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Topic ClosedA99 Announcement details and short preview

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WestCoastCannuck View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 04:26
Originally posted by Phaelix Phaelix wrote:

Hello all,

I work for a Sony national office as a trainer, and I've been using the A99 for a month or so. Brettania has invited me to come join the discussion here, and I'd like to answer any questions that I can. I'm afraid I'm a bit short for time so I can't read back over the past 17 pages, but if someone who's been following the discussion could condense some unanswered questions I'll try to clear up anything I can.

Phaelix


Welcome Phaelix! Our member Stef posed some excellent questions at Sony's Flickr page we would love answered! Here they are:

Originally posted by Stef. Stef. wrote:

I have a question re the "dual AF system":


https://news.sel.sony.com/en/press_room/consumer/digital_imaging/digital_cameras/dslr/release/63803.html?CSRT=1930500626917916858

In the Sony news it states clearly that the dual AF system for the time being only works with lenses that are supported.

See bottom of the above link:

* From launch, new AF-D mode is supported by the SAL2470Z, SAL2875, SAL50F14, SAL300F28G2, SAL70400G and SAL500F4G lenses. More lenses will be supported via future firmware updates."

I have some questions re the above:

1. What from the dual AF system exactly works with lenses that are for the time being not supported?

Am I right in assuming that for the time being those lenses only work with the 19 AF points but NOT with the assist points on the sensor? This would in fact mean that for those lenses the speed and acuracy advantage of the new AF system reverts back to exactly the AF system of the A77?

2. Will we ever know which lenses will be supported in future firmware updates? Will those lenses include also older Minolta lenses and thrid party lenses? And how long do we have to wait for those firmware upgrades? (The A77 is still lacking is support of many lenses and has been out for a year now!)

3. Why are current lenses such as the CZ 16-35mm or the Sony 70-200G NOT included? Is it so difficult to include those current lenses?

4. Does this "limitation" also include the AF limiter function in the A99?

I am worried that we end up having to upgrade our lenses to take advantage of the faster and more accurate AF system! I find it peculiar that so far there are only a few lenses supported, which leds me to conclude that the technicians might have run into problems and that it is not very likely that a lot of lenses will be included.

So again- how exactly does the AF system work and which parts of it with the lenses that are not supported?

Many thanks for clarification!
Stef.


edit link
edit typo

Edited by WestCoastCannuck - 14 September 2012 at 04:36
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 04:39
Thanks WestCoastCannuck for copying and pasting the questions into this thread.

One of them is now answered thanks to Phaelix, focus limiting is independent from the lens used.

Now it would be great Phaelix if you could explain to us how the new AF system works with non supported lenses, i.e. third party lenses?

Also, I asume third party lenses and older Minolta lenses are not on the list of lenses that will be supported?

Do the focus assist points on sensor work or not with those lenses?

Many thanks for clarification! Looks like a superb camera, I just want to determine its functionality.

Stef.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 04:44
Originally posted by WestCoastCannuck WestCoastCannuck wrote:


Welcome Phailix! Our member Stef posed some excellent questions we would love answered at Sony's Flickr page, here they are:



Originally posted by Stef. Stef. wrote:

I have some questions re the above:

1. What from the dual AF system exactly works with lenses that are for the time being not supported?


The 102 on-sensor PDAF points are inactive in other focus modes, and will not contribute to focus tracking.

Originally posted by Stef. Stef. wrote:

Am I right in assuming that for the time being those lenses only work with the 19 AF points but NOT with the assist points on the sensor? This would in fact mean that for those lenses the speed and acuracy advantage of the new AF system reverts back to exactly the AF system of the A77?


I doubt the system is "exactly the AF system of the A77", but clearly the hardware is either the same as or heavily based upon the A77's. My understanding is that the firmware and processing hardware in the camera have been tweaked.

Originally posted by Stef. Stef. wrote:

2. Will we ever know which lenses will be supported in future firmware updates? Will those lenses include also older Minolta lenses and thrid party lenses? And how long do we have to wait for those firmware upgrades? (The A77 is still lacking is support of many lenses and has been out for a year now!)


As I mentioned above, the tentative plan calls for updates well into next year.

Originally posted by Stef. Stef. wrote:

3. Why are current lenses such as the CZ 16-35mm or the Sony 70-200G NOT included? Is it so difficult to include those current lenses?


I don't have a clear answer for this one, sorry- I'm not in engineering.

Originally posted by Stef. Stef. wrote:

4. Does this "limitation" also include the AF limiter function in the A99?


As above, the limiter is independent of OSPDAF, although it does integrate well.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 04:48
Hi PHaelix. This question is about the EVF. Is the "slide show" effect gone when shooting at the rated 6 FPS?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 04:52
Originally posted by Stef. Stef. wrote:

Now it would be great Phaelix if you could explain to us how the new AF system works with non supported lenses, i.e. third party lenses?


To the best of my knowledge, it doesn't; AF-D is simply unavaiable as an option, but you still have all the other modes; AF-C, AF-S, etc.

Originally posted by Stef. Stef. wrote:

Also, I asume third party lenses and older Minolta lenses are not on the list of lenses that will be supported?


I haven't heard any plans to extend support outside the Sony lens stable. I'm afraid I don't have insight into the planning process for this.

