Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Sony SLT-A99

Digital Photography Review has published a (Gold Award) review on Sony's flagship full frame DSLR.

Conclusion snippets follow:

"The SLT-A99 is a very well-specified camera capable of delivering consistent results in a wide range of shooting scenarios for both still photography and video. Sony has shown the ability to continually improve on long-standing features like Sweep Panorama, and refine behavior such as easier engagement of object tracking."

"Taken on its own, there is little any A900 user could have reasonably asked for that the A99 doesn't provide. While an EVF may be a hard sell for some DSLR users, the A99 takes significant steps forward in every measurable performance metric."

"While Sony can boast of truly first-class Carl Zeiss optics, any DSLR users looking to switch systems are faced with the fact that with the A99, they will not have access to as wide a selection of enthusiast-grade lenses as Nikon and Canon shooters. Sony does counter, however, with in-body stabilization that works with all Alpha-mount lenses regardless of type, age or brand, which means you get stabilization with fast primes, wide zooms and even cheap old secondhand optics."

"The A99 gives very good image quality, particularly so at high ISO sensitivities, placing it among the best performing full frame cameras we've seen to date. And with 24MP resolution, only of the class-leading 36MP Nikon D800 resolves more detail. Dynamic range is equally impressive as well, easily on par with its peers. And the camera's multi-shot HDR mode provides JPEG shooters with an easy way to capture both highlight and shadow detail that exceeds single-shot capability."

"Default image parameters such as white balance, metering and exposure are well-judged in a variety of both indoor and outdoor shooting scenarios. In-camera JPEGs display a reasonably sensible combination of sharpening, contrast and noise suppression."

"With this level of camera of course, the majority of users will be keen to explore the capabilities of the A99's raw files. And they will not be disappointed, as even a few basic adjustments can yield superior results, in large part by providing access to relatively noise-free shadow detail that is typically lost in 8-bit JPEGs."

"The inclusion of an EVF may not be to everyone's taste, but from a practical standpoint makes for equivalent operational experience whether you're shooting with the camera at eye-level or at arm's length using the rear LCD. Indeed, aside from dedicated sports shooters who will likely balk at the lack of live view at high frame rates, the ability to preview exposure and picture styles, as well as navigate menus without lifting the camera from your eye may be enough to entice shooters who've only ever used an optical viewfinder. And the flexibility of Sony's unique multi-hinged rear LCD makes scene composition on the A99 possible in scenarios that no other full frame DSLR can match."

"We ourselves, find very little to criticize outside of relatively minor operational concerns and find the A99 well-suited to variety of applications from landscape to studio work. Sony offer[s] features that are unique to the full frame DSLR market such as in-body stabilization that works with all lenses, an articulated screen and superior live view/video AF performance."

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