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Thread: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

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    Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    Hi all, I am considering selling my A900 and getting the A99, and would like to have some input from those of you who have already done so. Here's my situation.

    I mainly use my M9 and use the A900 when I need a zoom, tele, or to use my Leitax'd R-glass. When going on scenic trips I would travel with the M9 with two M-lenses, the A900 w/CZ 24-70, and perhaps a tele.

    I like the A900 a lot, but there are some real negatives for me:- heavy, especially with the 24-70 mounted; manual focusing the R-glass even with the matte screen is still hit or miss with my eye-sight. On the other hand, the in-camera stabilization is a plus for me, and I like its files (although not as much as the M9 files).

    My rationale to get the A99 are focus peaking help for my R-glass (I've tried it on the Nex-7 and it helps me), and lighter weight. I prefer the Sony over the new Leica M because of the in-camera stabilization. Although I am on the wait list for the M.

    So my questions are 1) is it noticeably lighter? Can one feel a difference with the 24-70 mounted, and 2) is low ISO performance as good as, and preferably better than, the A900? Is there anything else I should consider?

    Thanks in advance,
    Alan

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    1) Yes
    2) Low ISO definitely has better dynamic range than my A850.

    For focus peaking with R lens, I feel this camera finally allows the use of manual focus lenses with ease.

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    I still have an A900, having traded one A900 for an A99. So I grabbed both of them, and a ZA 24-70, to try and answer your questions.

    While the A99 is less weight, I'm not sure how much carrying difference it will make in practice with the 24-70 mounted. Some, but not significantly obvious. What does seem different is the over-all balance favoring the A99 when shooting the 24-70 ... so that could impact longer term fatigue. With the ZA135/1.8 mounted, the carry weight factor seems even less important, and the shooting balance feels a bit better on the A900.

    Both feature in-camera stabilization, however I really liked the little IS graph in the bottom right viewfinder of the A900 ... and as of yet have not figured out if that's possible with the A99. If not, it is an unfortunate omission IMO because the graph told you when optimal IS had been achieved in lower light situations.

    So far I have not seen any real gain in low ISO IQ (depending on what you consider low ISO), ... the A99 is better at the higher end which can be important when shooting longer lenses even in medium level light.

    No doubt that if you use manual focus a lot, the A99 will be your friend. That alone could be enough to recommend the camera.

    The reason I have kept one A900 is that I am still too slow shooting the A99. I do NOT like the EVF with it's 2 sec preview blocking the viewfinder, nor when that is turned off, that there is no instant LCD preview to quickly look at occasionally. I also feel the A99 is far more complex to use compared to the A900 ... but perhaps time will smooth that out a bit. I hate it when the ergonomics of a camera changes so drastically that you get to start all over programing muscle memory.

    -Marc

    Addendum: I just noticed something interesting when I sat the A99 down on my side-bar. Sitting there was my sister's Canon F1 that she asked me to sell. The A99, while obviously more modern in design, is huge, bulky, and cumbersome looking next to it. The ZA lenses look like monsters from the land of giants.
    Last edited by fotografz; 28th February 2013 at 01:19.

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    I would mirror Marc's thoughts. I held onto my A900 and ended up returning the A99. I suggest renting one first to see if you like it enough for a purchase.

    Chad

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    Thanks Yat, Mark, Chad for your insightful comments.
    Yes, the most important factors for me are manual focusing, weight, and IS. I think renting one is a good suggestion although I could just go to my local store and try out the weight.
    I only use the most basic functions of these modern cameras. Hopefully there is a way to set it up for my simple needs like the functions of the M9? It's too bad that one has to either live with the 2s delay in the EVF for the review or no review at all. Hopefully a future FW update.

    Alan

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    No, .... because I didn't

    Sorry, couldn't resist, Bob.

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Addendum: I just noticed something interesting when I sat the A99 down on my side-bar. Sitting there was my sister's Canon F1 that she asked me to sell. The A99, while obviously more modern in design, is huge, bulky, and cumbersome looking next to it. The ZA lenses look like monsters from the land of giants.
    You are right Marc. You know, the problem I have with the weight of the A900/24-70 actually has more to do with the lens than the body. Maybe time to give up the ZA and look for a lighter manual zoom with the A99.....

