Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: ErikKaffehr on October 07, 2012, 07:49:37 pm

Title: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 07, 2012, 07:49:37 pm
Hi,

I was looking forward to Michael Reichmann's test of the Sony Alpha, as I presumed that I could base my decision to buy or not on his impressions.

My take is that Michael has found that there are significant improvements over the Alpha 900 in the noise related department, like high ISO noise and in probability DR. Michael is also right that DxO will in due turn publish the corresponding lab data.

My understanding is that the EVF is the same as on the Alpha 77 SLT. I have very mixed feelings about that EVF, I both love it and hate it.

It can be used i two modes. One mode is showing image effects, like it lightens up and darkens with exposure. In many cases it is a good thing, but in many cases it makes things worse. I really would like a real switch to flip between the two modes.

On the A77 at least Sony adds insult to injury in that that they live view histogram only shows exposure based data in the viewfinder is in image effects mode. Perhaps the Alpha 99 fixed it? I guess I need to play with the camera to find out.

Can histogram be shown simultaneously with electronic level? Not on the A77, have they fixed that on the Alpha 99?

In my view, electronic viewfinders are the future, but they need to improve.

So, am I going to buy the Alpha 900? Well, maybe. At this time I may feel that it would have been smarter to ditch Sony and go for the excellent Nikon D800 (with or without the E), unfortunately I didn't do that. What I'm lacking mostly on the Alpha 900 is live view, my Alpha 77 offers that.

In my view, Michaels review was a good and honest one.

Best regards
Erik

Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: kirktuck on October 07, 2012, 07:55:21 pm
I also thought MR's review was quite balanced. I come down in favor of EVFs and have switched over to using Sony a77's and Nex-7 cameras for the vast majority of my non-film work. While I understand the idea of visual clarity with the OVF I'm partial to the ability to "pre-chimp" with the EVF and I've found it very efficient and useful in my work. I think of it as 100% on, real time live view. I do agree with Erik that the information in the finder could stand to be made more configurable by the user.  Although it is a simple matter to switch display modes via the external "display" button.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 07, 2012, 08:00:34 pm
Hi,

Well, yes, problem is that I really want both functions all the time.

Another issue on the SLT A77 I have is that I really want to have instant review on the LCD but not in the electronic viewfinder.

Best regards
Erik


 Although it is a simple matter to switch display modes via the external "display" button.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: Hulyss on October 08, 2012, 10:16:36 am
I absolutely agree with Michael review and insistence on EVF problem. I'm less ... correct with what I judge lousy techno way. Sony with EVF in reflex camera is lousy, big times. EVF is the deepest st I ever seen on a reflex sized camera. EVF kill the mere essence of what is a 24x36 reflex.

EVF is a crime against photography.

Without wrapping my words in honey: SONY ALPHA 99 is a fail, as well as the whole platform now.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: thierrylegros396 on October 08, 2012, 11:56:38 am
I absolutely agree with Michael review and insistence on EVF problem. I'm less ... correct with what I judge lousy techno way. Sony with EVF in reflex camera is lousy, big times. EVF is the deepest st I ever seen on a reflex sized camera. EVF kill the mere essence of what is a 24x36 reflex.

EVF is a crime against photography.

Without wrapping my words in honey: SONY ALPHA 99 is a fail, as well as the whole platform now.

As Erik says, tomorrow will deserve us better EVF.

But they are also positive things with EVF, because it shows you images with limited DR.

OK, too limited in some cases ;) ;)
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 08, 2012, 12:12:23 pm
Hi,

I shot both my A77 and A900 yesterday. In my humble opinion thee advantages to both. On static subjects I essentially use live view for focusing. The optical viewfinder does not have the precision for accurate focusing. It is not working very well with tilt and shift. The EVF gives you some idea about reproduction while OVF does not.

In my view, it is a mixed bag. EVF is sometimes better and other times OVF is better. EVF causes no vibrations.

Best regards
Erik


As Erik says, tomorrow will deserve us better EVF.

But they are also positive things with EVF, because it shows you images with limited DR.

