Sony a99 full press release

And finally the Sony a99 full press release:

Sony Introduces New Full-Frame α99 Camera with Translucent Mirror Technology and Dual AF System

Flagship α A-mount camera delivers new levels of image quality, focus capabilities and video performance

SAN DIEGO, Sept 12, 2012 – Sony’s long awaited α99 digital camera sets a new performance standard for professional-class DSLRs, combining all of the benefits of full-frame imaging with the responsiveness and speed of Translucent Mirror Technology.
The successor to Sony’s flagship α900 DSLR, the α99 camera features a brand new 24.3 MP full-frame image sensor, a unique dual phase-detect AF system and a host of other innovative technologies that work together to deliver the best image and full HD video quality in the history of Sony’s acclaimed line of α cameras
“The new α99 camera is the ultimate combination of Sony’s expertise and rich history of image sensor production coupled with our truly innovative approach to camera design” said Mike Kahn, director of the alpha interchangeable lens camera division at Sony.  “It redefines what can be accomplished with a full frame DSLR camera.”

New Levels of Imaging Performance and Response
The flagship α99 model combines its new 24.3 effective megapixel Exmor® CMOS sensor with a highly advanced BIONZ image processing engine, delivering unprecedented levels of performance in both still and video shooting.

The full frame sensor is enhanced by a newly-developed separate multi-segment optional low-pass filter, increasing its resolving power.  Assisted by an all-new front-end LSI, the BIONZ engine can process massive amounts of image signal data from the sensor at very high speeds. Together with a powerful new area-specific noise reduction (NR) algorithm, it allows to the camera to achieve 14-bit RAW output, rich gradation and low noise.

The evolved BIONZ processor also gives the α99 model a maximum sensitivity range (in expanded sensitivity mode) as wide as ISO50 – 25600 – a range of nine stops.  Its unprecedented processing power enables the camera to shoot a burst of images at up to six frames per second at full resolution or up to 10 fps in Tele-zoom high speed shooting mode.

The new α99 digital camera features a unique dual AF system, a world’s first for digital cameras.  This camera’s main focusing system – a 19-point AF system with 11 cross sensors - is complemented by a 102-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor overlaying the main image sensor.  Harnessing the power of Translucent Mirror Technology, light is passed to both phase-detection AF sensors simultaneously and continually, measuring subject distance and position more completely than other cameras.  This unique Dual AF System permits ultra-fast, accurate autofocusing that maintains tracking focus even if a subject temporarily leaves the frame.

The AF-D (depth) continuous autofocus mode* utilizes the Dual AF system for wider and more dense coverage of the frame, significantly improving AF performance with fast or erratically moving subjects against complex backgrounds.  Additionally, during movie shooting, AF Duration control provides reliable depth focusing information and ensures that the camera maintains proper focus on its subject when objects or people cross the focal plane.

A new AF range control allows photographers to manually select foreground and background distance to which the AF system will not respond, especially useful for shooting fast moving sports or animals through a nearby wire mesh or in front of a complex background that commonly distracts camera AF systems.

Crafted for Videographers and Movie-makers

The new α99 camera’s video capabilities build on Sony’s expertise in developing professional motion picture cameras, combining the unmatched resolving power and sensitivity of the full-frame sensor with several advanced features optimized for professional video production.

The flagship α99 model is the first full-frame DSLR to offer Full HD 60p/24p progressive video recording to meet AVCHD™ Version 2.0 specifications and Full-time Continuous AF Movie mode, allowing smooth, non-stop tracking of moving subjects. Other enhancements include real-time Full HD video output via HDMI®, and uninterrupted ‘dual-card’ recording using both of the camera’s media slots.

For added convenience while shooting video, a new silent, programmable multi-control dial on the front of the camera body allows silent adjustment of common settings during shooting including exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, aperture and much more.
The camera’s audio features are designed to meet the demanding needs of serious videographers. An audio level display and adjustable audio record levels are joined by a headphone jack for accurate in-the-field monitoring.   Additionally, the multi-interface shoe provides balance audio input for the optional XLR-K1M adaptor kit, which adds a high-quality mono shotgun microphone and pro-standard XLR connections for dependable audio acquisition.

