Sony's α99 II camera was announced at Photokina in the fall of 2016 and five months later it's garnering impressive reviews and a lot of excitement throughout the industry. The demand and enthusiasm for Sony's flagship SLT camera was so strong that most US retailers sold out their supply in less than a month.
After being able to truly test drive and dive deep with the α99 II, DPReview and PhotographyBlog have released their reviews for Sony's multi-talented A-mount all-star.
PhotographyBlog applauds Sony's ability to pack the power of a 42 megapixel full-frame sensor work-horse into a smaller package saying, "Sony has actually managed to reduce it in size from the previous generation - quite an impressive feat considering the size of the sensor (full frame) and the technology inside the housing."
One of the α99 II's most unique features that DPReview is quick to point out is its SLT design that utilizes a translucent mirror which allows the camera to shoot with a much faster frame rate because there's no mirror bouncing up and down. This is especially ideal for shooting action and sports without missing a beat.
"Unlike a [traditional] DSLR, this mirror doesn't ever flip out of the way. Instead, it is semi-transparent and sends only part of the light to the dedicated AF sensor, and lets the rest of the light pass through to the imaging chip. The camera can use both of these AF systems where they overlap, creating a Hybrid Cross Type AF system that should deliver both speed and accuracy that Sony hopes will match the best systems out there."
The α99 II's premium video capabilities are also highlighted by both reviews with PhotographyBlog noting "Other manufacturers generally have resisted putting a manoeuvrable screen on their full-frame professional cameras, so it’s great to see one of those here - it’s particularly useful for video recording. Naturally, as we’d expect from an electronics giant like Sony, the α99 II is 4K compatible, too."
DPReview continued praising the α99 II's video chops by pointing out the contributions made by the stabilization and continuous AF features saying "The α99 II also boasts some impressive video specs, which should be enhanced both by the camera's ability to continuously autofocus in video and by its in-body image stabilization." The review goes on to say "The hardware we have here is perfect for shooting video: the SLT setup means the camera can make AF measurements and adjustments separately from the imaging plane, allowing the camera to put out the best video quality possible while continuously focusing."
The Auto ISO feature particularly impressed DPReview: "We're really pleased to see that the camera allows you to use Auto ISO in manual exposure mode, with exposure compensation so that you can specify the target brightness that you want the camera to maintain. This can be useful for both stills and video shooting, for when you want to specify the exposure settings and just let the camera do the rest, using ISO."
Another striking feature that DPReview commends is the 5 axis stabilization that Sony has developed noting "One of the α99 II's major selling points is the inclusion of 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization, something that we've only seen on a full-frame sensor in Sony's own a7 lineup and the Pentax K-1. That alone makes it a bit rare."
PhotographyBlog ultimately "highly recommended" the α99 II wit 4.5 out of 5 stars saying "Sony has produced an excellent camera with the α99 II, following on from the excellent work of the original α99... being able to focus quickly and accurately, and having a high frame rate is useful for fast moving action... it could convince people to switch and make savings over time."
DPReview sums up it's thoughts and overall rating of 85% with "The α99 II is the new 'God Camera' in the SLT world, and lives up to many expectations, while smashing others...On top of that, Sony has one of the most intelligent JPEG engines around: sharpening and detail retention in low light are class-leading, thanks to an excellent context sensitive noise reduction engine... the α99 II is the ultimate SLT."