OK, too limited in some cases ;) ;)
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: AFairley on October 08, 2012, 12:19:01 pm
But they are also positive things with EVF, because it shows you images with limited DR.

I was about to make this point, but Thierry beat me to it.  That said, the problem that at times what looks good in the OVF will never going to work as a print because you are never going to be able to bring out the shadow detail the OVF shows (without resorting to HDR) is becoming less and less of a problem with the improved DR of newer cameras.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: 149113 on October 08, 2012, 01:19:53 pm
I've personally got a ton of cash tied up in Sony/Minolta gear and am on the fence for the a99. I was patiently waiting for a Sony FF replacement to get the video, low light and AF features that the a900 lacked.

EVF as it exists right now seems underdeveloped from a resolution perspective. I imagine there will be a day in the not so distant future that we will be looking at EVF's that have 4k resolution with high dynamic range and can be used in any light condition rendering them near visual equal of OVF. But that technology is not here yet and I worry about investing in something that comes up short compared to OVF technology.

I also agree with Michael that at almost $2800 USD the a99 is overpriced. In interviews 3-4 years ago Sony was touting the EVF technology as a way to save on mirror and pentaprism costs and then passing those costs on to the consumer. How they priced the a77 should have been a clue that the a99 was going to be overpriced. I cannot see them selling these a99's at the current price point. Who is the market for this camera? It's not a pro shooter with a catalog of Nikon/Canon stuff. It's not the advanced amateur that already owns Nikon or Canon lenses. It's not someone new to photography. It's not someone looking to get into FF for the first time as that person will choose either the 6D or D600 because the price is the driver to that buyer. The market is the guy that owns an A700 or A900 and wants to go FF EVF and that is a very small market.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: allegretto on October 08, 2012, 01:28:31 pm
At this time I may feel that it would have been smarter to ditch Sony and go for the excellent Nikon D800 (with or without the E)



Erik,

you've forgotten more about digital photography than I know, so please don't take this wrong

but when considering IQ, DR and versatility of the System, you are right about this observation.

I went with a D4 since in my world it is even better. I take very few pics where the D800e's image would be more desirable and many where the D4 has the upper hand. But Wow, what a camera.

One more observation coming from owning an A77 and Zeiss glass for a year; the Nikon AF system is in another league. Having used Leica M and S as well as the Sony, it was noticeable how many times the intended subject was not the point of focus. That is not the case with the Nikon. Now it approaches certainty that some here are better artists than me, but it is hard to not have perfect focus with the Nikon. WYS is WYG

just $0.02
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: MatthewCromer on October 08, 2012, 01:38:53 pm
Erik,

you've forgotten more about digital photography than I know, so please don't take this wrong

but when considering IQ, DR and versatility of the System, you are right about this observation.


The Sony 24MP cameras can be used very effectively handheld due to no mirror slap, electronic first curtain shutter, and built-in stabilization.

If you like sharp handheld images in addition to tripod work, the Alphas are almost impossible to beat.

If you only shoot on a tripod using MLU, the Nikon D800(E) has some advantages, at a very significant increase in price.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: allegretto on October 08, 2012, 01:50:17 pm
maybe my hands are more steady than yours... ;D

seriously, my D4 images blow away my A77's. There are of course many possible reasons, but that's what I see on the monitor. Perhaps the A99 has a very improved sensor, but the A77 (as the NEX) are quite grainy and it bothered me

Further, even Michael's review was revealing. Now I would have to see a Nikon image next to it at similar settings/focal length etc. but am I the only one that sees a lot of chroma confusion on that black vertical bar next to the color checker? And for that matter, quite a bit of new noise going from 800 to 1600...
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 08, 2012, 04:34:08 pm
Hi,

The main reason that A77 and NEX is grainy is that they collect fewer photons than the full frame sensors. Also, if you look at the image at actual pixels, the A77 image is a good bit larger than the D4 image. I would say that a correct comparison is to compare the Alpha 77 at 50 ISO with the D4 at 200-400 ISO if you compare at actual pixels.

You could also try to compare the A77 image downscaled by bicubic to 3328x2195  pixels. That would compensate for sensor size.

