Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

Started Mar 29, 2016 | Discussions
Robsphoto
Robsphoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,218
Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

When I purchased the 42.4mp Sony A7RII, I wondered whether there really was much practical use for many photographers of the higher megapixel count of the A7RII compared with using a 24mp full frame camera.

So, I recently compared two 100% cropped images, one from the 24mp Sony A99 using the Sony CZ 24mm-70mm F/2.8 lens at 55mm, and one from the Sony A7RII using the 55mm F/1.8 prime lens. These images can be seen here:

http://www.robsphotography.co.nz/A7R2-55mm-vs-A99-24-70.html

The first photographer I talked to about this comparison said it was obvious that the A7RII with a FE 55mm prime lens must produce a much superior image to what you can get using the A99 with an A-Mount CZ 24mm-70mm zoom lens.

But, owners of the A-Mount CZ 24mm-70mm F/2.8 lens have often said that it's such a good lens that it's almost like owning several primes and many A99 users can't see the point in upgrading to the A7RII.

I would be interested to hear your views on the two 100% cropped images on the above page.

Also, if you own the Sony A7RII, do you really benefit from getting 42.4mp images rather than 24mp images?

Thanks for your comments.

Regards

Rob

Nikon 24mm F1.8G ED Sony Alpha 7R Sony Alpha a99
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Jeff2013
Jeff2013 Senior Member • Posts: 1,936
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

To be fair about comparisons, you need to down-convert the 42mp to 24mp. Then you will start seeing some differences in direct comparisons. Of course, you will need to really pixel-peep, which may not relate to how you actually use the image files.

i shot two A99's for several years and had the same Zony 24-70mm f2.8 lens. The results from this combination were outstanding at lower ISO's; however the half-stoplight light loss from the Pellicle mirror and the older sensor just couldn't compete with my A7RII's in lower light, so I eventually sold them.

i also became disenchanted with Sony's lack of support for the A-mount system.

-- hide signature --
 Jeff2013's gear list:Jeff2013's gear list
Canon EOS 5DS R Sony Alpha 7R II Sony a9 Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Sony FE 55mm F1.8 +12 more
osv Veteran Member • Posts: 7,935
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?
1

Robsphoto wrote:

When I purchased the 42.4mp Sony A7RII, I wondered whether there really was much practical use for many photographers of the higher megapixel count of the A7RII compared with using a 24mp full frame camera.

So, I recently compared two 100% cropped images, one from the 24mp Sony A99 using the Sony CZ 24mm-70mm F/2.8 lens at 55mm, and one from the Sony A7RII using the 55mm F/1.8 prime lens.

why are you throwing away the huge mp advantage of the a7rii with 100% crops? that's not logical.

it's like printing everything at 100%, which nobody does.

the lens is irrelevant to what you did there, bringing it into a failed mp comparison just confuses the issue.

-- hide signature --

dan

Rey66
Rey66 Senior Member • Posts: 1,297
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?
2

Robsphoto wrote:

When I purchased the 42.4mp Sony A7RII, I wondered whether there really was much practical use for many photographers of the higher megapixel count of the A7RII compared with using a 24mp full frame camera.

So, I recently compared two 100% cropped images, one from the 24mp Sony A99 using the Sony CZ 24mm-70mm F/2.8 lens at 55mm, and one from the Sony A7RII using the 55mm F/1.8 prime lens. These images can be seen here:

http://www.robsphotography.co.nz/A7R2-55mm-vs-A99-24-70.html

The first photographer I talked to about this comparison said it was obvious that the A7RII with a FE 55mm prime lens must produce a much superior image to what you can get using the A99 with an A-Mount CZ 24mm-70mm zoom lens.

But, owners of the A-Mount CZ 24mm-70mm F/2.8 lens have often said that it's such a good lens that it's almost like owning several primes and many A99 users can't see the point in upgrading to the A7RII.

I would be interested to hear your views on the two 100% cropped images on the above page.

Also, if you own the Sony A7RII, do you really benefit from getting 42.4mp images rather than 24mp images?

Thanks for your comments.

