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1st impressions from my A99

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Peekayoh View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peekayoh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 November 2012 at 16:01
Tim, none of my lenses do AF-D although support for the 300mm is supposed to come in the Spring so it's only conjecture on my part.

As Mikey says, it should work Ok on a static but, why would you need it? I imagine that the OSPDAF points are probably of the Line Sensor type and not as accurate as the x-sensors. Like I said, conjecture on my part.
 



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tigertimb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote tigertimb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 November 2012 at 16:30
Thanks Mikey and Peter - and thinking about it you can't select the OSPDAF sensor points, so it's difficult to see how it would help for static scenes.

So part of my thinking, is that if the AF-D doesn't help in static scenes, then for 99% of my use I wouldn't be using it.
(and if so, I think I can evaluate the A99's focussing ability by seeing how well my A77 performs as they have the same focussing module?)

So I'm coming to the conclusion that AF-D is almost irrelevant for my own style of photography, so it doesn't factor one way or the other into any future decision to purchase an A99 or not.
And similarly owning compatible lenses is also a non-issue, unless I plan to use them for very occasionally tracking motion. i.e. I could buy the A99 without needing to buy new lenses to get the best from it.

(obviously this conclusion doesn't hold water for people wanting to shoot action or video)
Tim
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vbpholaw View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote vbpholaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 November 2012 at 16:56
Here's the thing with AF-D that might benefit photographing static subjects. The on-sensor AF points expand beyond the area covered by the primary AF system, particularly with respect to the left and right sides of the frame (the on-sensor AF points have a relatively large gap in the middle, which is not particularly helpful). Because of the small area covered by the primary AF sensors, they may not cover the part of a subject where you want focus for a given composition. In AF-D mode, because the on-sensor AF points extend beyond the area covered by the primary AF sensors, you may be able to compose the image as you want and still get AF where you need it. Or, you may be able to slightly adjust your composition after gaining focus with the primary system and maintain focus without having to lock focus because the additional AF-D sensors will stay with the subject. I played around with this a bit at the Photo Plus Expo while checking out the A99 and think it may work that way. Thus, I could see the AF-D feature being of some use for photographing static, or relatively static subjects, but it would take more extensive testing with the actual camera (which I don't have, though I'll be renting one about a week from now).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mikey2000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 November 2012 at 17:43
I have tried to get the 102 points to lock on before the standard 19 (so to allow AF on subjects outside the standard 19's coverage). However, I can't get any of the 102 to activate until one of the conventional 19 has first locked on.

I'm not 100% sure but it seems that using the 102 is dependent on getting a lock with at least one of the standard 19 first. Also, I'm not 100% convinced in the accuracy of the 102. They definitely seem to help the AF algorithms keep a lock on the subject (eg, no mad focus hunt to the background if your AF point strays off the intended subject). Also, in another thread Patrik tried AF with an AF-D lens and the SLT mirror physically removed and had no AF at all (not even the 102)

I find for critical focus on a static subject, I prefer to use the focus magnifier or focus peaking. It seems odd, but I'm using AF less and less as I have found the a99 peaking to be more sensitive than the a77. The a77 peaks seem to fade away as the light drops whereas the a99 keeps useable peaking even in relatively dim light; a benefit of the light gathering prowess of the larger sensor, I suppose...
And the next Dyxum Challenge will be....
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romke View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote romke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 November 2012 at 18:10
Originally posted by vbpholaw vbpholaw wrote:



The camera focused brilliantly with my 70-400. Tracking was very good. Of course image quality is amazing - at all ISO's. I am quite comfortable shooting up to 5000 ISO without bothering with any noise reduction.

My one niggle was the EVF. I love it actually... but it does fail me for one thing - a certain circumstance in tracking fast action when shooting at 6fps continuous. Where I had trouble is when following a fast moving kiter that did an abrupt turn - due to the slight lag I tended to pan too far and almost lose the kiter off the frame - certainly missing "the shot". This is a "nature of the business" challenge with any camera, but in this situation the EVF clearly falls short. It is at those sudden turns that often the best shots lie - I may have to forego burst shooting and go with Peekayoh's "wait for the shot" method when I think this sort of shot is likely.


