A99 vs. A900 vs. A77 (part III-A): Guess the body

I figured I would try something a little different today so I took the three bodies and three lenses and shot three subjects. I first shot some holly berries which hang low on one of the bushes in my yard with the 85mm f/1.4 at f/1.4 and f/4. Finally I zoomed in on a treetop at 300mm on the A99 and A900 and at 200mm on the A77 with the 70-300 G SSM lens at f/5.6 and f/8. Definitely not a scientific test as I guessed on the distance differences and I know the depth of field will be wider on the A77. All three bodies were set to 5000k for white balance, wide focus areas, wide metering, ISO 200 with SteadyShot on.

Since the tests aren’t scientific, and I definitely saw a difference in light as the sun and shadows moved, I figured I would put the shots in random order and if anyone wants to guess which one is which, feel free to comment.

Here is the first set of 85mm f/1.4 shots. Can you tell which one is which?


As you can tell, the light was slightly different as was my position. This is where I learned to shoot with the A99/A900 first and the A77 last as I shot A900-A77-A99.

I didn’t pick a determined focus point, and at f/1.4 I’m shooting with a very narrow depth of field, but the colors and other factors are still relevant. Here is a closer look. They may be in a different order.




All three render the red berries slightly different. It could be the light, it could be softness in the lens wide open. Who knows. A more fair comparison is the f/4 shots.




Here is the Zoom shot. The A99/A900 shots are at 300mm and the A77 shot is at 200mm. These were shot at f/8. I didn’t have a predetermined focus point.  The point of this exercise is color interpretation and noise.




One of the bodies metered the shot significantly brighter than the other two. Here are some zoomed details.


And three others


And finally for kicks, the f/5.6 shots:



And closer:


So what are the guesses? I’ll post answers as well as metering information on the next test-specific post.


The pain of going off vacation

The sting of going back to work, school, or whatever weekly routine you have to return to after a week off knows no age limit.

DSC04832 SLT-A99V, 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/2, 1/80s, ISO 200

Even a two year old going to pre-preschool can remind their parents how much fun the weekly routine usually is.


SLT-A99V, 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/1.4, 1/200s, ISO 200

They can also show us how messed up their hair can get no matter how much you try to make it neat.

Trip to Arizona

I haven’t posted for a week as I took my family to Arizona. My grandmother, Jayne, who is nearing 80 lives in Phoenix and my wife and I wanted to get the family together as we’ve all gotten very busy with kids, their activities, and life in general. It took nearly 7 months to coordinate, and we ended up with a full contingent. Earlier this year I worked out a used Sony A100 camera, fixing a small issue with the LCD and gave it to my grandmother as a gift when her point-and-shoot camera died, so we had a lot to talk about. I also got a chance to capture some of the wildlife the desert climate of Phoenix had to offer. The orange and grapefruit trees in my aunt’s yard provided an opportunity to shoot hummingbirds and not-yet ripe citrus.

Sony Alpha SLT-A99V, Sony 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/2.5, 1/1250s, ISO 400, +1EV
DSC03446Sony Alpha SLT-A99V, Sony 70-300 G SSM @ 300mm f/5.6,  1/500s, ISO 400

I was also able to go off and shoot at will as my kids were entertained by grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. This is a random shot of bubbles.


Sony Alpha SLT-A99V, Sony 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/1.4, 1/400s, ISO 100

My family enjoyed their time there and they all provided me with subject matter. Here is Leilani and Kyle.


Sony Alpha SLT-A99V, Sony 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/2.8,  1/80s, ISO 200, +1EV

I also had the opportunity to shoot my first and only nephew Luke, and my cousins Tyler and Vanessa who are 15 and 12 respectively. Vanessa didn’t want her picture taken, so I made it my personal challenge to capture her candidly or unexpectedly. My brother, the Joker, took the opportunity to assist me in the challenge.


Sony Alpha SLT-A99V, Sony 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/1.4, 1/160s, ISO 1600

Here is Luke, who shares a birthday with my daughter, but is eight years her junior at one.

DSC03949 Sony Alpha SLT-A99V, Sony 70-300mm G SSM @ 230mm f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 400

I found the variance between sunlight and shadow to be a bit different than what I am used to, so I had to make adjustments as needed and I found I was using exposure compensation at first in the shade. I also found post-processing to be a bit more challenging than usual in those situations. I went into manual a few times to try to adjust the shutter accordingly and I found exposure compensation to be a little easier to use.