Best regards
Erik



maybe my hands are more steady than yours... ;D

seriously, my D4 images blow away my A77's. There are of course many possible reasons, but that's what I see on the monitor. Perhaps the A99 has a very improved sensor, but the A77 (as the NEX) are quite grainy and it bothered me

Further, even Michael's review was revealing. Now I would have to see a Nikon image next to it at similar settings/focal length etc. but am I the only one that sees a lot of chroma confusion on that black vertical bar next to the color checker? And for that matter, quite a bit of new noise going from 800 to 1600...
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: fike on October 08, 2012, 05:12:42 pm
I agree that the A99 is in a strange in-between space as far as high-end cameras go.  In my opinion, MFT and APS-C will become the preferred sensor formats for mirrorless EVF cameras while full frame will retain the optical viewfinder and large body format.  Nikon and Canon may drag their feet before converting their entry-level APS-C cameras to EVF designs, but they will eventually morph into mirrorless EVFs too.

This is the road we are on...

1) LOW-END--Camera phones make digicams (except for ruggedized cams) obsolete (well underway)
2) MID-RANGE--Mirrorless compact interchangable-lens cameras make traditional entry-level APS-C DSLRs obsolete (just starting)
3) HIGH-END--Full-frame DSLRs with optical viewfinders continue to marginalize large format digital backs for all by very arcane applications (just starting)

I don't see how the A99 fits into this hierarchy.  I expect it will will be an oddity with a short life.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 08, 2012, 05:26:47 pm
Hi,

I'm pretty sure that we won't see DSLRs in a few years. EVF will evolve. The svinging mirror is an awkward innovation to provide WYSWIG information in the viewfinder. So once we get electronic viewfinders that are good enough I'd suggest that the swinging mirror solutions go away, except perhaps in sports. A electronic viewfinder will always have a lag. The swinging mirror has also a lag, naturally.

Now, viewfinders are not there yet. But I'd expect a rapid development.

Best regards
Erik


I agree that the A99 is in a strange in-between space as far as high-end cameras go.  In my opinion, MFT and APS-C will become the preferred sensor formats for mirrorless EVF cameras while full frame will retain the optical viewfinder and large body format.  Nikon and Canon may drag their feet before converting their entry-level APS-C cameras to EVF designs, but they will eventually morph into mirrorless EVFs too.

This is the road we are on...

1) LOW-END--Camera phones make digicams (except for ruggedized cams) obsolete (well underway)
2) MID-RANGE--Mirrorless compact interchangable-lens cameras make traditional entry-level APS-C DSLRs obsolete (just starting)
3) HIGH-END--Full-frame DSLRs with optical viewfinders continue to marginalize large format digital backs for all by very arcane applications (just starting)

I don't see how the A99 fits into this hierarchy.  I expect it will will be an oddity with a short life.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: alain on October 08, 2012, 05:55:30 pm
Hi,

I'm pretty sure that we won't see DSLRs in a few years. EVF will evolve. The svinging mirror is an awkward innovation to provide WYSWIG information in the viewfinder. So once we get electronic viewfinders that are good enough I'd suggest that the swinging mirror solutions go away, except perhaps in sports. A electronic viewfinder will always have a lag. The swinging mirror has also a lag, naturally.

Now, viewfinders are not there yet. But I'd expect a rapid development.

Best regards
Erik

It's a very big disappointment that EVF has not evolved from the 77.  No sign of a fast evolution, rather a grinding halt.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: KirbyKrieger on October 08, 2012, 06:10:52 pm

seriously, my D4 images blow away my A77's. There are of course many possible reasons, but that's what I see on the monitor. Perhaps the A99 has a very improved sensor, but the A77 (as the NEX) are quite grainy and it bothered me

My a850/a900 files have higher IQ ("blow away" is likely too strongly put) than my a77 files.  Michael has implied (and perhaps stated, don't remember) that the IQ of the a99 files is significantly improved over the a77.

