When the A900 was released last week, Sony finally delivered on the promise that they were indeed very (very) serious about the DSLR camera market. Targeted towards the semi-professional photographer (”but pros will be interested too!”), the 24 megapixel full frame sensor camera screams studio camera and clearly can be viewed as an affordable Canon 1Ds Mark III alternative (although Sony engineers claim the actual competition is the EOS 5D). For $3000, many photographers without the purse strings of a real professional will find the monstrous resolution of the A900 impossible to resist.
We still have to wait for some real reviews for a better sense of camera performance, but based on the numerous previews and early hands on experiences available a few things are clear:
- Sony has hit a homerun with the A900’s viewfinder. It offers 100% coverage and early word is the bright, and sharp view it offers is a step above the competitors. They could have skimped here, but didn’t.
- Pro level build: magnesium alloy chassis and full weather sealing are virtual requirements in a pro-level camera. On the flip side, Sony didn’t offer any weather sealed lenses. That will be rectified soon I’d imagine.
- Intelligent preview is useful, but far from perfect. Previewing the effect of various camera settings on a limited raw file may seem useful, but we can’t help but think that a full fledged Live View would be even more useful (see Panasonic’s G1). Also, still no zoom in for focus check on the A900.
- The A900 is capable of incredible image quality. 24 megapixels on 35mm sized sensor equals images 4,032 x 6,048 in size! That’s an amazing amount of detail, and most of the early previews are quick to mention that IQ rivals that of the significantly more expensive Canon 1Ds Mark III, at least at lower ISO. The A900 is not going to compete with the Nikon D3 or D700 in terms of noise management at ridiculously high ISO, but nor is it intended to. With that said, ISO performance is still impressive and with Sony now choosing to allow photographers to turn off in camera NR, high ISO results are likely to be even more impressive.
If you’re still yearning for additional information on the Sony A900, AnandTech’s Wesley Fink has posted his hands on preview, with some interesting observations on this exciting new camera.
Also the Sony A900 is now available for pre-order at Amazon for $2999.99.