After my last incident I was forced to buy a new camera. I’m a Sony/Minolta user for about ten years now. Sony system can be loved and hated at the same time, on the one hand it offers an incredible optics, on the other confusing marketing policy. Modern technology, outdated solutions. Sometimes it’s really hard to understand what’s going on inside Sony company.
My last used camera was a99 which I really loved. Its had some drawbacks, but as lanscapes photographer I did not care about it.
I’m a big boy so choice was only one… Alpha system again, any small a7 etc.
And so… Sony a99 ii it is in my bag now. I was a little curious to see how this really work.
The numbers about much was said like 42,3 Mp sensor, Incredible fast auto focus and iso performance, make “I want to have it!”
First what: Body has almost the same shape as a99 which means very good!
Ergonomics and comfort of use is more important to me than 200 or 400g more weight.
Many users have complained about the joystick that is not responsive. Personally, I think that’s a good change, I using me left eye and many times I pres the joystick accidentally with my nose. It’s impossible now It is designed so.
Another thing is the location of the battery slot. For those who like to use big plate or ”L” plate it can be problematic. What is going on? . if you use a large L plate arca-swiss type or any other than the smallest of its kind, plate will cover battery slot!!! 😮 If you want to replace the batteries you need to unscrew the quick release plate.
About image quality and shooting itself, because only about that i will writ it her, I deal only with stil images and no filming.
Shooting with a camera of such resolution It begins to be a challenge, seriously.
Over 42MP make you camera to se every defect of leans, distortion, aberration, every minimal deviations start to expose stronger than before.
When using the focus manually you have to be very careful and accurate.
Movement of stars for example, the old rule says( 500 divide by focal length) and we will get the maximum safe time to make motion of the stars frozen.
Forget about it, it was 10 years ago, for 20MP sensors you should use 400/focal length and for 40MP+ 250/focal length which means instead using 20s Shutter speed for 24mm focal length you hav to use 10s and this is a big difference. Of course you can afford to make small mistakes
if your photos are down size to lower resolution, but why buy a camera with 42Mp and use only for reduce the size of the photos? It’s just a subjective assessment 😉
The image quality from a99ii is very good. However, personally I feel a slight unsatisfied. I expected to feel this incredible resolution as was with the Sony a900/850 I would say “WOW!” But that did not happen. I skipped from 24,3MP to 42,3MP And I can see only a slight difference 🙁
Of course iso performance is better, white balance control is better(It has always been a strong side of Sony) AF system it is amazing, the dynamic range is slightly worse, not much, but for landscape photography this is very important.
Interesting fact is that not many people understand what it is UV radiation. UV radiation can negatively affect the quality of images.
At higher altitudes, for example in the mountains at the height of several thousand meters UV radiation start to be visible, at higher geographical altitudes like north Norway, Canada, Alaska Rusia etc. This problem can appears much earlier like on a few hundred meters.
Due to the very high resolution of Sony a99 ii, this problem is more noticeable Of course there is a simple way to prevent this by using a UV filter.
So far I know only two real UV filters which can protect you, it is Carl Zeiss an Heliopan. So for those who go to the mountains, remember this.
ISO: Yes, it’s definitely a very interesting part 😉 iso performance it seems to be much better than in the previous model.
I know, you probably thought I would write that is incredible 🙂 no, it’s not. Certainly the grain is much more regular and it is very similar to those from analog films. Is nice and small does not degrade sharpness. Noise is considerable, but because of the very high resolution, during down size becomes less visible. For large prints you can successfully use iso 3200 at night If you use the proper exposure technique.
In good light condition like during a day etc. even iso 6400 can be used or 12800 if you want to give your photos an artistic look 😉
For down size pictures like web sides presenting all iso sensitivity up to 12800 are acceptable to use. I emphasize that I am not a “noisephobe” and I can accept some acceptable noises, they are part of the image 😉
Of course, it is possible to use higher ISO values and still get a usable image, of course, not for quality prints, but for websites. I think that in some situations even the highest sensitivity can be used 😉
Of course, the quality of the last two photos looks like from cellphone, except that the image size is large and still contains lots of details. But maybe someone will have to use it…? Though, I have seen these types of pictures many times, when photographer during processing ad to the photo incredible amount of noise to give it an old analog style. Now this procedure is unnecessary ,Art appears itself 😉
AF: It is not infallible, but he made a big impression on me.
For the first time in my life I met with such a precision AF system. It must be remembered that it works with a huge sensor
and this is something. I could not believe it but in the late evening the AF set better focus on the mountains than I did manually 😮
I do not usually use AF as landscape photographer, but I was very curious and I decided to test it. I will not write too much about it Astounding!!!
Menu: Someone said the menu in old a99 was pre-arranged by the kid and now is as it should be. After a few years of use it’s a bit hard become accustomed
to new menu, but that is only a matter of time. I do not hide that at first, the menu seemed to me to be difficult and put me in embarrassment.
I am very glad that now I can customize the buttons with even more flexibility and now work with this camera is even more comfortable 🙂
Of course there are many strange positions in the menu that for me are like black magic. I do not know what that means and what it is for, but perhaps I’m just getting old 😮
Display: I need to write about it? is awesome as before in a99. Many complain that it is not solid? These are people who never held this camera in their hands.
I killed two of a99 and I know what I’m talking about, this display is very solid and arm as well. For a landscaping photographer this is a great improvement which everyone will appreciate.
SteadyShot: I do not want to comment about this here, why? Because I does not feel that it works 😮 This is a subjective assessment and maybe my hands are shaking too much… I do not know. I may have received a damaged body ??? 🙂
EDIT!!!: Yes, my body was not like supposed to be! After service and stedyshot system replacing my camera start working completely different. I have to say that stedyshot system is amazing 😉
The judgment is so: I received a camera that costs 30% more than the previous model as a benefit I got better ISO performance, very good AF system, more flexible/adjustable buttons, a better image quality/detail.
I lost: Tonal/dynamic range, old already learned menu 😉
Edit after half year of using: my new a99ii start to be me love. That is outstanding and extremely comfortable tool like any camera before 🙂