Sony News: Live from Photokina 2016, the Sony A99 II is the new flagship Translucent Mirror camera!


posted Monday, September 19, 2016 at 9:00 AM EDT


With the biennial Photokina trade show getting underway tomorrow, the announcements are pouring in thick and fast. We're reporting live from the show as usual, and Senior Editor William Brawley is front and a little off-center at Sony's press conference, ready for whatever new products the company has to offer photographers! What will Sony be announcing? Watch this space, and you'll find out! (Edit: It's the Sony Alpha A99 II, and we've just published our detailed Sony A99 II preview!) [Note: All times below are US eastern.]

Update: Sony Press Conference video can be seen below:


9:00AM: And we're live! Thanks for joining us, folks. Be sure to keep reloading regularly to see all the latest news!

9:05AM: There's a new Alpha-series flagship model on the way!

9:08AM: 42.4 megapixels,  79 autofocus points, 79 cross-type.  12 frames per second. Five-axis stabilization. It's the Sony A99 II!


9:11AM: Yosuke Aoki, head of pan-European product marketing, VP Sony Europe is on stage. It's a new flagship, full-frame camera. The key word is 12fps, 42.4 MP. Never compromise speed and picture quality, both in one device.  Hybrid phase-detection AF, 79 + 399 AF points.


9:13AM: Dedicated 79 AF points on conventional AF sensor. 399 points on focal plane. Both work concurrently, all the time.

9:14AM: 42.4 back-illiuminated sensor. Five-axis stabilization for stills and movies. 4K movie recording, full pixel readout without pixel binning (! -- should be low noise, very high detail)

9:15AM: Target customer is professionals and high-quality enthusiasts. Sports shooters, motor sports shooters, wildlife photographers. Hybrid AF: Dedicated AF sensor with 79 points, (all cross-type?). 399 AF points on the imager. (Translucent mirror of course.)  Work down to brightness level of -4 EV. Both sets of sensors work all the time; still, movie, whatever. Focal plane AF covers almost entire sensor (really? More like 80%?). 79 points cover smaller area. Hybrid AF cross points - 79 points. -4 EV is pretty dang dark!


9:19AM: 12fps with full AF/AE tracking, contnuous on.  Newly developed shutter unit. New frontal area side (? - think he’s talking about 3D?). Sony emphasized quick AF acquisition, showed photo of a diver jumping off a board, seemed to imply that focus acquisition was very fast. Showed 12 frames from start to end of dive. All in focus; not hard in that it was motion passing in front of camera, all in the same plane. *But*, it didn’t lose lock, hunt to the background. The Sony rep showed off the camera’s burst capability by holding down the shutter button in continuous mode, it has a *big* buffer!


9:21AM: Back-illuminated sensor. High sensitivity up to ISO 1,024,000. Fast response, high speed readout. Changed from aluminum to copper metallization on the chip for higher speed. Newly developed front-end LSI for higher speed, both shooting and AF operation. It sits ahead of the BIONZ X processor, Sony emphasized as very important to achieving the high speed. (IR note: And handling AF data from so many points as well.)

5-axis in-body IS, 4.5 stops improvement compatible with all A-mount lenses. New IS system specifically optimized for A-mount. All A-mount lenses, including Konica, Minolta, and Sony. (Seems like it’d naturally be compatible with all if it’s compatible with any(?))

9:23AM: Unrivalled low-light performance: EV -4 AF on the dedicated sensor (Only on the dedicated PDAF sensor, 79 points). ISO 1,024,000. 4.5 stop IS system. 4K full pixel readout without pixel binning. 35mm full-frame - no cropping for 4K video! Super 35mm mode: can get 1.8x more information than required for 4K movies. Full-pixel readout without pixel binning. Flagship product, so lots of pro-video features: S-Log3/S-Gamut3, Picture Profile, Time Code, HDMI clear output 4:2:2 (didn’t say how many bits).


9:24AM: Sony showed sample 4K footage from the A99 II, but disappointingly, it was only shown on a large TV at the front of the room, not on the main projector.


9:26AM: Operability… XGA OLED Tru-finder. Can’t see details about diagonal field of view. (Said same as on A77 II?). LCD is 3-axis tiltable. Dual media slots (Not sure if XQD.) Front Multi Controller. Advanced tethering - can send JPEGS to PC during tethering. Revamped Intuitive Menu (hooray! - said it was in response to user feedback.)


9:30AM: Press conference is over, a few final details: Pro durability in a compact body. Downsized, almost the same size as A77 II (!). Designed grip to be comfortable for smaller hands. Magnesium alloy body - top cover, rear cover, internal frame. Dust and moisture resistance. Shutter isn’t just fast, but it has a 300K+ cycle life. (Emphasized the durability, said it’s the highest rating among competition). Starts to ship in November, 3,600 Euro (Includes European VAT, is why it’s higher than the US price). $3,199 dollars US, $3,999 Canada. Now have two flagship models - A7R II, A99 II!