Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

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bakubo
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Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby bakubo » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:37 am


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artington
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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby artington » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:55 am

Faint praise, I thought. I wasn't overly impressed by the noise test pics but hard to be objective without seeing comparisons with other cameras. No doubt dpreview will oblige in time. Surprising Sony didn't up its game with the evf because the a99 is presumably expected to have a considerably longer shelf life than the Nex7 or a77. This could be looking rather dated in a year's time.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:19 am

Well it was mixed with some good stuff...and surprisingly a bit of a beating for not having an OVF (Sony ear plugs go in now!)
The obvious point also made was the "going to be gone soon" SLT mirror with phase detect off the sensor...that was predicted quite a while ago, so you are in effect buying into a product that won't have any mirror at all in a few years.

But by far the biggest problem for Sony is the "ouch price" and no OVF. £2500 puts it above the D800 by some margin, the SLT concept did not reduce the price v a normal SLR. And this target buyer is the least likely to warm to an OVF out of all price points/segments. Sony proudly declare that they think the EVF is better, but most of their potential customers don't agree. So making a product based on arrogance and not listening to your potential buyers, it ultimately rather short sighted, and well pretty damn stupid if you ask me.

Not to repeat too much my thoughts, they are well known. But Sony are not listening..they're not listening at all. A99 won't have any impact in a 5dMkIII or D800 world. Even less in a D600, 6d world. It's like making a fancy looking sports car with a 1.2 litre engine..no matter how nice the car looks or handles..you've lost the very buyer you need. Whilst we're here how many people see FF users demanding an EVF? Look around..almost none. That speaks volumes to me about Sony.

This is really basic business..you listen to your customers and potential buyers..very closely.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby peterottaway » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:45 am

Personally I never expected the A99 to have any impact on FF Canon or Nikon users, any who do move are more likely to be more interested in video or because they have bought into Nex. Any growth will be from newbies. And that is a long game.

The announced price for Australia is $2999 which is some $500 to $600 less than the D800 was introduced at and almost $1000 less than the EOS 5D Mark 3. It is about $300 less than current street price for those cameras. So the 24 MP Sony is still cheaper at full price than the 22 MP Canon.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby artington » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:16 pm

Having read the reviews of the latest offerings from Sony and Canon (and not being a sports photographer) I shall stay where I am in the SLR/T space. I love the a900 for the colour quality, particularly with Minolta glass, and use it for portraits with my Minolta 85/1.4G and for events with the Minolta 17-35/3.5G and Sony 70-300G. For landscapes I am happy (despite its quirks, such as needing to engage continuous drive before bracketing!) with the Liveview equipped Canon 5DII, bought rather cheaply last year, together with the astounding Canon 24mm F3.5 TSE II and a rather wonderful adapted Leica R 35-70 F4 ROM. Finally for travel, the NEX 7 with the 16/2.8 and a couple of alternative lenses, my favourite being an adapted Minolta M-Rokkor 40/2. If the new SEL 16-50 is any good I shall add one to the stable once it becomes available. So I'm sorted and don't feel any need to upgrade either of the DSLRs this time round. Which might mean not again since I suspect we shall see a full frame NEX before too long.

Since I've mentioned the M-Rokkor I should say that this is a stupendous lens and absolutely tiny, even with the (Metabones) LM-E adapter. Not so easy to find these days but at around £400 for a nice copy it s very recommendable if you are happy to focus manually. That said, one also hears good things about the new SEL 50/1.8 but taht is a lot larger.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby Dusty » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:59 pm

bfitzgerald wrote:(snip)... And this target buyer is the least likely to warm to an OVF out of all price points/segments. Sony proudly declare that they think the EVF is better, but most of their potential customers don't agree. So making a product based on arrogance and not listening to your potential buyers, it ultimately rather short sighted, and well pretty damn stupid if you ask me.

Not to repeat too much my thoughts, they are well known. But Sony are not listening..they're not listening at all. A99 won't have any impact in a 5dMkIII or D800 world. Even less in a D600, 6d world. It's like making a fancy looking sports car with a 1.2 litre engine..no matter how nice the car looks or handles..you've lost the very buyer you need. Whilst we're here how many people see FF users demanding an EVF? Look around..almost none. That speaks volumes to me about Sony.

