Sony's A99 marks the first time in years that the company has built a full-frame pro rig to compete with the big boys from Canon and Nikon. The hardware impressed when we got our hands on one a month ago, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding -- or in the photos in this case. So, we jumped at the chance to spend some time shooting with an A99 equipped with a 24 -70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T Zoom Lens. Want to know how Sony's latest and greatest performed? Head on past the break to find out.
Sony Alpha A99 DSLR sample shotsSee all photos
As noted in our hands-on, the A99 was surprisingly lightweight and easy to handle for a camera of its size and caliber. While purists may lament the A99's lack of an optical viewfinder, the camera's OLED EVF was plenty sharp and color-accurate to our eyes. It faithfully reproduced the subjects we were shooting throughout our time with the DSLR and we soon forgot we were looking at a screen at all. As for image quality, the camera produces fantastic shots, even in the hands of this (decidedly non-professional photog) editor. Predictably, low light performance was quite good thanks to its 24.3-megapixel sensor with a max native ISO of 25,600.
Speaking of the sensor, we got a chance to do a brief comparison between the A99 and Sony's RX1 compact that packs the same full-frame CMOS. As you can see in our sample shot, the sensor does its job regardless of form factor -- you'd be hard pressed to determine which pictures were produced with the DSLR and which came from the compact camera. So, it seems your $2800 is well spent no matter which Sony full-frame shooter you choose, as they both produce stunning results (though you'll have to pony up quite a bit more to get the A99 some Zeiss glass).
The A99's dual phase-detection autofocus systems also serves the A99 well, particularly when shooting videos. As someone who regularly uses a camera that struggles to hold focus (an NEX-C3) while recording, the A99 was a welcome change for the better. The quality in our sample below doesn't match the camera's actual capabilities, the constraints of online videos being what they are, but rest assured that the A99 can easily serve up 1080p 60fps clips. Overall, our limited experience with the A99 was overwhelmingly positive -- it's plenty capable in a variety of shooting environments, and considering the performance you get for your $2800, it's a relative bargain.