Random thoughts on.........
Part of my interest in the A99 stems from the general consensus is that Sony sensors have superior dynamic range to Canon’s sensors. As you will see from my test shots albeit relatively high ISO, the differences are surprisingly minimal.
The test was done with a Sigma 35 on the 6D and the Sigma 50 on the A99. To test the shadows I pushed the Shadow slider in Camera Raw by a full stop and pushed exposure by half a stop. To test highlights retention; leaving the shadow adjustments in place, I dropped the highlight recovery by a full stop. All pics were taken at 1600 ISO- 1/60 shutter speed - F/2 aperture.
First up are the unedited images opened in Camera Raw
Canon 6D Shadows
Sony A99 Shadows
Canon 6D Highlights
Sony A99 Highlights
Conclusion: Comparing the attached pics, the real life dynamic range performance between these 2 sensors is about equivalent. Canon’s sensors have come a long way since the 5DMK2, the shadow banding issues are essentially gone. To my eyes the shadow performance of the 6D is actually better than what I got from my 5DM3. Again, comparing the 6D and A99, dynamic range is not a differentiating factor, if anything just going by this test the 6D is overall slightly better with a small edge going to the A99 in highlight retention.
· I prefer the 6D’s more simplified menu layout to the A99’s however both cameras have intuitive menus and it shouldn’t be an issue coming up to speed on either. The A99 has substantially many more customizable buttons; in fact almost all the buttons are customizable. Unlike the 6D, the A99 doesn’t have the ability to save your most used menu items to a favorites section
· I really like that I can shoot in 16:9 aspect ratio on the A99 and I can see it in real time through the EVF while I’m composing my shot; this is great for street photography and cinematic shots. The 6D can shoot in 4 different aspect ratios but seeing the view of the aspect ratio real time while composing requires using the rear LCD screen. I personally detest composing using the LCD screen; so this isn’t a feature I take advantage of on the 6D. Both 6D and A99 both have native 3:2 aspect ratios; when you are shooting in other ratios, the images are still shot in 3:2 but automatically cropped by the camera to your desired ratio; the cropped out areas are simply not shown but they are still saved by the camera and can be accessed by expanding the crop area when viewed on a computer.
I recently acquired a Sony A99. I have been pinning for this camera for some time (the EVF, Sony sensor and fully articulated screen were very appealing to me) but balked at the initial asking price of almost $3K. I was finally able to get one used but in very good condition for under $2K. For the foreseeable future, I will keep a dual system of Canon 6D and A99 and maintain a rolling comparison of the 2 cameras on this blog.
My first impressions of the camera after having played with it for a few hours shooting on a Tamron 28-75 2.8 (which I now have a Canon and Sony version):
1. This A99 is quite light for a full frame; it's almost as light as the 6d and the difference in weight is hardly noticeable
2. Ergonomics on the A99 are wonderful. I have always had preference for Canon's beefy grips, well Sony's is slightly bigger and feels slightly better in the hand. A99 has 2 conveniently located scroll wheels, one for your index finger and the other for your thumb. The 6D has a scroll dial on the back of the camera and scroll wheel for your index finger. I prefer Sony's set up.
3. After a few test shots; I can quickly say that the A99's metering and auto white balance is significantly more accurate than the 6D
4. Looking at unedited raw files, ISO performance is about the same from both cameras
5. I am surprised at how clustered in the center the A99's AF points are; The 6D's miserly 11 points cover a slightly greater surface area than the A99's 19 points. As I understand it, I can get one the 17 lenses compatible with the A99 phase detect AF mechanism thus increasing the AF coverage area and the number of AF points to 121
6. The Tamron lens is a lot noisier (actually super loud) on the A99 and also hunts more than on the 6D. While I really like using this lens on my 6D because of its light weight and stellar IQ; I can already tell that I will despise using it on the A99 because of the loud motor. I'm surprised by this, because I don't imagine that Tamron used different types of AF motors. I suspect that this is an aberration especially considering that I got the Sony variant of the lens through an Amazon Warehouse deal
7. Battery life is incomparable between the two; the A99 drains its battery very rapidly even with the GPS turned off. You will probably need 2 batteries for a full day of shooting on the A99. The 6D will carry you a few days on a full battery.