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Sony A99 review

Updated on June 25, 2013

Sony A99 Review

Sony A99 camera takes high quality photos and footage.


  • Full frame, lightweight, excellent image quality, articulated LCD screen, optical image stabilization, AVCHD shooting, sophisticated AF system.


  • EVF, Live View problems when taking continuous photographs, slow startup.


  • Its price limits the purchasing of the camera by anyone who takes photography seriously, but the acquisition will be rewarded by an excellent quality filming and facility when setting commands and settings.

Made for anyone who takes photography seriously, Sony A99 is a full frame light camera that arrives to compete with the best cameras on the market.

A99 is based on SLT model, which uses an EVF (Electric View Finder) instead of an optical viewfinder. Indeed, understanding how the SLT (Single Lens Translucent) system works, will justify its image quality. The system turns around a semi-translucent mirror that reflects a part of the light to a two stages sensor with autofocus and another part to a digital sensor that feeds EVF.

Some benefits included in this type of screen are: monitor white balance and exposure and the ability to customize the information displayed. Unfortunately the screen, even with its 2 million pixels, tends to distort brightness and color of the scene.

Its magnesium alloy internal body ensures insulation against electromagnetic interference and protection of internal components from rain, wind or dust. The optical stabilization is done in the device´s body using a fixed frame with independent movement.

Another thing that deserves to be emphasized is its weight: only 814 grams (1.79 lbs) . It´s one of the lightest full frame cameras on the market.

Sony A99 review: Photos and videos

It´s impossible to avoid the comparison between the images produced by Sony A99 with the ones produced by its competitors. In a comparison with D600, for example, we observed that the final images do not have a similar level of detail.

This is due to a greater exposure of A99 frames, leading to a shorter shutter speed and lower detailed photos than D600 ones. If on the one hand the reds are slightly emphasized, on the other hand the quality of images produced in RAW is awesome.

Its hybrid autofocus system deserves an honorable mention. Its 19 points sensor is illuminated constantly, allowing a constant autofocus up to 10 frames per second. Aided by 102 points CMOS sensor, the general assembly can track objects moving at high speed with accuracy.

The lens used in the tests was the SAL2875, one of the six available for hybrid autofocus system. With 28 - 75 mm (1.10 - 2.95 inches) focal length, SAL2875 showed a slight chromatic aberration tending towards cyan and geometric distortion on both ends of the focal range. Starting from ISO 100 and reaching ISO 25600, granulates appeared on the images from ISO 2500 and have accentuated considerably from ISO 6400.

A99 videos are of excellent quality and in1080p at 60 frames per second, with the possibility of export them in 2 formats: uncompressed AVCHD and MP4. The sound is captured by two stereo microphones for high quality and can be regulated by the photographer during shooting. Autofocus system is also present in the filming. Thanks to it, the camera doesn´t loses focus and it adjusts very well to changes in context.

Sony A99 review: Buttons and settings

Articulated LCD screen with a 540º range and good definition is A99 main aesthetic detail. Controls are well distributed through camera´s body - On the top left there is a wheel that gives access to several modes of use - to change modes simply press the center button and rotate it. Menu access button is comfortably located above the retractable screen.

Something else worth mentioning is joystick set an FN button. The use of the joystick is much more comfortable and faster than a d-pad. FN button provides quick access to settings like white balance, ISO, flash and face detection.

Sony A99 Review - Final considerations

If you love photography and you take it as a serious hobby, then Sony SLT-A99 is a good choice due to its good performance both in photos and filming. Entering a competitive marketplace, even the price of the Sony A99 camera is similar to its main competitors: D600 and Mark III.

This camera is worth the $2.798.00 that it costs.


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