Sony A99 II Comparison Review
The Sony Alpha ALT-A99 II is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was officially introduced in September 2016 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 42.2 megapixel.
Is the Sony A99 II a good camera? The A99 II has a Camera Elo of 2743. This rating puts the A99 II among the top 10 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the A99 II ranks among the top 40 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 4.5-star performance rating.
|Sony A99 II|
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Sony A mount lenses|
|42.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 25 600|
|Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1229k dots|
|Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen)|
|12 shutter flaps per second|
|490 shots per battery charge|
|143 x 104 x 76 mm, 849 g|
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 A99 II vis-à-vis a credit card. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Sony A99 II 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.
|1.||Sony A99 II||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|2.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|3.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|4.||Nikon D850||146 mm||124 mm||79 mm||1005 g||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|5.||Pentax K-1||137 mm||110 mm||86 mm||1010 g||760||Y||Feb 2016||1,799|
|6.||Sony A7R III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|7.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|8.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|9.||Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|10.||Sony A850||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
|11.||Sony A900||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or 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 A99 II was launched in the US market at a price of $3,199. 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 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 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
The Sony A99 II 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 A99 II among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of alternatives.
| DXO |
|1.||Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|2.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|3.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|4.||Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|5.||Pentax K-1||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60i||25.4||14.6||3280||96|
|6.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|7.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|8.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|9.||Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|10.||Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
|11.||Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The A99 II indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the A99 II can use is 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A99 II has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 2400k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.78x. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A99 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|3.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|6.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|7.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|8.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One useful feature of the A99 II 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.
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 ALT-A99 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A99 II has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the A99 II 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 table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Sony A99 II||..||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|2.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|3.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|4.||Nikon D850||4.5/5||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|5.||Pentax K-1||5/5||..||84/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||1,799|
|6.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|7.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|8.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|9.||Sony A99||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|10.||Sony A850||3/5||..||75/100||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|11.||Sony A900||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 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.
Sony A99 II FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the A99 II.
What technology is the imaging sensor in the A99 II based on?
The camera is build around a BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated 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 A99 II with the BIONZ X image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the A99 II?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-25600.
Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?
Yes, the LCD-screen of the A99 II is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Sony Alpha ALT-A99 II?
Sony mentions a shutter rating of 300 000 actuations for the A99 II. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the A99 II over, say, three years, one would have to take about 300 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my Sony A99 II?
Sony embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your A99 II has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Sony A99 II?
The A99 II offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.
Does the Sony A99 II 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 A99 II's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.
Does the Sony A99 II support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?
Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).
Which battery does the A99 II 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 A99 II?
Yes, Sony offers the VG-C99AM 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.
|Camera Model||Sony A99 II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 3 199|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||862 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||42.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7 952 x 5 304 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.90 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25 600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 25 600 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||92|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2317|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fully flexible screen|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||300 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||NP-FM500H power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||490 shots per charge|
143 x 104 x 76 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||849 g (29.9 oz)|
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