Uncompromised Handing for Advanced Photographers

he camera’s XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ viewfinder offers 100% frame coverage on the viewfinder screen with exceptional brightness, contrast, clarity and resolution, ensuring a detail-packed view of the desired scene and subject.  The unique electronic viewfinder will also maintain a 100% field of view with DT lenses that are optimized for APS-C sensor cameras, converting the angle of view automatically for image recording and display.

Complementing the Tru-Finder EVF is a three-way tiltable 1229k-dot (VGA equivalent) XtraFine LCD™ display with WhiteMagic™ technology to boost overall screen brightness.  It’s especially useful for framing and shooting with the LCD in outdoor, sunny conditions.
Despite its impressive pro-class credentials, the α99 camera is the world’s lightest 35 mm full-frame interchangeable-lens digital camera. Constructed of high-rigidity magnesium alloy panels, it weighs in at just 733g (without lens and battery).  Translucent Mirror Technology, which eliminates the need for a full-frame moving mirror mechanism and heavy glass pentaprism, also contributes to the extremely light design.

Additionally, the camera is weather-sealed and all buttons and controls have been ruggedized.  A redesigned shutter block, tested to approximately 200,000 releases, further ensures the camera’s stamina and reliability.

The camera’s enhanced ergonomics include a re-designed grip and differentiated designs of several switches and buttons that allow for intuitive fingertip operation. A new exposure mode dial lock prevents accidental rotation, and a newly-developed Quick Navi Pro interface gives quick, intuitive one-handed access to common shooting parameters and controls.

The new model can also be operated via remote PC connection. Supported functions include switching between still and video shooting plus automatic transfer of still images from camera to PC for an improved studio workflow.

Designed for Professionals: New α Lens and Accessories

The full-frame imaging capabilities of the α99 camera make it an ideal partner for the new 300mm F2.8 G SSM II (SAL300F28G2) lens. Designed for demanding sports and wildlife applications, this bright super-telephoto offers a significantly improved optical design and handling compared with its predecessor. The Sony-developed Nano AR Coating assures flawless still images and HD video with reduced flare and ghosting, offering enhanced contrast.  Further, a new LSI drive circuit offers faster, more accurate autofocus with enhanced subject tracking.  The new lens is also dust- and moisture-resistant, making it an ideal candidate for the toughest outdoor shooting assignments.
Additionally, a new wide-aperture Carl Zeiss® A-mount prime lens is now under development. Optimized for superb results with the camera’s new 35mm full frame image sensor, the Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM will be available next spring.

Offered exclusively for the α99 camera, the brand-new VG-C99AM vertical grip can house and manage three batteries in total (including the camera’s own on-board battery). Resistant to dust and moisture, the grip is ideal for lengthy shooting sessions in the studio or outdoors.
The brand new, range-leading HVL-F60M is a powerful flash (GN60, in meters at ISO 100) with built-in LED light that’s ideal for creative applications with still image or movie shooting.  Smart functions include wireless multi-flash ratio control and Sony’s unique Quick Shift Bounce adjustment, while operation can be controlled quickly via the flash’s intuitive Quick Navi system. Also resistant to dust and moisture, the HVL-F60M flash comes supplied with a bounce adaptor for flash and a color conversion filter for use with LED lighting.

Compatible with 49mm and 55mm diameter lenses, the new HVL-RL1 Ring Light offers highly effective LED illumination of small subjects and is ideal for macro shooting**. Its high output level (approx. 700 lx/0.3m) is approximately four times brighter than the previous model, and operation can be switched between full-ring illumination and half-ring illumination.

The new XLR-K1M XLR Adaptor Kit is designed to meet the most demanding audio needs. It provides two pro-standard XLR terminals for connecting the α99 camera with professional microphones and mixing consoles and offers MIC/LINE input selection and separate adjustment of two channel levels to maximize operating flexibility.  The adaptor kit comes supplied with Sony professional ECM-XM1 monaural shotgun microphone, but may also be used with a wide range of professional microphones. An optional bracket is required when using the XLR-K1M kit with the α99 model.

