Sony A99 II Performance


Timing and Performance

Excellent performance overall, though buffer clearing is slow.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~1.2 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~1.0 second

Time until first shot is captured.

The Sony A99 Mark II's startup time (power on to first shot) was sluggish compared to most DSLRs. Switching from Play to Record mode and taking a shot was also a tad slow for its class.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus,
Center AF area
AF-S mode

0.111 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (All timing performed with a Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 ZA Zeiss lens.)

Manual Focus

0.113 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.052 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Sony A99 Mark II's full-autofocus shutter lag (with the subject at a fixed distance) was fast, measuring only 0.111 second in Single-area (Center) AF mode with the Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8 kit lens at a medium focal length. It did however vary a bit in our tests, with about an 11% variation in speed over 10 trials.

When manually focused, the Sony A99 Mark II's shutter lag was about the same at 0.113 second, but with less variation. The A99 Mark II's prefocused shutter lag was only 0.052 second, very fast.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/ Extra Fine JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous Hi+
Large/Extra Fine JPEG

0.10 second
(10.53 fps);
61 frames total;
56 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 61 frames, then slowed to an average of about 1.04s or 0.96 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous Hi+
Uncompressed RAW

0.09 second
(11.11 fps);
25 frames total;
34 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 25 frames, then slowed to an average of about 1.26s or 0.80 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous Hi+
Compressed RAW

0.09 second
(10.93 fps);
59 frames total;
40 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 59 frames, then slowed to an average of about 0.75s or 1.33 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous Hi+
Uncompressed RAW + L/F JPEG

0.09 second
(10.58 fps);
24 frames total;
62 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 24 frames, then slowed to 2.54s or 0.39 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous Hi+
Compressed RAW + L/F JPEG

0.08 second
(11.83 fps);
56 frames total;
56 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 56 frames, then slowed to 1.01s or 0.99 fps when buffer was full with a lot of variation.

Flash Recycling

N/A

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95 MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were very fast, at less than 0.3s for both Large/Extra Fine JPEGs and RAW + Large/Fine JPEG frames. (Note that we no longer test single-shot mode with just RAW files, as the results are usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG modes. Also note that the A99 II cannot capture highest quality "Extra Fine" JPEGs together with RAW, dropping to "Fine" for best quality JPEGs when shooting RAW+JPEG.)

The Sony A99 II's top Continuous Hi+ mode was very fast at about 10.5 frames per second for best quality Large/Extra Fine JPEGs which is outstanding considering the resolution, though that's noticeably short of Sony's approx 12 frames per second max rating. When shooting just RAW files, the frame rate increased to 10.9 fps for compressed files and 11.1 fps for uncompressed files, but that's still short of 12 fps. When shooting uncompressed RAW + Large/Fine JPEGs, the frame rate was 10.6 fps but when shooting compressed RAW + Large/Fine JPEGs, the frame rate was 11.8 fps, pretty close to Sony's max spec. Note that the aperture is locked when the first shot is taken in Hi+ mode but continuous AF is still supported depending on the lens and aperture used (see the Sony A99 II user manual for details). The Sony A99 II also as Hi, Mid and Low continuous modes rated at 8, 6 and 4 fps respectively, however we did not test those modes in the lab.

Buffer depths were pretty good considering the burst rate and 42-megapixel resolution at 61 Large/ Extra Fine JPEGs, 25 uncompressed RAW and 24 uncompressed RAW + Large/Fine JPEG files before the burst rate slowed down. We also tested compressed RAW mode to see how much difference it made, but be aware Sony's compression is lossy. Buffer depths increased dramatically with compressed RAW, from 25 to 59 RAW frames and from 24 to 56 RAW + Large/Fine JPEG frames. Buffer-full rates were quite slow, though, ranging from only 0.39 fps for uncompressed RAW + Large/Fine JPEGs to 1.33 fps for compressed RAW.

Buffer clearing after max-length bursts was very slow with a fast UHS-I SDHC card, ranging from 34 seconds for a max-length burst of uncompressed RAW files, to 62 seconds for a max-length burst of uncompressed RAW + Large/Fine JPEGs. The A99 II does however let you view just-shot images and change some settings while it's writing to the card. While disappointing, Sony did however improve SD card write performance over the A7R II which uses a similar 42-megapixel sensor, roughly doubling the speed with the same fast UHS-I card in our tests. Still, it's unfortunate that Sony didn't add UHS-II support to the A99 Mark II as some UHS-II cameras have been clocked at over twice the write speed the A99 II is capable of.


APS-C Crop Mode Burst Timing

APS-C crop mode
Continuous Hi+
Extra Fine JPEG

0.08 second
(11.83 fps);
124 frames total;
73 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 124 frames, then slowed to an average of about 0.67s or 1.50 fps when buffer was full.

APS-C crop mode
Continuous Hi+
Uncompressed RAW

0.08 second
(11.83 fps);
59 frames total;
32 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 59 frames, then slowed to an average of about 0.58s or 1.72 fps when buffer was full with a lot of variation.

APS-C crop mode
Continuous Hi+
Compressed RAW

0.08 second
(11.83 fps);
134 frames total;
41 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 134 frames, then slowed to an average of about 0.34s or 2.96 fps when buffer was full with a lot of variation.

APS-C crop mode
Continuous Hi+
Uncompressed RAW + Fine JPEG

0.08 second
(11.83 fps);
57 frames total;
44 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 57 frames, then slowed to 0.84s or 1.19 fps when buffer was full with a lot of variation.

APS-C crop mode
Continuous Hi+
Compressed
RAW + Fine JPEG

0.08 second
(11.83 fps);
119 frames total;
63 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 119 frames, then slowed to 0.64s or 1.55 fps when buffer was full.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95 MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

We also tested the A99 II's APS-C crop mode which yeilds very useful 18-megapixel images, to see how it affects burst speed, buffer depths and clearing times. As you can see from the table above, APS-C crop mode produced a very consistent 11.83 fps burst rate no matter the file type, with at least double the buffer depth compared to full resolution mode. Worst case buffer clearing was however even longer at a whooping 73 seconds after a max-length burst of Fine JPEGs.


Bottom line, apart from slow buffer clearing and sluggish power-on to first shot time, the Sony A99 Mark II's performance is excellent for a full-frame "DSLR", with fast AF, low shutter lag, very fast cycle times and incredible burst speeds for the resolution and sensor size.

Battery

Battery Life
Below average battery life for a "DSLR".

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still Capture,
(EVF, CIPA standard)
390 shots
Still Capture,
(LCD Monitor CIPA standard)
490 shots

The Sony A99 Mark II uses a custom NP-FM500H rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and a dedicated battery charger. While CIPA-rated battery life isn't bad for an EVF-equipped camera, it's well below average compared to traditional prosumer and pro DSLRs, especially when using the electronic viewfinder. We strongly recommend purchasing a second battery and consider getting the optional battery grip which doubles battery life with a second battery installed.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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