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Andrew Reid

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

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21 minutes ago, hijodeibn said:

i second this one, Andrew have to take a break and drink some herbs tea…..unless he is swimming in money :)

When I sell some of my EF lenses and the 1D X Mark II, I am actually saving money by going A99 II.

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I just sold my A99II because it overheated frequently when shooting outdoors in even modestly warm conditions. I expect you won't hear much about this because not many choose to shoot video with the A99II professionally, and fewer do this outside in all weather conditions. I've owned a lot of different Sony cameras and it was far worse about overheating when shooting video than all except the NEX7. 

This is particularly disappointing because it is an amazing camera that takes wonderful video as well as stills and is in a body that is easier to work with over the A7SII (which I now shoot with, in addition to my FS7. Adding a battery grip to the A7SII makes it much a much better camera to use everyday.) But I need my tools to be reliable in the environment in which I use them. I own the full Zeiss A-Mount prime set, as well as a 70-200 G SSMII lens for it, so I was very much invested in the platform and wanted it to work. I still love shooting with the A-Mount glass on my FS7, so that's not all lost. The glass also works great with the A7SII, of course.  (I still own an A77II for sports photography, but I'm testing an A9 this week and that has me swooning. My fingers are crossed for a 4K capable A77III.)

Also: the battery grip for the A77/A99II is poorly designed for video. The base is rounded so quick-release plates wobble when mounted on a tripod. 

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I should mention... if you like the ZA 85mm, the 135mm f/1.8 will blow you away. 

Last post on this for now... but for a run-and-gun lens the Sony A-Mount 16-50 f/2.8 is a brilliant piece to work with in APS-C mode on the A99M2. Physically connected focus ring, weather sealed and a very nice image for less than $1000 brand new. Way less on eBay. 

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Seems like it was on the sensor, the dust.  I like to clean my own sensors and it's a pain, or was for me with the translucent part in the way.  I always liked the images shot with raw on the Sony's though, they had a bit more punch.  Funny, when I sold off all of my Sony and Minolta stuff, I still kept the 50mm macro, probably the sharpest lens I have ever used.  To bad you're selling the 1Dx2, you can always pick up a 1DC cheap to replace it.

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A couple of things Andrew that haven't had much of a mention because nobody talks about this camera:

1) It does seem to overheat pretty easy, worse than my previous A7R II. Don't know if it's a bad design or some firmware issue. This is probably the extent of the 'bad'

2) The 100/120fps 1080p is phenomenal IMO. You get all the usual capabilities with it, but I can't see an IQ difference to normal 1080p mode, which in itself is vastly improved over the A7R II which was horrid in (from memory) FF mode. You can also do 100/120fps in either FF or S35 with no arbitrary crop. This is one of my favourite things and smashes ANY Sony mirrorless or SLT for slow motion video. 

3) The aperture control is vastly improved for video with smooth transitions. Anything with an LA-EA adapter cannot do this and is unique to the A99 II. 

4) Silent controller on the front, really useful. 

5) Sony SLT articulating screen, vast improvement over the A6 and A7 series. 

6) The beefing up of the back end processing in this camera means the live view is improved, the magnification in stills mode is superb and while video takes a drop due to changed readout it's still usable. 

7) If you asked me whether I want better AF in these cameras or better manual focus aids, I would hands down say better MF aids. Guess what? The A99 II has a phenomenal one! You can use ANY of the AF points to confirm focus during video recording. So you have brilliant feedback of perfect nailed focus without magnification virtually anywhere on the frame - Why the A7R II and A6500 can't do this I don't understand. 

8) AF is actually really good, it's a shame it is limited the way it is. The camera DOES try to err towards appropriate shutter speeds (which is handy) and you can exposure lock (and then control with a variable ND).

9) Battery life is good, can get XLR adapter and grip. Does clean output. Has S-Log3 (R2 doesn't), files for stills are amazing and it does mostly everything it says on the tin. It's a lot of camera for the money that is for sure! AF with third party lenses is however quite lacking IMO. Oh and proxies, love that Sony do them. And dual card slots, don't get that on R2, S2 etc.

