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.

10 comments on “A99 vs. A900 vs. A77 (part III-A): Guess the body

  1. cbsva says:

    IMHO the brightest version is the A99 (G), the darkest is the A77 (much more grain too) (M), the intermediate is the A900 (C). Correct?

    • I see you noticed my metadata tags. “G” stands for “Gramps” which is the nickname I have given the A900. “M” is for Meck, short for Karl Mecklenburg, an American Football player who wore the number 77. “C” is short for Carl, as in Carl Edwards who is a stock car driver in the number 99 Ford. So you had the A77 correct.

      • cbsva says:

        Thank you, Joe!
        Interesting to see, that there are so little differences between A900 and A99, at least with low ISO! Nice metatag ideas…!

  2. Gene says:

    Some serious testing work. Good to see someone in my own local area using Sony gear and making the effort to go beyond what most people do.
    I would be interested to hear about locations you like in the area.

    • Hey Gene! I tried to send you mail and I completely put the wrong domain on the end. I’ll resend. I just found a really good spot called Pearson’s Falls off of I-26 between Asheville and Spartanburg. I live off of US 74 and US 321 so I have Asheville if I go one way and Hickory/Boone if I go another. I haven’t found much in town other than downtown when I go see the Panthers or go to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

      I’m definitely interested in seeing how you operate your A77 as you’ve gotten some results in shooting things I wouldn’t have thought to shoot.

  3. Sammy da Bull says:

    Wow at the a99….. I’m tossing between the a77 and a99….. this makes it a bit easier. In your opinion, at the current prices of both, do you think the a77 is value?? or just go with the a99 at the extra cost?? I’m involved heavily in youth sports but am looking at doing my hobby as a career and do wedding photography….which I am very lucky to have contacts to start. Appreciate any advice. Cheers. Sam

    • Hey Sam! So this is a bit more of a loaded question than you probably think. Is the A99 worth $2800? Yes! Is the A77 worth the current price (~$1000-$1200)? Yes! I’m in the same boat as you are in turning the hobby into a career and I also shoot youth sports. It really all depends on the situation. If you’re shooting baseball in Arizona during the day all the time, the A77 is the way to go. The A77 is faster and responds better than the A99. The A77 ISO 50-200 is better than or equal to anything out there, including Nikon and Canon. Especially with good glass. If you are shooting sports under lights or indoors, the A99 is a fair concession, though I have shots from my A77 at ISO 400-1600 I’ve been able to get into newspapers. If I were to start over from fresh, I’d buy an A99 new and an A77 used. If I only could pick one, I would pick the A99 but if the choice was an A99 with one good lens or the A77 with 3 good lenses, the lens with the A99 would need to be exceptional for me not to take the A77. Make sense?

      • Sammy da Bull says:

        Thanks mate for the quick reply. I totally understand what u mean. I was thinking the a99 with the 70-400 (whenever the new one comes out) or the a77 with the 70-400, 16-50 and a 8mm fisheye. Its just the weddings in my area are mainly sunset and night/candlelight….so was thinking the a99 would perform a lot better under that condition….do you think that aspect is a lot to worry about??

      • The 70-400 is a giant lens. 70mm in Full Frame is a decent length, in fact, it is almost perfect for portraits. I prefer 85mm but compared to 400mm, 70 and 85 are negligible. I carry the 24mm prime simply because there are 1-2 shots I can’t get with the 85mm. That being said, if the 70-400 is the target at around $1900 US now, I imagine the 70-400 II will be $2200 US to start. I’d almost rather get the 70-300G at $900 US, maybe the 28-75mm SAM at $900 US and then spend the rest on a good flash. I can’t speak for the 28-75, but the 70-300 is a really good lens on the A99. I don’t know, it all depends on your shooting style I guess. I like primes and framing according to the lengths I have. If I had zoom lenses I would shoot differently. I also like the luxury of f/1.4-f/2.8. If you’re doing sunset and night shots, the A99 is better than the A77.

      • Sammy da Bull says:

        Thanks heaps for that and opening my eyes on some other possibilities….
        After reviewing Kurt Munger’s site, I think I’ve decided on the a99 + Tamron 70-200 + Tamron 28-75.

        I did some practice shots at a wedding the other day and feel those 2 are a definite need.
        My want would be a fisheye (i just love that style of shots) – so the Sigma 12-24 is on my list.
        The Sony 85 f2.8 SAM seems pretty good for the price..

        I’ve gotta go with what will pay the bills & gear, so hopefully I do ok and get the a77 for the sports later on.

        Big Cheers again!

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