The RMT-DSLR2 Remote Commander allows wireless shutter release for still images and start/stop control of video shooting. It’s compatible with the new α99 models as well as other α A-mount and E-mount cameras that include a remote control receiver.
Styled to reduce carrying fatigue, the new LCS-BP3 Backpack can hold the α99 camera body, an attached telephoto zoom lens plus the VG-A99AM vertical grip as well as three to four spare lenses, accessories and a laptop up to 15.5”.

The ADP-MAA is a new shoe adaptor that allows Multi Interface Shoe cameras to be used with Auto-lock Accessory Shoe accessories. This adaptor will be supplied with the new HVL-60M flash and HVL-RL1 ring light mentioned above.  Conversely, the ADP-AMA shoe adaptor allows Auto-lock Accessory Shoe cameras to be used with Multi Interface Shoe accessories.

Lastly, the PCK-LM14 Screen Protector Semi Hard Sheet safeguards the camera’s LCD screen against dust, scratches and fingerprints, and is supplied with a separate protector sheet for the top display panel.

Sony’s new SDXC memory UHS-1 memory card, SF-64UX (64 GB) is ideal for burst shooting with the α99.  It’s ultra-high speed interface (UHS-1) compatibility offers high transfer speeds up to 94 MB/s (read) and rapid data rates when transferring large RAW files of video files to  PC.  The new cards are water-resistant and designed to perform under a wide range of operating temperatures.  For additional data integrity, Sony’s File Rescue Software can help recover photos and videos that may have been accidentally deleted.

Pricing and Availability

The α99 full-frame digital system camera will be available this October as body-only for about $2800.

The SAL300GF28G2 lens will be available this November for about $7500.

The VCG-C99AM vertical grip, HVL-F60M flash and HVL-RL1 ring light will be available this October for about $380, $550 and $350, respectively.  The XLR -K1M XLR adaptor kit and RMT-DSLR2 remote commander will also be available in October for about $800 and $30, respectively.

The LCS-BP3 backpack and PCK-LM14 screen protector will be available in October as well for about $160 and $17, respectively.
The new camera, lenses and all compatible accessories will be sold at Sony retail stores ( and other authorized dealers nationwide.

Please visit for a full video preview of the α99 camera follow #SonyAlpha on twitter for the latest α camera news.

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  • Lightest full frame interchangeable lens camera? Except for the Leica M9/M9-P…

    • and probably except the Nikon D600 that will come tomorrow

  • Michal

    I’m sure it’s a good camera and will sell well but I just hate all that ridiculous marketing drivel. “Its unprecedented processing power enables the camera to shoot a burst of images at up to six frames per second at full resolution” – oddly enough Canon 5DIII must have the same “unprecedented processing power” as it also shoots six frames per second. Just use plain English without all that bullshi*t marketing speak and it will read much better.

    • but the 5Dm3 doesnt do 24 megapixels. yeah yeah 3 mpx doesnt make a huge difference i get it

      • jake

        actually , it is just 2mp more than the Canon , the Canon is 22mp , the Sony is 24mp respectively.

  • Sunnyaca

    What Sony gives, Sony taketh. A good camera by spec, but $2800 and expensive lenses to boot! Pro photographers are not going to move to Sony anytime soon and enthusiast will be turned off by the price.

    • jake

      at least , it sounds more practical camera for me than the D800 or the old 5D3, both are old innovation-less craps anyway.

      at least , Sony , Samsung and Oly seem trying to get next level but Canon Nikon do not.

      • RC

        I really like the idea of position sensitive noise reduction, but I’ve heard bad things about Sony’s service department. Pros need good service. That might be one reason why they won’t turn to Sony, at least not yet.

