Sony A99 review: Feature-packed, fast-shooting, full-frame DSLR proves it’s ready for the pros

by Dave Etchells

posted Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 3:10 PM EST


Sony's been trying to crack the pro DSLR market for years, but with relatively little success until now. With the Sony A99, it looks like the company finally has made a breakthrough: It's a blazingly fast shooter that also delivers 24 megapixels of resolution, and Sony's new dual phase-detect AF system means it can focus rapidly, continuously and accurately -- whether shooting videos or rapid-fire bursts of stills.

Moreover, the Sony Alpha SLT-A99 boasts some of the most impressive technology ever placed in a DSLR, even more advanced than what's found in many high-end pro models. The camera employs a full-frame version of Sony's Translucent Mirror Technology, which provides faster frame rates and constant autofocus, with no blackout times from mirror motion. Of course, that means it doesn't have an optical viewfinder -- but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Our reviewer raved about Sony A99's electronic viewfinder, calling it a great resource and huge advantage when shooting -- especially for non-standard exposures -- allowing you to see what your exposure will look like before pushing the shutter button. Between this and the optional histogram display in the EVF, he said it's really hard to blow an exposure with the Sony A99.

Given the Sony A99's importance in the market, we wanted to get a pro's take on it, so we commissioned photographer and extreme skier Scott Rinckenberger to put it through its paces in some very harsh environments. And, as you'll see in our in-depth review, he took some absolutely stunning images with the camera.


Professional photographer Scott Rinckenberger took amazing shots of the Washington coast and Cascade Mountains with the Sony A99. With the advanced EVF, he said it's really hard to blow an exposure with the camera. Be sure to check out all his images in our in-depth Sony A99 review.

Scott's photos were so good, in fact, that we felt they -- and the Sony A99 -- deserved something far better than our normal review layout to showcase them. So we developed a new review format you see here. This is just an early design experiment as we look to improve your reading experience. We're pretty thrilled with the results, but we want you -- our valued readers -- to let us know what you think!

You can check out the full Sony A99 review and Scott's gorgeous images here. Be sure to explore all the different components of the review, ranging from the pro shooter's report to our image quality lab analysis and comparisons to our final conclusion.