Speaking of lenses, the two you have will be fantastic. The 35G is IMO underrated, it is small and fast and has lovely rendering. The ZA85 is also small, smaller than the Samsung 85/1.4. They also both have hard stops which is nice. Couple other things:

1) Leica R can easily be adapted

2) Nikon can also be adapted 

3) Zeiss ZF can be adapted

These allow plenty of options plus there are a raft of other lenses from third parties. Adapting any of these is reversible. Buying Sigma Art lenses can have their mounts swapped if A-Mount takes a dive. Plus there are plenty of lovely and unique lenses for A-Mount. Check out the following:

1) 70-210mm f4 'beercan'. Seriously will cost you $60 and I think is way better than the L equiv. Sharp with lovely bokeh, near parfocal and nice metal build. 

2) 135mm STF T4.5. Forget the overpriced new one, this lens is amazing. 

3) Zeiss 135mm f1.8. Amazing. Doesn't extend like ZA85 and better image quality. 

4) Lenses like Tokina's famous 28-70mm f2.6-2.8 AT-X are readily available for like $200. 

5) Plastic fantastic 30mm f2.8 macro, 35mm f1.8 DT, 50mm f1.8 DT, 85mm f2.8 are all fantastic, super cheap, still have hard stops and can collectively cover a lot of S35 ground. 

Things I don't like about it:

1) I have come to really dislike Sony metering. 

2) Image previews still look awful and make you feel bad about the shot before you see them on a computer and are blown away. 

3) Overheating and occasionally not that great AF. I think these are only a FW update away. 

 

Think that is it for now. If you have any questions about operation just ask. Also I have a weird test I want to do but don't currently have an external recorder for 4K output. 

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57 minutes ago, MdB said:

A couple of things Andrew that haven't had much of a mention because nobody talks about this camera:

1) It does seem to overheat pretty easy, worse than my previous A7R II. Don't know if it's a bad design or some firmware issue. This is probably the extent of the 'bad'

2) The 100/120fps 1080p is phenomenal IMO. You get all the usual capabilities with it, but I can't see an IQ difference to normal 1080p mode, which in itself is vastly improved over the A7R II which was horrid in (from memory) FF mode. You can also do 100/120fps in either FF or S35 with no arbitrary crop. This is one of my favourite things and smashes ANY Sony mirrorless or SLT for slow motion video. 

So glad to hear this. There are so few cameras that do great looking 120fps, let alone full frame. Leica SL is the only one I know.

That Sony have achieved this 120fps from a 42MP sensor is quite a story.

The new LSI in the A99 II seems much faster than the one in the mirrorless cameras and shouldn't overheat as much in a larger body.

Quote

3) The aperture control is vastly improved for video with smooth transitions. Anything with an LA-EA adapter cannot do this and is unique to the A99 II. 

Also great to hear.

In terms of autofocus, some A mount lenses do have silent motors, so in terms of the smooth aperture and silent AF these lenses are up there with any e-mount stuff.

Quote

4) Silent controller on the front, really useful. 

5) Sony SLT articulating screen, vast improvement over the A6 and A7 series.

Does it dim when recording 4K like on the A7S II?

Quote

6) The beefing up of the back end processing in this camera means the live view is improved, the magnification in stills mode is superb and while video takes a drop due to changed readout it's still usable. 

Also good to know!! The mushy focus assist on the A7S II was one of the most annoying things about it.

Can you still do a focus zoom whilst recording?

Quote

7) If you asked me whether I want better AF in these cameras or better manual focus aids, I would hands down say better MF aids. Guess what? The A99 II has a phenomenal one! You can use ANY of the AF points to confirm focus during video recording. So you have brilliant feedback of perfect nailed focus without magnification virtually anywhere on the frame - Why the A7R II and A6500 can't do this I don't understand. 

The advantages of SLT!

Quote

8) AF is actually really good, it's a shame it is limited the way it is. The camera DOES try to err towards appropriate shutter speeds (which is handy) and you can exposure lock (and then control with a variable ND).

So you CAN lock the exposure when in AF tracking mode at F3.5? Does the exposure compensation dial work?

It can work at F1.4, you just modify the lens. I'm thinking of buying the Sony 16-50mm F2.8, taking the aperture control lever out and using it only at F2.8...

Although the change to F3.5 won't hurt the look that much to be honest.

Quote

9) Battery life is good, can get XLR adapter and grip. Does clean output. Has S-Log3 (R2 doesn't), files for stills are amazing and it does mostly everything it says on the tin. It's a lot of camera for the money that is for sure! AF with third party lenses is however quite lacking IMO. Oh and proxies, love that Sony do them. And dual card slots, don't get that on R2, S2 etc.

Speaking of lenses, the two you have will be fantastic. The 35G is IMO underrated, it is small and fast and has lovely rendering. The ZA85 is also small, smaller than the Samsung 85/1.4. They also both have hard stops which is nice. Couple other things:

1) Leica R can easily be adapted

2) Nikon can also be adapted

Does Nikon require back of lens mount change or is it an adapter ring?

Quote

3) Zeiss ZF can be adapted

Don't forget ZS. There are M42 mount Zeiss lenses from the modern era :)

M42 goes straight on the A99 II and there's no flappy mirror to hit the back of the lens like on Canon full frame DSLRs.

Quote

These allow plenty of options plus there are a raft of other lenses from third parties. Adapting any of these is reversible. Buying Sigma Art lenses can have their mounts swapped if A-Mount takes a dive. Plus there are plenty of lovely and unique lenses for A-Mount. Check out the following:

I would go Sigma but I fear the AF might not be as good (esp. in video mode) as with Sony's SSM lenses like the 24-70mm F2.8 II.

Quote

1) 70-210mm f4 'beercan'. Seriously will cost you $60 and I think is way better than the L equiv. Sharp with lovely bokeh, near parfocal and nice metal build. 

2) 135mm STF T4.5. Forget the overpriced new one, this lens is amazing.

STF is a bokeh improvement right?

Quote

3) Zeiss 135mm f1.8. Amazing. Doesn't extend like ZA85 and better image quality. 

Does the focus ring turn when focussing like the ZA85?

I may sell the 85mm as on full frame, prefer 135mm.

85mm F1.4 is lovely on a crop sensor, like GH5.

Quote

4) Lenses like Tokina's famous 28-70mm f2.6-2.8 AT-X are readily available for like $200. 

There's also the Minolta 28-70mm F2.8 for $350 :)

Quote

5) Plastic fantastic 30mm f2.8 macro, 35mm f1.8 DT, 50mm f1.8 DT, 85mm f2.8 are all fantastic, super cheap, still have hard stops and can collectively cover a lot of S35 ground. 

Things I don't like about it:

1) I have come to really dislike Sony metering. 

2) Image previews still look awful and make you feel bad about the shot before you see them on a computer and are blown away.

They store 720p thumbnails for clips in the XAVC-S folder structure and yet still show the pixilated thumbnail for 4K in playback mode, to speed up flicking through it...

It's stupid though.

You can however set it to display very high quality video preview thumbnails in playback mode by going to change the playback mode view in the menus to video... but then you lose sight of your stills!!

Quote

3) Overheating and occasionally not that great AF. I think these are only a FW update away.

There has been no firmware update yet, which means one is certainly due.

Remove the P-auto limit in AF tracking for video and get the thumbnails sorted in playback mode... anything else? Will suggest these to Sony.

Quote

Think that is it for now. If you have any questions about operation just ask. Also I have a weird test I want to do but don't currently have an external recorder for 4K output. 

1080/120p is continuous like RX100 V and not just a S&Q mode, right?

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9 hours ago, rdouthit said:

 

Last post on this for now... but for a run-and-gun lens the Sony A-Mount 16-50 f/2.8 is a brilliant piece to work with in APS-C mode on the A99M2. Physically connected focus ring, weather sealed and a very nice image for less than $1000 brand new. Way less on eBay. 

Holy crap, never heard of this lens, physically connected manual focus is a huge selling point.

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I found a Sony 16-50mm F2.8 for £280 used in mint condition.

They regularly go for a similar amount as nobody is using them!

Weather sealed, silent AF, constant aperture, perfect for Super 35mm 4K and the autofocus tracking mode.

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I think you've done the right thing irrespective of the specs.

If you've lost your mojo a bit for getting out and shooting then if something different gives you a bit of impetus to re-ignite that (if only to show that its not a mad decision as lot of people on here seem to think it is ;) ) then its worth it. I'm not saying you have but just a guess and apologies if its out of line.

It'll make great images anyway, they all do these days but only if we get out there and do it.

And if this aids that process then job done and purchase justified as far as I'm concerned.

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45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

So glad to hear this. There are so few cameras that do great looking 120fps, let alone full frame. Leica SL is the only one I know.

Agreed

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

That Sony have achieved this 120fps from a 42MP sensor is quite a story.

That sensor is absolutely amazing whatbit is capable of with the right processing behind it.

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

The new LSI in the A99 II seems much faster than the one in the mirrorless cameras and shouldn't overheat as much in a larger body.

Yes, but there also seems to be something up. Could just be badly calibrated? R2 has hadna number of fixes and is now very good.

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

In terms of autofocus, some A mount lenses do have silent motors, so in terms of the smooth aperture and silent AF these lenses are up there with any e-mount stuff.

SSM is not as silent. They are more like canon USM.

[EDIT by EOSHD - even with internal focussing elements?]

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Does it dim when recording 4K like on the A7S II?

I don't think so, though the gamma does change espcially going from stills LV to video recording. 

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Also good to know!! The mushy focus assist on the A7S II was one of the most annoying things about it.

It's certainly not perfectly awesome, but it does seem improved. I think it zooms too much personally. 

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Can you still do a focus zoom whilst recording?

Yes. There is also a dedicated button for this AND during stills (but video IIRC) it is one push magnification rather than two. 

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

The advantages of SLT!

So you CAN lock the exposure when in AF tracking mode at F3.5? Does the exposure compensation dial work?

YES! Also i think you askednbefore about the ISO, you can set manual ISO and lock the exposure AND if on manual ISO in the program mode with locked exposure using exp comp essentially dials up and down the shutter speed... So apart from being locked at f3.5 (or wide open with hack) you can dial in any exp parameters you want.

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

It can work at F1.4, you just modify the lens. I'm thinking of buying the Sony 16-50mm F2.8, taking the aperture control lever out and using it only at F2.8...

Although the change to F3.5 won't hurt the look that much to be honest.

Does Nikon require back of lens mount change or is it an adapter ring?

Yes, the Leitax adapters are supposedly quite good.

[EDIT by EOSHD: They are, I used them on my Leica R glass to Nikon]

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Don't forget ZS. There are M42 mount Zeiss lenses from the modern era :)

M42 goes straight on the A99 II and there's no flappy mirror to hit the back of the lens like on Canon full frame DSLRs.

I would go Sigma but I fear the AF might not be as good (esp. in video mode) as with Sony's SSM lenses like the 24-70mm F2.8 II.

Yeah maybe. My fave 24-35mm f2 isn't available in Sony mount anyway. But 18-35mm can be converted if it goes pear shaped for A-Mount. 

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

STF is a bokeh improvement right?

Yes. It is a very sharp lens, with very soft bokeh. It is also a completely manual lens so nice long manual focus throw. I got mine for about the same money as a Samyang. 

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Does the focus ring turn when focussing like the ZA85?

I don't recall this being the case on either, but maybe I am wrong. Been a couple of years, but they had a clever clutching system, maybe that is only on the 135?

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

I may sell the 85mm as on full frame, prefer 135mm.

Yeah agreed. Plus 200mm on S35 is very nice. A cheap Samyang or the Sony 85mm f2.8 might be abke to fill that void if need be. 

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

85mm F1.4 is lovely on a crop sensor, like GH5.

There's also the Minolta 28-70mm F2.8 for $350 :)

Yeah, never owned the Mino, but the Tokina was lovely and I really like the non extending barrel design. 

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

They store 720p thumbnails for clips in the XAVC-S folder structure and yet still show the pixilated thumbnail for 4K in playback mode, to speed up flicking through it...

It's stupid though.

Ah that is interesting.

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

You can however set it to display very high quality video preview thumbnails in playback mode by going to change the playback mode view in the menus to video... but then you lose sight of your stills!!

There has been no firmware update yet, which means one is certainly due.

Remove the P-auto limit in AF tracking for video and get the thumbnails sorted in playback mode... anything else? Will suggest these to Sony.

Even if they decided to stick with a forced f3.5, having manual control over exposure would be plenty for me. 

45 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

1080/120p is continuous like RX100 V and not just a S&Q mode, right?

It has both. So you can get slow mo straigh OOC or get a normal 100/120p file that you slow down yourself. The latter has a higher bitrate, the S&Q is only 16Mbps vs 100Mbps. Both work with log / PP. 

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On ‎5‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 8:35 AM, Andrew Reid said:

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.

I much prefer E mount (I  like the size and shape and ergonomics of the original A7/A7s) but there are some nice A mount lenses that would be better on this camera.

I did like the 85 2.8 SAM as a nice very lightweight portrait lens (used on FF E mount anyway) and I still have a nice cheap old A mount 180 5.6 APO Sigma - needs an LA-EA4 on any E mount and I would like to use it again.

One thing I would love to know if it works on any of the recent A mount cameras is a Sigma adapter I have for MC/MD lens that will auto focus them on A mount..

I never could get it to work on an A7 on a LA-EA4 at all but it would be nice if it works.     There is also a much rarer (never seen one) version for Nikon lenses on A mount that would auto focus manual focus Nikon lenses.      They work similarly to the Pentax 1.7x AF adapter and  Nikon TC-16A and there was another for Yashica I think.

 

Just another old gadget these days (where there is now a Sigma adapter that auto focuses Leica and other MF lenses on E mount) but it would be nice if it worked still.

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Problem with Sony is working out which camera they will release next, which will be more suitable than the current options. An E-mount version of the A99II, with an updated LA-E4 adaptor? Surely technically possible? A video oriented A7 series camera with the A9 sensor, AF system and picture profiles? These would both be very attractive options.

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28 minutes ago, Kubrickian said:

Maybe you should just be happy with one camera Andrew

Nobody is happy with just one camera, I think three for me is OK, and five heaven, of course these numbers change in each person, Andrew probably needs 30 to be OK and 50 to be in heaven….

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1 hour ago, Kubrickian said:

Test many cameras by all means. Don't let the site be a grand rationalization for Gear Acquisition Syndrome though. It's unprofessional. 

My needs are evolving and the A99 II makes sense for a lot of reasons.

If you think it's just GAS then that's up to you... Your call.

I do like gear and have a lot of it, it's my passion and EOSHD would not exist without my interest in the gear.

You know what is a passion killer...

Snipers like you.

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5 hours ago, Kubrickian said:

Test many cameras by all means. Don't let the site be a grand rationalization for Gear Acquisition Syndrome though. It's unprofessional. 

I would love to hear why you disagree with Andrew's in-depth reasoning rather than listening to your pointless ad hominem attacks.

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The forum discussions are one of the principal attractions of this site, we get unvarnished experiences garnered by experts.

Here we have a thought provoking discussion triggered by a surprising, but well articulated system switch. I don't see how that falls under the GAS rubric, so just a silly comment. 

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Andrew

I am seriously pining for an A99II as well, as an upgrade to my A77II.  Mostly, I want to use it for stills work, I am starting to get much more serious about portraiture and architectural photography.  I have some decent A-Mount lenses now incl the Sigma 18-35 F1.8 and the Sony/Zeiss 50 F1.4 (My other camera is a Panasonic LX100, which I use for video (mostly underwater in a scuba housing), it is a perfect 2nd/travel camera).

Anyways, Dan Watson did a video about using ND filters and AE Lock button on back of the A99II, to partially get around the manual exposure/autofocus limitation.  He locked the exposure with ND filters on, then took them off and shots in Program Auto.  The aperture is locked at F3.5, the shutter speed is locked by the AEL button at 1/50 or 1/60 of a second, but he the autofocus still works

Here is the link

 

 

I believe Mike Kobal also did a similar video on an earlier A-mount camera (I think it was an A77) 

 

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