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Sony Alpha a7s: Full HD Recording in XAVC and 4:2:2 UHD 4K Output via HDMI.


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Old October 31st, 2012, 01:22 PM   #1
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Sony A99 roll call

Anyone else getting the A99? Just got a shipping notification, mine should be here Friday, 11/2.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 04:30 PM   #2
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

Thinking about it -- mostly for video. Going to rent first.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 04:08 AM   #3
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

I had ordered it. Then Amazon kindly cancelled my order so that they could implement their new sales tax. I have looked at the a99 in a couple of the stores and I'm still not sure. I like all the gadgets (the flip out screen etc.) but I see nothing but underwhelmed reviews. Might get its cousin, the vg900 if the mirrorless thing makes it a little better in low light.

Let us know when you get it and what you think!
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Old November 6th, 2012, 06:58 AM   #4
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

I've been tinkering with the A99 over the weekend, its loaded so I'm trying to get the hang of all the features, get used to the controls and work through the settings to find a shooting work flow I like - and I only have one Alpha lens, the 70-400, which is a little unwieldy and a long FL for casual/experimental shooting. I have a 24-70 on the way so I'll do more comprehensive tests this weekend.

FYI, I ordered from the Sony store and got the 10% education discount, I am working on my masters, but it didn't ask for any real verification beyond the school, so anyone could get the discount which essentially negates the tax charge.

@Betsy Interesting you say the A99 reviews are underwhelming as pretty much everything I read before ordering raved about the DR and IQ, the big issue is the EVF/OVF and videos like "The Calling" really demonstrated the quality of the A99's video. There's a new review posted on Sony Alpha Rumors that claims the A99 has the highest DR of any FF camera. If you look at the raw files and compare to other FF cameras, the difference is minor between Canon/Nikon and Sony - it really comes down to features and the EVF for most if you're not already heavily invested in one brand. The D800 shows more detail in the stills, but the video is no better and no 60p or IBIS. The 5d3 is cleaner above ISO5000 or so, but IMHO at lower ISO's the A99's tonality is superior and its $700 cheaper until Canon's MAP pricing kicks in later this month, then it'll be $1000 less. YMMV...

The A99 is still the only FF to offer IBIS (all lenses can be stabilized on the A99, legacy glass just needs a chipped adapter), 1080/60p, tilt/swivel LCD, peaking, Zeiss AF lenses and the silent control knob is going to be copied by CaNikon in their next big cameras - its F-ing brilliant - you can bounce between ISO or aperture and adjust exposure while shooting with no control noise. Others have features the A99 lacks, but no 1080/60p is a no-go for me. So my move back to FF meant A99 or nothing. I took a chance and so far absolutely no regrets, IQ is stunning.

I'm replacing my FS100 with the A99 and getting an external recorder at the end of the year to shoot 220mb/s Prores courtesy of the clean HDMI out.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 02:53 PM   #5
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

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all lenses can be stabilized on the A99, legacy glass just needs a chipped adapter
Chris where would someone get such an adapter?
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Old November 6th, 2012, 03:12 PM   #6
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

Leitax sells Leica R and Zeiss C/Y adapters and here's a link to Richard Harris' blog, he makes Rokkor and Zuiko adapters allowing you to use them without resorting to the goofy adapter with an optical element.

Lens Adapters Shropshire Wedding Photographer | Richard Harris Photography
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Old November 7th, 2012, 02:22 AM   #7
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

Don't get me wrong, the a99 looks like an incredible camera in many ways. Actually, the 50p (if I ordered from Europe) or the 60p were the things I was most excited by but a friend spoke with Philip Bloom about the higher frame rate options briefly and he was of the opinion that the 50p option was really problematic because of the low bit rate--and because Ninja can't handle 50p/60p raw. Now if someone is going to manipulate the video at all (and especially if the video is mainly intended for the internet) this won't be too much of a problem. But for those of us who like to tinker in post the 60p option might be a tantalizing tease.

I do like the image a lot with ample light but then so many cameras look pretty terrific in heavy light settings. But Johnni Behiri's video (and those like it) and review scared me (plus all those low light iso tests everyone's been doing). We've been wanting for aesthetic reasons to take advantage of the FF sensors low light capabilities and that's one of the areas where the a99's reviews have been mediocre at best. There's a video pitting the Nikon d600 (which has the same sensor but better low light capability than the a99) against the mkiii and the noise on the Sony sensor breaks my heart. I wouldn't be comfortable going above 1600 iso from the look of the videos.

And a lot of people have been complaining abou the auto-focus on the Sony too. They've obviously put so much effort into it and have sacrificed light performance for it and yet I keep reading and hearing "sluggish". There's a beautiful video on SonyAlpha R today that has stunning images and shockingly bad AF even with the Zeiss 24-70. https://vimeo.com/52834229#

That's why I'm torn between the D600 (same sensor, also hdmi out, better low light processing, easier to get a whole range of great lenses), the a99 (for all the reasons you cited), and the vg900. With the vg900 it kills me that it's so expensive and that it cripples Sony's own af functions on its own a mount--but if I could find a review that said it was 10 % better in low light... ugh...

