Over the past few years, Sony has slowly inched into the professional camera market dominated by Canon and Nikon. Last year, the Japanese company launched a few digital single-lens translucent (DSLT) cameras in its Alpha series. Of these the A77 was the best, with a 24.3-megapixel sensor and an electronic viewfinder.
In January 2013, the company launched A99 at Rs 1.8 lakh, its first full-frame DSLT camera. The camera is a successor to the A900, which was launched over four years ago. Since then, Sony has come up with the revolutionary NEX series of cameras that have image quality to rival DSLRs in a very compact and portable body. The A99 marks the company’s return to the full-frame camera territory.
24-MP full-frame CMOS Sensor
3-inch LCD screen (pull out, tilt, swivel)
OLED electronic viewfinder
ISO range 100-25,600
Can shoot up to 6 frames-per-second with autofocus
Top panel LCD
Microphone and headphone sockets
14-bit RAW format images
Build and design
The Sony A99 is very sturdy and well-designed. DSLT cameras are generally on the heavier side and anyone upgrading from a compact camera will take quite some time to get used to the weight. The A99 body weighs 730 g, but it felt heavy after attaching the lens that came with the review unit: Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70 mm F2.8. The lens weighs almost 1 kg, taking the total weight of the A99 to 1.7 kg.
When the camera is so heavy, it has to have a set of controls that make shooting easy and the Sony A99 fares very well on that front. On first glance, it may seem like there are too many buttons, but most of them are useful and well-placed.
The top has the shutter button, enclosed by the ring-shaped power switch. Just ahead of that, there is a dial which lets you adjust shutter speed, aperture or ISO (light sensitivity). The placement is excellent and lets you tweak your image quickly before clicking. On the top panel, the A99 also has dedicated buttons to adjust settings like ISO and white balance, along with a dial for switching between various camera modes and an LCD panel that lets you take a quick look at exposure, shutter speed, aperture, etc before clicking. There is a standard flash hotshoe here, which is compatible with most flash accessories in the market.
The back panel has a 3-inch LCD screen that can tilt and swivel, making it useful for composition from low angles.