This is really basic business..you listen to your customers and potential buyers..very closely.


But we invented BetaMax! It was technically superior to VHS. People WILL buy what we say is better!

Ans so it begins..... again!

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby Dusty » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:23 pm

peterottaway wrote:Personally I never expected the A99 to have any impact on FF Canon or Nikon users, any who do move are more likely to be more interested in video or because they have bought into Nex. Any growth will be from newbies. And that is a long game.


But it is having an impact on Canon and Nikon - FF users are switching to their systems from Sony to get an OVF. As for the long game - Sony has reduced (or broken) the system by switching to a new flash shoe, and there is a lack of lens choices compared to the others, as well as no Pro service available. How do you interest photographers who are looking to transition to pro without a good system? And enthusiast consumers are drive by what they see the pros use.

When I wanted to buy my first SLR, I asked a trusted pro what camera I should by that would not break the bank and let me grow with a whole system if I decided to get more into photography. He told me Minolta XGM, as he had several and Minolta was a good system. That's what I bought, and stuck w/ Minolta until there was no more SR/MD mount. (and then some!)

peterottaway wrote:The announced price for Australia is $2999 which is some $500 to $600 less than the D800 was introduced at and almost $1000 less than the EOS 5D Mark 3. It is about $300 less than current street price for those cameras. So the 24 MP Sony is still cheaper at full price than the 22 MP Canon.


B&H is selling the D800 for $3k, the D600 for $2100 and the A99 for $2800. The 5DMIII is $4100, so not in the same league, price wise.

Whatever happened to SLT technology brings down the price via not having that expensive to produce and align prism? For an extra $200, I can get 50% more MPs, a system that's not broken, a longer lens and flash line-up and the confidence that the system will be there and essentially the same in 10 years. Of for $700 less I can get the same Mp's and like advantages, as well as money left over for lenses.

Sony had lost me for the future. I may hang on for a while by buying up used equipment and extending the life of my line-up, but I want to go to FF, with an OFV, and a system that won't be changed on a whim. Sony has proven that they're not it.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby peterottaway » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:26 pm

Dusty just how many Sony FF camera owners are there to ditch their cameras and move to Canikon ?

I don't think winning the 2013 or 2014 or even the 2015 sales of the year trophy for digital FF cameras is either a design ideal or a financial goal. But making sure that everyone knows that they are here and that they are serious may well be. And Sony is definitely doing it differently to Canon or Nikon - you may not like it and may prefer something else.

You may think that Sonys attitude is closer to flying pigs or pink elephants rather than an 800 pound gorilla. And find that disappointing not to say potentially expensive to you in changing brands. I did a quick calculation last night about what it would cost me to convert fully to a modern Nikon kit of the same flexibility as I have now and I could buy quite a bit of a new VW Jetta off the showroom floor for that.

And at the moment I am going to use both my OVF A850 and my EVF A77 and Nex 7, and yes there will be times I get annoyed because the OVF is damned well not showing me what I have come to expect as normal on the EVF and the other away about. But at the same time time I don't think there is any chance of anyone producing a hybrid OVF / EVF of good quality, reliable engineering a decent size and weight at anything like a decent price.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby pakodominguez » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:42 pm

Video field report -do not miss the author's comments.

http://vimeo.com/50978623#
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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby Birma » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:10 pm

Hi Henry - thanks for the link - interesting reading.

IBIS and an articulated rear screen are the unique selling features for me. All of the FF bodies discussed above can take great pictures, so it's a matter of choosing the handling features that matter to you. Sadly I don't think that I'll be in the market for any of the makers FF cameras, but when playing 'fantasy camera' I'd like a Tilt/shift 24mm to go with the FF body please :) .
Nex 5, Nex 6 (IR), A7M2, A99 and a bunch of lenses.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:45 am

The report is pretty well balanced. I have to share most of this view. I've go a problem in that Sony could see me parting company with the Alpha range, continuing to use NEX, but switching to Nikon. I can afford to do so; it would put Shirley working with a D600 and me working with a D800E.

