- Review contents
- Pro shooter's report
- Design & tech overview
- Image quality & test shots
- Performance results
- Video results
- Final conclusion
- Discuss the A99
- Image quality comparison
- Compare the Sony A99 to its competitors in detail, color, noise and noise suppression across a range of ISOs.
- In-depth image analysis
- In-depth analysis of Sony A99 test images, focusing on factors like color, white balance, sharpness, active D-lighting, dynamic range, low light and print quality.
- High ISO NR
- Noise suppression is the enemy of detail at High ISO's. See how the Sony A99 performs in this difficult task.
- RAW Comparison
- Compare the A99 to its competitors (in the raw).
Sony A99 Raw Image Quality
We used to convert raw files used for comparison crops with dcraw (an excellent freeware raw converter), as we could count on dcraw not to apply any noise reduction, sharpening or other corrections. Lately, though, we've switched to Adobe Camera Raw with its noise reduction and sharpening options set to zero. We've found conversions made with recent versions of ACR to be almost identical to dcraw when dcraw's demosaicing option is set to match ACR's method, so we're pretty sure ACR isn't applying any noise reduction "under the hood" like it used to.
Below are crops from Sony A99 raw files compared to raw files from other high-resolution full-frame DSLRs:
Here, we can see the Sony A99 lags the Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D600 a bit in terms of high ISO noise, though it does much better than Sony's full-frame A900 digital SLR at higher ISOs, even though they use very similar resolution and size sensors. This is even more impressive given the fact that the A99 loses some light to its SLT mirror. Just goes to show how far sensor performance has come since 2008 when the Sony A900 was released. Interestingly, the older A900 does seem to do a little better with reds than the Sony A99 does at low to moderate ISOs, though.