Sensor performance: Top-notch performance in good lighting
The Alpha 99 is the first Sony camera to use its new full-frame 24.3-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor (also used in the upcoming full-frame compact Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1) and incorporates a new separate multi-segment optional low-pass filter to increase ability to resolve detail. The new sensor delivers a much broader sensitivity range (from ISO 100 to 25600) and utilizes a new area-specific noise-reduction algorithm in an attempt to improve low-light performance limited by the nature of the SLT technology, which diverts some of the light hitting the semi-transparent mirror to the phase-detection AF sensor.
Indeed, the SLT Alpha 99 achieves very high scores in good lighting conditions, but does less well in low-light conditions, though still not bad considering the SLT disadvantage. Its overall score of 89 not only puts it at the top of the heap among Sony sensors by far, but also brings it in with the fifth highest DxOMark Overall Score among cameras we’ve tested thus far. This is in no small part due to the A99’s impressive dynamic range, which now the 5th position for Landscape Score at 14 Evs. The A99’s Portrait Score is also very high at 25 bits, placing it in the eighth spot for color-depth performance.
Further readings for the Sony SLT Alpha 99 review: New full-frame sensor is Sony’s best yet
To provide photographers with a broader perspective about mobiles, lenses and cameras, here are links to articles, reviews, and analyses of photographic equipment produced by DxOMark, renown websites, magazines or blogs.
Finally, a Sony full-frame DSLR: the last one was the Alpha 850. But though the new full-format 24Mpix camera shines with all of its new technology and features, it now belongs to the family of cameras with electronic viewfinders instead of with the Alpha 900 and its traditional DSLR viewfinder. With this new positioning, Sony stands out from among the leading lights in this market segment.
I know it would be difficult, but is there any chance you guys can get your hands on the older Minolta glass? It is much more integral for the Sony mount since the Minolta mount is still very much a part of our system. So if you ever get your hands on the following lenses (I am a bit biased as a wildlife photographer), can you please test them as many alpha shooters still use them.
Minolta 200/2.8 G APO Minolta 300/4 G APO Minolta 400/4.5 G APO Minolta 600/4 G APO Minolta 80-200/2.8 G
Hopefully you can get your hands on some of these lenses and test them.
Any news regarding the tests of broader range of high-end lens for Alpha system? The Sony 50/1.4 ZA SSM was supposed to be tested in the summer and it's still not there. People often ask for testing Sony 135/1.8 ZA or 24/2.0 too, are there any plans for them? And the new 70-200/2.8G SSM II? These are probably the lens the professionals are most interested in.
numbers don't talk to me that much... but this is not the point here. However i think the prime lens ranking is going to be bothered when you will review the 135f1.8 sony zeiss. and... the 50f1.4 sony zeiss planar! just purchased it, It's my 4th 50mm among every brands and this is stellar, contrasty as f*** straight from widest aperture. SSM crazy fast and accurate, way above all others CaNikon. Not flawless (distortion, CA f1.4), but almost, it's a must have and indirectly a must test. you must do it!
Hi, from my rather long experience with the predecessor, the still "current" 300/2.8 SSSM, there has to be a mistake in the testing of the new Sony lens - it will not be worse than the old version (or will it?). And the current 300/2.8 SSM is at least on par with the Zeiss 85/1.4 AF or the 135/1.8 AF which I use, and A LOT (and I mean: A LOT!) sharper than the Sony 35/1.4, for example - it is one of or even the best lens in the Sony system (for an impression, just look at Sony´s MTF charts). Almost everybody in the Sony forums who has access to that lens says the same... - so could there have been a mistake? A focus problem or a "faulty" lens, for example?
I would LOVE to see a retest with a second item - Sony company should be interested in putting the result right and proving the 300/2.8 SSM to be the "stellar" lens it is... - the current version is indeed! Thank you, Ruediger
Sony lenses we analyzed were provided by Sony itself. About your remark on the 35mm f/1.4, DxOMark results confirm what you noticed (please check the comparison here Sony 300mm vs 35mm f/1.4). If you only look at the Sharpness score, the 300mm is far higher rated than the 35mm f/1.4. However the DxOMark score is performed in lowlight condition. In such illumination, the larger aperture of the Sony 35mm f/1.4 enables a lower noise on the SLT A99 sensor. That means that you will finally get a similar IQ on both couples: on one side (300mm), you have a sharp image but with an higher level of noise, on the other side, the image is softer but without noise.
