Sony A99 – mixed feelings on Sony’s newest HDSLR

Johnnie Behiri got a chance to test the new and yet unreleased Sony Alpha 99 (Sony A99) HDSLR camera and shared these nice clips and some insightful thoughts with us.

The first clip (above) was shot on the new Sony A-99. The idea was to simulate a news or documentary environment.

In Johnnie Behiri’s own words:

Sony’s latest full frame HDSLR is clearly attempting to challenge the competitors by introducing a well equipped camera. So how good is it?

Spending a day with the Sony A99 left me with mixed emotions.
Sony listened very carefully to some of our need as documentary run&gun shooters but failed short delivering the “ultimate” picture….Why having aliasing and moiré in an advanced generation of HDSLR is beyond my understanding.

Aliasing sample:

By having the camera for a day, my aim was to simulate “true to life” short feature assignment. In this short video sample no lights were used, the footage was not color corrected, ambient sound was recorded with the built in camera stereo mics and the interview/voiceover was recorded with Sony’s new XLR adapter the $800 XLR-K1M.

Camera strengths:
-Clean HDMI output
(on Ninja 2, camera must be set to “HDMI resolution-Auto” and not 1080p).
-Peaking
-Green dot at the center of the picture as an additional focus aid tool
-Dynamic range looks good (non scientific sample: LINK)
-Front camera wheel which can be assigned to control aperture or audio levels (not when the XLR kit is connected, then use the level wheels on the kit).
-Monitor and control audio levels while recording
-Good EVF and LCD allowing shooting in minimize configuration
-Dual SD card slots

Camera weakness:
-The A99 produced a decent image although moiré and aliasing is clearly there!
-No histogram in video mode
-No “zoom function” for accurate focusing
-Audio meters have no db levels and there is no change in meters color when sound is clipped.
-No 1080/50p recording is possible to Ninja 2.

XLR-K1M-XLR kit
This kit transforms the audio section of the camera to a more professional machine and is a very welcome aid to the professional shooter.

It’s a pity Sony chose to sale this kit for $800. A moderate price would have done justice to this product bringing it within reach of many more people.
Functionality wise, I have no clue why Sony decided not to connect the kit directly to the hot shoe and instead designed a wire out of the kit to be connected to the shoe leaving no place for the kit itself to be connected on top of the camera…

Non scientific dynamic range sample:

Camera Settings: 1080/25p, Creative style-Netural

Watch it on Vimeo

 

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