Sony A99 Review

4.5
January 11, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

Your Comments

28 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Emopunk

I am lucky enough to own this great camera. This is a nice review which gives an idea of how complete this tool actually is.

6:25 pm - Friday, January 11, 2013

#2 Emopunk

I noticed a small error in the review:
“Finally there’s a connection for the optional vertical battery grip, which as you’d expect usefully doubles the battery life”.
The grip actually triples lifespan; this is quite unique in FF world ‘cause it allows you to keep a battery in the body + two more in the grip itself.

6:36 pm - Friday, January 11, 2013

#3 Dodge Baena

I’m very pleased with my a65 and a57. If they lowered the price of the a99 to sub-$2K, I’ll get one!

8:32 pm - Friday, January 11, 2013

#4 jake

I think this review was excellent , very honest and openminded enough to accept the EVF and the great set of amazing features that this camera gets.
If I am free(I mean not need to listen to my partner when I buy a camera), I ‘d sell my D800 for this one or for the 5D3 in a heart beat.
But unfortunaltey , I have to listen to my partner who hates Sony and EVF, so I guess I will have to shoot Nikon or Canon for a while.
That siad , I still love A99v and I really want to buy one since I was a big fan of Sony Zeiss primes from my A900 days.
The A99v is a great camera and it is probably the best camera for portrait and event work.
The 85mmf1.4ZA is a super sharp lens and the 135mmf1.8ZA is even sharper and the 24f2ZA is the best 24mm I have ever shot, well done Sony and thanks for your great review.

10:00 pm - Friday, January 11, 2013

#5 Jeremy Birn

“The A99 can shoot up to 20 fine JPEGs, 13 raw files, or 11 raw + fine JPEGs in a single 6 frame burst.”

This sounds like a typo - if it’s a 6 frame burst, how could get you 13 raw files, etc.?

11:46 pm - Friday, January 11, 2013

#6 emopunk

Jeremy, there’s no typo. It means you shoot 20 jpgs in a burst at 6fps. What’s so difficult to understand?

9:08 am - Saturday, January 12, 2013

#7 Gianluke

Why 4.5 points for Image Quality? And 5 points for D800, D600 and 5D MKIII?

10:54 am - Saturday, January 12, 2013

#8 emopunk

This camera deserved 5 scoring at least on design (for sure together with Mark III) and image quality too. And maybe on ease of use too (considering EVF and Live View). What FF camera should be easier or more intuitive to use?

11:07 am - Saturday, January 12, 2013

#9 Zap

No camera deserves 5 stars this looks good and worthy of a nice score. But 4.5 for value? IT’s £2150 right now v the D600’s £1400 price (and the Nikon has better image quality)
Battery life is also very low on this model v other makers.

I’d give it a 4 overall, but it needs a huge price cut to be appealing

1:02 pm - Saturday, January 12, 2013

#10 emopunk

Zap, you’re beating a dead horse. D600 plays in a different league, and it shows; for a lot of reasons.

7:39 pm - Saturday, January 12, 2013

#11 Zap

D600 beats the A99 on DxO for image quality
Why pay more for less?

6:15 pm - Sunday, January 13, 2013

#12 jake

Zap , in real life , the A99v wins hands down in almost all areas even in super low light due to Sony’s much better fast prime line up and in body IS.
And the D600 has cheaper shutter mechnism and thus it is only rated 150k (not 200k).
D600 is a lower garade camera that might be able to compete against upcoming A88v or EOS6D.
After I got a couple of D800 cameras , I don’t trust DXO and most of online reviews but my own measuring, I mean the D800 is only usable up to ISO400 in real bad light,where we really need high ISO , though according to DXO its ISO2800 is usable if resampled at 8mp(then why do you need 36mp at first?)
so , take DXO reviews with a grain of salt.
I personally dismiss DXO altogether and I dont really trust Imaging-resources either, they dont even review 5D3 or 6D but they reviewed all Nikon in a row in the last 2 weeks of the last month.

7:01 pm - Sunday, January 13, 2013

#13 emopunk

Maybe because DxO numbers are not all that is needed to take good photographs?

