Sony today unveiled the A99, a camera we discussed back in August that had been rumored for months. From the spec sheet, it seems Sony is listening to video users and trying to pick up the pieces from Canon's somewhat less-than-stellar Mark III offering. While that camera's still image quality is well above average, its video features were a bit lacking. Sony, on the other hand, took every criticism anyone had for that Canon DSLR and put them all into one body: uncompressed HDMI, 1080p 60fps, and a swivel LCD. Sony, at least for the moment, can claim the top spot as the cheapest full-frame camera with all of these video features. Check out the videos below for some sample footage from the camera.

Here are the specs for the camera:

  • Full-Frame 24.3MP Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • 3.0" TruBlack Tilting LCD Display
  • Uncompressed HDMI
  • XGA OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Full HD 1920x1080 60p Video Recording
  • (Partial) Data/Frame Rates: AVCHD: PS - 1920 x 1080/60p@28Mbps -- FX 1920 x 1080/24p@24Mbps
  • Still Image ISO: 100-25600 (Extended Mode: 50-25600)
  • Video ISO: 100-6400
  • Simultaneous Still Image/Video Recording to Dual SD Card Slots
  • Internal SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • Auto HDR Mode
  • Release Date: November 2012
  • Price: $2,800

This is really the most fully-featured DSLR (SLT) to date. While other companies are working on products with just as many features (like Panasonic with their GH3), none can claim that they are doing this with full-frame sensors. Nikon's D800 was an admirable offering from Nikon, but Sony has been doing video for a lot longer and they've really tried to improve the video capabilities of the camera. Here is one interesting bit from the production description:

Area-Specific Noise Reduction: The noise reduction system used by the A99 divides your images into various parts based on their patterns including edges, textures and gradients. It then processes these areas using the best and most appropriate settings to optimize image quality, and reduce noise. This is all in addition to the conventional noise reduction techniques employed by the camera, and helps to produce images with low noise throughout the wide 9-stop ISO range of 100 to 25600, and expanded to include ISO 50.

I don't know how exactly that will apply in video mode (if at all), but it's certainly an interesting idea that is finally pushing noise reduction into a new generation. Since the A99 employs a new continuous dual autofocus system, it should work a lot better during video recording (even if it won't be perfect). There is a lot to like about this camera, but the only thing that will still prevent some users from switching over is the Alpha mount, as many DSLR users already own many Nikon or Canon lenses, and these can't really be adapted to the Sony mount (there is an exception, but it's not even worth worrying about). Sony's E-mount is far more versatile, and it's interesting that they are sticking with the A-mount even while pushing their E-mount in most of their other cameras. While the E-mount lenses have been designed for APS-C, that lens mount can technically take full-frame E-mount lenses -- so we may actually see some of those in the future depending on Sony's plans.

It's a little interesting that Sony PR would pick the iPhone announcement day to introduce this camera (as well as a few others that made this post a little cramped), but it's definitely putting Sony at the top of a few lists for people who need stills and video in a small package. You can pre-order the camera from the link below as well as read more in-depth specifications from the Sony website.


[via The Verge]