Sony announced the Sony Alpha A99, the world’s first full-frame camera to use Sony’s translucent mirror technology. Priced at $2800 and available from October, highlights from the full specification include:
- 24.3MP CMOS Full-frame Sensor
- Unique dual AF system – phase detection on sensor
- Improved BIONZ processor
- ISO 100-12800, with options for ISO 50 and 25600 with boost.
- Six frames per second at full resolution, 10fps in cropped mode
- AVCHD video at Full HD 1080 60/24p
- Video features include external mic and headphone sockets, clean HDMI output
- Magnesium alloy body with weather sealing
- Same XGA OLED viewfinder as A77
- Design and layout very similar to A77 – essentially a full-frame A77
- New accessories: Battery Grip, Wireless Remote, HVL-F60M Flash, HVL-F60M Ring LIght, XLR Audio Adapter kit , Hot Shoe Adapter, Screen Protector.
- New 300mm f2.8 Telephoto Lens
Sony’s press release:
SAN DIEGO, Sept 12, 2012 – Sony’s long awaited α99 digital camera sets a new performance standard for professional-class DSLRs, combining all of the benefits of full-frame imaging with the responsiveness and speed of Translucent Mirror Technology.
The successor to Sony’s flagship α900 DSLR, the α99 camera features a brand new 24.3 MP full-frame image sensor, a unique dual phase-detect AF system and a host of other innovative technologies that work together to deliver the best image and full HD video quality in the history of Sony’s acclaimed line of α cameras.
“The new α99 camera is the ultimate combination of Sony’s expertise and rich history of image sensor production coupled with our truly innovative approach to camera design” said Mike Kahn, director of the alpha interchangeable lens camera division at Sony. “It redefines what can be accomplished with a full frame DSLR camera.”
New Levels of Imaging Performance and Response
The flagship α99 model combines its new 24.3 effective megapixel Exmor® CMOS sensor with a highly advanced BIONZ image processing engine, delivering unprecedented levels of performance in both still and video shooting.
The full frame sensor is enhanced by a newly-developed separate multi-segment optional low-pass filter, increasing its resolving power. Assisted by an all-new front-end LSI, the BIONZ engine can process massive amounts of image signal data from the sensor at very high speeds. Together with a powerful new area-specific noise reduction (NR) algorithm, it allows to the camera to achieve 14-bit RAW output, rich gradation and low noise.
The evolved BIONZ processor also gives the α99 model a maximum sensitivity range (in expanded sensitivity mode) as wide as ISO50 – 25600 – a range of nine stops. Its unprecedented processing power enables the camera to shoot a burst of images at up to six frames per second at full resolution or up to 10 fps in Tele-zoom high speed shooting mode.
The new α99 digital camera features a unique dual AF system, a world’s first for digital cameras. This camera’s main focusing system – a 19-point AF system with 11 cross sensors – is complemented by a 102-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor overlaying the main image sensor. Harnessing the power of Translucent Mirror Technology, light is passed to both phase-detection AF sensors simultaneously and continually, measuring subject distance and position more completely than other cameras. This unique Dual AF System permits ultra-fast, accurate autofocusing that maintains tracking focus even if a subject temporarily leaves the frame.
The AF-D (depth) continuous autofocus mode* utilizes the Dual AF system for wider and more dense coverage of the frame, significantly improving AF performance with fast or erratically moving subjects against complex backgrounds. Additionally, during movie shooting, AF Duration control provides reliable depth focusing information and ensures that the camera maintains proper focus on its subject when objects or people cross the focal plane.
A new AF range control allows photographers to manually select foreground and background distance to which the AF system will not respond, especially useful for shooting fast moving sports or animals through a nearby wire mesh or in front of a complex background that commonly distracts camera AF systems.
Crafted for Videographers and Movie-makers
The new α99 camera’s video capabilities build on Sony’s expertise in developing professional motion picture cameras, combining the unmatched resolving power and sensitivity of the full-frame sensor with several advanced features optimized for professional video production.
The flagship α99 model is the first full-frame DSLR to offer Full HD 60p/24p progressive video recording to meet AVCHD™ Version 2.0 specifications and Full-time Continuous AF Movie mode, allowing smooth, non-stop tracking of moving subjects. Other enhancements include real-time Full HD video output via HDMI®, and uninterrupted ‘dual-card’ recording using both of the camera’s media slots.
For added convenience while shooting video, a new silent, programmable multi-control dial on the front of the camera body allows silent adjustment of common settings during shooting including exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, aperture and much more.
The camera’s audio features are designed to meet the demanding needs of serious videographers. An audio level display and adjustable audio record levels are joined by a headphone jack for accurate in-the-field monitoring. Additionally, the multi-interface shoe provides balance audio input for the optional XLR-K1M adaptor kit, which adds a high-quality mono shotgun microphone and pro-standard XLR connections for dependable audio acquisition.
Uncompromised Handing for Advanced Photographers
The camera’s XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ viewfinder offers 100% frame coverage on the viewfinder screen with exceptional brightness, contrast, clarity and resolution, ensuring a detail-packed view of the desired scene and subject. The unique electronic viewfinder will also maintain a 100% field of view with DT lenses that are optimized for APS-C sensor cameras, converting the angle of view automatically for image recording and display.
Complementing the Tru-Finder EVF is a three-way tiltable 1229k-dot (VGA equivalent) XtraFine LCD™ display with WhiteMagic™ technology to boost overall screen brightness. It’s especially useful for framing and shooting with the LCD in outdoor, sunny conditions.
Despite its impressive pro-class credentials, the α99 camera is the world’s lightest 35 mm full-frame interchangeable-lens digital camera. Constructed of high-rigidity magnesium alloy panels, it weighs in at just 733g (without lens and battery). Translucent Mirror Technology, which eliminates the need for a full-frame moving mirror mechanism and heavy glass pentaprism, also contributes to the extremely light design.
Additionally, the camera is weather-sealed and all buttons and controls have been ruggedized. A redesigned shutter block, tested to approximately 200,000 releases, further ensures the camera’s stamina and reliability.
The camera’s enhanced ergonomics include a re-designed grip and differentiated designs of several switches and buttons that allow for intuitive fingertip operation. A new exposure mode dial lock prevents accidental rotation, and a newly-developed Quick Navi Pro interface gives quick, intuitive one-handed access to common shooting parameters and controls.
The new model can also be operated via remote PC connection. Supported functions include switching between still and video shooting plus automatic transfer of still images from camera to PC for an improved studio workflow.