To add a little extra grist to the mill, I'm fairly sure that this is the patent describing the technology of both the A99 and NEX-6. A deep read by someone with an aptitude for engineering might reveal more.

edit: clarity
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 04:58
Originally posted by WestCoastCannuck WestCoastCannuck wrote:

Hi PHaelix. This question is about the EVF. Is the "slide show" effect gone when shooting at the rated 6 FPS?


I'm afraid not.
 



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 05:17
Originally posted by Phaelix Phaelix wrote:

Originally posted by WestCoastCannuck WestCoastCannuck wrote:

Hi PHaelix. This question is about the EVF. Is the "slide show" effect gone when shooting at the rated 6 FPS?


I'm afraid not.


This is a complete bummer seeing as the FPS has gone down...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 05:34
Phaelix, thanks so much for answering all of these questions!

I assume you will not be able to answer the following question, I know it is a very long shot...

Were there ever to come a higher pixel camera model at some point perhaps next year should one have to expect the same AF system or might there be a chance that that AF system would differ?

For people who are heavily invested in third party lenses or have older lenses this new AF system is not of any real benefit...more AF points, in a traditional way would be though.

I guess future strategies are top secret and I fully respect if you can not comment on the above.

Stef.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 05:43
Originally posted by Stef. Stef. wrote:

Were there ever to come a higher pixel camera model at some point perhaps next year should one have to expect the same AF system or might there be a chance that that AF system would differ?


Unfortunately, even if I did know, and I don't, I wouldn't be able to tell you. I like my job too much! Personally, I'd be surprised to see the 19-point, 11-cross system used in the next generation, but my track record on these things is shaky at best.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 05:48
Basically the same AF as the A77 (perhaps with a slight tweak/improvement) using the same 19 sensor/11 cross sensor array that covers a smaller portion of the frame than in the A77, and continuation of the slide show effect in continuous shooting are two huge negatives in my book. Those were two things for which I was looking for upgrades, appropriate for a pro level camera, and we didn't get them. Extremely disappointing. But not entirely unexpected. Again, the extreme "focus" on video capabilities and features (all missing from the A900) has occurred while no improvement of important still photography capabilities takes place.

Sony is not alone in this problem - enhancing video capabilities while likely giving short shrift to enhanced still photography capabilities - but is was behind in the area of some of these basic still photography capabilities and thus falls even further behind (e.g., AF performance).

The new AF-D capability and on-sensor PD AF are the latest example of Sony marketing claims that, in traditional Sony fashion, are highly limited or not even available in real world use. AF-D works only with a handful of lenses (at least for now). The on-sensor PD focus works only in AF-D mode, with the aforementioned limitations. That means for the vast majority of shooting, including all shooting in AF-S, AF-A, and AF-C (with all lenses), we are left with the same A77 AF sensor array, that was not competitive for its class when released, that does not have enough cross sensors, and in the A99 covers a significantly smaller portion of the frame.

This is going to make me think long and hard whether it's time to move. I really was hoping for better. Perhaps it's the right camera for Sony at this point, but it may be the final shove out the door for me, particularly with something like the D600 (with 39 AF sensors, though only 9 are cross sensors). I'll wait until I have a chance to play around with an A99 in NY at the end of October (PhotoPlus Expo), but I expect I'll likely also be spending a lot of time at the Nikon booth.

Bummer.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 05:51
Originally posted by Phaelix Phaelix wrote:

Originally posted by Stef. Stef. wrote:

Were there ever to come a higher pixel camera model at some point perhaps next year should one have to expect the same AF system or might there be a chance that that AF system would differ?


Unfortunately, even if I did know, and I don't, I wouldn't be able to tell you. I like my job too much! Personally, I'd be surprised to see the 19-point, 11-cross system used in the next generation, but my track record on these things is shaky at best.


It should not have been used in the A99. That camera deserves something better.

I just don't understand why Sony does not seem to understand the importance of overall AF performance, capabilities and configurability in its higher end cameras. For a camera that is in many ways a technical tour-de-force, the use of a non-competitive AF system in the A99 for this class of camera is just downright depressing.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 06:17
Vbpholaw...I agree 100%...I am extremely disappointed. I have pretty much all CZ top end lenses but also a lot of third party lenses, including the Sigma 100-300mm f4 and some older Minolta glass that I really like.

The possibility that I might not be able to take advantage of better af systems in future horrifies me. ( should Sony stick to this dual AF system and should this require fine tunning for individual lenses.) I have been shooting with KonikaMinolta and later Sony for most of my life, but for the the first time I really wonder whether it would be worthwhile to change systems?

I am just not convinced anymore that Sony will cater for the semi-professional market. I can see them expanding on their Nex user base, but SLTs??? I wish I would know a bit morer about their future plans...

The decisive moment for me will be the upcoming high mp camera. Hopefully this caters more for my needs, or I will have to jump ship. And I really did not want 36mp, but a better AF system...

Stef.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 06:49
For lenses that support it, I think the new system will provide a lot of the improvement people are looking for. Certainly, describing it as non-competitive seems a little premature to me.

I'll inquire about OSPDAF support for third party and Minolta lenses.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2012 at 07:22
Originally posted by Phaelix Phaelix wrote:

For lenses that support it, I think the new system will provide a lot of the improvement people are looking for. Certainly, describing it as non-competitive seems a little premature to me.

I'll inquire about OSPDAF support for third party and Minolta lenses.


Thanks Phaelix!
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