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Sony A9 vs A99

The Sony Alpha A9 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A99 are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2017 and September 2012. The A9 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. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.


Headline Specifications
Sony A9   Sony A99
Sony A9 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
4K/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-51200 (50-204800) ISO 100-25600
Electronic viewfinder (3686k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)
3.0" LCD, 1440k dots 3.0" LCD, 1229k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen)
20 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
650 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
127 x 96 x 63 mm, 673 g 147 x 111 x 78 mm, 812 g

Body comparison: Sony A9 vs A99

The physical size and weight of the Sony A9 and the Sony A99 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the A9 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony A9 and Sony A99
Compare A9 versus A99 top
Compare A9 or A99 rear

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 (34 percent) than the Sony A9. Moreover, the A99 is markedly heavier (21 percent) than the A9. 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 A9 gets 650 shots out of its NP-FZ100 battery, while the A99 can take 500 images on a single charge of its NP-FM500H power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony A9» 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
Sony A99« 5.8 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 28.6 oz 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony A99
Olympus E-M1 II« » 5.3 in 3.6 in 2.6 in 20.2 oz 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Sony A7 III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
Sony A99 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
Sony A6500« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
Sony A7R II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.0 oz 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.1 oz 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
Sony A7 II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Sony A77« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 25.8 oz 470 Y Aug 2011 1,999- i Sony A77
Sony A850« » 6.1 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 31.6 oz 880 Y Aug 2009 1,999- i Sony A850
Sony A900« » 6.1 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 31.6 oz 880 Y Sep 2008 2,999- i Sony A900

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 A99 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the A9, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony A9 vs A99

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A99 is 1 percent bigger. 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.

Sony A9 and Sony A99 sensor measures

Even though the A99 has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A99 has a lower pixel density and marginally larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 5.94μm for the A9), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the A9 is much more recent (by 4 years and 7 months) than the A99, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The A9 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.

The Sony Alpha A9 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. 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..

A9 versus A99 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Sony A9» Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
Sony A99« Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.0155589Sony A99
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100Sony A7R III
Sony A99 II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792Sony A99 II
Sony A6500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585Sony A6500
Sony A7R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385Sony A7S II
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
Sony A77« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178Sony A77
Sony A850« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-23.812.2141579Sony A850
Sony A900« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-23.712.3143179Sony 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, but the A9 provides a higher video resolution than the A99. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the A99 is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A9 vs A99

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A9 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the A99 (3686k vs 2359k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A9 and Sony A99 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Sony A9»3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y Sony A9
Sony A99«2359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 6.0 n Y Sony A99
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Sony A7R III
Sony A99 II« »2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 12.0 n Y Sony A99 II
Sony A6500« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 11.0 Y Y Sony A6500
Sony A7R II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7S II
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
Sony A77« »2359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 8000 12.0 Y Y Sony A77
Sony A850« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 3.0 n Y Sony A850
Sony A900« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A900

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The A9 has a touchscreen, while the A99 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

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 A9 does not have a selfie-screen.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the A9 features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A9 and the A99 write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A9 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A99 only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison: Sony A9 vs A99

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 A9 and Sony Alpha SLT-A99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Sony A9»YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
Sony A99«YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Sony A99
Olympus E-M1 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic GH5
Sony A7 III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
Sony A7R III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R III
Sony A99 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A99 II
Sony A6500« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6500
Sony A7R II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
Sony A77« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony A77
Sony A850« »Y----mini2.0---Sony A850
Sony A900« »Y----mini2.0---Sony A900

It is notable that the A9 offers wifi support, while the A99 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

The A9 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the A99 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A99 was succeeded by the Sony A99 II.


Review summary: Sony A9 vs A99

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A9 and the Sony A99? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Sony Alpha A9:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3686k vs 2359k dots).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 1229k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (127x96mm vs 147x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 139g or 17 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (650 versus 500) on a single battery charge.
  • 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.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the A99 launch.


Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha SLT-A99:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • More flexible LCD: Has 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.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2012).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A9 is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

A9 17:06 A99

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A9 or the A99 handle or perform in practice. 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.

Expert reviews: Sony A9 vs A99

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony A9»HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
Sony A99«-84/1004.5/5rev4.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony A99
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Sony A7 III« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« »HiRec90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
Sony A99 II« »-85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
Sony A6500« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
Sony A7R II« »HiRec90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« »Rec-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
Sony A7 II« »Rec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Sony A77« »91/10081/100-4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,999- i Sony A77
Sony A850« »-75/100-4/54.5/5 Aug 2009 1,999- i Sony A850
Sony A900« »HiRecHiRec4.5/54/55/5 Sep 2008 2,999- i Sony A900

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Sony A9 vs Sony A99

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Sony A9 Sony A99
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Sony A mount lenses
    Launch Date April 2017 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 4499 USD 2799
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.6 x 23.8 mm 35.8 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 847.28 mm2 852.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 42.8 mm 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0 1.0
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.94 μm 5.96 μm
    Pixel Density 2.83 MP/cm2 2.82 MP/cm2
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-51200 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-204800 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Resolution 3686k dots 2359k dots
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1440k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fully flexible screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 20 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Silent ShootingElectronic Shutterno E-Shutter
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Connectivity Specs
    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
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FZ100 power pack NP-FM500H power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)650 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 127 x 96 x 63 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
    147 x 111 x 78 mm
    (5.8 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 673 g (23.7 oz) 812 g (28.6 oz)

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