I use Zeiss manual focus lenses on my A99 and the results are amazing. Basically I purchased Nikon mount ZF.1 lenses and easily changed the mounts with Leitax mounts, now I have the best of both worlds, class leading glass, fantastic EVF with focus peaking. I did a comparison of the Excellent Sony 24/2 lens and Zeiss 25/2.8, I preferred the look of the Zeiss 25.
I really wish you guys would do some test with this lens... A lot of us a-mount shooters feel that it could possibly be the best a-mount (prime) lens... and even the best 135mm prime on the market. I would love to see how it does (in terms of scoring)
Hi I have a quick question. Does the d600 has built-in body image stabilization when shooting video? I am getting either the d600 or the a99 primarily to shoot field video for documentaries, then the body image stabilization is very important to me, but it disappoints me the price and the loss of light that the a99 has, any one knows if the d600 has any type of body image stabilization when shooting video? thanks in advance!
The Sony a99 has in-body stabilization whereas the Nikon d600 does not. Nikon does not provide image stabilization in any of its camera bodies, while Sony does use image stabilization in every SLT camera body. Hope that helps!
To avoid embarrassing yourself, at least try to get your facts right? Where did you find the ridiculous 50-60% figure?
The light loss is a rather negligible 1/3 *stop* loss of light only, a difference most people can't even tell with their naked eyes.
However, camera shake and mirror vibration is completely conspicuous to the naked eye. There is in-body image stabilisation of up to 4.5 stops with ANY LENS and the total elimination of mirror vibration shake at ANY SHUTTER SPEED. Whereas you wouldn't shoot handheld at 1/8th or 1/15th of a second previously, it'll end up being your favourite range of low light setting on a mirrorless setup (ask the NEX & m4/3 users who similarly do not have mirror limitations).
Its a massive leg up over a D600 or any other conventional DSLR.
DXO can never take those factors into consideration can it?
Checking to compare A99 vs A850, I noticed the real iso measured on the A99 are vastly inferior to the nominal one and inferior to those of the A850. If you take this in the right account even considering the iso 50 setting not available on the A850/900 the noise performance of the A850 equals the one of the A99 up to the 6400iso barrier (with reference to raw files only). The only real advantage is the greater dynamic range of the A99 since the gain in colour depth is less than marginal. The above just refers to sensors comparisons done by DxO obviously the A99 adds many feat. vs the previous generations of Sony DSLR FF. Anyway since I'm interested on the photo side only, I don't see this new camera as a real step up from my trusty A850 which raw files are a pleasure to work with DxO. SW. I will buy tomorrow an updated version of the A850 with an integrated grip plus live view for photo only, multi frame noise reduction, in camera HDR, peak focus and the panoramic capture. Such features are a joy to use on my second body the A65
Well, high ISO may be important to some, but the difference in DR is not significant: in fact, to my eyes, the A99 has better DR at the lower ISOs I prefer to use. Other features of the A99 are more important. DxO is very subjective, and overly biased for ISO.
2 factors are very important to me: chromatic aberration and clipping. The A99 produces the least of these flaws than any other camera. DxO completely ignores these factors, yet they are the most important for photography. The D800 has a great amount of noise, CA, and clipping. The D600 has less than the D800, but still much more than the A99.
The A99 may be the first digital camera to capture all the nuances of the Zeiss lenses (maybe Leitz too, if a mount adapter can be found). This is a great advancement.
I have compared the A99 against the A900 and the A99 is for sure 1 EV better in this regard. I made my comparisons in M-Mode and used dcraw without any sharpening or noise reduction. The A99 should reach the 2000+ level easily.
