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Sony A900 Comparison Review

The Sony Alpha A900 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was officially introduced in September 2008 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 24.4 megapixel.

camera

Is the Sony A900 a good camera? The A900 has a Camera Elo of 1866. This rating puts the A900 among the top 50 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the A900 ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Sony A900
Digital single lens reflex
Sony A mount lenses
24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video
ISO 200-3200 (100-6400)
Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
880 shots per battery charge
156 x 117 x 82 mm, 895 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Sony A900 vis-à-vis a credit card. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Sony A900 vs credit card front
A900 versus credit card top view
A900 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Sony A900 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons 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 A900 156 mm 117 mm 82 mm 895 g 880 Y Sep 2008 2,999- i Sony A900
 
Canon 5D Mark II« » 152 mm 114 mm 75 mm 850 g 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
 
Panasonic S1« » 149 mm 110 mm 97 mm 1017 g 400 Y Feb 2019 2,499 i i Panasonic S1
 
Sony A9« » 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A99 II« » 143 mm 104 mm 76 mm 849 g 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
 
Sony A6500« » 120 mm 67 mm 53 mm 453 g 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
 
Sony A7S II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 627 g 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Sony RX10 II« » 129 mm 88 mm 102 mm 813 g 400 Y Jun 2015 1,299- i Sony RX10 II
 
Sony A7 II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
 
Sony A99« » 147 mm 111 mm 78 mm 812 g 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony A99
 
Sony A850« » 156 mm 117 mm 82 mm 895 g 880 Y Aug 2009 1,999- i Sony A850
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Sony A900 was launched in the US market at a price of $2,999. 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.

Sony A900:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

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 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 are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Sony A900 features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Sony A900 among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.

Sony A900 sensor measures

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 A900 Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-23.712.3143179Sony A900
 
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
 
Panasonic S1« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p25.214.5333395Panasonic S1
 
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
 
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 A7S II« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385Sony A7S II
 
Sony RX10 II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p23.012.653170Sony RX10 II
 
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
 
Sony A99« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.0155589Sony A99
 
Sony A850« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-23.812.2141579Sony A850

It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the A900 does not provide the possibility to capture videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A900 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.74x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A900 and comparable 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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Sony A900optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A900
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
 
Panasonic S1« »5760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y Panasonic S1
 
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 A6500« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y Sony A6500
 
Sony A7S II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7S II
 
Sony RX10 II« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/3200s 14.0 Y Y Sony RX10 II
 
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
 
Sony A99« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 6.0 n Y Sony A99
 
Sony A850« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n Y Sony A850

One useful feature of the A900 is a presence of a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

 

Connection comparison

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 A900 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 A900Y----mini2.0---Sony A900
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
 
Panasonic S1« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic S1
 
Sony A9« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
 
Sony A99 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A99 II
 
Sony A6500« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6500
 
Sony A7S II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
 
Sony RX10 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony RX10 II
 
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
 
Sony A99« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Sony A99
 
Sony A850« »Y----mini2.0---Sony A850
 

Expert reviews

While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A900. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. 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).

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 A900+ ++ +4.5/54/55/5 Sep 2008 2,999- i Sony A900
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
 
Panasonic S1« »+ +88/1004.5/5-4/5 Feb 2019 2,499 i i Panasonic S1
 
Sony A9« »+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A99 II« »-85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
 
Sony A6500« »+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
 
Sony A7S II« »+-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Sony RX10 II« »+ +82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2015 1,299- i Sony RX10 II
 
Sony A7 II« »+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
 
Sony A99« »-84/1004.5/5o4.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony A99
 
Sony A850« »-75/100-4/54.5/5 Aug 2009 1,999- i Sony A850
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Sony A900 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the A900.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the A900 based on?

The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Sony equipped the A900 with the BIONZ image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the A900?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Sony Alpha A900?

Sony does not publish a shutter rating for the A900. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 150 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 150 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 150 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my Sony A900?

Sony embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your A900 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.

Does the Sony A900 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The A900's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.

Which battery does the A900 use?

The camera gets its power from the NP-FM500H (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the A900?

Yes, Sony offers the VG-C90AM as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

~
    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Sony A900
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Sony A mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2008
    Launch Price USD 2999
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 861.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6048 x 4032 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video
    ISO Setting 200-3200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-6400 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1431
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.74x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF or MS cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FM500H power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)880 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 156 x 117 x 82 mm
    (6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 895 g (31.6 oz)

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