Sony A99 II Field Test Part II: New hybrid autofocus system proves very fast and accurate


posted Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 5:35 PM EDT


In Part I of my Field Test for the Sony A99 II, I took an in-depth look at the camera body design and its new image sensor. In Part II, I tested the new autofocus system, video capabilities and took a closer look at overall performance.

The Sony A99 II includes Sony's new 4D Focus AF system. The hybrid autofocus system pairs a 79-point dedicated phase-detection autofocus sensor with 399 on-chip phase detection AF points, 323 of which are selectable by the user. The sophisticated autofocus system proved to be quick, accurate and consistent during real-world testing. Continuous autofocus performance was highly impressive as well, comparing favorably to other high-end cameras I've used.

Video features and performance are something of a mixed bag with the A99 II. It can capture 4K UHD video without pixel binning and a 100Mbps bitrate, which results in sharp, clean 4K UHD video. However, the camera is limited in that it can only record video with continuous autofocus in Program Auto mode. It's a disappointing caveat to an otherwise impressive and full-featured camera.

Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 II at 280mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 125.
Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 II at 400mm, f/5.6, 1/800s, ISO 500. This image has been modified.

In my Sony A99 II Field Test Part II, I also discuss how the camera handles photographing wildlife in the real world. Its fast shooting and excellent autofocus helped the A99 II capture nice images in challenging situations, but its performance isn't perfect. Read all about its strengths and weaknesses in my Field Test. If you missed Part I of the Field Test, you can read that here.

Sony A99 Field Test Part II