I don't know Chris... I'm so glad you love yours--maybe I'll join you. Do you know of any reasonable recording options for 50p raw? Since my little movie is 90% interiors and I'm going to have to buy a monstrously fast new computer to handle raw grading and editing, could that computer handle direct input of 50p via hdmi?
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Old November 7th, 2012, 08:34 AM   #8
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

Betsy, there plenty of videos showing poor AF on every camera, there are always situations that will challenge the AF in any camera. My only experience is with the 70-400 and its really, really fast at the wide and tele ends, much faster than the 5d2 and in many situations it locks as quickly as my EM5. Like I said, I'm waiting for my 24-70 to arrive, should be here by Friday, but most report that the A99 is very fast/accurate with that lens too. I tested the A77 before buying the A99 and its AF was fast and reliable in bright and dimly lit situations for me, YMMV.

AF-d is something to behold, yes there only 6 lenses now and 6 more coming that are supported, but the tracking abilities of the A99 are nothing short of phenomenal. I locked onto my dog yesterday and followed her around the yard as my wife threw her ball around and most of the shots could have been keepers, focus was spot on in my tests. AF-range is another cool feature that will certainly be copied by CaNikon.

I haven't seen any raw video from the D600, but the A99 is only slightly behind the FS100 IMHO, and the FS100 is a low light beast. Noise is more tolerable - for me - than banding in the shadows (something I see in Nikon footage) and posteriation of the highlights (something I see in 5d3 footage) because it can be reduced in post. I take all tests with a grain of salt because the differences in lenses and in-camera settings can have such a huge impact on footage and stills. I've seen many tests that pit two cameras with one having a massively inferior lens, or settings that make one look worse than the other just to skew results in one direction.

Owners are reporting other issues with the D600, Lens Rentals is showing an obnoxious amount of dust getting sucked into the camera by a gap in the shutter and some are complaining of the same thing on the Nikon boards. I just haven't been impressed with Nikon's video output, I shot side-by-side with my FS100 and a D800 and when I looked at the footage the D800 just didn't cut it, despite the "low" bitrate of AVCHD. Hopefully I'll get the chance to shoot next to some friends with CaNikon cameras to see how the A99 compares.

Unfortunately no external recorder AFAIK will record 1080/50/60p yet, but they do support 720/60p so I guess it depends on your final output. I want to see the quality of Prores 720/60p vs 1080/60p SOOC, but I won't be buying a recorder for at least another month or so.

The D600/A99 difference is 1/3 stop, but the feature set of the A99 for me made it a far better buy. Every camera has its strengths/weaknesses, buy the one that suits you best and good luck with your search.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 03:52 PM   #9
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

Well I ordered it! Thanks Chris:) Will get the a99 in a few days with the 24-70 lens and the ninja 2 recorder.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 11:01 AM   #10
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

Does the focus range limit adjustment work in video mode too? That could fix quite a lot of autofocus problems shown in that video Betsy posted.

As an A77 user it appears that with the A99 Sony has fixed every single complaint I had about my camera. If they chucked in a 1080P30 mode it would be pretty much perfect.

As soon as I can afford one I will buy one.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 11:40 AM   #11
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

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Does the focus range limit adjustment work in video mode too?
I have a similar question: does the AF-d work in video too?
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Old November 14th, 2012, 02:28 AM   #12
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

There's a very helpful site I don't think we're not allowed to mention where you can get info on this. I think focus limiting doesn't work in video mode but they do have something close instead. According to one owner, "the af limiter is for stills, for video The A99 has the delay option which works in a very similar way. You set the delay time in your menu and when shooting a video and something runs between you and your subject the af will not change."

One problem some have with the new sensor is it disables autofocus below somewhere around f3 but apparently u can work around that if you are brave enough to tape over the limiter located on the mount.

Ps. I've heard different things about the Sony SAL af 50mm lens. Does anyone of y'all use it? I'd love to pick up a couple of reasonably priced fast (1.4-2) af a mount primes for low light situations.

Last edited by Betsy Moore; November 14th, 2012 at 03:42 AM.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 12:54 PM   #13
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

AFIAK the AF-range does not work in video and as Betsy stated the Alpha cameras video AF doesn't work below f3.5. I really don't use AF when shooting video, peaking works fine for me. But I have been tinkering with it and it can lock on to moving subjects pretty well and track them with the AF. I use center point spot focus and once it locks it does keep things in focus. I don't really ever see myself using it, but some might find it useful.

Not sure about AF-d, will require further investigating. I've shot noting but a few test shots since getting the 24-70z as I've been moving. Will try to tinker with the A99 more this weekend.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 01:29 AM   #14
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

Got the camera. Love some things, not so sure about some other things. Somehow I missed/or forgot that the 30p function had been disabled in America which screws me up. And don't get me started on the menu.

Do you think anyone will come up with a firmware jailbreak for this camera to give it 30/50p options?

Chris, what ISO rating would you give it? 800? Before noise sets in?
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Old November 20th, 2012, 03:10 AM   #15
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Re: Sony A99 roll call

All the cameras I have seen in Japan only had 60P, 60i and 24P.

Unfortunately the only way to get 30P is in the mp4 mode AFAIK
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