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FORUMS Gear Reviews Camera Reviews
Thread started 01 Dec 2017 (Friday) 09:29
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Sony α99 II / ILCA-99M2, reviewed by mickeyb105

TOGGLE RATINGS BETWEEN ALL AND mickeyb105 (showing now: mickeyb105)
Overall Rating10
Overall Image Quality9.5
Value for Money9
Must Have10
Suitability to Intended Use10
Got What I Expected10
AF Performance10
Handling and Ergonomics9
Ownership Status: "own"

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mickeyb105's Avatar
Joined Dec 2011
Vero Beach, FL
Post has been last edited 2 months ago by mickeyb105. 2 edits done in total.
Dec 01, 2017 09:29 |  #1

This is not going to be a technical review, as those are already out there. The body was purchased from B&H's used department for $2600 USD in July in 9 condition. It came in the original box, which looked like it had been used as target practice by DP Review, but otherwise the camera looked new and it came with all the materials it should have.

The a99ii is (almost)precisely the body that a-mount users have long been waiting for. I bought this camera when I was at a crossroads--to upgrade to the a99ii or go full e-mount and build a system around the a7rii. The grass is always greener, but I feel the a99ii allows me to shoot in nearly any situation and that is something I couldn't have said about the a7rii.

Had it not been for buying a great used copy of the 135ZA for a great price from POTN member MBB89 I may have very well gone with the a7rii and sold off my two a-mount lenses and a77ii. After all, I really enjoyed both my a6000 and a7r even though I had just two native lenses for them (16-50 kit and FE55). That said, it is great to have all my glass united under one mount again and be able to enjoy the AF performance the a99ii gives. Also, I had been very impressed with the files and input on the a99ii MedicineMan4040 and WestCoastCannuck were producing.

This is a camera that gives little-to-no ground to the likes of the D810, 5DIV and K-1. The D850 has a small AF and IQ edge, but no EVF or in-body stability. As far as DSLR-style cameras go, the a99ii still shines after over a year of being on the market. Glass is another conversation, and this is a review of the body.

This body thrives in run-and-gun situations, and that IBIS is very effective in taming the 42MP sensor. I have yet to shoot sports with it, but give me a month and I may get to a College Bowl game. It is overkill for chasing my kids around and documenting family events, but it will earn its money when I shoot the legislative session at the Florida House and Senate next month. Long lenses, ISO 3200 and 6400, no flash allowed.

I've barely broken the body in, but that will change next month. I'll get to really test the tracking by then as well.

It performs like a DSLR should at this price point, with the exception of the joystick--which is possibly the worst feature on the camera. It doesn't allow for easy movement from point-to-point, never feel completely confident in it. The articulating screen it borrows from the a77ii is great, and the viewfinder is nice and without the blackout problems shooting in hi mode. I have yet to bust out hi+ but will at the bowl game.

Battery life is good enough, but not as good as Canon or Nikon at this price point. I did get 1700 shots on the same battery in my a77ii last year at the Orange Bowl, and now have five, so I'm not exactly worried.

The camera is small for a FF body, much like the 6D. The grip is deep and the body feels really good in-hand. Dual card slots is a nice touch, even if I don't need them most of the time. The write time when busting out dozens of continuous shots on hi is long, and this is the most valid complaint against the body when shooting RAW. I haven't taken it out of RAW, but I hear the buffer is robust when done so.

I use video very occasionally, and for me the quality is overkill--a good thing! Perhaps a pro would be disappointed by the max 3.5 aperture in AF video mode.

The top LCD is very much like other bodies at this price point. There are complaints that the display lags behind the controls when changing SS, ISO or aperture but I usually change those when I am looking through the viewfinder when I am a crucial point in shooting--so it is not a factor for my shooting experience.

The menu is huge, even coming from Sony menus, but very thorough. If you don't commit some time to going through it you are cheating yourself. It is there to help you.

Sony's SLT bodies were poor high iso shooters until recently. I can shoot comfortably up to ISO6400, and carefully at ISO 16,0000.

Is it worth switching to a-mount from Canon, Nikon or Pentax? Only you can decide that, but I will say that it is a great time to be shooting with FF bodies and there are no wrong choices. If you like Zeiss lenses, and you want them to AF, then a-mount is a good choice. I feel my 24ZA and 135ZA can compete hard with the best lenses at their respective focal lengths. For Minolta lovers, this is obviously a great body. My 200G HS focuses ultra-fast without the 2xTC. With the 2XTC, limitations exist. Will your old Minolta glass resolve the huge sensor? Well, its a mixed bag. My 200G does well but MedicineMan's 400 4.5 didn't meet his expectations. Meanwhile, WCC has a good copy of the 400 4.5 and he swears by it. My advice is to treat Minolta like 3rd party glass and go in with the expectation of having to try another copy if a piece of glass isn't up to snuff.

For those who want to upgrade because you have an a-mount collection you love, the a99ii is the body you have been waiting for. For those with a 6D, 5Dii, D610 or D810--who knows? If you want to AF with Zeiss glass, come on over and try you some a-mount. You may just love it.

Sony A99ii, RX-100ii, Sonnar T* 135mm f/1.8 ZA, Minolta HS 200 2.8 APO, Zeiss 24/2 ZA, Minolta 2xTC APO, HVL-F43M
Flickr (external link)

mickeyb105's Avatar
Joined Dec 2011
Vero Beach, FL
Dec 01, 2017 09:35 |  #2

A few more samples.

The second and last pics shows the strength of the IBIS, shot at 1/160@400mm and .5 Sec@135mm.

Sony A99ii, RX-100ii, Sonnar T* 135mm f/1.8 ZA, Minolta HS 200 2.8 APO, Zeiss 24/2 ZA, Minolta 2xTC APO, HVL-F43M
Flickr (external link)


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Sony α99 II / ILCA-99M2, reviewed by mickeyb105
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