Re: Please recheck your Low Light ISO Result for A99
DXOMarks definition of the Low-light score: "Thus low-light ISO is the highest ISO setting for a camera that allows it to achieve an SNR of 30dB while keeping a good dynamic range of 9 EVs and a color depth of 18bits."
In other words, it's not just about the visible noise in the image, but also about DR and color depth. When the SNR goes below 30dB, or DR goes below 9 EV, or color depth goes below 18 bits, whichever happens first, then the image quality is no longer excellent according to DXO's definition. Obviously, at least one of these three things happens at a much lower ISO on the A99 than on its full-frame rivals, which explains the low-light score.
Re: Please recheck your Low Light ISO Result for A99
Yes it will, and I see it as well and may very well be easily compared because the database studio samples (http://www.dpreview.com) with other cameras that not are SLT. DXOmark SLT disadvantage precisely because it leads to a slight loss of light and measurement settings that the DXO are performed against a very tight although the differences are micro small but measurable laboratory.
Low-Light-ISO is actually somewhere in the 1950's až 2050. It can be deduced from the databases studio samples (http://www.dpreview.com) in comparison to other cameras that Low-Light ISO-2000 were around.
For example: Nikon D3X has a low-light-iso 1992 in stiodio but the results are compared to the 3200 and 6400 very much alike. The ISO 3200 seems to A99 x places better and D3X one in a watch or I would even say that the A99 has ISO a tad better.
Second example: Nikon wrote in 7100 that the ISO is very similar to the A99 but it is not true, A99 is hell somewhere else but in 7100 measured in 1256 Low-light-A99 and ISO 1550 but realistically it is somewhere around 2000, and why it's so very much to know in comparative study of still pictures at ISO 3200/6400 in the raw Nikon 7100 vs Sony A99 (large differences in favor of A99).
DXOmark SLT can not properly assess the reality is somewhere else then.
I still wonder about ISO score, Every one know that a99 and d600 are using same sensor. Even dpreview still proved these two got same ISO score which are better than D800E and 5D MK III. Why A99 on DXO got ISO score only half of D600? This gap is too big. Could you let readers know?
I knew about SLT technology. Only thing I want to know is Dpreview gave same iso score for a99 and d600, but DXO gave it totally different. who is better accurate ? which one i should believe? why its so different? I didnt meant to begin some conflict, everyone knew DXO and dpreview are best of the best camera measurement. I was expecting these two website give similar iso score. That's all.
<div id="linkdxomark">This a comment for <a href="http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Database/Sony/SLT-Alpha-99">this page on the website</a></div>A900 – ISO scores 1431 A99 – ISO only scores 1555 ???
But the real ISO performance of A99 is obviously much better in ….
It expects A99 to score over 2K but under D600 & MKIII
igalk474, I hope you are simply an ugly, 13 year-old idiot of a troll, smearing your stupidity across the internet-- and not seriously demanding that someone with an education, who's providing valuable information to the public free of charge, drop everything and answer your little Christmas list of questions.
They have reviews of the other Sony models. Why the delay for A99? I would think Sony would like to have this since the improvements to the A99 should be superior in ISO performance to previous models and guessing they may even equal the Nikon D600 or D800
The primary writer over at Luminous Landscape was a vocal Sony guy for a long time. He loved the A900. Only recently did the lack of video cause him to start leaving it in the closet.
Aside from that, I agree that the majority of pro photogs rely on Cankon. That should be of no comfort to them, though. Legacy is a powerful thing when it comes to keeping people in a system. But there was a time when Leica, Zeiss, Voigtlander, Olympus, and Contax were all used dominantly by pros. They are all shadows of their former selves.
Just purchased it after i had the D800, and in many aspects it can be considered as a pro grade camera (built quality, image quality..). However I must admit that this camera is not as PRO as its direct pairs. mostly due to the lack of personal customisation. Also it suffers of stupid things which could be fixed by firmware update. always a screen turned on sucking battery, little lag when you travel into the menu and/or change aperture, top screen lagging or when zoom images. tad less finition about the buttons. when you change iso setting it takes too much place on screens removing all other informations and you don't see the speed increasing... such things, really stupid. I would not change, but in one word: not mature.