Yesterday night it was time for me to introduce the new Sony Alpha99 to the public at the auditorium in Dubai at the Gulf Photo plus photo weekend. These are the kind of shows that really make me nervous. It’s not a standard seminar, it’s the introduction of (in my opinion) one of the most exciting camera releases in a while and it’s Sony, for which I have not done anything in the past, so the performance had to be good.

Luckily we had a great model and a great assistant (thanks Issa).
Now I also would like to thank the guys from DNA software (www.dslrsoftware.com) because one of the “problems” I had with the Alpha99 was the lack of tethering support, but last night just a few minutes before showtime we got everything working, and it works flawless, even disconnecting the camera and connecting the camera again did not cause any problems.

 

During the seminar I did shoot some images which I share in this blogpost.

Now I hear you ask “what now Frank?”
Well normally after a preview period you return the gear and that’s it.
In this case however things will go a bit differently…..

 

I just ordered a complete Alpha set, camera and some lenses (24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8).
And don’t get me wrong, I will of course not sell my Canon gear, because I love that set way too much (and the small flash solutions are great), but the image quality and the rest you can read here made me get the Alpha99 as a new tool in my toolbox, the reasons are very simple, and I actually already explained in my previous reviews, but let’s very quickly sum them up.

 

1. Sensor
I don’t know which magician or wizard Sony hired for this one but it’s a great sensor, it has great dynamic range and you can pull up shadows and recover highlights like no other sensor I’ve ever seen. It’s almost like shooting a slightly limited HDR version, now remember if you don’t like HDR don’t worry you don’t HAVE to, you CAN recover a lot.

 

2. EVF
See what you get.
Love it for street and travel photography, in combination with a quick exposure compensation setup you can very quickly nail the shot. Especially like here in Dubai where the situations change very quickly from stark backlit scenes to darker scenes it’s a blessing to work with an EVF. In the studio it’s a bit getting used to, but I call it the Wacom effect, first few days you hate it, and slowly you’re gonna like it and love it.

 

3. Phase AF
Very quick, very accurate.
Still have to test it with sports, but till now I’m very impressed.

 

4. The screen that moves
A tilting and moving LCD is great.
Lower angles/higher angles nice selfportraits with Annewiek and me in front of the worlds tallest building :D it’s all possible.

 

5. Video
Great options and great clean HDMI out.
Still have to test that with higher ISOs, but having the OPTION for continuous AF is great.

 

6. In body IS
Great to have IS on every lens.

 

7. The lenses
Let’s be honest Zeiss just makes amazing glass.

Now are there also things I don’t like (yet).
Yeah of course.

 

1. Settings for AUTOISO
I would love to see a minimum shutter speed there, that is something I love in the Canon 5DMKIII

 

2. Settings for HDR bracketing
The A99 now offers some presets, why not just make it free for the user, like the Canon 5DMKIII set the number of exposures, and the interval and done.

 

And for now, and I think this is something that will be the hardest thing for me to get used to, the small flash system. I do a lot of demos for Rogue (flashbenders) and with the new Canon RT (Radio) system this is great. Going back to eye of sight will be a hard thing to do…. however I hope that Pocketwizard will release a Sony TT1 and TT5 soon :D

 

In the end it all boils down to the big adding and subtracting of features and things you like and don’t like.
With the 5DMKIII there is actually nothing I don’t like.
With the Sony Alpha99 there are some things I think can be improved but they are minor (except probably the small flash system), however the advantages I just summed up makes me very confident that for me to add the Alpha99 for my travel/street photography is a very good move, and now that tethering is solved I feel very confident to also be using the camera on stage and in workshops.

 

So if you have not checked out the Sony Alpha 99 make sure you do, they should be available around now.

 

Oh….
I know you love 100% crops, so here is one.