I finally got my A99 today. These are my notes from opening the box, and some samples.
- The box is black, not orange like the A390, A77, and A900 boxes I have had before.
- Two instruction manuals included. One in English and a bigger book in Spanish and French.
- The strap looks and feels different, Sony is embroidered on the strap, as well as A99 and Translucent Mirror Technology.
- Another battery charger for the NP-FM500H batteries, and another battery. Definitely a welcome addition.
- The A99 has an ISO Hot Shoe adapter, which is very small, but tightly packaged and fairly difficult to open. I’m going to need somewhere to put it.
- The camera body itself is wrapped in a light plastic, and then bubble wrapped.
- The body cap is a plain Sony embossed cap, no Alpha logo.
- The ISO Hot Shoe has a different protection cover. It slides inside the shoe. Rather difficult to remove.
- To the untrained eye, the right side looks identical to the A77, but the rubber protectors for the interfaces open from the left side, where on the A77, three open from the bottom, one from the top.
- The bottom is different, and it really shows how the A99 is actually skinnier than the A77 front to back. The door for the battery is closer to the outside of the grip.
- The back is identical to the a77, except the “?” on the A77 was convex, and now it is “AF RANGE” and it is concave.
- The left side door is much larger on the A99 than the A77 to facilitate a second memory card.
- The front is identical, except where the lens release wheel on the A77 was, there is now a knob with a button, and where the flash button is on the A77, there is a button with a C on it. The Alpha logo is Silver, rather than orange.
- The lens mount says “35mm FULL-FRAME CMOS IMAGE SENSOR” on the outside of the metal part.
- I put a fully-charged battery and a SanDisk ExtremePro 32GB SDHC in the body and turned it on to get the Set Area/Date/Time interface. Very easy since it is the first of the Month.
- Definitely a different screen and menu, I am discovering as I go to format the SDHC. It defaulted and prompted for SLOT1.
- The translucent mirror is HUGE, and it looks more transparent than the A77 mirror.
- The IQ defaults to Fine. I changed it to Raw.
- Long exposure NR defaults to On, I turned it off.
- SteadyShot defaults to On. Keeping it on.
- I am not sure what Silent Controller is, I need to figure that out. It defaults to Focus Mode.
- Video defaults to 60i 17M (FH). I changed it to 60p 28M (FS)
- Video SteadyShot defaults to Off, I turned it on.
- Grid Line defaults to Off. I changed it to Rule of 3rds grid.
- Peaking Level defaults to Off, I turned it to High, and changed the Peaking Color to Red.
- MOVIE Button defaults to Always, I changed it to Movie Mode Only.
- GPS defaults to Off. I turned it on.
- The control wheel does not turn without pressing the button. This will be nice, but take some getting used to. It was set to P.
- The wheel in front controls the AF setting, which can be seen in the viewfinder.
- ISO defaults to Auto.
- White balance defaults to AWB.
- The shutter is very quiet. Here is the first shot from the body:
As you can see, the CA from my 85mm f/1.4 lens shows up a ton on the branches. I may also need a slight focus adjustment. Here is the result of some quick post-processing.
- The RAW files are more or less the same size as the A77 files are.
- White balance defaulted to 5000K on Daylight.
- Here is the same subject, stopped down to f/5.6.
- I tested ISO 6400 in a dim room., here is the result:
Here is a full-size crop of the Knight, untouched other than exporting from Lightroom:
Cropped to web size:
And here is the same crop after moving the Luminance slider in Lightroom to 25.
It looks to me like ISO 6400 is usable.
- I figured I would go all-in with ISO and check ISO 25600. Here is the result:
A little bit of visible noise, even cropped for web use. Here is a full-size crop of the knight, untouched other than export:
Cropped to web size:
With the Luminance slider at 25:
With the Luminance slider at 50:
Luminance slider to 50, web size:
I really can’t complain about the web crop of the ISO 25600 shot. There is considerable noise at ISO 25600, but it can be corrected. I am excited! I have 2 shooting opportunities tomorrow and I will be doing my A77-A99-A900 comparison soon!