    I have the Leica 35-70 f4 but would like something a little wider. The 28-90 has skyrocketed in price since the M240 announcement. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    Alan

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    Personally, I would recommend keeping your A900 or 850 and adding the A99 if you can afford to do so ... at least for a while. I seriously doubt that the A900 will drop in used value for some time because it is the ONLY FF Sony DSLR with an optical viewfinder.

    So far, I'm finding the two more complimentarily different in operation than redundant.

    A99 Manual Focus is much easier in poor light using the Focus Peaking feature. The articulated LCD is great for creative angles, where the A900 is mostly guess work (Worm's Eye shots and overhead "Hail Mary" shots which I do frequently).

    It is much easier to nail mixed lighting white balance with the A99 because you get what you see. Same with difficult manual exposures ... both of which I also frequently deal with (like at Wedding Receptions).

    The ability to parallel shoot to two SD cards with the A99 is a big deal for me ...

    Recently, I decided to just turn off the e-review and, when wanted, I just hit the review button ... while slower, it isn't a function that I need to use for every shot. Seeing the next possible shot in the viewfinder is far more important. Maybe it is Sony's way of weaning us from "chimping" the LCD after every shot, instead of paying attention to the drama unfolding in front of us.

    I like the A99, it feels nice in the hand ... kinda reminds me of my buddy's 5DMK-III. However, I'm not fond of the shutter/motor sound and wish there was a "silent" mode like the Canon 5D-III.

    -Marc

    P.S., Maybe the Sony 28-85/2.8 would be a good lens to look into to reduce weight/bulk on the A99? It is a whole pound lighter, and slimmer (uses a 67mm filter rather than a 77).




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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    Alan:

    I'm glad you posted this thread. But instead of weight considerations, the only question I have is whether the increased high ISO low light ability of the A99 precludes waiting one more generation. From what I can see the A99 still lags behind the D600 by about a stop. So the question for me is do wedding shooters who have the A99 feel it's completely sufficient for their needs or is it still a major compromise compared to Nikon? That's my big dilemma.

    Regards,
    John

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    Quote Originally Posted by jfirneno View Post
    Alan:

    I'm glad you posted this thread. But instead of weight considerations, the only question I have is whether the increased high ISO low light ability of the A99 precludes waiting one more generation. From what I can see the A99 still lags behind the D600 by about a stop. So the question for me is do wedding shooters who have the A99 feel it's completely sufficient for their needs or is it still a major compromise compared to Nikon? That's my big dilemma.

    Regards,
    John
    I guess that depends on your shooting technique, and how high is high?

    While I haven't shot a wedding with the A99 yet, that is pretty much the sole intent for this camera ... that, and some family snaps, etc.

    In my A99 testing so far, 1600 and 3200 are quite good and very useable for available light wedding work. I prefer not to go beyond that with almost any wedding camera, and revert to using a puff of flash and dragging the shutter to preserve ambient. Normally 1600 and below will do the job then, and this camera easily does 1600 with very little noise penalty or color shifts.

    One advantage that the EVF brings to shooting higher ISO available light is "you see what you get" ... the higher the ISO the more critical proper exposure and especially WB becomes ... and so far that seems a very strong advantage that delivers exposure and WB consistency shot-to-shot.

    I have no idea what the D600 can do, but for me it is a moot point ... I am NOT swapping 35mm DSLR systems for cost reasons, nor do I want to lose the Zeiss AF glass. The next gen of Sony may well take the ISO performance further, so if one doesn't need a new camera now they could wait another 2-3 years to see. For me, and the way I shoot weddings, etc. ... getting to a cleaner 1600/3200 is just what the doctor ordered.

    -Marc

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I guess that depends on your shooting technique, and how high is high?

    While I haven't shot a wedding with the A99 yet, that is pretty much the sole intent for this camera ... that, and some family snaps, etc.