What you describe is a known problem with EVF's when it comes to tracking subjects in hi-speed continuous shooting. It is due to the "slide show" effect, wherein the EVF displays what you just shot rather than returning to the live scene. Thus, it becomes very hard to track erratically moving subjects. As you note, it's hard enough to track a subject when it suddenly changes direction, but it is impossible if you never see that change in direction in the viewfinder because the camera is showing you what you just shot. All you can do is take comfort in knowing you are not alone in experiencing this problem. The way to avoid it is shoot in single frame, hoping to capture that "magic moment" if you are fast enough (but if you see it it's usually too late), or to shoot in slow speed continuous which does not have the same problem, but obviously you are shooting at a slower pace and there is greater potential for the "peak" moment to occur between shots.


One factor that could influence that, is the review setting that is applied. The standard value is that when you take a shot, that shot is displayed for 2 seconds in the EVF or the LCD. when you set the camera to high speed shooting there still will be a tendency to show the shot just taken, although not for 2 seconds. if you set the review time to 0 seconds when shooting high speed, things should work out somewhat smoother.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote WestCoastCannuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 November 2012 at 18:34
Thanks Romke - I had thought of that and I have mine already set to "0". Supposed to be big wind Thursday, if the forecast holds I will be doing some more experimenting with settings then.

Thanks also to Peter. I guess it does make sense when I look at it like that. I will experiment with turning the tracking function on and locking on to a kiter - see what happens. Perhaps I can just leave it on all the time for this sport once I have locked on to a kiter - perhaps once locked, it will search and lock to ANY kiter which would suit me just fine as I generally only have one in the frame anyway.



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vbpholaw View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote vbpholaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 November 2012 at 20:55
Originally posted by romke romke wrote:

Originally posted by vbpholaw vbpholaw wrote:



The camera focused brilliantly with my 70-400. Tracking was very good. Of course image quality is amazing - at all ISO's. I am quite comfortable shooting up to 5000 ISO without bothering with any noise reduction.

My one niggle was the EVF. I love it actually... but it does fail me for one thing - a certain circumstance in tracking fast action when shooting at 6fps continuous. Where I had trouble is when following a fast moving kiter that did an abrupt turn - due to the slight lag I tended to pan too far and almost lose the kiter off the frame - certainly missing "the shot". This is a "nature of the business" challenge with any camera, but in this situation the EVF clearly falls short. It is at those sudden turns that often the best shots lie - I may have to forego burst shooting and go with Peekayoh's "wait for the shot" method when I think this sort of shot is likely.


What you describe is a known problem with EVF's when it comes to tracking subjects in hi-speed continuous shooting. It is due to the "slide show" effect, wherein the EVF displays what you just shot rather than returning to the live scene. Thus, it becomes very hard to track erratically moving subjects. As you note, it's hard enough to track a subject when it suddenly changes direction, but it is impossible if you never see that change in direction in the viewfinder because the camera is showing you what you just shot. All you can do is take comfort in knowing you are not alone in experiencing this problem. The way to avoid it is shoot in single frame, hoping to capture that "magic moment" if you are fast enough (but if you see it it's usually too late), or to shoot in slow speed continuous which does not have the same problem, but obviously you are shooting at a slower pace and there is greater potential for the "peak" moment to occur between shots.


One factor that could influence that, is the review setting that is applied. The standard value is that when you take a shot, that shot is displayed for 2 seconds in the EVF or the LCD. when you set the camera to high speed shooting there still will be a tendency to show the shot just taken, although not for 2 seconds. if you set the review time to 0 seconds when shooting high speed, things should work out somewhat smoother.


If you have the auto review function set to anything other than "off" it will indeed make things worse. But, even when "off" the slide-show effect remains in high-speed continuous shooting creating the problems I described and others have experienced.
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Love View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Love Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 November 2012 at 23:11
I went to B&H 2 days ago and got an interesting comment from one of the sales rep's there: "Sony has with the A99 passed Canon and are now number 2 after Nikon with the most advanced DSLR on their line-up.."
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Post Options Post Options   Quote marlon127 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2012 at 14:01
Originally posted by Love Love wrote:

I went to B&H 2 days ago and got an interesting comment from one of the sales rep's there: "Sony has with the A99 passed Canon and are now number 2 after Nikon with the most advanced DSLR on their line-up.."


I would in terms of advancement that Sony stands alone at the moment. The others are simply adding more megapixels and improving ISO performance. Otherwise their camera's are about the same as they've been for years.