Comparing the D4 files to the a77's, and extrapolating from there to the a99's, is an exercise that returns no data, and leads to unreliable conclusions.  Imho.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: allegretto on October 08, 2012, 06:22:10 pm
Hi,

The main reason that A77 and NEX is grainy is that they collect fewer photons than the full frame sensors. Also, if you look at the image at actual pixels, the A77 image is a good bit larger than the D4 image. I would say that a correct comparison is to compare the Alpha 77 at 50 ISO with the D4 at 200-400 ISO if you compare at actual pixels.

You could also try to compare the A77 image downscaled by bicubic to 3328x2195  pixels. That would compensate for sensor size.

Best regards
Erik





I'm sure you are correct Erik, on the bench. But that's not how it works in the real world when you are actually taking pictures. Scene for scene, at matched low ISO's the Nikon looks better. And over ASA 400 the differences are so profound as to make you shut down the trial. I've done this. I kept my A77 when the D4 first arrived. After a few hours of side-by-side clicking it was really no contest. The only category where the A77 wasn't heavily overmatched was at very low ISO. And since you were thinking D800, I think the Nikon (800) would beat it badly at ASA 100...
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: MatthewCromer on October 08, 2012, 06:41:16 pm
I'm sure you are correct Erik, on the bench. But that's not how it works in the real world when you are actually taking pictures. Scene for scene, at matched low ISO's the Nikon looks better. And over ASA 400 the differences are so profound as to make you shut down the trial. I've done this. I kept my A77 when the D4 first arrived. After a few hours of side-by-side clicking it was really no contest. The only category where the A77 wasn't heavily overmatched was at very low ISO. And since you were thinking D800, I think the Nikon (800) would beat it badly at ASA 100...

The Alpha 77 can be used at much lower ISOs when handheld than the D4/D800 for images that require sharpness throughout the frame.  More DOF at a given FOV/SS, built in anti-shake, no mirror slap, and electronic first curtain shutter.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: allegretto on October 08, 2012, 07:22:35 pm
The Alpha 77 can be used at much lower ISOs when handheld than the D4/D800 for images that require sharpness throughout the frame.  More DOF at a given FOV/SS, built in anti-shake, no mirror slap, and electronic first curtain shutter.

Well, I get it about all your considerations

But having used the D4 and the A77 side by side, for my purposes it's no contest. Truth is that low ISO is no problem with most cameras. Can't speak for your use, but for me the lower ISO's often eventuate in my gasping for SS. Sure, built in stabilization. But that's no problem when you're in bright light at low ASA anyway. Nikon's VR lenses are quite good BTW.

Yes, flash is an option, but unless it's very controlled, it's very unnatural light and can blow out highlights of even the highest DR cameras.

Imagine. all those fools paying all that money for those Nikons and Canons when they would really be better off with an A77... who knew????
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: peterottaway on October 08, 2012, 10:28:46 pm
Interesting that there should even be a debate about the relative merits of a $1050 2011 APS camera and a $5500 flagship FF camera.

And just in the interests of disclosure I bought my first SLR a Minolta SR-T 101 in 1971 and have had other Minoltas, a number of Nikons ,and also Olympus, Canon and a couple of Contax. I have owned a number of Nikon DX cameras in the past but the Sony A77 is my only current small sensor DSLR and is likely to be my last as I have bought a Nex . During the 1990's I did decide to go Nikon and reduced my Minolta kit accordingly until Minolta introduced the Dynax 7. I do have a small secondary Nikon kit based on a D700 but my main cameras are the Sony A850 (tripod), the A77 (hand help mainly local sports and events)and the Nex 7.

I think I will wait out the 2012 releases and see what 2014 brings. Not to say that I'm not in the market for any new lenses that really, really appeal to me.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 09, 2012, 12:47:51 am
Hi,

I'd suggest that this is not as a far call as you would think.

If we look at the Nikon side, it is quite probable that the 3000$ D800 and not the D4 that is the image quality champ. If you check DxO mark the cameras are close, and it is hard to ignore the added resolution. On the other hand the D4 outperforms the D7000 and the D3200.

I have used the A900 and the Alpha 77 SLT in parallel. For action I would use the Alpha 77, any time. It has better AF, live view and also less vibration as it has no moving mirror.

