Sony Launches New Flagship DSLR: Alpha A99
Sony has released its first translucent-mirror DSLR with a full-frame sensor. The new Alpha A99 houses a 24.3-megapixel CMOS chip and uses a unique dual phase-detect AF system.
Like other translucent-mirror models in the Sony range, the A99 uses a fixed (non-moving) semi-transparent mirror that allows around 70% of the light to reach the sensor and directs 30% to the AF system. This is different to the design of conventional DSLRs where the mirror sits in front of the sensor most of the time (to deflect light up to the viewfinder) then moves up and out of the way when the shutter is fired. In Sony’s design, the reflex mirror never blocks the light path so uninterrupted Live View is available on either the LCD screen or the electronic viewfinder (EVF) – in the A99's case a high resolution OLED.
The Alpha A99 takes advantage of this system by using dual phase-detection AF sensors. Light is passed to both phase-detection AF sensors simultaneously and continually, measuring subject distance and position. Sony claims the system permits "ultra-fast, accurate autofocusing that maintains tracking focus even if a subject temporarily leaves the frame."
In movie mode the camera can capture Full HD 60p/24p progressive video and is the first full-frame DSLR to meet the specifications of AVCHD Version 2.0. It also offers real-time Full HD video output via HDMI, and uninterrupted 'dual-card' recording using both card slots. A new silent, programmable multi-control dial on the front of the camera allows silent adjustment of common settings during video shooting including exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, shutter speed and aperture. The A99 includes built-in audio level display, adjustable audio record levels and a headphone jack. A high-quality mono shotgun microphone with XLR connections can be connected to the A99 using the optional XLR-K1M adaptor kit.
Other key features include a three-way tilting LCD display with a resolution of 1.2-million dots; 14-bit raw; weather sealed chassis, buttons and controls; shutter rated to 200,000 cycles; remote PC operation; 6fps shooting at full resolution or 10fps in Tele-zoom high speed shooting mode.
An optional vertical grip houses three batteries which Sony says can be exchanged ‘on the fly’ without interrupting movie recording. A new HVL-F60M flash, released with the A99, offers a guide number of 60m at 100 ISO and a built-in LED light for stills or movie shooting.
The Sony Alpha A99 will be available in Australia from end of October 2012 with an SRP of $2999 body only.