    In my A99 testing so far, 1600 and 3200 are quite good and very useable for available light wedding work. I prefer not to go beyond that with almost any wedding camera, and revert to using a puff of flash and dragging the shutter to preserve ambient. Normally 1600 and below will do the job then, and this camera easily does 1600 with very little noise penalty or color shifts.

    One advantage that the EVF brings to shooting higher ISO available light is "you see what you get" ... the higher the ISO the more critical proper exposure and especially WB becomes ... and so far that seems a very strong advantage that delivers exposure and WB consistency shot-to-shot.

    I have no idea what the D600 can do, but for me it is a moot point ... I am NOT swapping 35mm DSLR systems for cost reasons, nor do I want to lose the Zeiss AF glass. The next gen of Sony may well take the ISO performance further, so if one doesn't need a new camera now they could wait another 2-3 years to see. For me, and the way I shoot weddings, etc. ... getting to a cleaner 1600/3200 is just what the doctor ordered.

    -Marc
    Thanks Marc. That's all I wanted to know.

    Regards,
    John

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Personally, I would recommend keeping your A900 or 850 and adding the A99 if you can afford to do so ... at least for a while. I seriously doubt that the A900 will drop in used value for some time because it is the ONLY FF Sony DSLR with an optical viewfinder.

    So far, I'm finding the two more complimentarily different in operation than redundant.

    A99 Manual Focus is much easier in poor light using the Focus Peaking feature. The articulated LCD is great for creative angles, where the A900 is mostly guess work (Worm's Eye shots and overhead "Hail Mary" shots which I do frequently).

    It is much easier to nail mixed lighting white balance with the A99 because you get what you see. Same with difficult manual exposures ... both of which I also frequently deal with (like at Wedding Receptions).

    The ability to parallel shoot to two SD cards with the A99 is a big deal for me ...

    Recently, I decided to just turn off the e-review and, when wanted, I just hit the review button ... while slower, it isn't a function that I need to use for every shot. Seeing the next possible shot in the viewfinder is far more important. Maybe it is Sony's way of weaning us from "chimping" the LCD after every shot, instead of paying attention to the drama unfolding in front of us.

    I like the A99, it feels nice in the hand ... kinda reminds me of my buddy's 5DMK-III. However, I'm not fond of the shutter/motor sound and wish there was a "silent" mode like the Canon 5D-III.

    -Marc

    P.S., Maybe the Sony 28-85/2.8 would be a good lens to look into to reduce weight/bulk on the A99? It is a whole pound lighter, and slimmer (uses a 67mm filter rather than a 77).



    Yes, I am leaning towards keeping the A900. The price has already taken enough of a hit so any further drop would probably only be marginal. Only thing is I don't use a DSLR enough to warrant both financially, especially now the M240 is beginning to ship and I am near the top of the list and .

    I am glad you pointed out the advantages of the articulated LCD which I did not think of. That would be huge for my 68 year old knees when photographing three feet tall little people (grandchildren). I am curious about your statement regarding better manual exposure. What's new in the camera that enables you to do so?

    Alan

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    Quote Originally Posted by apsheng View Post
    Yes, I am leaning towards keeping the A900. The price has already taken enough of a hit so any further drop would probably only be marginal. Only thing is I don't use a DSLR enough to warrant both financially, especially now the M240 is beginning to ship and I am near the top of the list and .

    I am glad you pointed out the advantages of the articulated LCD which I did not think of. That would be huge for my 68 year old knees when photographing three feet tall little people (grandchildren). I am curious about your statement regarding better manual exposure. What's new in the camera that enables you to do so?

    Alan
    We are the same age

    I just had a knee replaced, so I do appreciate you notions regarding little folk and doing creative angles without kneeling down or squatting.

    The EVF shows the actual effect of exposure right in the viewfinder ... Optical finders do not.

    -Marc

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    Re: Any regrets trading your A900/850 for the A99?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    We are the same age

    I just had a knee replaced, so I do appreciate you notions regarding little folk and doing creative angles without kneeling down or squatting.

    The EVF shows the actual effect of exposure right in the viewfinder ... Optical finders do not.

    -Marc
    So what do they say ...70 is the new 40 ?

    Re exposure - Yes, of course, I forgot about WYSIWYG

    Alan

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