Sony has revamped its range of A mount cameras, unveiling at Photokina 2016 the 42.4-megapixel, full-frame Sony A99 II with 4K video recording and a new 4D Focus AF system.
Chief among the new Sony camera’s specifications is a 42.4-million-pixel full-frame Exmoor R CMS sensor which boasts a gables-on-chip design to allow for faster readout of large volumes of data.
Sony says the design is also more efficient in its light-gathering ability, which helps it shoot low light photography with less noise and capture a wider dynamic range.
As a result, the Sony A99 II offers a native ISO range of 100 to 25,600, which is expandable from ISO 50 to 102,400.
The Sony A99 II’s sensor also has been designed without an optical low-pass filter to help it resolve finer detail, and photographers can select to record compressed or uncompressed raw files.
Perhaps the biggest headline is a completely revamped autofocus system with the Full-frame 4D Focus hybrid phase detection AF which combines a 79-point dedicated phase detection AF sensor with 399 focal plane phase detection AF points to produce a 79 hybrid cross AF point array.
Sony says these cross points deliver more precise focusing and tracking of moving subjects. What’s more, the new AF system uses no moving mirror, so TMT enables continuous AF operation and the finder image remains unaffected during any type of shooting, including live view and movie recording.
In low light the Sony A99 II’s AF system can function down to -4 EV, Sony says.
The Sony A99 II offers internal 4K video recording in the XAVC S format, with full pixel readout and no pixel binning.
The A99 II is capable of recording high quality footage at 100Mbps for 4K recording, while a new ‘Slow and Quick’ mode (S&Q) supports both slow motion and quick motion. Frame rates from 1fps to 120fps (100 fps) can be selected in 8 steps for up to 60x (50x) quick motion and 5x (4x) slow motion recording.
A number of features designed for a professional movie production workflow are included such as picture profiles, time code and HDMI clear output and the new ɑ99 II now also offers gamma assist for real time S-Log monitoring and a zebra mode for easier exposure adjustment.
S-Log3 and S-Log2 gamma are now included, making wide dynamic range shooting possible with blown highlights or blocked shadows making the ɑ99 II easily integratable into a fully professional movie production workflow.
A new shutter unit (which lasts for 300,000 cycles) and the BIONZ X processing engine combine to help the Sony A99 II shoot at up to 12 fps with AF/AE tracking, and Sony says a large buffer and improved data processing allow playback of your images instantly.
Sony says it has also tweaked the algorithm to the A99’s EVF display to deliver continuous live-view shooting at up to 8fps with AF/AE tracking. Exposure, white balance and other camera settings are displayed in real time in the viewfinder and continuous live view shooting can be set in 3 stages to match a variety of subjects: 8 fps, 6 fps and 4 fps.
Images are kept stable with Sony’s 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilisation system, which debuts in an A mount camera for the first time in the A99 II.
Sony says that in addition to movement in the pitch and yaw axes that tend to occur at longer focal lengths, the new IS system detects and compensates for shift blur that can occur on the X and Y axes when shooting close-up, and roll blur that is often apparent in still images and movies that are shot at night.
New gyro sensors are employed to detect minuscule camera movements that can cause blurring, providing a 4.5 step shutter speed advantage that helps avoid camera shake that often occurs when shooting at resolutions as high as this.
Photographers can monitor the effect of image stabilisation in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen during live view when the shutter button is half pressed or the Focus Magnifier functions are used. This allows framing and focus to be accurately checked via live view when shooting at telephoto focal lengths or macro distances.
Sony says it has also enhanced the multi-controller introduced in the A99 to so that in addition to allowing control of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, AF area, AF mode and other settings, it now features a click-stop ON/OFF switch. When ON, the preferred setting for still image shooting, the control clicks, providing a tactile indication of the length of rotation. When OFF, the control turns smoothly and quietly, ideal for movie shooting.
Sony A99 II Price and Release Date
The new Sony ɑ99 II price tag will start at €3600, US $3,199 and Canadian $3,999 body only. A UK Sony a99 II price tag was not available at the time of writing.
The new Sony camera’s release date is set for November 2016.