Regards

Rob

There is a huge advantage to me.. The fact that I can crop when needed specially shooting macro and other quick shooting..You can frame it they way you like it..That is a flexibillity that makes me buy the a7r2

 Rey66's gear list:Rey66's gear list
Sony Alpha 7R II Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.5 1-5x Macro Canon Extender EF 2x III Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM +1 more
Robsphoto
OP Robsphoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,218
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

Jeff2013 wrote:

To be fair about comparisons, you need to down-convert the 42mp to 24mp. Then you will start seeing some differences in direct comparisons. Of course, you will need to really pixel-peep, which may not relate to how you actually use the image files.

i shot two A99's for several years and had the same Zony 24-70mm f2.8 lens. The results from this combination were outstanding at lower ISO's; however the half-stoplight light loss from the Pellicle mirror and the older sensor just couldn't compete with my A7RII's in lower light, so I eventually sold them.

i also became disenchanted with Sony's lack of support for the A-mount system.

-- hide signature --

Thanks for your reply Jeff, yes there is merit in comparing both images at 24mp so I have added to this page the A7RII image downsized to 24mp.

However, because the A7RII produces an image that is much larger than that of the Sony A99, I think there is also considerable merit in seeing the extra detail that a 42mp full frame camera can provide and thus compare a 42mp image with a 24mp image, even though this does result in viewing different sized images!

Cheers

Rob

Robsphoto
OP Robsphoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,218
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

osv wrote:

Robsphoto wrote:

When I purchased the 42.4mp Sony A7RII, I wondered whether there really was much practical use for many photographers of the higher megapixel count of the A7RII compared with using a 24mp full frame camera.

So, I recently compared two 100% cropped images, one from the 24mp Sony A99 using the Sony CZ 24mm-70mm F/2.8 lens at 55mm, and one from the Sony A7RII using the 55mm F/1.8 prime lens.

why are you throwing away the huge mp advantage of the a7rii with 100% crops? that's not logical.

it's like printing everything at 100%, which nobody does.

the lens is irrelevant to what you did there, bringing it into a failed mp comparison just confuses the issue.

-- hide signature --

dan

Hi Dan, thanks for your reply. I agree it's not logical to "throw away" the huge mp advantage of the A7RII, but because full-sized images can be difficult to manipulate on internet, for convenience, a 100% crop of a key part of an image gives viewers a good sample of what they would see if they were to view and compare the full-sized images.

With regard to printing at 100%, a very large print from the A7RII with a width of say 50 inches would show all the detail that you would see in the small 100% crops shown here.

With regard to the lenses used, yes it would be desirable if I had used the same lens on both cameras, but I was really interested to see how well the FE 55mm F/1.8 prime performs compared to my A-Mount CZ24 - 70mm lens. And of course, the E-Mount 55mm lens can't be used on the A-Mount Sony A99! But I could use the A-Mount CZ24-70mm lens on the A7RII with an adapter if I really wanted to see how this lens performs on the A7RII.

I disagree that it's a "failed mp comparison" because it's simply a fact that the A7RII produces images that are much larger than those from the A99! But I have added in another image to this page that allows you to compare both images at 24mp if this is what you really would like to do.

Cheers

Rob

Robsphoto
OP Robsphoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,218
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

Rey66 wrote:

Robsphoto wrote:

When I purchased the 42.4mp Sony A7RII, I wondered whether there really was much practical use for many photographers of the higher megapixel count of the A7RII compared with using a 24mp full frame camera.

So, I recently compared two 100% cropped images, one from the 24mp Sony A99 using the Sony CZ 24mm-70mm F/2.8 lens at 55mm, and one from the Sony A7RII using the 55mm F/1.8 prime lens. These images can be seen here:

http://www.robsphotography.co.nz/A7R2-55mm-vs-A99-24-70.html

The first photographer I talked to about this comparison said it was obvious that the A7RII with a FE 55mm prime lens must produce a much superior image to what you can get using the A99 with an A-Mount CZ 24mm-70mm zoom lens.

But, owners of the A-Mount CZ 24mm-70mm F/2.8 lens have often said that it's such a good lens that it's almost like owning several primes and many A99 users can't see the point in upgrading to the A7RII.

I would be interested to hear your views on the two 100% cropped images on the above page.

Also, if you own the Sony A7RII, do you really benefit from getting 42.4mp images rather than 24mp images?