Sony Alpha SLT-A99V, Sony 70-300mm G SSM @ 280mm f/8, 1/125s, ISO 400, +1EV

Sometimes, I just didn’t need it and I lucked out.

DSC04035 Sony Alpha SLT-A99V, Sony 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/1.4, 1/800s, ISO 100

On Thanksgiving, both sides of Tyler and Vanessa’s family were present and we were able to make family group photos. I seized this opportunity to augment my portfolio if I were ever to turn this hobby into a professional excursion. Here is Tyler, my Aunt Laura, Vanessa, and Uncle Bill.

DSC04454Sony Alpha SLT-A99V, Sony 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/4, 1/250s, ISO 200

And my brother Devon, nephew Luke, and sister-in-law Christina.


Sony Alpha SLT-A99V, Sony 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/2.8, 1/500s, ISO 200

And last, but certainly not least, my mother, grandmother, and aunt.


Sony Alpha SLT-A99V, Sony 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/2.8, 1/200s, ISO 200, +1EV

I had a great time with my family and I am certainly glad they allowed me to be their paparazzo.

A99 vs. A900 vs. A77 update

I attempted a re-rest and failed miserably. Not only did I get the white balance wrong on the A99 shots, I couldn’t get the A77 to cooperate as I tried the same prime lens at different distances. I did learn a couple of things… Mirror lockup mode on the A900 is the bomb, the A900 has a ton of mirror slap evident with SteadyShot off. And if you copy crop settings from the A99 to the A900 in Lightroom, it adjusts for the additional size of the shot (6000×4000 vs. 6048×4032)

I did get a couple of interesting comparisons, so not all is gone.


Above is ISO 6400 on the A900, upper left, and A99 on the upper right. Below is ISO 12800 and 25600 respectively on the A99. These were all shot using the 85mm f/1.4 ZA lens stopped down to f/5.6.

Here is another interesting comparison.


Left to right, ISO 1600 on the A99, ISO 1600 on the A900, ISO 3200 on the A99.

I have to cut it short today… More later.

Back window view

I’m cranking through the A99 vs. A900 vs. A77 ISO test. I hope to have it done by the end of the week. I wanted to share the view from my kitchen window yesterday morning.


Not bad. I wish My kitchen window was a little cleaner from the outside. I went into the yard later in the day and shot this with my 24mm f/2 SSM lens. DSC02560

I clearly need to rake. There is a huge pile already which protrudes slightly into the middle of the left side of the frame. Giant leaf piles occur when you have a lot of very old, very tall trees.

I was running some numbers in Lightroom and I noticed I received and used my A77 the first time exactly one year ago today. Since it’s arrival in November it has travelled from the United States to Germany, Thailand, Malaysia, Canada and the Bahamas and in the United States, it has been to North and South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, Washington, and Puerto Rico twice. It will not make it on my next trip, unfortunately, as my A99 will be making it’s air travel debut next week, going to Arizona but it will be a while before the A99 sees the diversity the A77 got to see.

A99 vs. A900 vs. A77 (part II-a): Something I found after today’s post

I was looking for a field in EXIF data which could distinguish whether or not a pop-up flash was used as opposed to an attached flash. I didn’t see a field in Lightroom or Windows Explorer that indisputably gave me the answer I was looking for. Ideally I would get a guide number or something distinguishable. In my troubleshooting, I opened the Image Data Converter application provided by Sony and I found a couple of EXIF fields I didn’t know were there, and maybe an explanation as to why the A900 files are larger. I also found a minor difference in the camera setups and I need to investigate whether or not I need to retest.

Here is a merger of screenshots from the Image Data Converter tool.


Take a look at the “File type” field. The A99 and A77 say “ARW 2.3 (compressed) format” and the A900 says “ARW 2.1 (non-compressed) format”. Seems pretty conclusive to me. The A99 and A77 RAW files were nearly identical in size, where the A900 files were 50% larger. I also noticed the DRO was set to Auto on the A99 and A77 and to Advanced Auto on the A900. If I retest, I probably need to turn this off to be fair. I also had CA and shading compensation set to Auto on the A99 and A77 and to be completely fair I probably need to turn those off as well.