Cologne, Germany—Sony Electronics introduced its α99 II flagship A-mount camera at photokina 2016. The camera features Sony’s new hybrid phase-detection AF (autofocus) system with exclusive Sony A-mount features, such as Translucent Mirror technology. It also employs a 42.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor.
“We are continuing to innovate with each new camera body, lens and accessory that we bring to market, offering compelling choices to both existing and prospective users of the Sony α system,” said Neal Manowitz, vice president, Digital Imaging, Sony Electronics. “With the α99 II, we’re delivering an industry-leading level of performance to A-mount owners and enthusiasts. Its powerful combination of speed and resolution is simply unmatched in today’s market.”
The α99 II is Sony’s first full-frame camera to feature its 4D Focus system. The hybrid phase-detection AF system combines a 79-point, dedicated phase-detection AF sensor with 399 focal plane phase-detection AF points. As a result, the combo produces a 79-hybrid-cross-AF-point array. “This enables incredibly precise autofocus performance and advanced subject tracking of any high-speed moving objects across the frame,” added Manowitz.
In addition, Translucent Mirror technology, with no moving mirror, helps ensure steady, continuous AF operation and live image preview during still image as well as video shooting. The AF system is also engineered to perform in low light. It is said to function in brightness levels of EV-45 and in dark locations.
The α99 II was also designed for high-resolution, rapid continuous shooting. A new front-end LSI works with a Bionz X image processing engine and a newly designed shutter unit to enable continuous shooting at up to 12 frames per sec with AF/AE tracking.
Thanks to a large buffer, those shots can be viewed immediately after shooting. Additionally, if the high-speed shots are being taken indoors under artificial lighting, the camera detects flicker and times the shutter to minimize its effect.
Furthermore, the α99 II delivers 8-fps continuous live shooting with AF/AE tracking and minimized display lag. This is due to improvements in its EVF algorithm. This is said to offer a shooting experience that mimics that of an optical viewfinder. Yet the camera still provides the benefits of an electronic viewfinder, such as a live preview of exposure and white balance. Also, continuous live view shooting can be set in three stages to match various subjects: 8 fps, 6 fps and 4 fps.
The camera’s back-illuminated, full-frame 42.4MP CMOS sensor features a gapless-on-chip design to allow fast readout of large volumes of data and maximize light gathering. According to specs, as a result, it provides “very high sensitivity with low noise, wide dynamic range and 42.4MP resolution across an ISO range of 100–25,600.” That range is expandable from 50 to 102,400. The sensor also omits the optical low-pass filter, to help ensure the finest natural details and textures can be captured. Both compressed and uncompressed RAW files are available.
α99 II Video Specs
Another first for Sony A-mount cameras, the α99 II records 4K video with full pixel readout and no pixel binning. It uses the XAVC S format. The camera is also capable of recording at 100Mbps for 4K video, utilizing the full width of the full-frame sensor.
Other video features include: slow and quick mode with frame rates of 1–120 fps selectable in eight steps for up to 60x quick motion and 5x slow motion recording; picture profiles, time code and clean HDMI output; gamma assist for real-time S-Log monitoring; a zebra mode for easier exposure adjustment; and S-Log3 and S-Log2 gamma.
Additional α99 II Features
The α99 II also features: an estimated 300,000-cycle shutter unit; an improved silent multi controller with a click-stop on/off switch allows control of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, AF area and AF mode; a 5-axis image stabilization system providing a shutter speed advantage of 4.5 steps; and location data acquisition via a Bluetooth connection to a compatible mobile device.
Plus, its XGA OLED Tru-finder features Zeiss T* coating and 0.78x magnification. A fluorine coating on its outer lens also prevents fingerprints, water, oil and dirt from sticking.
In addition, based upon feedback from professionals, the α99 II is 8% smaller than the original ɑ99. And it features a newly designed grip, magnesium alloy body, dual SD card slots as well as dust and moisture resistance.
The Sony α99 II full-frame, interchangeable-lens camera will ship in November. It will have a suggested retail price of $3,200. sony.com