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Upgrading main body for better ISO- a99 or 99II?

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kapuschinsky View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kapuschinsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2019 at 14:37
Originally posted by LAbernethy LAbernethy wrote:

Originally posted by kapuschinsky kapuschinsky wrote:

Originally posted by LAbernethy LAbernethy wrote:

Originally posted by kapuschinsky kapuschinsky wrote:

I just need something better in low light without the need of a flash. Not being able to put my a900 above ISO 1200,even 1000 at 2.8 is really becoming a hindrance and affecting the quality of my client work. Thoughts?

Has someone turned out the lights and everything is being done by candle light now?
The a850 is a touch better than the a900 for ISO performance. The a99 is theoretically good to ISO 25600 but for most practical terms is only good to ISO 3200-8000 depending on colour and contrast. B&W no problem to 12000 in most instances. I don't have an a99II to wax poetically about, I simply can't justify the expense. Quite frankly the a99 was a bit of a disappointment coming from an a850 / a77 combo. If you wish to future proof yourself in the photography arms race and can swallow the hefty buy in go for the a99II, there's one for sale at a reasonable price here on the form, by mambo from Canada.


I am a fine art lifestyle and portrait photographer that predominantly works with natural light so I need something that is versatile and does well in low light. The a900 is amazing except for low light. I do have an OCF, but that's not practical for candid situations. Plus the problem I have with my current flash (f56-am) is that it is not consistent in TTL mode but if I get a better flash like the Profoto A1, I blow all the money I need for a backup body on a flash so I might as well just put that money toward a better camera since I need a second body anyway lol.


As an illustrator / painter / photographer from the "old school" (pre-digital) I'm always interested when someone mentions "natural light", are we talking "north light" "ambient lighting" "available lighting", I find all light is modified or manipulated in some way or what it falls upon is modified or manipulated. The Profoto A1 is a glorified speedlight with a shunken Gery Fong lightsphere. You're probably better off with the camera upgrade.


I predominantly use natural light/ambient light unless shooting events.
 



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minolta_mutley View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote minolta_mutley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2019 at 15:43
I'd opt for the A99II in your case and go for Godox flashes (in case you need flash).

The profoto is a very nice flash, but rather expensive - especially when you have to buy multiple of those.

At our Belgium photo-association we have a few members that went completely to Godox flashlights with their specific Li-ion battery's and that seems to work pretty well. Otherwise you still have the AD200 and higher. A few of them also use the more expensive Elinchrome flashes. The AD200 has several options, battery's... It's not cheap but very versatile. Godox has also pro-flashes with bowens mounts.

I bought me some Phottix led lights, though this is not cheaper, and gives less light - it can be easy adapted with affordable battery's. My needs are not portrait based - so i'm no reference (we use that to put lights in caves and military constructions - e.g. the defense structures at the beginning of the 20th century around Antwerp).

And when i need flashes - i'm using 3 old Minolta/Sony HVL-56's with my Phottix Odin (1st version) - i have 3 of them - you may need the sony specific convertor for the flashes, the first gen. of the Odin's won't work with the clone adapters (it gives bad contacts).

Works fine when i stay slower than 1/2000. When i need a small amount of flash-power i use the Godox TT350S - that's a very low cost flash at very affordable prices (i only paid 60€'s for it - and it works on 2 AA's) - that fits in my pocket (and has the new flash foot).

Is the inconsistency on the F56-am not due to the recycle times of the battery - did you try that with an external battery? (there exist affordable li-ion battery packs even for Sony flashes - and when my evil brain is right - it's also available thru Godox).
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LAbernethy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LAbernethy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2019 at 19:14
Originally posted by kapuschinsky kapuschinsky wrote:



I predominantly use natural light/ambient light unless shooting events.


I've seen some of your work, very nice.
"Has someone turned out the lights and everything is being done by candle light now?" was meant as a joke but now I am intrigued. I am making an assumption that by natural ambient light we are talking during daylight hours and that light source is the sun; I fail to see what the issue could be. Granted this is a global form and I have heard of window taxes and people bricking them up to avoid paying the tax but I didn't think that was a recent thing.    

Edited by LAbernethy - 21 December 2019 at 19:26
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LAbernethy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LAbernethy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2019 at 19:31
Originally posted by minolta_mutley minolta_mutley wrote:


Is the inconsistency on the F56-am not due to the recycle times of the battery - did you try that with an external battery? (there exist affordable li-ion battery packs even for Sony flashes - and when my evil brain is right - it's also available thru Godox).