Once you take DoF into consideration, there are some benefits to a smaller sensor. An APS-C sensor gives you 1.5 - 2 apertures for similar DoF. This really compensates for some of the advantages of the larger sensor. Another factor is that an APS-C camera with a APS-C lens much smaller than a full frame camera with a full size lens. Shooting on the street I would much prefer my Sony Alpha 77 with a small 16-80/3.5-4.5 than shooting with the Alpha 900 and it's big and heavy 24-70/2.8. Image quality is pretty close between the two.

When shooting landscape and similar on tripod I would normally use the Sony Alpha 900.

If we return to Nikon, the only full frame Nikon I ever would consider is the D800, in my view the "flagship" D4 is clearly an inferior camera as it has half the resolution. Would I need high frame rate and a camera that can be bumped around, it would be a different thing. But for a landscape shooter using tripod I have little doubt that the Nikon is the king of the hill.

I did consider switching from Sony to Nikon when the D800 arrived, but I did not. Could be smarter to have done that.

Best regards
Erik

Interesting that there should even be a debate about the relative merits of a $1050 2011 APS camera and a $5500 flagship FF camera.

And just in the interests of disclosure I bought my first SLR a Minolta SR-T 101 in 1971 and have had other Minoltas, a number of Nikons ,and also Olympus, Canon and a couple of Contax. I have owned a number of Nikon DX cameras in the past but the Sony A77 is my only current small sensor DSLR and is likely to be my last as I have bought a Nex . During the 1990's I did decide to go Nikon and reduced my Minolta kit accordingly until Minolta introduced the Dynax 7. I do have a small secondary Nikon kit based on a D700 but my main cameras are the Sony A850 (tripod), the A77 (hand help mainly local sports and events)and the Nex 7.

I think I will wait out the 2012 releases and see what 2014 brings. Not to say that I'm not in the market for any new lenses that really, really appeal to me.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: whiteheat on October 09, 2012, 01:01:22 am
Interesting that there should even be a debate about the relative merits of a $1050 2011 APS camera and a $5500 flagship FF camera.

+1 to that.  Talk about comparing apples with oranges.  No real findings based on anything realistic is possible considering the different camera classes and price differentials involved.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 09, 2012, 01:19:49 am
Oh,

Put a 500/4.5 on a D3200, A D800 and ad D4 and shoot an eagle in it's nest at 50 m. D4 will come last.

The price tag of a camera does not affect image quality, simply enough. Lens and sensor does.

Best regards
Erik

+1 to that.  Talk about comparing apples with oranges.  No real findings based on anything realistic is possible considering the different camera classes and price differentials involved.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: allegretto on October 09, 2012, 04:45:52 am
Hi,

I'd suggest that this is not as a far call as you would think.

If we look at the Nikon side, it is quite probable that the 3000$ D800 and not the D4 that is the image quality champ. If you check DxO mark the cameras are close, and it is hard to ignore the added resolution. On the other hand the D4 outperforms the D7000 and the D3200.

I have used the A900 and the Alpha 77 SLT in parallel. For action I would use the Alpha 77, any time. It has better AF, live view and also less vibration as it has no moving mirror.

Once you take DoF into consideration, there are some benefits to a smaller sensor. An APS-C sensor gives you 1.5 - 2 apertures for similar DoF. This really compensates for some of the advantages of the larger sensor. Another factor is that an APS-C camera with a APS-C lens much smaller than a full frame camera with a full size lens. Shooting on the street I would much prefer my Sony Alpha 77 with a small 16-80/3.5-4.5 than shooting with the Alpha 900 and it's big and heavy 24-70/2.8. Image quality is pretty close between the two.

When shooting landscape and similar on tripod I would normally use the Sony Alpha 900.

If we return to Nikon, the only full frame Nikon I ever would consider is the D800, in my view the "flagship" D4 is clearly an inferior camera as it has half the resolution. Would I need high frame rate and a camera that can be bumped around, it would be a different thing. But for a landscape shooter using tripod I have little doubt that the Nikon is the king of the hill.

I did consider switching from Sony to Nikon when the D800 arrived, but I did not. Could be smarter to have done that.