Thanks for your comments.

Regards

Rob

There is a huge advantage to me.. The fact that I can crop when needed specially shooting macro and other quick shooting..You can frame it they way you like it..That is a flexibillity that makes me buy the a7r2

Yes, I fully agree with you, the image on this page illustrates how you can sometimes get "two images for the price of one"!

Cheers

Rob

exdeejjjaaaa
exdeejjjaaaa Veteran Member • Posts: 8,263
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

Robsphoto wrote:

So, I recently compared two 100% cropped images, one from the 24mp Sony A99 using the Sony CZ 24mm-70mm F/2.8 lens at 55mm, and one from the Sony A7RII using the 55mm F/1.8 prime lens. These images can be seen here:

@ F10 ? on A7R2 @ F10 resolution already is dropping down with FE55/1.8... I think you can stop down to F22 and call it a draw then...

 exdeejjjaaaa's gear list:exdeejjjaaaa's gear list
Sony Alpha 7R II Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Phase One Capture One Pro +25 more
coloradosnowman Regular Member • Posts: 445
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

Thanks for posting this Rob.  It is an interesting comparison.  I also own both of these cameras and get what I consider to be really good photographs from each camera.  Unfortunately I don't own either of the lenses in your test.  What is clear to me is that the photograph taken with the AR7II clearly contains better detail.  What is unclear to me is how much of the better detail is due to the difference in lenses vs the difference in cameras/sensors.  Since I photograph primarily wildlife, I do love the extra zoomed in cropping that the larger sensor provides to me.  Regards, Dean

MrGubrz
MrGubrz Senior Member • Posts: 1,138
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

...these a99 posts make me miss the ergonomic splendor of my baby I gave away! When oh when will an a9 body come out?!?!??

 MrGubrz's gear list:MrGubrz's gear list
Sony Alpha a99 Sony a77 II Sony a99 II Sony a9 Sony 85mm F1.4 ZA Carl Zeiss Planar T* +12 more
philip pj Senior Member • Posts: 1,608
good
1

First, thanks for this comparison Rob, always informative. I hope the southern autumn is treating you well in the windy city.

There are of course many technical issues, let me run through a few - but first, the FE55 image is very much superior. More lively, more information, better definition, clearer (less muddy), more micro-contrast, better tone handling, more accurate, just to mention a few characteristics.

The zoom image looks almost like a watercolor, you can get some back with judicious sharpness but not enough to matter or change things. The FE55 is a seriously great lens. Even among high end normal primes, and detail is its long suit.

caveats: I'm not a (modern) zoom fan. They are 'over-cooked' in design terms, too big a range, and too uneven with strong centers and poor outer frames. No real 3D image depth. Made for pros!

Technical

. the crop is just off the magic center 'donut hole' of each image, at an image height of 5-7mm or so - this will favor the zoom significantly.

. f10 hurts both lenses badly - the centers fall off a lot. If you were looking at outer frames and corners, it's less important but for this crop, f5.6 is best, and in fact if you want smokin' centers with still very good outers, use f4 for the FE55. It gets out of bed early! lol. The zoom is also better at f4-f5.6 in the centers.

. 55mm is near to the best FL in the zoom, it would lose badly to many primes longer but especially wider. It's horrible at 24mm, like so many are.

. downsizing, raised above, probably matters less here. I'd use PS to get to the final comparison size, downsize on pixel count in 50% increments using bicubic (smooth), for the first 1-2 steps, then for the last d/size to the final file size use bicubic (sharper). [This is straight from the horse's mouth - Jeff Schewe. It works.]

. the big gain is the camera/sensor tech, maybe as much as the extra sensor resolution, I'd say. Any SLT cam is disadvantaged and then no AA enters the picture, but you get a refined look instead.

You would see what the zoom is capable of if you stuck the lens on an LA-EA3 (not EA4, the SLT again) on the a7rII. This might be good or it might be bad news for the zoom! 36/42mp has a habit of ordinarying (TM to me) many, many lenses better than the venerable 24-70/2.8, again in the outer reaches more than centers.

