According to Sony, the α99 is the world’s first full-frame interchangeable lens digital camera to feature two phase detection sensors. To me, this meant that it would focus fast, especially when the need arises for the street and macro genres where I would need to have focus locked down quick to get the shot. The auto-focus (AF) works well enough, although I would have preferred the selection of AF points to be a lot faster, as I switch between AF points very often and demand speed in this area.
AF niggles aside, I found the α99 to be superb with taking videos. The AF is fast, and the Face tracking feature works like a dream! The α99’s AF Range limiter was also excellent for making adjustments on the fly to prevent the camera from focusing behind your intended subject. The articulated screen was of course very useful, and is definitely a huge plus on a full frame camera! The in-camera SteadyShot, coupled with some steady hands, helped prevent a wedding video I took from appearing like another installment of the Blair Witch Project. Make no mistake; the α99 is a camera which a novice can use to make pretty good videos, right off the bat! The comparatively low weight of the camera body also made it less taxing to handle when fitted with the 24-70mm F2.8 lens.
After two weeks, I came away impressed with the fantastic image quality, the AF speed (especially for video work) and the plethora of features that I have yet to explore and fully utilize. If I really had to nit-pick from my short experience with the α99, I would say the menu could be more intuitive in its layout or the way it is organized. Would I pick up the α99, especially if I already have my existing Canon systems? The answer would be a resounding yes, especially for use in videography where I’d want and need ease of use, fast AF, excellent noise control and brilliant picture quality.