking
 • AF/MF Control Hold
 • AF/MF Control Toggle
 • AF lock
 • AF On
 • Aperture Preview
 • Shot. Result Preview
 • Focus Magnifier
 • Memory
 
ISO Button  • As above  
AF/MF button  • As above  
Custom button  • As above  
Preview Button  • As above  
Smart Telecon. Button  • Smart Telecon.
 • Zoom
 • Focus Magnifier
Smart Teleconverter offers crops of the image, Zoom uses Clear Image Zoom and Digital Zoom to give full res
Focus Hold Button  • Focus Hold
 • Preview Button
 
Page five
MOVIE Button  • Always
 • Movie Mode Only
 
Ctrl dial setup  • Front Dial SS, Rear Dial F/no.
 • Front Dial F/no. Rear Dial SS
 
Dial exp.comp  • Off
 • Front Dial
 • Rear Dial
 
Exp. comp. set  • Ambient&flash
 • Ambient only
 
Bracket order  • 0 – +
 • – 0 +
 
Page five
Lens Comp.: Shading  • Auto
 • Off
 
Lens Comp.: Chro.Aber.  • Auto
 • Off
 
Lens Comp.: Distortion  • Auto
 • Off
 
e-Front Curtain Shutter  • On
 • Off
 
Face Priority Tracking  • On
 • Off
 
Face Registration  • New Registration
 • Order Exchanging
 • Delete
 • Delete All
 
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Comments

Total comments: 16
BobFoster

I think this review was excellent , very honest and openminded enough to accept the EVF and the great set of amazing features that this camera gets.
If I am free(I mean not need to listen to my partner when I buy a camera), I ‘d sell my D800 for this one or for the 5D3 in a heart beat.
But unfortunaltey , I have to listen to my partner who hates Sony and EVF, so I guess I will have to shoot Nikon or Canon for a while.
That siad , I still love A99v and I really want to buy one since I was a big fan of Sony Zeiss primes from my A900 days.
The A99v is a great camera and it is probably the best camera for portrait and event work.
The 85mmf1.4ZA is a super sharp lens and the 135mmf1.8ZA is even sharper and the 24f2ZA is the best 24mm I have ever shot, well done Sony and thanks for your great review.

1 upvote
Miki Nemeth

"magnified live view is not available in video mode." This is a terribly brilliant feature I got used to on A7. It would be great if Sony included it as a firmware update.

0 upvotes
fotokram

I just don't understand the point, that the A99 empties its buffer twice as fast as Canon's EOS 5D III at Continuous Hi? Both cameras allow 6 fps, but the 5D III can shoot JPEG Large/Fine until the card is full while the Sony stops after 20 frames. When shooting RAW the 5D III can take 17 frames (like the Sony), before the frame rate switches to 2.7 fps (A99: "only" 1.7 fps). The 5D III then needs 4 seconds to empty the buffer, while the A99 needs 7.5 seconds. From my point of view, the 5D III is the faster camera. Or did I get something wrong?

0 upvotes
Gangstar

I have owned previously the a55 a77 and for the last 12 months the A99 I paid £1750 new inc tax the a99 paired with the Zeiss 24-70 it a fantastic combo in fact the sony 28-75 2.8 produced stunning results but I would tell lies if i said it was on parr with the Zeiss which really pops the subject although has softness at corner edges @ 24mm is evident...Low light for my use has been great never has any problems...The flash/system shoe is the only annoyance and slight over exposure easily fixed in light room. what would I change upgrade faster AF..sensor 24mp ff is more than ample.In all I am a very happy with my a99 well done sony engineers...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Lassoni

There's really no way around it. This is hands down sony's best camera to date. They really should revisit this, maybe give it a sensor and/or mount of their A7s , aim to make it better @ low light than Canon 5d3 (much more cleaner than 5d3, almost 1DX spec), and get rid of the translucent mirror maybe. Keep the body as is, make it mirrorless with around 15-18 megapixel and give it FPS of 8-11.

1 upvote
kevin_r

Waiting for 18Mp,
Mirrorless(or at least the ability to lift the mirror.., somehow...) with high speed AF and low light sensitivity AF down to -3EV[currently seems impossible...]
Touch screen with focus select and AF by touch.

Alternatively to 18Mp - make 36mp with BSI, removing the anti-alias filter and allowing the semi-transparent mirror to be moved out of the way - or else simply have magnificent focus with the sensor itself....wihtout the mirror.....sigh!!!!

1 upvote
Scottelly

Something that amazes me about the A99 is the fact that it handles high ISO better than the new Nikon D600 and D610 cameras. I just found this out by looking at the ISO 6400 samples here on DPreveiw in their studio shot comparison tool: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/studio-compare#baseDir=%2Freviews_data&cameraDataSubdir=boxshot&indexFileName=boxshotindex.xml&presetsFileName=boxshotpresets.xml&showDescriptions=false&headerTitle=Studio%20scene&headerSubTitle=Standard%20studio%20scene%20comparison&masterCamera=nikon_d600&masterSample=dsc_4526_03&slotsCount=4&slot0Camera=nikon_d600&slot0Sample=dsc_4526_03&slot0DisableCameraSelection=true&slot0DisableSampleSelection=true&slot0LinkWithMaster=true&slot1Camera=sony_slta99&slot1Sample=dsc00049&x=-0.378464142966364&y=0.34409159041539195

Make sure you look at the playing card, after you pick which cameras you want to compare and set the ISO selection box to ISO 6400 (or whatever ISO you want to compare).

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW

It doesn't handle high ISOs better than the Nikon D600.

Though one way to help with high ISOs is to use good Zeiss lenses and those are more readily available for this Sony.

0 upvotes
J Shen

Continued post: During burst shooting, SLT cameras can see a live image preview or can not see ? Thanks for advice !

0 upvotes
J Shen

About SLT & SLR cameras, If following two comments (from dpreview) are conflicting each other ? During bursts shooting SLT cameras can see the frames or can not see ? maybe I'm misunderstood. Thanks !
1, Unlike ordinary DSLR cameras, SLT cameras by Sony use Translucent Mirror technology that directs light onto the main image sensor as well as a separate autofocus sensor. This means that subjects stay sharply focused at all times as you compose scenes with the tilt-angle LCD or through the high-resolution, high-contrast OLED Tru-Finder. And with no moving mirror to slow you down, you’ll enjoy non-stop live image preview during speedy burst shooting or while you’re recording Full HD video.
2, One distinct disadvantage to current EVF technology is that when shooting bursts at higher frame rates, you are not seeing a live preview, rather the frames you have just captured. This can make camera panning (to follow a fast moving subject) virtually impossible to do with any accuracy.

0 upvotes
Scottelly

Well, my A55 worked just fine for following fast-moving subjects, while shooting at 10 fps, and I believe the A99 is an improvement over the A55. (also can shoot at 10 fps)

0 upvotes
Thomas Karlmann

It may be only the a99 RAW for ISO 25600 that is broken. Thanks.

0 upvotes
Thomas Karlmann

beomagi: Thanks, I overlooked it.

0 upvotes
Thomas Karlmann

DPR Raw Link for a99 Studio Scene appears to be broken. Please fix.

0 upvotes
beomagi

Connectors under flaps here
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sony-alpha-slt-a99/18

0 upvotes
Thomas Karlmann

This review fails to show the I/O connectors! What is under those flaps? Most importantly where is the PC-sync terminal???? If there isn't one, I'll keep looking for a different camera. Please clarify.

1 upvote
Total comments: 16