I have both the a99 (my partner uses it now) and the a7r (mk 1). You benefit from higher res sensors, even at post-diffraction apertures, even f22 is better than many wider apertures on lower mp cameras - strange but true. [This is from Zeiss.] The a99 gives up a stop of high ISO from the SLT but not too bad. A very fine camera, nevertheless, great EFCS and 'thunky' shutter. Strong. Many of my best images were shot with it. Let's say we are not in a rush to replace it.

The a99 (and RX1) was Sony's first iteration of its great new age sensors, and it works really well with great lenses. Well 'of course' you say, but it gets a huge boost from my Zeiss lenses, which do not need to maximize acutance to give you excellent images, a fine balance between contrast and color and very even cross-frame performance do that for you. I'd back the CY 35-70 to easily outpoint the ZA 24-70/2.8 at 50mm, and absolutely crunch it at 70mm.

24mp works best for slightly less demanding stuff - street, people, arty shots, close range, contrasty (it has very good DR 'below base' ISO, try 50 for better results - Sony knew the SLT robbed IQ, so they boosted low ISO some). 24mp is not at all bad, it's just less good than 36/42mp where in your face IQ matters.

-- hide signature --

/------

At ISO 50 the a99 has more DR than the a7rII at ISO 100, so we never shoot it higher if possible. Don't believe me? Believe these guys then:

http://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-A7R-II-versus-Canon-EOS-5DS-R-versus-Sony-SLT-Alpha-99___1035_1009_831

[In fact, the (2012 release) a99 has better DR - key to good landscapes in high contrast light conditions - than the Canon 5DSr below ISO 400 or so. Wow. Who knew? ;-)]

Robsphoto
OP Robsphoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,218
Sony A-Mount CZ 24-70mm F/2.8 lens compared with Sony FE 55mm F/1.8 lens

philip pj wrote:

First, thanks for this comparison Rob, always informative. I hope the southern autumn is treating you well in the windy city.

Thanks very much Philip for your detailed post, I'm sure several people will learn a lot from it. Yes, a very good Autumn here on the whole, still nice and warm and strangely not too much wind!

There are of course many technical issues, let me run through a few - but first, the FE55 image is very much superior. More lively, more information, better definition, clearer (less muddy), more micro-contrast, better tone handling, more accurate, just to mention a few characteristics.

Yes, I was very surprised and pleased when I took my first images with the A7RII and the FE55mm lens. The image quality has surpassed my expectations and the overall package is much lighter than the load I carry around when using the Sony A99.

The zoom image looks almost like a watercolor, you can get some back with judicious sharpness but not enough to matter or change things. The FE55 is a seriously great lens. Even among high end normal primes, and detail is its long suit.

caveats: I'm not a (modern) zoom fan. They are 'over-cooked' in design terms, too big a range, and too uneven with strong centers and poor outer frames. No real 3D image depth. Made for pros!

Technical

. the crop is just off the magic center 'donut hole' of each image, at an image height of 5-7mm or so - this will favor the zoom significantly.

. f10 hurts both lenses badly - the centers fall off a lot. If you were looking at outer frames and corners, it's less important but for this crop, f5.6 is best, and in fact if you want smokin' centers with still very good outers, use f4 for the FE55. It gets out of bed early! lol. The zoom is also better at f4-f5.6 in the centers.

I sometimes use F/10 and higher with the A7RII and the 55mm lens, particularly when there are things in the foreground that I want in sharp focus as well as important things in the background that need to be in focus.

However, in the images on this page where there is just water in the foreground and it's a long way across to the houses, I agree that F/5.6 might have been a better choice. But, in my results to date, I haven't seen a noticeable drop-off in quality between images taken at F/10 compared with those taken at F/5.6. I guess I am used to "playing it safe" as far as depth of field goes when using a 55mm lens on a full frame camera!

Cheers

Rob

josseee
josseee Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?
1

za 24-70/2.8 is a great lens but no way can it match a set of primes. Bokeh can be very harsh in some situations and 2.8 is no way near a 1.4

As for the 42 vs 24: For me personally, I dont care about the high mp count. 24 is plenty enough for me. Its the High ISO performance where the a7rII completely crushes the A99.