I would say that for the last 2 years at least, Sony in many ways is driving the market. They are creating the standards of tomorrow for mirrorless and DSLR's.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote marlon127 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2012 at 14:14
**************UPDATE**************

So I've shot with my A99 for two weddings. I would say that the camera is awesome to work with and a pleasure most of the time. When the light fails (reception) the slight lag is an issue in the sense that you can't shoot in the same manner as you've done with say the A99. It's not a deal breaker for me because I like the other features of this camera too much. But Sony needs to issue a firmware update to improve performance before the A99 hits the masses.

After further comparisons with AF system...

The Good
Lenses like the CZ 24-70/2.8 that take advantage of the complete AF system focuses faster in just about any lighting conditions I could test it in that the equivalent Nikon D4. Although my test wasn't scientific both me and the other photographer agreed that the Sony A99 + CZ24-70 was the winner.

The Bad
I can conclude that in backlit situations the A99 hunts more unless you use the center point on all lenses except those supported in the new AF system. It seems to be no improvement over the A900, but it feels worse because the AF is so fast otherwise.

The Ugly
All the issues with the A99 can be improved with a firmware update. Sadly, this isn't Sony's strong suit. But when I think back how much better the A900 got after upgrades, I look forward to the future with my A99.
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Param View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Param Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 December 2012 at 10:20
I would love to see more generous eyepiece cup. Hopefully someone will manufacture also right angle finder.



Edited by Param - 08 December 2012 at 10:23
www.paramtomanec.com,
www.rasayatra.com
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Post Options Post Options   Quote emopunk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 December 2012 at 12:35
Originally posted by marlon127 marlon127 wrote:

**************UPDATE**************

So I've shot with my A99 for two weddings. I would say that the camera is awesome to work with and a pleasure most of the time. When the light fails (reception) the slight lag is an issue in the sense that you can't shoot in the same manner as you've done with say the A99. It's not a deal breaker for me because I like the other features of this camera too much. But Sony needs to issue a firmware update to improve performance before the A99 hits the masses.

After further comparisons with AF system...

The Good
Lenses like the CZ 24-70/2.8 that take advantage of the complete AF system focuses faster in just about any lighting conditions I could test it in that the equivalent Nikon D4. Although my test wasn't scientific both me and the other photographer agreed that the Sony A99 + CZ24-70 was the winner.

The Bad
I can conclude that in backlit situations the A99 hunts more unless you use the center point on all lenses except those supported in the new AF system. It seems to be no improvement over the A900, but it feels worse because the AF is so fast otherwise.

The Ugly
All the issues with the A99 can be improved with a firmware update. Sadly, this isn't Sony's strong suit. But when I think back how much better the A900 got after upgrades, I look forward to the future with my A99.


Marlon,

maybe you should write something to Sony with your suggestions, and maybe a link to your work.
I trust they will consider your words.

Regards!
Sony A99 - Sony A200 - Minolta Dynax 505si - Sony 35mm f1.8 - M 50mm f1.7 RS - Tamron SP AF 28-75 F2.8 - Tamron 90mm F2.8 - Sigma 70-200 F2.8 II Macro HSM - Sony HVL-F42AM
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Stuart1701 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 December 2012 at 12:29
Just come back today from a short scandinavian cruise using the A99 for the first time.

Thoughts:

The good:
High ISO excellent looking in camera, up to 3200 seems very good and even 12800 seems OK. Will form a better impression when I see my photos in lightroom.

The wierd:
Managed to find a small bug somehow and ended up locking out the +/- EV button - with an error which said it only worked in ISO Auto. Not quite sure how I managed it, but a switch off and removal of the battery seemes to have cured it.

The Not so good:
Definately not impressed with the new hot shoe locking mechanism and adaptor. Mine came loose somehow and took itself and my 58 which was attached at the time for a swan dive off the top of the camera 11 decks down into the bottom of Oslo harbour. Oh well, I supposed I needed an excuse to buy a 60....
Stuart M.
http://s371.photobucket.com/albums/oo158/stuart1701/
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tigertimb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote tigertimb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 December 2012 at 12:35
You're not the first to mention that the adaptor isn't very secure Stuart

Is there no mechanism to actually lock it in place other than friction?

I'd assume the new flash doesn't lock any better, otherwise they'd have surely built the same mechanism into the adaptor?
Tim
If you appreciate comments on your photos, how about returning the favour to others . . .
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