Sony A99 II Review

February 2, 2017 | Amy Davies | |
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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 42.4 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 15Mb.

As we’d expect from a camera such as this, image quality is excellent, especially once you get to know the Sony A99 II and its quirks.

In some conditions, the Sony A99 II tends to underexpose a fair amount, so you might find you need to dial in some positive exposure compensation - especially if you’re photographing something which is low contrast. The good news is that if you shoot in raw format, there’s plenty of detail you can bring back from underexposed shots should that happen. If you’re mainly concerned with shooting JPEGs, you can help a little by switching on the Dynamic Range Optimiser, which works to even out shadow and highlight areas.

Detail is excellent, with the high resolution sensor doing an excellent job to pick up fine detail, especially of course at low ISO speeds. At ISO 100, if you examine at 100% it’s possible to see extremely fine detail. The overall impression of detail is maintained very well as you go through the sensitivity range, but you will find as you get into higher numbers, such as ISO 3200, that detail is a little more painterly if you examine closely.

ISO 51200 is useable if you intend to share an image at a very small size, or print it small, but it’s best to stick to ISO 12800 or below if possible. The top speed of ISO 102400 is there if you’re absolutely desperate, but with a loss of detail and noise creeping in, it’s not recommended.

The automatic white balance setting tends to err towards yellow tones when faced with some types of artificial light. It’s best to switch to a more specific white balance setting if possible - you can even change the colour tone priority to “white” for better accuracy in automatic white balance. Alternatively, you could shoot in raw format so you can tweak as necessary in post production.

Aside from white balance issues in some shots, colours are very well reproduced, with rich, warm and vibrant tones which don’t generally stray into unrealistic territory. Choosing between the different Creative Styles is a good idea since you can match how the tones to the situation - it’s worth experimenting with the different options available to find something you like.

Noise

There are 12 ISO settings available on the Sony A99. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and RAW formats:

JPEG RAW  

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

 
iso50.jpg iso50raw.jpg  
     

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

 
iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg  
     

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

 
iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg  
     

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

 
iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg  
     

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

 
iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg  
     

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg  
     

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg  
     

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

 
iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg  
     

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

 
iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg  
     

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

 
iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg  
     

ISO 51200 (100% Crop)

ISO 51200 (100% Crop)

 
iso51200.jpg iso51200raw.jpg  
     

ISO 102400 (100% Crop)

ISO 102400 (100% Crop)

 
iso102400.jpg iso102400raw.jpg  

Night

The Sony A99's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's also a Bulb mode for even longer exposures, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 100.

Night

night.jpg

Creative Styles

There are 11 Creative Style preset effects that you can use to change the look of your images.

Standard

Vivid

CreativeStyleStandard.JPG CreativeStyleVivid.JPG
   

Neutral

Clear

CreativeStyleNeutral.JPG CreativeStyleClear.JPG
   

Deep

Light

CreativeStyleDeep.JPG CreativeStyleLight.JPG
   

Portrait

Landscape

CreativeStylePortrait.JPG CreativeStyleLandscape.JPG
   

Sunset

Night Scene

CreativeStyleSunset.JPG CreativeStyleNight.JPG
   

Sepia

 
CreativeStyleSepia.JPG  

Picture Effects

The Sony A99 offers a range of 8 creative Picture Effects.

Toy Camera

Pop Color

PictureEffectToy.JPG PictureEffectPop.JPG
   

Posterization

Retro Photo

PictureEffectPosterize.JPG PictureEffectRetro.JPG
   

Soft High-key

Partial Color (BW)

PictureEffectSoftHighKey.JPG PictureEffectPartialColorBW.JPG
   

High Contrast Mono

Rich-tone Mono

PictureEffectHighContrastBW.JPG PictureEffect-RichBW.JPG