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Sony Alpha 99

Discussion in 'Sony Chat' started by Tim Coleman, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Tim Coleman

    Tim Coleman AP Deputy Technical Editor

    So, lucky me I have the Alpha 99 to test, and will be using the camera all this/ next week.

    As always, I appreciate any ideas from you as to what interests you about the camera, what you would like to know more about than simply reading from a specification, what your opinions are of the camera.

    I look forward to your feedback!

  2. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    It would be interesting to compare the high ISO performance with that of the Nikon D600 to see the effect of the light loss of the translucent mirror. Views on the quality of the EVF would also be useful.
  3. Molendinar

    Molendinar Well-Known Member

    I own the A77, and would be interested in how it compares with that one - other than the obvious sensor size difference, of course.
  4. pilliwinks

    pilliwinks Well-Known Member

    I remember the Canon Pellix. Canon didn't pursue the translucent mirror idea, so I wonder why. Did Canon find a major problem and if so what, and how have Sony overcome it?

    I remember the arguments pro and con re the Pellix, so I admit that I wouldn't buy the A99.
  5. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    If the same mirror is used in the A99 to the A77 then we can roughly workout it noise ceiling based on D3200 to A77.

    It should be around 2100ISO or possibly abit higher.

    Agree, you need to look at the EVF. Have they tried to address panning issues?

    Afterall this is suppose to be a pro (semi-pro) level camera?

    How does it compare to the first 24MP the A900/A850? :)
  6. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    That was almost 50 years ago maybe things have moved on a mite since then.

    I'd buy the a99 but can't afford it so I'll stick with my a900 .
  7. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Because it made the viewfinder dark and you lost alot of exposure performance.

    Here because of a very sensitive viewfinder sensor the mirror can be made much less reflective.

    In fact it might be possible for Sony to even go lower with the reflective level. Maybe 20%.

    Without EVF the technology could not work, ok not well.

    But now we are seeing phase detect built into the sensor itself. The technology looks set to die out again.
  8. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Did you factor in the re-sale value of the A900. Seems around £1100? :)

    Mind you apart from 10fps and higher noise ceiling (only some shooter would need that) what would you gain?
  9. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Don't know about the Pellix but Canon also used a pellicle mirror in the EOS RT (a variant of the 600 series) and also in the EOS 1RS so the idea didn't die an easy death. As I understand it the main problem with the pellicle mirror was a pretty dim viewfinder due to the limited amout of light reflected from the mirror - the split for the 1RS is 35% to the finder & 65% to the film - and significantly reduced effective film speed. I also seem to remember that the coating was quite delicate and prone to discolouring and there may also be issues with reduced resolution if the mirror is not optically perfect.

    The advantage with the SLT system is that the finder is electronic and takes it's image from the sensor and is thus inherently brighter and can be sufficiently amplified to give an acceptable level of veiwability. IIRC the SLT mirror also transmits more light than the old Canons did and it's quite a lot thinner I beleive which should help with any potential resolution issues. How resistant to discolouration/degradation the SLT mirror only time will show...
  10. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    Yes that is quite a consideration. There were arguments about Daguarrotypes and Calotypes as well.:D Bearing in mind how much photography has changed in the last (nearly) fifty years I think we need to look a bit beyond the Pellix. EVFs and high ISO sensitivities have changed the whole approach.

    Another interesting topic would be the loss of detail caused by the mirror.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  11. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    ... a new toy :)
  12. Alex1994

    Alex1994 Well-Known Member

    I read a review of the A99 that said although the electronic viewfinder is pretty good, it does have a problem with high contrast scenes, in that dark areas can lose all detail and just appear as black, so it would be good to have an analysis of the EVF.
  13. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Oh Roger really. :p :D

    Surely a new tool. :p
  14. RonClark

    RonClark Well-Known Member

    How about the weight of the beast and possible ease or lack there of for disabled photogrpaher to have to hump around?

    Ease of use for athritc hands?
  15. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    ... well if you like .. but I've a workshop full of real tools, spinny, twirly, sharp and dangerous things to play with :)

    Remember "he who dies with the most tools wins"

    Although I'm of that sort of age I'm lucky so far not to suffer those problems.
  16. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    Please keep saying this, suggestion seconded by my wife:D
  17. pilliwinks

    pilliwinks Well-Known Member

    So? I was making a serious point. I simply don't know if Sony have eliminated the problems Canon found. Surely it's not unreasonable if you know that a certain technology has had known problems in the past that you're wary of it until and unless you know that the problems have been solved? Or do you just assume that time heals all defects? I don't...
  18. Tim Coleman

    Tim Coleman AP Deputy Technical Editor

    Thanks for the points - I suspect these are two key points that many are interested in.

    I have not directly compared images to the D600 yet - we may have to save that for any future twin tests, but I can say the high ISO/ low light performance is notably improved over the Alpha 77.

    There are some points Sony are intent to highlight on the sensor design - it features a 'multi-segment' low pass filter which supposedly lets through more light than a conventional low pass filter. Also, the wiring between the microlenses and photodiodes is not as 'thick' as previous sensors, which means the gap between lenses and photodiodes is reduced and more light is concentrated onto each pixel. Ultimately, the larger photodiodes of the Alpha 99 ensure the camera captures more light than the Alpha 77, and its low light performance is better. in good contrast light, there is little difference.

    I have gone into detail on the EVF, but a quick preview to the review is that in bright conditions it is a little dark and detail particularly in shadow areas is less discernable, and conversely in dark conditions the output is brightened to brighter than real life, which makes the EVF more useful than an optical one in low light conditions. Overall it is a lovely EVF to use, and seems a tad more real than the A77 - being less obviously contrasty like an OVF. Dont forget, the LCD screen is 'dual articulated too so it can be shifted to a number of handy angles.

    Hope this helps for now.

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