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A99 Noise Performance

Bill Caulfeild-Browne

Well-known member
I've just done a quick n' dirty noise comparison of the a77, a900 and a99.

For my work - YMMV - the a77 is good to ISO 200 and OK at ISO 400. The a900 is good to ISO 400 and acceptable at ISO 800. The a99 continues this trend. ISO 1600 is good and 3200 is acceptable.

However, whereas detail begins to suffer with the earlier cameras at higher ISOs, the a99 seems to preserve it very well even beyond ISO 3200.

The camera is a winner!

(This is at ISO 3200 at 134%)


Well-known member
Hmmm, I don't know Bill. Hard to tell with this shot.

I guess I'll have to more images in various lighting scenarios ... especially with people.

Thanks for the initial impressions.



I also use Capture One for many of my photos, but when you really need good noise reduction then DxO does a far better job IMHO.
Cheers, Bob


I'd like to correct my previous email. When I said the noise reduction in DxO was considerably better than in Capture One I was referring to Capture One 6. I have now just realized that Bill said 7. I did not know there was a new version 7 out and I now just downloaded it. The difference is phenomenal, the noise reduction has been vastly improved. Capture One 7 is a major upgrade!

Cheers, Bob.


Active member
You are quite correct about CO7. I am going through it right now for a review and it is a major upgrade from CO6.
I expected an incremental upgrade from the A77 to the A99, my findings also concur with Bill's above. I hand't considered the A900 as a in-between, so for me it's a surprising major step forward.

For my usage of a DSLR (fast, kids, general purpose, web or small prints), ISO 6400 is more than acceptable. Sony have introduced another easy to use feature, focus range. The camera is definitely a winner.


New member
Bill is of course correct. I have both these, a900 and just got an a99, you get two major benefits re ISO: two stops more for the same level of noise, and the unexpected one - a much tighter, grain-like character to the noise, and a different balance of chroma and luminosity in the noise. Much less of the former until you get up to 6400, but I have seen plenty of good images even at 12800.

Also, 'brighter' colours and better separation, both probably by-products of the quite significant increase in DR. It's good to see the SLT seems not to affect IQ much at all.

The sensor is a winner, and the camera isn't half bad either, packed with features, 2 x SD cards, lightweight and easy to use.


Well-known member
The A99 camera seems a winner for my limited use of a 35mm DSLR ... which I use mostly for wedding and event work and little else. Not a lot of money to further take continued advantage of my existing Zeiss ZA lens collection ... and 24 meg is a fine balance of resolution and hand-holdability for my applications.

Whether it has the robustness of the A900 remains to be seen. I can attest to the toughness of the A900 ... a camera I think Sony over-built and under marketed to get their foot in the higher end applications segment ... one of those land-mark cameras we think back on fondly. In fact, no other camera I've ever owned has been so defect free and just keeps going and going ... never faltering once under really adverse conditions ... for me it is very hard to give up something so well proven.

Sigh, maybe it is time to try another Sony to see if we get along.