  • Joe Bear

    Wow. Seriously? 10 fps…at “Tele-zoom high speed shooting mode.” I wonder if that’s in 1.5 crop or lower. It’d be interesting to see how well the autofocus works, given the EVF. 6 fps on full frame though and if the EVF and autofocus system works like the A77 that I’ve read about, seems kinda pointless for people to switch to this brand. Been wanting Sony to improve their stuff since I love Zeiss glass and the promise of autofocusing and ultrasonic counterparts has been alluring, but alas, wish Sony would spend more time on developing a camera for photographers’ needs instead of on marketing and specs. And that 300mm f2.8 isn’t that really cheaper than Canon or Nikon’s version…Don’t see how any sports photographer would switch for that. Crossing my fingers for Sony to get better, but they haven’t gotten there just yet. They really need stuff that can compete with Canikon and at a lower price.

    • Sky

      10 FPS is in APS-C mode.
      And I doubt AF works exactly as in A77 – first of all you got build-in limiter and secondly there’s 102 on-sensor PDAF points, so even these two things alone should make a large difference for sports shooting.
      Besides that it seems like Sony finally understood that selling cheap cameras (vide A850 for 1999$ at the release) doesn’t take them anywhere. Instead aiming at certain audience (DSLR videophotographers) might be a win-win for them.
      But we’ll see – it’s too early to judge anything.

      • RC

        Sony’s the underdog. They need to make things cheap for people to even consider them. Their stuff doesn’t take them anywhere because it’s not what the people want.

  • Joe Bear

    And just to put it out there, I really think autofocus accuracy and reliability is the most important feature out there to a professional photographer shooting anything involving moment, not all the other drivel that most of the interwebz and most camera companies and consumers love to drum up. The D300 vs. the D7000 is the best example of this. D7000 has better specs, but the D300 wins hands down when I’m shooting college sports. I think it’s the same with these Sony cameras vs. other company offerings. Wish Sony, Pentax and Sigma could get their game faces on and increase competition. I don’t see it happening anytime soon, at least in the higher-end SLR markets, taking into account pricing as well.

    • jake

      I have both and the I ‘d have to say the D7000 was the better camera than the D300s in all regards except AF and finder quality.

      • Joe Bear

        Precisely right. In the newsroom we have both, and your analysis is spot on. I just prefer having better AF for sports than anything else.

  • john stevens

    IT IS truly ugly with that smaller grip. I have big hands..and just like the A77’s is too short. The firing trigger button ….should be moved to the end of the A99 battery grip..Bad planning as they did on the A77. I have a couple of fingers just to the way side..not being able to grip the battery grip the right way..meaning…For 2,800 dollars..not very secured feeling…Shame on you Sony.

  • babola

    And how about that ‘nice looking’ external battery grip, eh?!

    Frankenstein just called, he wants his battery pack back 🙂

    It seems like the head of Sony camera design was on holiday while this poor looking puppy slipped under the radar.

  • sing

    And now the Canikon user will be jealous that Sony always gave the most features and entertaining stylish excellent camera to its consumer! I truly love Sony cameras in the first sight!

    • Mock Kenwell

      “stylish camera” ?!?! Realy ?!

      Have you not seen the last photo? Even without that fugly battery grip the camera looks weird.

      • jake

        at least not as ugly as the D800 and rumored D600 or the old aged 5D3.

        • Joe Bear

          Lol, I’m sorry, I have the 5d mk 3 and the D700. Canikon are still better systems than Sony. Sony needs to pick up their end on lenses (update the 135mm f1.8 with ssm and weather-sealing, etc.) to make their system viable. Aged? I think not. The D700, D800, D4, 5d mk iii, and 1DX are all sexy AND utilitarian cameras, but sexiness is subjective I suppose. I like the look of this A99 as well if it weren’t for the EVF. The battery grip is the only ugly side to it, but I can see why they designed it that way. Shudders.

  • timon

    All the Sony’s Translucent Mirrors are taboo to wipe off dust to touch the mirror, and more strictly prohibited with alcohol, when dust got here. The mirrors are with plexiglass, very easy scratched, must be an only way a blowing ball to clean up.