At the same time, I can't afford to part company with the Alpha system entirely. I have started to use the A900 again and find the results are rewarding, and the experience of using it has meant the A77 doesn't get used any more. I need to consider how I use the camera. The A900 may actually be what I need to keep using, along with the NEX-5n, possibly just getting the accessory EVF (again!) and maybe the 50mm f/1.8 SEL.

I have also been processing hundreds of images - 1260 from our USA trip, 170 from the rest of our casual shooting from July to now. I see great benefits from the 16 megapixel APS-C sensor. But from the A900 I'm seeing ISO 160 and 320 quality which blows everything else away. That includes, by the way, the Canon 5D MkIII. This camera is far worse than even my own initial review indicated. Just be warned - don't buy a 5D Mk III. Colour, focusing and noise levels at medium ISO (400-1600) are simply not doing it right. At 6400 it wipes the floor with the A900; at ISO 400, the A900 wins.

David

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby bakubo » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:44 am

Other than a general interest in cameras and camera tech I don't have any plans to get a FF camera anytime soon, but if I already had an A900 that worked well I can't really see that I would have any interest in the A99, D600, or 6D. I don't care about video and the lack of LV isn't such a big deal for me. I figure that if I was to get a FF camera it would be mostly for nature/landscape stuff so very high ISO wouldn't be used much. I suppose the IBIS also wouldn't be super important for that stuff, but still nice to have so that in some situations I wouldn't need a tripod. The big, beautiful OVF of the A900 would be hard to give up for an A99 EVF.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby Dr. Harout » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:47 am

Dowload RAW files of a99 from HERE
Shot with Zeiss. Download the 6400 ISO one and look at the face and the details of that beautiful girl. :D
I want the a99 :!:
A99 + a7rII + Sony, Zeiss, Minolta, Rokinon and M42 lenses

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby artington » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:11 am

David Kilpatrick wrote: But from the A900 I'm seeing ISO 160 and 320 quality which blows everything else away.
David


You've mentioned these ISO levels of 160 and 320 in the past, David. Is there anything special about them? I know Portra used to be 160 but I assumed that was a manufacturing decision. Or are they optimal in some way?

This happens in other fields too. For example the oft-quoted 300 dpi optimum printing density refers to early US made ink-jets and is not generally appropriate for modern printers. Recent generations of mid- to high-end Epson printers, like the 3000 and 3880 up, are apparently optimised for 180 dpi or a multiple of this. Same with monitor pixel densities - 72 is no longer used for decent monitors.

On the subject of FF cameras, in the days of film, cameras had very long shelf lives and the ISO constraint came from the medium itself. One was not constantly being made to feel dissatisfied because new technology was allowing greater latitude or AF speed, partly because the former was down to film alone. I remember being thrilled by the introduction of GAF 400 ASA film in the 70s, being used to Kodachrome 64, although looking at the slides now I would have been much better sticking with the Kodachrome. Shades of your a900 vs Canon comparison, David. Today, I feel we are all being seduced by marketers into "upgrading" every few years but, judging by the incremental improvements, it may be that the benefits are rapidly diminishing.

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Re: Sony Alpha A99 Field Test Report

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:05 am

Price is the problem Sony are asking £2500 odd (so much for that SLT=save money on the mirror box/prism) I can't see it working at that price.
Ok the Canon 5dMkIII is around the same price, but Canon have a fairly notable entrenched based to sell it to, Sony have a lot less.

D800 has just nipped under the £2000 mark for a body only. I think at this stage they will run away with things..not that I'd need/want 36mp, but you can't ignore the price gap. It's the first time I've really seen Canon struggling under pressure, their prices are just out of whack on this one. Not that they are going out of business, it's just they took their eye off the ball. Same for the 6d v D600 the Canon isn't even out yet...not as good as hoped price or not Nikon are probably selling a ton of D600's.

I've still some A mount stuff left, added a Metz flash recently too. I just don't have the interest in the SLT Models. And even if I wanted to dump down serious cash on FF, the A99 isn't where I would put it.


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