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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sony a99 Real World ISO Test in Singapore

Sony a99 ISO 3200 f6.3 28mm

Even though I got myself the Sony a99 a while ago, this trip to Singapore was the first time I really got a chance to properly test it out. Having bought the a99 as an upgrade to my a900 one of the main improvement I expected, like many of you out there, is of course the low light performance. So this is just a short post about what I think about the ISO capabilities of the a99 based on my real world experience so far (and the shots that I got) with the camera.There wouldn't be any test charts or anything like that, but I am sure there are plenty of those already on the Internet if you want some.

So is the low light performance better? Of course, that is a given, having taken three years to come up with the new camera there would have been an outcry if it wasn't...but by how much? Well, having had a chance to review the photos I must say...significantly, but maybe not as much as some of us (including myself) had hoped or been dreaming about. I was just secretly wishing that maybe we would be getting ultra clean iso 6400 :). That proved as expected to be wishful thinking.

Sony a99 ISO 2000 f5 35mm

Whereas with the a900 I wouldn't use anything above iso 1600, with the a99 I can now use up to iso 3200, but I wouldn't personally push it anymore than that. That might not seem like a big leap, but in real world use that one extra stop proves a huge difference. When I was using the a900 I often found in a lot of situations that iso 1600 was "just nearly enough", and had often thought to myself "if only iso 3200 was usable", well now it is.

Sony a99 ISO 3200 f5 16mm

So am I happy with the upgrade in terms of low light performance? I must admit that at first I was slightly disappointed when the test results started coming out, having waited so long for a new full frame camera from Sony I probably set my expectations unrealistically high. Having used the camera myself however, I am very happy with it's low light capabilities and think it is definitely a worthy upgrade from the a900.  

There are also many other aspects of the camera that have been improved, which I will be talking about in later posts. I will just have to try and find the time to process all the photos I took during the trip. Over the course of three days I took about 500 photos so it will probably take a while to process them all.

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