Best regards
Erik


Oh Erik, I am fully aware that the resolution of the D4 is not like the D800. It's just that one must have several conditions met in order to practically bring out those differences. Low ISO, open lens of high quality, perfect image match, stability/tripod etc. Of note, if you go to senseorgen the DR of the D800 is better at lower ISO's but after about 400-800 the D4 begins to show it's stuff. And for me, a person who takes a great number of natural light photos it always seemed that I needed more shutter speed (or aperture). So in my particular instance, the D4 made sense. The Qe of the D4 is simply unmatched by anything by a far margin as is the high ISO DR. Coupled with a very accurate AF system, several very high quality lenses, it just "gets the photo" that I tend to take like nothing else I've handled. Agree that the A77 and a DX lens is a smaller package for the street, but that equipment surely doesn't maximize the resolution and your street-shooting better not be in low light. An OM-D would give you similar results in an even more compact package one might think.

I do think I will get a D800E body at some point, but I'll rent one first to see if I really would benefit from the greater resolution. I assume, but may not be correct, that the AF of the D800 is just as good. It really is rare to find an OOF pic with this thing,. The auto ISO in concert with the Modes makes for some very sharp pics indeed in situations where failures have happened in the past. Who here has one body anyway?

As far as DOF, I'm kind of "meh" on that issue since sometimes one wants more or less of that. One of those 'never happy" in all circumstances issue and again, the greater light-gathering capabilities and smack-on AF make the Please Save Me mode unnecessary.

Sony and Nikon are both great however. Just where you are most comfortable I guess.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: grzybu on October 09, 2012, 05:33:51 am
While I like to look trough OVF in my old SLR I prefer EVF because it shows me better interpolation of captured image.
I don't need OFV to see natural colors, shadows and DR of the scene. I just need to open left eye ;)
I'm using viewfinder to frame the scene and set exposure and EVF is better for this case than OVF.
And of course it's easier to set focus with EVF then with modern OFV.
Another great thing about EVF is that I can review photo without taking camera off my face. It works great on the street because people usually think you are still waiting for proper moment to take a photo ;)
EVF technology still has a lot of room for improvements, especially in DR. Resolution quite good already and when it hits 2M of real pixels (1600x1200) it will be enough.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 09, 2012, 05:37:25 am
Hi,

My point is simply that there is no best equipment and top of the line doesn't mean stuff is better. Horses for the courses...

If you check DxO-mark in print mode, which is normalized.for print size, you see that the high ISO advantage of the D4 is virtually nil. The D800 has the same AF as the D4. I have seen some presentations by Tim Parkin and Hubert Nesse of Zeiss, indicating that more pixels are good even with lesser lenses or stopped down to f/22.

In the long telephoto category a small pixel pitch APS-C camera would have advantages. I did consider switching to Nikon, and at that time I woud have bought a D800 and a D7000. I would also bought the 16-85/xxx VR for the D7000.

But I never would considered D4. Would I shoot sports or concerts, it may be a different thing.


Best regards
Erik

Oh Erik, I am fully aware that the resolution of the D4 is not like the D800. It's just that one must have several conditions met in order to practically bring out those differences. Low ISO, open lens of high quality, perfect image match, stability/tripod etc. Of note, if you go to senseorgen the DR of the D800 is better at lower ISO's but after about 400-800 the D4 begins to show it's stuff. And for me, a person who takes a great number of natural light photos it always seemed that I needed more shutter speed (or aperture). So in my particular instance, the D4 made sense. The Qe of the D4 is simply unmatched by anything by a far margin as is the high ISO DR. Coupled with a very accurate AF system, several very high quality lenses, it just "gets the photo" that I tend to take like nothing else I've handled. Agree that the A77 and a DX lens is a smaller package for the street, but that equipment surely doesn't maximize the resolution and your street-shooting better not be in low light. An OM-D would give you similar results in an even more compact package one might think.

I do think I will get a D800E body at some point, but I'll rent one first to see if I really would benefit from the greater resolution. I assume, but may not be correct, that the AF of the D800 is just as good. It really is rare to find an OOF pic with this thing,. The auto ISO in concert with the Modes makes for some very sharp pics indeed in situations where failures have happened in the past. Who here has one body anyway?

