Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

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peterottaway
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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby peterottaway » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:03 am

I agree that both Nikon and Sony will be more than happy with the sales of the D600. For good light photography without a demanding subject then there will be no problems, again with macro or landscape especially as many of us will use a tripod and/or manual focus. If you are going to use flash at Auntie Beryl and Uncle Dougal's 50th Wedding Anniversary then again it will do well. BUT if you have bought it expecting a mini D800 you have been taken for a ride. You can spend $800-1000 not $2000 and get decent performance.

This where some people have been mistaken with the A99 which is a genuine high performance camera.

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bfitzgerald
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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:09 pm

I see it as a very clear Nikon strategy, don't update the APS-C models (D300s is ancient in DSLR Terms, D7k due an update too) and leave folks sweating coming up to Xmas thinking about where they can spend the cash. That's where the D600 comes in..it's not cheap, but then it's not £2200 odd either (currrent A99 price) = bag quite a few users who want to get their paws on FF (even if they might not "need" FF) Pretty obvious ploy, at least to me. Canon playing a similar card except Nikon have the D600 out right now, and Canon users will have to wait a bit.

I've not really looked into the A99 much bar a few previews. Looks like a beefed up FF A77, point is though in a world with the D800 at 2 grand odd, I simply can't see how Sony expect to shift this in any real volume. It's a hefy step up in price from the A77 (which could be argued is probably struggling a bit at it's current price) Not sure I get Sony's take on this..new FF body (ignoring the SLT aspect) and they release it at a way higher price than the A900 was.

To be honset none of the 3 makers did much for me on this so called "affordable FF wave of bodies" because to me they're not that affordable! On balance the D600 is the more apepaling out of all of them (I don't care much about 1/4000 sec shutter) fps wise the A99 isn't as fast as some expected either. I'm sure the price will drop, and quite a bit. Have to wonder for those who don't have a huge investment in a system maker that Sony will pick up relatively few of those folks.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby redsim74 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:07 pm

bfitzgerald wrote:Not sure I get Sony's take on this..new FF body (ignoring the SLT aspect) and they release it at a way higher price than the A900 was.


Not here in New Zealand. The A900 list price was $NZ4999, the A99 is $3999. The street price is already $200 less than that.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby Heidfirst » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:39 pm

bfitzgerald wrote: from the A77 (which could be argued is probably struggling a bit at it's current price) .

I'm not sure that it is.
There seem to be a few converts from CaNikon etc. on the forums & it's noticeable that there is no cashback on the A&& in the UK unlike A37/A57/A65 - I can read that 1 of only 2 ways
a) they've already cut the price to the bone & there is no margin for cashback
b) it's selling well enough as it is (I doubt that they ever expected it to sell in massive nos.,even the D7000 & xxD sell in far fewer nos. compared to entry level.)

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bfitzgerald
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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:44 am

Didn't even know there was a cashback! But useful to know thanks :mrgreen:

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby bakubo » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:41 am

A few days ago I read that Thom Hogan has given up on APS-C and has settled on Nikon FF (Nikon D800E) for times when size/weight are not important and m4/3 (Olympus E-M5) for times when size/weight are important. I am sure that APS-C still has lots of life in it though and new cameras will be out there for quite a long time.

I have never understood the concern about using APS-C lenses. I have heard so many times, going back to the Canon D30 in 2000, about how it is better to only buy FF lenses and to bypass buying any APS-C lenses since the APS-C lenses couldn't be used on a future FF. I feel sorry for the people who have been using various APS-C DSLRs for the last 12 years who have done without some of the nice, convenient APS-C lenses such as the 10-20mm (or 10-22mm or 8-16mm) or 17-55mm or others all this time. :lol: I always figured that you can buy them, use them, and then later sell them if you don't want them anymore.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby peterottaway » Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:56 am

The APS-C cameras are always going to be somewhat smaller, lighter and designed to be less complex to operate. As well as cheaper to buy. With lenses I think this is a more complicated matter as it depends on what the individual photographer feels comfortable with. But yes apart from the wide angles and standard zooms there is often not a lot of difference in using FF lenses on a SLR /SLT.

