Sony DSLR-A900

Released September, 2008
New: SLT A99 (Oct, 2012)
  • 24.4 MP
  • Full frame 35.9 x 24 mm CMOS
  • 3" LCD
On the following pages we'll look a little more closely at the more conventional adjustments (contrast, saturation etc); here's a taste of what the various Image Styles have to offer.
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)
9 Out of 10

Camera Rocket Review Our evaluation of the Sony DSLR-A900

Image Quality

RAW image quality independent of lens

DSLR-A900
10.0
Nikon D800
10.0
Sony A7
10.0
DxOMark Low light, DxOMark Color depth and DxOMark Dynamic range

Focusing

How fast and easily does the camera nail focus

DSLR-A900
6.6
Sony A7
10.0
focus points

Responsiveness

How much delay is there between you and your photo?

DSLR-A900
10.0
Nikon D800
10.0
Sony A7
10.0
continuous shooting

Reviews

What do the experts think?

DSLR-A900
8.7
Sony A7
9.2
Reviews from dpreview.com and reviews.cnet.com

9

Camera Rocket Score

Image Quality, Focusing, Responsiveness and Reviews

DSLR-A900
9.0
Sony A7
9.6

Benchmarks Real world tests of the Sony DSLR-A900

Low light image quality Highest ISO setting that still achieves great image quality

DSLR-A900
1,431 ISO
Nikon D600
2,980 ISO
Nikon D800
2,979 ISO

Resolution Results from photos of standard resolution charts

DSLR-A900
2,700 LPH
DSLR-A850
2,150 LPH
Nikon D800
3,100 LPH

Focus lag Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

DSLR-A900
183 ms
D3200
276 ms
Nikon D600
260 ms

Shutter lag Delay to take a photo when prefocused

DSLR-A900
72 ms
Alpha A6000
22 ms
D3200
114 ms

Startup delay Delay from power on to first photo

DSLR-A900
500 ms
SLT A77
3,100 ms
Sony A7
1,700 ms

Continuous shooting Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

DSLR-A900
5 fps
SLT A77
12 fps
Alpha A6000
11 fps

Photo Gallery Wallpaper quality closeups of the camera

Reviews Word on the street for the Sony DSLR-A900


7.4
The color is very good, bright and saturated or subtle when necessary.

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight

Sensor

The output is a touch soft (and there's some evidence of sharpening), but in the areas on the plane of focus the resolution is as good as you'd expect from a 24MP sensor.
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)
It's capable of stunning results at up to ISO 400 (and is fine at ISO 800-1600 as long as you're not printing posters), and it is incredibly fast and responsive in use.
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)
I have to say that up to ISO 800 the Alpha 900 produces very pleasing results indeed; metering/exposure is simply superb, highlight clipping incredibly well controlled and although using the default settings the color is perhaps a little over-vivid (we found some red clipping on bright days) it is very 'consumer friendly' and can of course be customized using the Creative Styles.
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)

Iso

That helps the A900 maintain its respectable close-to-5fps burst rate (though even with a fast UDMA memory card, such as the 4GB SanDisk Extreme Ducati, the buffer fills quickly) and keeps high ISO shots from taking too long to process and save.
by c|net (Jan, 2009)
Here you'll find the shutter release and front control dial plus buttons giving direct access to AE compensation (+/-), White Balance, ISO and Drive mode, plus the new info panel and a little button to illuminate it.
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)
As long as you take into account our reservations about the high ISO image quality (which we'd more easily forgive on a camera that wasn't the best part of $3000), the Alpha 900 is a camera that just, by the skin of its teeth, offers enough to gain our highest award.
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)

Image quality

We've been consistently impressed with Sony's ability to hold onto highlight detail and - as our real world experience with the Alpha 900 showed - the dynamic range has real, visible benefits in contrasty conditions.
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)
Fortunately the OFF setting appears to remove all noise reduction - this means visibly noisier results, but results that have more fine detail (allowing you to do whatever you want with noise reduction in post processing).
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)
It also supplies the typical array of features you'd expect to find, including Creative Styles, for customizing contrast, saturation, sharpness, brightness, and Zone (which preserves highlight or shadow detail, depending upon the setting); D-Range Optimizer (DRO) for expanding the dynamic range; and exposure (+/- 3 stops at 1/3 or 2/3 stop increments) white balance, and DRO bracketing.
by c|net (Jan, 2009)

Screen

To be honest I rarely used it - this is partly because the superb interface and Quick Navi system on the main screen is so superb, and partly because the top LCD is about as sophisticated as an early 80's hand-held frogger game.
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)
It's quite a neat idea, but in practice, I found the LCD didn't represent the image accurately enough to make all but the most basic judgments.
by c|net (Jan, 2009)
Still, I'm sure there'll be plenty of users happy to see an LCD on the top panel, even if it is verging on the redundant.
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)

Raw

What you can't do is any of the clever stuff offered by other manufacturers (auto switchover, backup, splitting raws and JPEGs etc).
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)
By flattening out the curve we were able to squeeze a total of 12.6 stops out of the sensor (of course a curve of this shape doesn't represent anything you'd ever use in real life but it does show the potential for digital exposure compensation when shooting RAW with the A900).
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)
Looking at the output it's also obvious that the Sony has a slightly stronger anti alias (low pass) filter, giving results that - even in raw - don't quite have the per pixel sharpness of the Nikon.
by DPReview (Oct, 2008)

Specifications Full list of technical specs

sensor

Type CMOS
Megapixels 24.4 MP
Resolution 6048 x 4032
Size Full frame
Area 35.9 x 24 mm
Crop factor 1.0x
Pixel size 35.3 microns
Light sensitivity 100 ISO to 1,600 ISO
Light sensitivity (Boost) 1,600 ISO to 6,400 ISO
Codecs
  1. RAW
  2. JPEG
Self cleaning sensor Yes
Tested vertical resolution 2,700 LPH
Tested horizontal resolution 2,700 LPH

focus system

Type Phase detection
Focus points 19
Cross type focus points 1
Supports continuous No

shutter

Min 30 s
Max 1/8000 s

form factor

Size 156 x 117 x 82 mm
Thickness 82 mm
Weight 895 g
Is weather sealed Yes

features

Includes a GPS No
Supports HDR No
Automatic panorama No
Create realistic 3D images No
Image stabilization Sensor shift

video

Video None

display

Type LCD
Size 3"
Resolution 921 k dots
Has a touch screen No
Has a flip out screen No
Supports live view No

viewfinder

Viewfinder mirror Opaque
Viewfinder Viewfinder
Type Pentaprism
Coverage 100%
Magnification 0.74x
Viewfinder size 0.74x

performance

Max continuous shooting 5 fps
Battery life 880 photos
Continuous shooting 5 fps, JPEG
Focus lag 183 ms
Shutter lag 72 ms
Startup delay 500 ms
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