7:16 pm - Sunday, January 13, 2013

#14 jake

hey Zap, you should realize that the D600 is a much lower grade camera with much lower grade shutter and analogue mechanism.
and in real low light(not in a lab)the Sony always wins hands down because it has better low light AF and in body IS.
as for DXO , take it with a grain of salt(maybe more than a grain , though).
I really dont trust DXO, IR and many other sites where you ‘ll usually see Nikon commercials.
I kind of trusted DXO and bought a couple of D800s and now I am completely stuck and there is not way out of this Nikon hell.
I call my D800 as Zombie-producer (it might be the best camera for a scary movie due to its upleasing skin tone).
The D800 is only usable up to ISO400, but according to DXO it is usable upto ISO2800 if resampled(then why even use a 36mp at first?)
IR has reviewed neither any Canon high end cameras nor Sony high end camera. Since last April , Imaging-resources only reviewed Nikons and most of these Nikon pro-level camera reviews came around the last Christmas, you see my point?
That site wants to sell Nikons to its readers during Christmas and new year sell.
So now, it is really getting harder and harder to tell who you can trust and not.
But after the last Christmas , I am sure DXO and IR are something we cannot trust.
BTW, I recommend you to do your own RAW file testing and measuring at your home.
you dont actually need the camera you are measuring , you just need some RAW files from it but not from IR or DXO.

7:16 pm - Sunday, January 13, 2013

#15 Alastair

@Jeremy,

It looks like a typo to me, they meant a 6 frame per second burst not a 6 frame burst.

5:32 am - Monday, January 14, 2013

#16 Zap

I appreciate DxO is not cast in stone but there are quite a few areas where the cameras are pretty close.

Both have scene modes (ie consumer not pro)
Both have dual SD card slots (again not pro)
D600 has a 1/4000 sec shutter v the 1/1800 on the Sony but the Nikon has a slightly bigger buffer
The Nikon has a flash built in but the Sony does not.
Both have a partial mag alloy body with some sealing

There are some nice bits on the Sony like GPS and the flip screen etc etc. But then the Nikon has more battery life and has better IQ even in raw.

I’m not seeing a near £800 price difference here for the Sony. It looks nice, but the price is just all wrong for UK buyers.

12:02 pm - Monday, January 14, 2013

#17 PhotoGearHead

Actually, Zap, if you’ll take a closer look at the DXOMark numbers, I’m sure you’ll see that, in terms of image quality, DXOMark rates significant difference between the A99 and and the D600 - in all areas except low-light performance. Which basically means that the D600 outperforms the A99 in terms of image quality at high ISO levels.

The thing is, however, that such an advantage is simply just not important to *some* photographers.

The A99 clearly outshines the D600 in other areas. So, as with most photo gear, it’s about finding the right piece of equipment that best matches your particular needs and shooting style.

If your choice comes down to these two camera bodies, and you’re a photographer that often does a fair amount of low-light work, then of course you’d be smart to opt for the D600. If, however, say, you rarely take a shot above ISO 400, but, for whatever reason, you have a need to have the best video capabilities possible on your dSLR, then the D600 would not be the wise choice.

9:21 pm - Monday, January 14, 2013

#18 Zap

Forget video capabilities we’re stills photographers I rarely if ever use video bar the odd birthday party.

I can see Nikon selling tons and tons of D600’s, Sony are going to struggle holding onto their users with this overpriced offering.

And I expect most buyers will want the optical finder v the EVF on the Sony. This isn’t going to fly at over £2000 odd. Real shame for Sony users who wanted an affordable FF body. Half the point of SLT was to save money in manufacturing so as to offer a better deal to A mount users.

No wonder Sony are struggling so much they’re just not well priced. A77 suffered a similar problems with it’s bad low light performance and £200 premium over it’s rivals.

6:50 pm - Tuesday, January 15, 2013

#19 Mike

Real photographers want the best the market has to offer and clearly the A99 is it. It beats the Canon (5d MkIII) and Nikon (D800) counterparts hands down.

A good choice for any serious photographer!

1:28 pm - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

#20 hanum

harga dalam rupiah berapa???