-- hide signature --
 josseee's gear list:josseee's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-5N Sony Alpha 7R II Sony 24-70mm F2.8 ZA SSM Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Sony 16mm F2.8 Fisheye Sony 100mm F2.8 Macro +11 more
Robsphoto
OP Robsphoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,218
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

coloradosnowman wrote:

Thanks for posting this Rob. It is an interesting comparison. I also own both of these cameras and get what I consider to be really good photographs from each camera. Unfortunately I don't own either of the lenses in your test. What is clear to me is that the photograph taken with the AR7II clearly contains better detail. What is unclear to me is how much of the better detail is due to the difference in lenses vs the difference in cameras/sensors. Since I photograph primarily wildlife, I do love the extra zoomed in cropping that the larger sensor provides to me. Regards, Dean

Thanks for these thoughts, I think the extra megapixels and more up to date technology of the A7RII are strong contributing factors to the better detail that can be captured by the A7RII when compared with images from the A99.

Also, I guess there are scientific laboratory tests available for both the FE 55mm F/1.8 lens and also the A-Mount CZ 24mm-70mm lens which might provide an answer as to which lens is "theoretically" better at capturing distant detail. However, I suppose a top-rated prime is always going to outperform a 3x zoom lens.

I agree that the A7RII is great for capturing wildlife and I have had several images so far that are a lot sharper than I usually get from the A99, although I still regard the A99 as an excellent camera.

Cheers

Rob

ijustloveshooting
ijustloveshooting Senior Member • Posts: 2,997
A7r2 shot is clearly winner.
2

i see a lot more details on A7r2+FE55 shot and i'd prefere A7r2 combo shot over a99+cz2470 anyday!

with FE55, such a great lens, you can get the advantage of 42mp sensor, which is clearly shown here.

 ijustloveshooting's gear list:ijustloveshooting's gear list
Fujifilm X-A1 Sony Alpha 7 II Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R +10 more
ijustloveshooting
ijustloveshooting Senior Member • Posts: 2,997
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?
1

downsizing A72rii image to A99 size is totally absurd...post is about visible benefit of 42mp over 24mp, and here i can easily see a lot more detail on 42mp shot...my conclusion is, yes! with a good glass on it, you get that advantage.

 ijustloveshooting's gear list:ijustloveshooting's gear list
Fujifilm X-A1 Sony Alpha 7 II Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R +10 more
trainerKEN Contributing Member • Posts: 841
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

there are sooooo many reasons why I bought the a7RII and 42MP isn't even anywhere near the top of the list.  Yes, I had the a99... but right off the bat, the terrible a99's AF points was one of the reasons.  I also wanted better low light performance, and being able to adapt one of my dream lenses, the Canon 17mm F4 L TS-E, those 3 would be the top reasons.

 trainerKEN's gear list:trainerKEN's gear list
Sony Alpha 7R II Sony a6500 Fujifilm X-T20 Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L +13 more
Keit ll Veteran Member • Posts: 4,178
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

A good case has been made for upgrading the A99 but when are Sony going to do it??

tn1krr Senior Member • Posts: 1,136
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

Keit ll wrote:

A good case has been made for upgrading the A99 but when are Sony going to do it??

Not sure post you responded to made good case for updated A99. No update can bring an SLT-camera to A7R II level AF point coverage or eliminate SLT-mirror (back/front focus...) or make it adapt Canon TS-E lenses. Personally I do not see A99 update coming, outside a few long lenses even the FE lens system is starting to look better than the A Mount lens lineup; and you cannot adapt practically anything to A Mount.

 tn1krr's gear list:tn1krr's gear list
Sony Alpha 7R II Kenko Teleplus Pro 300 AF 1.4x Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 +7 more
Dsnoir
Dsnoir Contributing Member • Posts: 709
Re: Sony A7RII vs Sony A99: Do you really benefit from 42 megapixels vs 24 megapixels?

Robsphoto wrote: But I could use the A-Mount CZ24-70mm lens on the A7RII with an adapter if I really wanted to see how this lens performs on the A7RII.

I have the CZ 24-70 with the LA3 adaptor on the Sony A7r mkii, the combination is capable of stunning images, with the flexibility of a zoom.

 Dsnoir's gear list:Dsnoir's gear list
Sony a99 II Sony a6500 Sony 100mm F2.8 Macro Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 +8 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads