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Andrew Reid

Inspired or insane? Switching from the A7S II to the A99 II

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Interesting idea but I have too much invested in EF lenses to make the switch and with 2 very nice higher end EF mount cameras just announced that investment seems very wise and future proofed. Shame that Sony are not upgrading the A7r2/S2 interface software and likley waiting for the mk3 versions but can just about put up with the ergonomics of the A7r2 now that the camera is delivering such amazing image quality through your EOSHD profile!

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I think we all want a 'do it all' camera in a nice form factor. I think Sony have always been stronger on the DSLR form factor ergonomics than their mirrorless cams. And it's not just the controls but the curves of the DSLR body are preferable to sharp, angular corners of the A7 bodies as well, in the hand... as well as the superior grip, much larger.

Hmm apparently there is a hack to get the aperture to go wide open in video-AF-C mode instead of F3.5.

Although it will still be Programme Auto (auto shutter speed) at least you will be able to do F1.4 in low light.

http://www.portreti.lv/how-to-hack-sony-alpha-99-65-77-to-work-with-open-aperture-in-video-mode-autofocus/

You just stick something in the way of the lever on the back of the lens, and take it out when you want to stop down. AF tracking in video mode at F1.4... nice.

Anybody know if ISO be set to manual in Programme Auto mode on the A99 II?

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Why not just use a Sony EA3 adapter on an A7 camera? In the end, the A99 is just an A7RII with a mirror box that will be useless for video. Coupled with the EA3, the A7RII will effectively be an A99, but with the added benefit of a built-in EVF.

- Btw., an upside of A-mount lenses (including Minoltas) is that they're easily to find for a few bucks in charity stores. But just like with Canon's EF mount, the lenses don't have aperture rings, and only tiny, fast-travelling focus rings that aren't really suitable for manual focus pulling.

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Congratulations. When I get GAS I just leave the room, I also jump through a few mental hoops to justify whats about to happen, but really Andrew, writing a short novel, excellent, congratulations.

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14 minutes ago, cantsin said:

Why not just use a Sony EA3 adapter on an A7 camera?

I have done that and like I pointed out in the novel (an internet article longer than 4 words) there's no point because you are still stuck with the crap ergonomics of the A7R II and A7S II.

14 minutes ago, cantsin said:

In the end, the A99 is just an A7RII with a mirror box that will be useless for video.

The mirror box isn't useless for video as it has an EVF.

The mount isn't as adaptable to other lenses as E-mount, of course, so in that sense the A-mount is a disadvantage but then do you REALLY need more than an 18-35mm F1.8, 35mm F1.4, 85mm F1.4 and 24-70mm F2.8, all stabilised, with superbly fast AF?

14 minutes ago, cantsin said:

Coupled with the EA3, the A7RII will effectively be an A99, but with the added benefit of a built-in EVF.

Come on man do your basics.... A99 II has a built in EVF. It is not a DSLR. It is SLT.

14 minutes ago, cantsin said:

- Btw., an upside of A-mount lenses (including Minoltas) is that they're easily to find for a few bucks in charity stores. But just like with Canon's EF mount, the lenses don't have aperture rings, and only tiny, fast-travelling focus rings that aren't really suitable for manual focus pulling.

There's some really nice manual focus Minolta stuff out there including a class leading 50mm F1.2. I converted mine to EF mount. Will convert it back again now, haha.

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Found this video with helpful explanation why engineers disallowed AF with A mount lenses except with static aperture in P mode; also shows that using MF in A priority you get good demo of effectively step-less aperture changes with A mount lenses

suggest start watching from 5:52 mins

 

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12 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

There's some really nice manual focus Minolta stuff out there including a class leading 50mm F1.2. I converted mine to EF mount. Will convert it back again now, haha.

Point taken with the EVF, my bad - had confused the A99 with the Sony's  translucent mirror SLRs in that detail.


However, the Minolta manual focus lenses have a different mount (MD) that can't be adapted to A mount without losing infinity focus. So no luck for your 50mm/f1.2.

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1 hour ago, Tim Fraser said:

Found this video with helpful explanation why engineers disallowed AF with A mount lenses except with static aperture in P mode; also shows that using MF in A priority you get good demo of effectively step-less aperture changes with A mount lenses

suggest start watching from 5:52 mins

Yeah saw that guy on YouTube. Nice tips, but I still don't understand the technical reasons for P mode with static aperture.

SLT AF in video mode has already been proven to work at faster apertures than F3.5 when the lever on the lens is jammed wide open at F1.4

And closing off all the manual controls in P mode is just daft.

Fair enough, if you get jerky aperture changes during a shot with the older lenses then lock the aperture, but lock it during the video recording and allow us to choose the aperture in live-view first!

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Obligatory NX1 owner post, I'll admit, but that doesn't make it less true:

I shoot weddings, corporate, music videos, and other random things as a Ronin operator. The AF capabilities of the NX1 in this application simply cannot be overstated. The only thing I could possibly say it is lacking is 4K 60p, but then, that's an unfair gripe considering that wasn't a spec even on the radar for mirrorless cameras at the time of the NX1's development. Sure, the Sony claim to fame is shooting in the black of midnight, but on most other fronts you have to work hard to get what I would consider a pleasing image.

Until these next-gen cameras can match or exceed the NX1's AF capabilities, I have zero reason to upgrade. 

There are specs that matter, and specs that don't. Sure, it can vary depending on the application, but there's no replacement for skill behind the lens. Some features just make the job easier, and unnervingly good AF for gimbal work is one of those features.

I'll have to try Canon's DPAF, see how it stacks up. But I have other misgivings about diving into Canon's ecosystem, nevermind if Samsung's is now DOA.

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Ehh, if you're happy with A-mount glass and the limited adapting options, the A99II is nice, but I'd still opt for the A7rII. The E-mount 35/1.4 (my favorite FE lens) is much better than the A-mount IMO, heck even the SigArt is better than the old Minolta 35 with a Sony badge on it - which has well documented weaknesses. You can go small/light with the A7 and something like the 28/2 or 55/1.8 - the A99II will always be bigger no matter what lens you stick on it. Sigma is going to produce E-mount lenses, some of their recent releases are not in A-mount, third parties dropping out is a bad sign for the future when new OEM glass is non-existent.

Sony is cranking out E-mount lenses pretty fast these days, the new 16-35GM and 12-24 will not be matched in A-mount. Neither will any of the other GM lenses for that matter. The older A-mount 2.8 zooms are good, but again Sony has left the A-mount lenses for dead. How long have people been begging to update the goofy screw drive AF on the 135/1.8 to no avail? The last A-mount lens was the 50/1.4 and the modest updates to the Zeiss zooms - which IMO were done to improve performance with the A7rII and future PADF E-mount cameras.

I spent some time tinkering with the A99II at some big camera stores in Japan and China over the last couple months, I really like the ergos of the A99 body, its the most comfortable camera in-hand I've ever used.

To answer the original question - insane. And this is from a former A99 owner. I sold it in part because of the lack of a truly outstanding 35. That and the shitty video. Slog3 isn't a reason to choose it over the A7rII either, Slog2 and even Cine4 produce better results. The A7sII is far cleaner at 3200 and above, and can focus in lower light. I'd run a A7rII/sII combo before A99 anything. Again IMO.

Cheers

Edit: After the A9/12-24/16-35gm announcements, I'm pretty much settled on heading back to the E-mount from Fuji, as Sony is clearly pushing tech to the next level while denying others its top sensors. Though I have no use for the A9's speed, the stacked sensor and new body (which I also really like) will surface in other models in the future. I find AF when recording to be very handy - mostly because I used "push auto" to set focus in the old Z1u days and that habit continues today. Plus its nice to be able to track subjects with AF and focus on other things - like not tripping over curbs and shit while walking. Until Sony resolves its AF issues with the A99II its not going to be an option for me.

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The poor AF of the A7sII strikes me as the better alternative than no AF on the A9II (except if you can shoot @ f/3.5 or can accept not being able to precisely control the shutter speed). A one-size-fits-all body for both a stills and video  is hard to come by. The closest thing we have to that right now is the A7rII.

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Just have fun with it when you get it.  For the price you can always sell it with minimal loss, and you'll have the experience.  I started out with the Sony a-350, years later I'm still making money from the images it took.  Went to an a-850, made money with that, then the a-7r, what a piece of junk.  Or I should say, wow, what a sensor, but damn, that thing was a pain in the ass to shoot with.  The ergonomics on it were below dismal in my opinion.  When the Pentax K-1 came out I bought that for the sensor, and it's my go to stills camera now.  For video I still use the Canon 1DC, and I have no complaints, autofocus, I don't need it for what I do.  A couple of things with the camera you're getting.  Dust.  Dust.  Dust.  I had a Sony a-77 for a blink of the eye, dust.  The a-7r, dust.  If you're going to use the a-99ii for a lot of video, well, good luck.  For stills it's a clone brush, with video it's a pita.  I used to think Sony coated their sensors with something to attract dust.  Anyway, enjoy the camera, the stills will be great, and I'm sure in your hands the video will look stunning.  Good luck with your new toy!

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20 minutes ago, treb999 said:

Just have fun with it when you get it.  For the price you can always sell it with minimal loss, and you'll have the experience.  I started out with the Sony a-350

So did I, way back - I preferred A350 over Canon 450D.

This was before video.

It was a stunning shot getter and best live view at the time.

20 minutes ago, treb999 said:

years later I'm still making money from the images it took.  Went to an a-850, made money with that, then the a-7r, what a piece of junk.

A850 ergonomics to A7R - yes, it was a huge downfall. Why buy Minolta but then choose not to apply ANY photographic DNA to your mirrorless cameras in terms of design and handling?

20 minutes ago, treb999 said:

Or I should say, wow, what a sensor, but damn, that thing was a pain in the ass to shoot with.  The ergonomics on it were below dismal in my opinion.  When the Pentax K-1 came out I bought that for the sensor, and it's my go to stills camera now.  For video I still use the Canon 1DC, and I have no complaints, autofocus, I don't need it for what I do.

Autofocus isn't everything, but I really do think the A99 II has a few tricks up its sleeve we've not seen yet regarding video AF.

Locking the pin wide open on the lens for a start, to avoid the F3.5 limitation.

AF is a bonus on this camera.

It's already very good. An A7R II with a proper body and not shit ergonomically.

20 minutes ago, treb999 said:

A couple of things with the camera you're getting.  Dust.  Dust.  Dust.

Does it get in behind the SLT mirror on the A99 II or did they solve that?

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Turns out A mount is more adaptable than I thought.

M42 adapter focuses to infinity, costs $3

Leica R lenses can be converted at home with $10 kit from eBay and 5 minutes with a screwdriver, just like I converted mine to Nikon.

There's some nice Pentax lenses in M42 mount and the legendary Tomioka 50mm F1.2

Helios / USSR stuff can join the fun and there is even a 50mm F2 pancake that fits

Helios 44M perfect for anamorphic, so they can play.

So it's not all about buying expensive Zeiss A mount stuff, thankfully.

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