7:07 am - Monday, January 21, 2013

#21 Raoul

The exif content - tag 258 - of raw images says that the image is 14 bits deep.
But it appears that the raw images are only 12 bits deep, so I think that the header is wrong.

10:43 am - Wednesday, January 23, 2013

#22 Inspector draco

When 5DII were launched, A900 was blamed lacking of video feature. Now, some call themselves still photographers & not bother to pay premium for video feature in A99. Perhaps, they should blame Canon who packed video features to DSLR first. IMO, there is no better or worst camera, it is just a tool. Having the money to buy a Mont Blanc fountain pen will not improve one’s handwriting. 99% of those photos collected in the museums were not taken with 5DIII nor D800. Many Pros are still using D40/D60 to achieve their jobs. Moreover, high ISO is only needed by specific pros, like photojournalists. If one is not photojournalist, but desperately desires a high ISO machine, he/she probably does not know how to use ambient light, nor artificial lighting, but call him/herself a pro. A good camera does not necessarily has high ISO; ISO speed of H4D-60 is only up to 800, but it costs 10 times more than 5DIII; ISO speed of M9 is up to 2500, & it is double the price of D800. They are priced differently because they were built for different purpose. A99 was built for its target market too, if a photographer does not fit in to its target market, that does not make it an inferior camera.

8:37 pm - Thursday, February 7, 2013

#23 Globe

This camera is the best choice for anyone serious about both photography and video. I own a Sony a850, also used an a900 as well as Canon 5d MarkIII. Fitted with Zeiss prime lenses, the performance of the a99v is clearly better than Canon. Also more features for creativity and many other advantages that are described in this review. Canon is popular, yes, but looks cheaply built in comparison of the a99v. And what about that silly power switch position on the Canon that is sometimes annoying and difficult to access when using an accessory such as a Glidecam or other? Photo or video, my choice is clear: the a99v I got is the best compromise: solidly built and with great Zeiss lenses. People underestimate Sony. Go and compare. Price? You pay for quality. Point.

4:04 am - Friday, February 8, 2013

#24 Sorin

Globe you have right.I agree.

9:04 pm - Friday, February 8, 2013

#25 billgates

The end of the Sony SLT-A99 was found out with many faults for a claimed pro camera by ATG, Gary Friedman and I:

1. Eats up battery in no time.
2. The dreaded overheat & shutdown of the world’s expensive speedlite that can not wireless radio ttl, Sony HVL-F60M Flash.
3. The HVL-F60M has no ATG Auto Sensor & no PC Sync Socket.
4. A very long flash delayed firing over my A900.
5. Wireless flash sync is not 250 but at 160.
6. Who care about GPS, how about live-view to a computer?  Monitor is useless because you can not control modes & settings from monitor as with pc.
7. Can not save onto card when shooting wirelessly with the ATG AK1 Un-Tethered Systems or tethered to a pc.
8. Only a video button Icon on pc, how in the world one can see if one can not see live-view recording like Canon cameras?
9. Sony Remote Camera Control is made for children to use. Just a little bit better than Adobe Lightroom.
10. You always see the annoying pre-flash first before the main one comes on.  Forget it when shooting with for than three lights.

Sony SLT-A99’s photographers will be selling it for the ATG Sony A7r+ or Sony A7r and Sony A7.

8:28 pm - Thursday, January 9, 2014

#26 Sorin

Flash sync is 1/250, read specifications.

8:05 pm - Friday, January 10, 2014

#27 pjbw

I read somewhere that OLED viewfinders were very expensive to make. Could this be the reason for the A99’s high price?
(I have been hooked on live EVF’s since my Sony DSC-R1 from 2005. However the R1’s only 10.3 MP is a limitation and it looks like I am going to pay some £3k to replace it with a 20-24 MP camera and a comparable lens).

4:32 pm - Sunday, February 23, 2014

#28 Drew Campbell

Great camera.  I love mine.  Does anyone know if thereis a firmware update yet to reduce some of the noise at high ISO settings?

3:53 pm - Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, review, 1080p, hdmi, sony, DSLR, tilting, GPS, full frame, EVF, alpha, full-frame, 24 megapixel, slt, OLED, 6fps, slt-a99, a99, Sony A99

Tracker Pixel for Entry