I think there is more of a need and expectation when it comes to the smaller again mirrorless cameras. You can make do, but the user is expecting to be able to produce high quality images with no more effort than they put in with an APS SLR.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby Wes Gibbon » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:54 pm

What I would like to see is a compact prime wide-angle or two for APS-C (around 14mm would be ideal). You can still get them for FF (e.g. the Sony 20mm). The problem with zooms is that the filter size and lens hood have to cater for the widest angle and they are generally much larger and heavier than prime lenses because the corrections that need to be made for wide angles are compounded by the necessity of allowing for a range of focal lengths. I used to have a 19mm Vivitar with my Minolta MD system which optically was OK rather than great but about the size of a 50mm f1.4 and only required a 62mm filter thread. There's the 16mm pancake for NEX but nothing for SLT that I can see. I realise that some people might need a zoom, but I don't. I can normally 'zoom with my feet' i.e. I can usually adjust my position to get virtually the same effect as changing the focal length, and in any case with digital photography it's just so easy to crop the image to get the desired effect.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:37 pm

The idea of FF lenses is if you are using or plan to at some point move to FF. For me I might be in a minority ie shooting a bit of 35mm film, but it would not make a lot of sense to buy "too many" APS-C lenses. It would be hard to avoid ones like the 17-50/70, 16- something ones as a kit lens replacement, likewise I can't see a problem with a 35mm f1.8 either (and it's cheap) UWA zoom again it's likely that will be APS-C again for most. Outside of that though ie 2-3 APS-C lenses I can't see the point on stocking up on crop lenses. Easy to avoid tele zoom crop lenses, I'd avoid a macro APS-C and go for a FF one, most of the primes again I'd say again FF is the way to go.

Even if you're not using FF or planning to right away longer term I think it's sensible to make FF lens choices if you might go down that road.
One of the reason's Pentax will have a hard time doing FF is because almost all their lenses are APS-C. Other makers are a mix of FF and crop lenses. Sony inherited mostly FF lenses from Minolta.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby Lonnie Utah » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:45 pm

Dusty wrote:But it is having an impact on Canon and Nikon - FF users are switching to their systems from Sony to get an OVF.


I don't think that's right. I think folks (like me) are just sitting on their A900's and A850s. For me, it's not the EVF that's causing me to sit tight, it's the fact that there's no real reason for me to jump at the same (24mp) resolution. If I need video, I have my nex. I don't need high iso. So there's nothing in this iteration to make me move.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby Wes Gibbon » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:12 pm

Lonnie Utah wrote:
Dusty wrote:But it is having an impact on Canon and Nikon - FF users are switching to their systems from Sony to get an OVF.


I don't think that's right. I think folks (like me) are just sitting on their A900's and A850s. For me, it's not the EVF that's causing me to sit tight, it's the fact that there's no real reason for me to jump at the same (24mp) resolution. If I need video, I have my nex. I don't need high iso. So there's nothing in this iteration to make me move.


I would tend to agree. I am very happy with my A900, so why would I need an A99? Where Sony might be losing out is that an APS-C Sony user wanting to go FF might switch to Nikon or Canon as in most cases they will need to buy FF lenses, and Sony's selection of FF lenses remains disappointing. It's not just the range of lenses, it's the feeling that by not releasing more FF lenses Sony may not be wholly committed to FF long-term.

Is it possible that Sony were expecting to have made faster progress in producing a category-killing EVF, but felt that having waited so long they had to release a new model as a stop-gap. So far, I don't find their EVF's as good as an OVF, but if they can overcome the drawbacks the advantages of EVF's could be enough to tempt Canon & Nikon users to switch. But I think they will need more lenses.

Maybe they will also need more choice of bodies. Canon have 5D and 6D, Nikon D800/E and D600. Sony?

Another thought - if Sony eventually replace the A99, what will they call it - A99-and-a-half?

A thought for DK - should we be discussing the SLT cameras in this forum? It says it's for A100-A900 - A35, A55, A77, A99 etc are not between A100 and A900.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby Atgets_Apprentice » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:10 pm

The discussion about switching to Canikon from Sony doesn't just involve a850/900 users. As an a580 owner, NONE of the current Sony line up will tempt me to stay, once my camera goes to its grave. I've said this before, but as a lifelong Minolta user, the a580 will be the end of the road for me, and I expect to be a Nikon user in a couple of years time. In fact, were I to win, or be given an aXX SLT, it would be put on ebay, unopened.
XG-1, XD-5, XD-7, X-500, XG1n, X300, 7000i, 700si, 800si, 500si Super, 600si, Dynax 5, KM 7D, a100, a200, a300, a580. And another 600si.....

