The SLT-A99 is Sony’s first camera that uses the SLT system with a fixed translucent mirror and a full-frame sensor (35 mm film equivalent sensor). It offers 24-MP resolution, a high resolution OLED viewfinder, full HD video capabilities, a lot of individual settings, and a massive and robust body.
Comments on Image Quality
Colour: The camera showed a very good performance in our color tests. The saturation is nearly perfect and the color errors are on a very low level. Skin tones especially are nearly perfect. Only the automatic white balance system showed a clearly noticeable shift into the green direction when taking images with fluorescent light systems. The differentiation of colour nuances is fine, but not perfect.
Sharpness: Sharpness and resolution test results are only on an average level for a camera with a full-format sensor system. The A99 accomplishes a maximum of 3279 lines of nominal 4000 lines in picture height. This result is based on an intense sharpness filtering, which causes some overshot effects and halos on contour lines.
Sharpness in real life images is really good, but sometimes there were some overshot effects. The 24-MP images show nearly no moiré or aliasing effects, while videos often show these effects in fine details like metal structures or tiled roofs, for example.
Noise: The Sony camera offers clean and noise-free images up to ISO speed settings of 1600. In images taken with higher ISO speed settings (more than ISO 3200) you will notice colour noise artifacts and some anti-noise filtering effects like color clouds in homogeneous coloured areas, but even these effects are on a low level up to ISO 12800. Only at highest ISO setting of 25600 will you notice a high colour noise level and a noticeable reduction of image details due to the anti-noise filtering.
Comments on Handling
The new SLT-A99 is Sony’s first full-frame camera with an electronic viewfinder. While former full-format cameras like the A900 or A850 offered a standard SLR system, the new A99 has an electronic viewfinder with extremely high resolution (2.3 million RGB dots). Due to the SLT system with fixed mirror, which allows the use of a classic AF system based on phase detection, the camera is very fast and can even use the AF system while recording videos.
The A99 has a massive body that indicates that Sony is trying to place the camera on the professional market. The body is easily handled even though it looks a little bit bulky. Nevertheless it is nearly the same size as the Nikon D600; the Sony has a little bit more width, but less height and depth compared to the D600.
The Sony A99 has a very handy swivel LCD. Its very sophisticated swivel joint allows the LCD to be turned to the front or back and permits rotation of the screen in nearly every direction. This helps especially when recording videos. The camera is able to shoot up to 50/60 frames per second in full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) and in progressive mode. It records movies in high bit rate AVCHD and offers additional “cinema style” video recording with 24 frames per second.
The Sony A99 is very fast. The AF system was fast and reliable. The Sony A99 is able to shoot up to 10 frames per second in full resolution, but this high speed is only available in a special image mode, which can be selected with the mode dial. In this mode the camera works in full automatic mode—you can use semi-automatic modes like Aperture or Shutter Speed Priority, for example.
The camera offers a lot of individual settings. In addition to the user-defined image modes available on the mode dial, the photographer can change a lot of image parameters and recording options.
The new Sony has an integrated GPS system that allows the tagging of images directly and automatically with the geo data integrated into the EXIF data of each image.
+ very handy swivel LCD which can be flipped upwards and downwards and can be rotated to the front
+ massive and robust body
+ high resolution of 24 MP
+ full-format sensor for shallow depth of field photography; automatic switch to Crop mode when using lenses for the APS-C sized cameras
+ Full HD video recording with high frame and bit rates; clean HDMI output
– slight soft touch and color moirés/aliasing effects in videos
This review is based on precise lab tests conducted by BetterNet GmbH and provided by the Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA). TIPA is the largest family of independent photo and imaging magazines worldwide. Photo Life is an active member of TIPA.
|SPEC SHEET: Sony A99|
|BASIC TECHNICAL DATA:|
|Resolution||6000 x 4000|
|Size of sensor in inches||0/0.00|
|Size of sensor in mm||35.8 x 23.9|
|Startup time (in sec)||1.70|
|Shutter delay (in sec) without pre-focusing||0.10|
|Shutter delay (in sec) with pre-focusing||0.01|
|Continuous shooting speed (frames per second)||10.0|
|Max. burst during continuous shooting speed||12.0|
|Fastest shutter speed in sec||1/8000|
|Long time exposure/shutter speed in sec||30|
|Aperture pre-setting, shutter speed pre-setting, manual exposure settings,|
|White balance settings||6|
|Individual white balance||yes|
|Manual ISO control||yes|
|On, off, automatic flash, slow-sync, anti-red-eye, rear curtain sync|
|Standard file formats:||JPEG, RAW, DCF|
|LCD AND PREVIEW:|
|Size in inches||3.0|
|Resolution of LCD in pixels||1228800|
|Zoom-mode during preview||yes|
|Index during preview||yes|
|Slide show during preview||yes|
|Battery charger included?||yes|
|Power supply unit?||no|
|Supported memory cards||Memory stick, SD-Card, SDHC-Card, SDXC-Card|
|Dimensions in mm (width x height x depth)||147 x 111 x 78|
|Weight in g (body without battery and memory card)||733|
|Manual on CD||yes|