As far as DOF, I'm kind of "meh" on that issue since sometimes one wants more or less of that. One of those 'never happy" in all circumstances issue and again, the greater light-gathering capabilities and smack-on AF make the Please Save Me mode unnecessary.

Sony and Nikon are both great however. Just where you are most comfortable I guess.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: allegretto on October 09, 2012, 08:39:57 am
Hi,

My point is simply that there is no best equipment and top of the line doesn't mean stuff is better. Horses for the courses...

If you check DxO-mark in print mode, which is normalized.for print size, you see that the high ISO advantage of the D4 is virtually nil. The D800 has the same AF as the D4. I have seen some presentations by Tim Parkin and Hubert Nesse of Zeiss, indicating that more pixels are good even with lesser lenses or stopped down to f/22.

In the long telephoto category a small pixel pitch APS-C camera would have advantages. I did consider switching to Nikon, and at that time I woud have bought a D800 and a D7000. I would also bought the 16-85/xxx VR for the D7000.

But I never would considered D4. Would I shoot sports or concerts, it may be a different thing.


Best regards
Erik


As usual, no arguing with your logic. Just that the ability to get a picture without the hassle of flash in places where "you just can't get a picture" is amazing with this beast. You have to use it to believe it. I also have a Fuji XPro-1 for many other situations. I realize that it too has limitations, but again, takes magnificent pictures in less demanding situations. The D4 is no Swiss Army knife after all...

When I'm on a mountain top clicking eagle's nests maybe I'll carry something different. Indoors with moving objects I've just never had a machine like this, and produce good IQ and color! It's quite the light bucket. Want more DOF, well I have a few f-stops in my pocket with that kind of ISO performance. May not matter in a print with reasonable light, but low light...?

Cheers
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: Isaac on October 09, 2012, 03:16:37 pm
Quote
The 19-point AF system with 11 cross sensors is complemented by a multi-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor with 102 AF points that overlays the image sensor.

Does it seem plausible that Sony can make the new "focal plane phase-detection AF sensor" work well enough; that the older AF system, along with the "Translucent Mirror Technology" that directs light to the older AF sensors, become obsolete?
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: peterottaway on October 09, 2012, 08:31:21 pm
If I am reading the information put out correctly then the two PDAF systems compliment each other. The on sensor 102 points get you to the approximate focus and them the standard PDAF system which relies on the SLT mirror finishes off the focusing. The on sensor focusing would also require extra computing power.

So given the current level of development it would seem that the SLT will be required for some time.
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: viewfinder on October 10, 2012, 06:45:04 am
Fascinating thread........

The mystery to me is;.....why do you need the bulk/expense of any mirror when you have already decided on a EVF...?

Is it not the case that Sony missed a great opportunity to fill/build a unique market slot by designing A99 as a 'FF NEX' with adaptor to take Sony SLR lenses and by other adaptors, ANY lenses....   Micheal actually also touches upon somethign similar in his summing up paragraphs.

As things stand the A99 looks like a photographic 'Bristol Brabazon',......Beautifully designed, ahead of it's time, very sophisticated,...and obsolete even as it takes off!!
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: aaykay on October 11, 2012, 05:52:42 am
I believe Sony should have introduced a kick-ass FF NEX (a version with 36MP and another with 24MP), with a few key FF NEX lenses (an all-purpose 24-120 2.8-4.5 type zoom which should be small enough for a NEX lens, a 50, 35 and 85) and an adapter for the rest of the A-mount Alpha lenses.  Of course the aftermarket would take care of adapters for the rest of the universe of lenses ever made, independent of manufacturer.

The camera would sell like hot-cakes, IMHO.

I agree with Michael's views on the A99.  I am not going to add an A99 to supplement my A900.....a 36MP sensor might have been a bit more persuasive.  A FF NEX with 36MP would have me placing a pre-order, even prior to its release !
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: aaykay on October 11, 2012, 05:59:12 am
Now, going by the size of the Sony A-mount 24-105mm f/3.5-4.5 lens (very small and light !), I am sure if they designed a E-mount NEX 24-120mm f/2.8-4.5 lens, it would be one that is smaller than the A-mount equivalent, and would allow the camera/lens to be portable and light and also take care of most everyday shooting needs.

