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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.

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Is the Sony A99 II a good camera? The A99 II has a Camera Elo of 2687. 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.

Headline Specifications
Sony A99 II
Digital single lens reflex
Sony A mount lenses
42.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video
ISO 100 - 25 600
Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)
3.0 LCD, 1229k dots
Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen)
12 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
490 shots per battery charge
143 x 104 x 76 mm, 849 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 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.

Sony A99 II vs credit card front
A99 II versus credit card top view
A99 II and credit card rear side

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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony A99 II 143 mm 104 mm 76 mm 849 g 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i
 
Canon 5DS R 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i
 
Nikon D850 146 mm 124 mm 79 mm 1005 g 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i
 
Panasonic S1R 149 mm 110 mm 97 mm 1016 g 380 Y Feb 2019 3,699 i
 
Pentax K-1 137 mm 110 mm 86 mm 1010 g 760 Y Feb 2016 1,799i
 
Sony A7R III 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199i
 
Sony A7R II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 625 g 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199i
 
Sony A7S II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 627 g 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999i
 
Sony A99 147 mm 111 mm 78 mm 812 g 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Sony A850 156 mm 117 mm 82 mm 895 g 880 Y Aug 2009 1,999i
 
Sony A900 156 mm 117 mm 82 mm 895 g 880 Y Sep 2008 2,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

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.

Sony A99 II:
Check Amazon price

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.

Sony A99 II sensor measures

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 comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Sony A99 II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792
 
Canon 5DS R Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/30p24.612.4230886
 
Nikon D850 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100
 
Panasonic S1R Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/60p26.414.13525100
 
Pentax K-1 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60i25.414.6328096
 
Sony A7R III Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100
 
Sony A7R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498
 
Sony A7S II Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385
 
Sony A99 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.0155589
 
Sony A850 Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none23.812.2141579
 
Sony A900 Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none23.712.3143179

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.

Feature comparison

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.

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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
 
Sony A99 II2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Canon 5DS Roptical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon D850optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n n
 
Panasonic S1R5760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
 
Pentax K-1optical Y 3.2 1037 full-flex n 1/8000s 4.4 n Y
 
Sony A7R III3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A7R II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Sony A7S II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Sony A992359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 6.0 n Y
 
Sony A850optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n Y
 
Sony A900optical Y 3.0 922 fixed 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.

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 ALT-A99 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Sony A99 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
 
Canon 5DS RYmonomonoY-mini3.0---
 
Nikon D850YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYY
 
Panasonic S1RYstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
 
Pentax K-1YstereomonoYYmicro2.0Y--
 
Sony A7R IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A7R IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7S IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A99YstereomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Sony A850Y----mini2.0---
 
Sony A900Y----mini2.0---

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.

Expert reviews

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony A99 II..85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i
 
Canon 5DS R+83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i
 
Nikon D850+ +89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i
 
Panasonic S1R..89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2019 3,699 i
 
Pentax K-1..84/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2016 1,799i
 
Sony A7R III+ +90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199i
 
Sony A7R II+ +90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199i
 
Sony A7S II+..4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999i
 
Sony A99..84/1004.5/5o4.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Sony A850..75/100..4/54.5/5 Aug 2009 1,999i
 
Sony A900+ ++ +4.5/54/55/5 Sep 2008 2,999i
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.

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    Specifications Summary
    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 Specs
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 862 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x
    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
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.78x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2400k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fully flexible screen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 12 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy300 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationIn-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
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    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
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FM500H power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)490 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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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