Sony Alpha A99 Camera Review

by Reads (349)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Image/Video Quality
      • 9
      • Features
      • 9
      • Design / Ease of Use
      • 8
      • Performance
      • 9
      • Expandability
      • 9
      • Total Score:
      • 8.80
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Great image quality
    • AF-D is the best tracking system we've seen
    • Excellent stabilization built-in for video
    • Fast FPS shooting
    • Center focusing point is extremely quick
    • Fairly silent shutter
    • Amazing EVF
  • Cons

    • Autofocus is only best in the center
    • Very short battery life
    • Slow startup
    • A tad more smudging at the higher ISOs than we'd like
    • Deep menus that aren't intuitive at first
    • No autofocus in manual video mode

Quick Take

Sony's A99 is a formidable entry into the full frame game, and it proves to many that the company will be as aggressive as it needs to be to get to the #1 spot in the camera market over Canon and Nikon. The camera has features that will appeal widely to enthusiasts and professional alike such as AF-D, GPS tracking, an excellent swivel-tilt LCD screen for video, a bright EVF, and relatively simple controls with the exception of the caves of menus.

The Sony Alpha A99 is the latest DSLR from Sony and is targeted at professional photographers and high-end enthusiasts. The device features a 24.3 Mp Full Frame Sensor, Dual AF system with two phase detection, 6 fps shooting, 1080p HD video, built in GPS and an ISO range of 100-25,600. The camera also has a 1,266K dot XGA OLED electronic viewfinder, which DigitalCameraReview said is “one of the best we’ve seen on the market.” With a $2,798 price tag at the time of the review, the Sony Alpha A99 isn’t cheap, but DCR found it’s worth taking a serious look at.

\"SonyThe Alpha A99 is 5.8×4.5×3.1-inches and weighs 1.8 pounds with the battery and memory cards and DCR noted it is “most possibly the smallest and most lightweight DSLR out there.” The majority of the camera’s controls are on the right side, which DCR found makes it “one of the most ergonomically comfortable DSLRs to hold.”  DCR also noted that Sony changed the hot shoe on this particular camera, and it now accepts nearly any flash accessory on the market, including those accessories users already had for older versions of Sony DSLRs. The Alpha A99 has a 3-inch LCD screen, which is designed to tilt-swivel, making video capture extremely easy.  The video mode features Sony’s steadishot technology built into the sensor.  The Sony Alpha A99 has nine different modes including auto, custom, manual and movie. DCR noted the menus are the least intuitive part of the camera and they can be difficult to navigate.

DCR found the overall performance of the Alpha A99 to be “quite excellent” and noted strong performance from the auto-focus and image stabilization. DCR also noted good video quality and “stunning image quality.” Reviewers at DCR found image quality remained good up to 1600 ISO and noted good color depth and a wide range for color correction. DCR tested three lenses, a 50mm f/1.4, an 85mm f/1.4 and a 135mm f/1.8 and found all of the lenses produce “extremely sharp and highly detailed images.”  The battery only lasted about six hours and DCR noted that’s due in part to the high performance EVF.

Overall, DCR was impressed with the image quality, fast fps shooting, quality of the EVF and strong video stabilization, but noted the short battery life and difficult to navigate menus to be detractors from the device. DCR said the Sony Alpha A99 is a “very solid choice if you’re willing to give it a chance,” but, considering the hefty price tag, reviewers recommended renting the camera before buying.


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