Sony A7 vs A99
The Sony Alpha A7 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A99 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2013 and September 2012. The A7 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A99 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Sony A7||Sony A99|
|Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Sony E mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|24 MP, Full Frame Sensor||24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-25600 (50-51200)||ISO 100-25600|
|Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 1230k dots||3.0" LCD, 1229k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||6 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|340 shots per battery charge||500 shots per battery charge|
|127 x 94 x 48 mm, 474 g||147 x 111 x 78 mm, 812 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A7 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A99? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A7 and the Sony A99 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A99 is notably larger (37 percent) than the Sony A7. Moreover, the A99 is substantially heavier (71 percent) than the A7. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the A7 gets 340 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the A99 can take 500 images on a single charge of its NP-FM500H power pack. The power pack in the A7 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Sony A7»||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699||Sony A7|
|Sony A99«||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony A99|
|Nikon D610« »||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Panasonic GH4« »||133 mm||93 mm||84 mm||560 g||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499||Panasonic GH4|
|Samsung NX1« »||139 mm||102 mm||66 mm||550 g||500||Y||Sep 2014||1,499||Samsung NX1|
|Sony A7 III« »||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9« »||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A6300« »||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||Sony A6300|
|Sony A6500« »||120 mm||67 mm||53 mm||453 g||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399||Sony A6500|
|Sony A7 II« »||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7S« »||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||489 g||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7R« »||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX1R« »||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799||Sony RX1R|
|Sony A77« »||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399||Sony A77|
|Sony A850« »||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999||Sony A850|
|Sony A900« »||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999||Sony A900|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The A7 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 39 percent) than the A99, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Even though the A7 has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A7 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 5.96μm for the A99), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the A7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the A99, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
The A7 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Sony Alpha A7 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A99 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90||Sony A7|
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89||Sony A99|
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94||Nikon D610|
|Panasonic GH4||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74||Panasonic GH4|
|Samsung NX1||APS-C||28.0||6480||4320||4K/30p||24.2||13.2||1363||83||Samsung NX1|
|Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A6300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85||Sony A6300|
|Sony A6500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.5||13.7||1405||85||Sony A6500|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91||Sony RX1R|
|Sony A77||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.2||801||78||Sony A77|
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79||Sony A850|
|Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79||Sony A900|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7 offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the A99 (2400k vs 2359k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A7, the Sony A99, and comparable cameras.
|Sony A7||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Sony A7|
|Sony A99||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||Y||Sony A99|
|Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D610|
|Panasonic GH4||2359||n||3.0||1036||swivel||Y||1/8000s||12.0||Y||n||Panasonic GH4|
|Samsung NX1||2360||Y||3.0||1036||tilting||Y||1/8000s||15.0||Y||n||Samsung NX1|
|Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A6300||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6300|
|Sony A6500||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Sony A6500|
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7S||2400||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1R|
|Sony A77||2359||Y||3.0||921||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y||Sony A77|
|Sony A850||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||Y||Sony A850|
|Sony A900||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A900|
One feature that differentiates the A99 and the A7 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The A99 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the A7 has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.The A99 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the A7 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A7 and the A99 write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Alpha A7 and Sony Alpha SLT-A99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony A7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7|
|Sony A99||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A99|
|Nikon D610||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D610|
|Panasonic GH4||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic GH4|
|Samsung NX1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Samsung NX1|
|Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A6300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6300|
|Sony A6500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6500|
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX1R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1R|
|Sony A77||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A77|
|Sony A850||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A850|
|Sony A900||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A900|
It is notable that the A7 offers wifi support, while the A99 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A99 (unlike the A7) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the A99 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the A7 and the A99 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A99 was replaced by the Sony A99 II, while the A7 was followed by the Sony A7 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A7 and the Sony A99? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A7:
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More compact: Is smaller (127x94mm vs 147x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 338g or 42 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (39 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the A99).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha SLT-A99:
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 340) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (9 points each). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A7 and the Sony A99 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the A7 and the A99 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Sony A7 vs Sony A99
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Sony A7||Sony A99|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2013||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 1699||USD 2799|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A7||Sony A99|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm||35.8 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||855.62 mm2||852.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.97 μm||5.96 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.80 MP/cm2||2.82 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-51200 ISO||50-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||90||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.8||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.2||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2248||1555|
|Screen Specs||Sony A7||Sony A99|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A7||Sony A99|
|Autofocus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000/s||1/8000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A7||Sony A99|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Sony A7||Sony A99|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
127 x 94 x 48 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
147 x 111 x 78 mm
(5.8 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||474 g (16.7 oz)||812 g (28.6 oz)|
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