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:27 am

We've just placed our order for the Nikon D600 with 28-300mm VR lens. It will replace Shirley's A580 with 18-250mm Sigma, while I must - for budget reasons - remain using my A900 and A77. Shirley can not and will not use EVF cameras of any kind, they just don't work for her, and compared to her previous A700 she finds the A580 only just acceptable. The D600 will give her the large, glass prism full frame finder which she actually prefers. We'll get the Sigma refurbished and decide whether to sell the 580. The Nikon will give us the vital thing we need for video, which is the proper control of audio along with compatibility with our Rode mic, external HD screen, etc.

I have now been using the A900 regularly, for a wider range of subjects, alongside the A77. I'm happy with both for the uses I need them for and feel that to 'upgrade' by selling both and getting an A99 would leave me without the valuable backup of two cameras, without the excellent APS-C lenses I have combined with high res (notably the Sigma 8-16mm and the 30mm macro). And while the A99 is light for travel, its relative range lenses are not; I'd need to take the 70-400mm G to match my tiny superb Sigma 70-300mm Apo Macro (and even then it would fall short), and there simply is nothing to match my favourite CZ 16-80mm at all.

Nor am I likely to upgrade my NEX any further. I probably will sell the Tamron 18-200mm and have just the 16mm and its converters. I'm using a Canon G15 right now and I can even see just dispensing with NEX entirely. Much depends on whether I see photography as a reason to mess around (the NEX is great if you do that) or just want to return to fundamental values.

David

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby peterottaway » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:50 am

David when Shirley gets the D600 could you please post a comment on the brightness and overall usability of its OVF in comparison to the A900.

It's just that there have been comments floating around basically saying that the OVF lobby should take a look at what you get from some of the lesser OVF on the market before trashing the A99 EVF so completely. And a decent workout in real world conditions is going to be a lot better than a 2 minute play in a camera store.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:37 am

Atgets_Apprentice wrote:The discussion about switching to Canikon from Sony doesn't just involve a850/900 users. As an a580 owner, NONE of the current Sony line up will tempt me to stay, once my camera goes to its grave. I've said this before, but as a lifelong Minolta user, the a580 will be the end of the road for me, and I expect to be a Nikon user in a couple of years time. In fact, were I to win, or be given an aXX SLT, it would be put on ebay, unopened.



I felt the same way..very much so in fact ultra against the SLT cameras.
On the other hand I had so many issues with both Pentax and Nikon, that I simply could not take the problems any longer.
There is a lot to like about Nikon great range of lenses, I liked the handling, images are very good jpeg excellent and a solid flash system.
All that came crashing down when I simply could not get a body that had IMO consistent autofocus. And I tried far more than most would a total of 5 bodies.

I even messaged Thom Hogan in disbelief at the problems esp worrying a camera like the D7000 which is touted as a pretty decent higher end APS-C (if not pro them semi pro level) I got this back (and I informed him of ALL the problems from day 1)

"I'm not going to disagree with you. One reason why I've been more vocal lately is that I see things slipping even more than they had."

I can't comment on the D600, but I can say the APS-C bodies I had were simply not acceptable for AF performance (in every other way just great) I would run screaming from a building if I were handed a Nikon DSLR right now, I just have no confidence in their QC..or worryingly their service ie have problems/fix problems. Just pure random send it in and cross your fingers. 12 Months ago I'd rather be slowly tortured with a blunt knife than buy another Sony product, that's how strongly I felt.

Fast forward and after my K mount disaster experience, my F mount one did nothing but shake me to the point where I really could not be dealing with these problems any more, and it was causing a headache for serious stuff I was doing. I can't afford to spend half a day using focus magic to correct stupidly easy shots that has missed focus. I got a big wake up call, chasing features and a spec sheet come very much secondary to basic stuff like decent autofocus.

I personally cannot recommend Nikon based purely on my own experience of their AF, maybe the problems are sorted out on the D600, I certainly hope so.


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