Title: NEX mount has a 39mm diameter throat: incompatable with 36x24mm format?
Post by: BJL on October 11, 2012, 02:38:53 pm
I believe Sony should have introduced a kick-ass FF NEX (a version with 36MP and another with 24MP), with a few key FF NEX lenses ...
I suspect that the mount would have to be different from the E- mount of tue NEX system, with a wider diameter to accomodate the 42.5mm diameter of the image circle needed for 36x24mm format. The position of the electrical contacts of the E-mount force it to have an opening of only about 39mm diameter, located 12mm from the focal plane. Though I am not completely certain, it looks to me that this would cause some vignetting of light resching the corners of the frame when using low f-stops, which involves light coming to each point of the sensor in a wide cone, not a single ray.

Not a huge problem: the only difference is that to use the new lenses for the larger format on a smaller format NEX camera would require an adaptor. Since using larger format lenses on a smaller format is not optimal anyway (due to factors like worse flare control), such compatability should not be a major factor in the designs of a "super-sized NEX system".

P. S. is there any actual evidence that the in-sensor PDAF in in anyway inferior to that traditional system, or that this is an inherent disadvantage? Could it be that Sony has simply decided to use them in complementary ways, like having more PDAF sensors in the main sensor itself, but the most sensitive ones for low light in the traditional AF sensor?
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 11, 2012, 02:56:24 pm
Hi,

My understanding is that Sony has a full frame NEX already, but it is a video camera. Uses the same sensor as the Alpha 99.

Best regards
Erik

I believe Sony should have introduced a kick-ass FF NEX (a version with 36MP and another with 24MP), with a few key FF NEX lenses (an all-purpose 24-120 2.8-4.5 type zoom which should be small enough for a NEX lens, a 50, 35 and 85) and an adapter for the rest of the A-mount Alpha lenses.  Of course the aftermarket would take care of adapters for the rest of the universe of lenses ever made, independent of manufacturer.

The camera would sell like hot-cakes, IMHO.

I agree with Michael's views on the A99.  I am not going to add an A99 to supplement my A900.....a 36MP sensor might have been a bit more persuasive.  A FF NEX with 36MP would have me placing a pre-order, even prior to its release !
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: ErikKaffehr on October 11, 2012, 03:03:34 pm
Hi,

I did put an order on the Alpha 99 after reading Michaels review.

Here are the reasons:

1) The A900 lacks live view. I need it for focusing.
2) Plan to acquire a 24/3.5 TS lens from Samyang. Need Live View with TS-lenses.
3) Better noise performance comes handy.
4) I can live with an electronic VF. Use it on my Alpha 77 all the time.

On the other hand:

1) I would preferred 36 or 54 MP.
2) Improved EVF over Alpha 77 would have been nice.
3) Improved video quality would be nice.

Best regards
Erik
Title: Re: Michael Reichmann's Sony Alpha 99 test - some reflections
Post by: BJL on October 11, 2012, 04:25:09 pm
My understanding is that Sony has a full frame NEX already, but it is a video camera. Uses the same sensor as the Alpha 99.
Yes, the NEX-F900: see the press release at DPReview. (http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/09/12/Sony-NEX-VG900-full-frame-camcorder-and-VG-30-APS-C-model-and-18-200-power-zoom-lens#press) But with E-mount (NEX) lenses, it crops to the NEX format:
Quote
As an extra refinement, the NEX-VG900 camcorder switches automatically from full-frame operation to APS-C mode when an E-mount or A-mount DT lens is attached.
and Sony has explained that current E-mount lenses do not cover the full 35mm frame.

More details from  David Kilpatrick at www.photoclubalpha.com in the link provided by peterv:
Sony Alpha authority David Kilpatrick wrote about this:

http://www.photoclubalpha.com/2012/08/19/should-nex-go-full-frame/ (http://www.photoclubalpha.com/2012/08/19/should-nex-go-full-frame/)