First look at the camera Sony Alpha a99 Mark II. Back to the Future?
Sony’s ten years of presence in the interchangeable lens camera market is an obvious example of a success story. Starting with an absorption collaboration with an industry veteran, the company quickly found the right path, becoming a recognized leader in the class of mirrorless devices and developing from scratch its own system with an E-Mount mount.
The trump card with which Sony beats its competitors is innovation. The company is not afraid to experiment, does not save on technological research, it has enough energy and strength to push even products whose prospects at first are not at all obvious.
Of the frank misses made by Sony over the years, we can only mention the release of a series of “open-frame” camera lenses of the DSC-QX series.
Some also attribute the continued release of A-Mount cameras to Sony’s mistakes. Indeed, despite all its innovation and commitment to progress, the company regularly updates its fleet of systems with a translucent fixed mirror.
It seems that Sony really feeds some irrational tenderness to the A-Mount lens mount and translucent mirror technology. If you look at the list of cameras with interchangeable lenses released by the company, it turns out that a model with A-Mount (at least one) appears in it every year!
Moreover, the trend does not change. So it was when Sony got the A-Mount from the hands of Konica Minolta, which it bought, and there was simply no alternative to this mount. So it was when in the assortment of company models on an equal footing there were mirrorless mirrors of the NEX series with an E-Mount mount (then still young and poorly developed in terms of a variety of optics) and half-mirrors with A-Mount.
So it goes on now. In a world where the successful Sony launches flagship mirrorless devices with full-frame arrays and E-Mount, “half-mirror” cameras with A-Mount continue to exist – including in the form of the recently presented full-frame flagship model Sony Alpha a99 Mark II.
Why is this happening? What for? Who, according to Sony, is a potential buyer of the Sony Alpha a99 Mark II? Let’s get it right.
We note right away that we are rather skeptical about the technology of a translucent mirror – especially in modern realities. Also, we do not share the bright eyes on the optics for the A-Mount mount, especially when it comes not to Sony lenses, but to the heritage of Minolta. Both this and the other seem to us obvious archaism, which it is time to slowly move from the market to museum silence.
But it’s all the more strange to see the nuances of the past in such a technically modern camera as the Sony Alpha a99 Mark II.
The Sony Alpha a99 Mark II has a full-frame CMOS sensor with backlight in a resolution of 42 megapixels (maximum detail is 7952 by 5304 pixels). The sensitivity of the sensor is in the range from 100 to 25600 ISO units. It can be expanded programmatically by 50, 51200 and 102400 ISO.
The movable mount of the matrix inside the housing allows it to deviate along five axes and compensates for the jitter of the device. This stabilization system shows efficiency at the level of 4-4.5 stops and works both in the photography and video recording modes.
Paired with the matrix, the Sony Alpha a99 Mark II is equipped with the latest Sony Bionz X processor. Its speed is enough to provide serial shooting speeds of up to 12 frames per second and video recording in UltraHD format at a speed of 30 frames per second with a streaming speed of 100 megabits per second (used XAVC codec S). When recording Full HD, you can adjust the frame rate from 24 to 120 (24-25-30-50-60-60-100-120) frames per second.
The buffer capacity allows the device to make more than 50 frames in RAW format and about 60 frames in JPG format with maximum quality. The model supports two SD memory cards or Sony Memory Stick Duo, allowing you to distribute recording modes on different slots.
The Sony Alpha a99 Mark II autofocusing system is called a hybrid (Hybrid Cross Type), but we are not talking about a combination of phase and contrast focusing algorithms, but about the presence of phase sensors integrated into the matrix and the presence of a special sensor with phase sensors – as at mirror devices.
The number of integrated sensors on the matrix is 399. They are distributed throughout the frame field and work very quickly. The phase sensor structurally accommodates 79 sensors, 15 central of which are cross-shaped. The central phase sensor, in addition, is optimized for working with insufficient lighting and retains the possibility of focusing at a light level of -4EV (when using high-aperture optics and on an open aperture).
Shutter Sony Alpha a99 Mark II allows you to work out shutter speeds from 1/8000 fractions of a second to 30 seconds. The minimum shutter speed when synchronizing with the flash is 1/250 a split second. Since the shutter system of cameras with a fixed mirror wears out mechanically as slowly as in mirrorless ones, the manufacturer determines its life in the Sony Alpha a99 Mark II at the level of 300 thousand frames.