    When dust intruded into AA-IR-filter surface then in the imaging shows stains, and dust intruded into bottom glass of a lens also bring some stains on images. AA-IR-filter module is optical glass, that is allowed to gently wipe off dust.

    In the imaging path fixed the Translucent Mirror there are intruded dust would be same trouble, however you cannot be with a wiping way.

    • Sky

      No, it’s not. Unlike you I own SLT camera and actually know that:
      1) thanks to mirror you almost never get dust on a sensor. It’s better then any anti-dust mechanism I seen.
      2) all the dust on mirror is out of focus, so you never see it. If you’ll wipe the mirror with sandpaper then perhaps you’ll see loss of sharpness, but dust on mirror is nothing like dust on sensor.
      3) You can clean mirror exactly in the same way as you clean the sensor. With only one difference: If you scratch it then you don’t send it to Sony and pay 1000$ for fixing it but rather buy new mirror for something like 75$ and swap it yourself.

      • timon

        No, your words are wrong and dishonest,

        1. The Sony’s Translucent Mirrors can get dust, the fact you are impossible to cover up. The problem is also the Translucent Mirror fixed through the imaging path.

        (Also, Sony’s Translucent Mirrors can be uplifted to top and then cleans up the sensor, that sensor still be gotten dust at the STL cameras).

        2. Said “all the dust on mirror is out of focus, so you never see it”. Very good, Please tell me, When the dust intruded into a bottom glass of lens would also be showed the stains on images, so what did you think here dust have been focused in a plane?

        3. Said “You can clean mirror exactly in the same way as you clean the sensor.” If you bought a99 from your own pocket, then you ought to exert all one’s strength to wipe up the mirror, and not a blowing tool. Sony told you that a99 mirror merely $75.

        • timon

          The mirror in every camera is a zone to be forbade a wiping way to touch the mirror surface, that is a simple knowledge. (focusing screen is also same cases, but except glass prism)
          However, if there is malarkey like that “You can clean mirror exactly in the same way as you clean the sensor”, people must be cautious.

          • timon

            Sony Japan, Support for SLT cameras, S1110278035708 update:2012/07/06, Sony told us:

            The mirror and surrounding that dust could affect the imaging at camera, Please use a blower to blow away dust.

            We are incapable of warranty claim to dispute camera buyer about cleaning paper and solution purchased and used from market.
            With respect to cleaning camera by yourself we recommend that you only blow away the dust with a blower.

            Please do not use a can of compressed gas, as this may cause malfunction.
            Do not touch the mirror surface, and keep careful here is not strongly blowing, while blower got using.

            If you cannot blow away dust with a blower, Please must sent back your SLT camera to Sony service.

            保証期間外の製品に関しましては、有償 (JPY 1,575) とさせていただきます。
            Regard to products outside the warranty period, you will pay with JPY 1,575 for clean sensor. (JPY 1,575 to only clean up sensor)

        • RC

          Timon, do you own an SLT camera? If you don’t, what you say is irrelevant.

  • Mike

    Wook at wittle Sony. Wittle Sony is a big boy now. Kudos Sony and congrats Sony fans looks like a nice camera. The mental hurdle for me is still the translucent mirror and EVF. No matter how good try get, you can’t beat the light ranissuon speed of OVF. When you look at and EVF, the event has already happened. With OVF you’re seeing it in true real time.

    • timon

      OVF did not consume the battery, nor heated the camera, and intuitively viewing scene.

      EVF ought to become a good optional part, and not fixed in the camera, which should be capable as an extended universal device to suit cameras and other devices overall. EVF needs alone a battery and HDMI input-port to adapt for most of devices. Maybe Google eyeglass could become a universal device as an EVF?

  • sgts

    nikon will be quaking in their boots…………………….. 🙂

    • Sky

      Why would they? They don’t have any direct competitor to A99 right now. Canon on the other hand with 5D MK3 using decade-old sensor… they might have an issue with A99. Especially in terms of video where specs-wise Sony beats crap out of Canon, and they actually provide some nice, branded accessories, so there’s no need to run for 3rd party gear to build up a rig.

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