Good point. That and if the a900 metering is like a850 … lets just say there was a lot of room for improvement.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2019 at 19:55
Originally posted by nandbytes nandbytes wrote:

Edit:

Dpr on the other hand feels the AF isn't much better than A7RII:
"Compared to its little brother, the a7R II, the a99 II has it beat in both control and speed, thanks to that joystick and higher burst rates. Unfortunately, though, not necessarily always in terms of focus."
Interesting. Makes you think how they tested as others had different experiences:

Imaging Resource stated "Comparing the A99 II to other high-end SLR cameras I've used recently, including the Nikon D5 and D500 DSLRs, the A99 II's continuous autofocus performance felt very comparable. In terms of speed and accuracy, the A99 II felt capable of keeping up with the latest flagship Nikon cameras." link

Camera Jabber says: "The Sony A99 II is the best SLT camera that Sony has ever produced and it has the best autofocusing system of any Sony camera to date." link

I could not find any other reviews that compared it to other cameras, apart from one that said that if you did not need the AF system, you could get the A7r2.

Whatever the case, the A99m2 is a joy to use and a huge upgrade over the A900 - I think we agree on that
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nandbytes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2019 at 20:06
Well most places or people (inc. me) don't really show their testing method and results for AF. I think DPR is pretty much the only one that has something close to that and something that's reproducible in a similar fashion across bodies. So I find them most objective for AF tests.

I still take DPRs results with a grain of salt because I don't always get the same results as they do. So considering I would advise taking DPR with a grain of salt, I basically don't really count others as being objective.

On the last point yes we can agree. The A99II is definitely ergonomically better than A7RIII and even A7RIV. I was recently telling my colleague they should fire which ever team designed A7(R)III/IV and put the team that designed A77/99M2 on the case.
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kapuschinsky View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kapuschinsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2019 at 20:44
Originally posted by LAbernethy LAbernethy wrote:

Originally posted by minolta_mutley minolta_mutley wrote:


Is the inconsistency on the F56-am not due to the recycle times of the battery - did you try that with an external battery? (there exist affordable li-ion battery packs even for Sony flashes - and when my evil brain is right - it's also available thru Godox).

Good point. That and if the a900 metering is like a850 … lets just say there was a lot of room for improvement.


So you think the exposure consistency is more of a problem with the a900 and not the flash?
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LAbernethy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LAbernethy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2019 at 22:35
I have the rear dial on my a850 set for exposure compensation. I'm surprised I haven't worn it out. That said. That Sony flash will fire even if it hasn't finished it's cycle; a "never miss a shot" or "better than nothing" feature with what ever power it has available. It could be a combination of both. take an hour and set up a test scene with the conditions where you have the problem and see.

Edited by LAbernethy - 21 December 2019 at 23:00
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jozioau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2019 at 23:36
Looking at the ‘Big long thank you thread’, Kristine @kapuschinsky has bought @mambo’s pre-owned a99ii.
Great result all round, and I look forward to seeing some images she takes with this remarkable camera.
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Miranda F View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2019 at 07:52
Originally posted by LAbernethy LAbernethy wrote:


As an illustrator / painter / photographer from the "old school" (pre-digital) I'm always interested when someone mentions "natural light", are we talking "north light" "ambient lighting" "available lighting", I find all light is modified or manipulated in some way or what it falls upon is modified or manipulated. The Profoto A1 is a glorified speedlight with a shunken Gery Fong lightsphere. You're probably better off with the camera upgrade.

Yes. I think this is an important point. If you're taking pictures in poorly-lit interiors, the big problem today that we didn't have years ago is that so many of the lights have wildly different colour balances (from pale yellow to orange), and when you add some spot 'natural' dusk/overcast/streetlight light (often a little blue) from particular windows dotted around, the image can look horrible. Though I dislike using flash - it is often difficult to get right and can look awful when wrong - there occasions when even a bad flash looks better than natural light.

I myself am of the uncommon opinion that the quest for ultra-low-light performance is blinding us to the need to modify the light itself. Look, for example, at the examples Gary Friedmann gives in his books. Flash can help to make the subject stand out from the rest. For myself, I tend to go with simple flash setups when I'm not in charge of the location - either fill-in flash from the front (perhaps with a colour filter) - or bounce flash via ceiling (if there is one!!!)
Anyway, just my 2p worth. FWIW I agree the A99 MkII is basically the ultimate A-mount camera but I find the APS-C models do everything I need.

Edited by Miranda F - 23 December 2019 at 07:55
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras . . .
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