Sony Alpha A900 24.6MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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- 35mm full-frame 24.6-megapixel Exmor CMOS image sensor
- Body only; lenses sold separately
- SteadyShot INSIDE in-camera image stabilization; Dual BIONZ processors for up to fast 5 fps performance
- 3.0-inch Xtra Fine LCD photo-quality display; Intelligent Preview Function reduces trial-and-error
- Accepts CompactFlash and Memory Stick Duo Media memory cards
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|Auto Focus Technology|
|Battery Average Life||880 Photos|
|Compatible Mountings||Sony/Minolta Alpha|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||5 fps|
|Display Fixture Type||Fixed|
|Display Resolution Maximum||921,600|
|Display Size||3 inches|
|Effective Still Resolution||24.6 MP|
|Expanded ISO Maximum||1,600|
|Expanded ISO Minimum||100|
|Exposure Control Type|
|External Memory Included||Yes|
|Flash Memory Type||Compact Flash (Type I or II), Memory Stick Duo / Pro Duo, UDMA Mode 5, Supports FAT12 / FAT16 / FAT32|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/250_sec|
|Flash Type||Hot-shoe, Wireless plus Sync connector|
|Focus Description||9-point AF with center cross|
|Focus Type||Autofocus & Manual|
|Form Factor||Mid-size SLR|
|HDMI Type||Mini HDMI Type C|
|ISO Range||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, (up to 6400)|
|Image Aspect Ratio||3:2, 16:9|
|Included Components||Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Digital SLR Camera Body -|
|Item Dimensions||4.61 x 3.23 x 6.14 inches|
|Item Display Weight||10 pounds|
|Item Weight||1.97 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Weight||4 ounces|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000 of a second|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||6,048|
|Metering||Multi, Center-weighted, Spot|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||30 seconds|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||24.6 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Photo Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Remote Control Description||Wired or Wireless (Optional)|
|Sensor Cleaning Method||Charge protection coating on low-pass filter|
|Shipping Weight||4.1 pounds|
|Supported Battery Types||Lithium-Ion NP-FM500H rechargeable battery & charger|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical (pentaprism)|
|Water Resistance Level||Not Water Resistant|
|Weather Resistance||Water and Dust resistant|
The Sony A900 is the top-of-the-line model in the Sony α (alpha) DSLR lineup. As befits a flagship model, the A900 raises the bar in a number of areas. In addition to being the first α DSLR to incorporate a 35mm full frame image sensor, it features the worlds highest 24.6-megapixel (MP) resolution and the worlds first body-integrated full-size SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization technology. The new full frame Exmor CMOS image sensor is significantly larger than traditional APS-C sized sensors, providing a larger capture area, improved wide-angle performance, and tighter depth of field control. In addition, its 24.6MP resolution maximizes the resolving power of your existing lenses for sharper, higher contrast photos. The A900 also features Dual BIONZ imaging processors that allow continuous shooting at up to 5 fps (frames per second) with superb image quality and ultra-low noise, a large, ultra bright glass pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage, an Intelligent Preview function that lets you see the effects of manual adjustments on an image before you take the shot, and best-in-class viewing with a photo-quality 3.0” Xtra Fine LCD (921K pixels) display and HDMI output with PhotoTV HD compatibility.
Review from Wired.com: Upstart Sony DSLR Pops Nikon and Canon on the ChinRead the full Sony A900 digital SLR review at Wired.com.
Read about our customers' top-rated cameras and lenses on our review pages: Digital SLR Cameras, Lenses
Top Customer Reviews
So, after a few years of watching Sony release amateur grade (barely above point-and-shoot) bodies made for midgets when they finally announced releasing the a850 and a900 I wasn't very enthused. Yes, they were 35mm but it doesn't do me any good if the body is so small I can't hold onto it. Eventually I decided to bite the bullet and see what they'd come up with.
WOW! I'd like to say Sony should have come out with this instead of the a100 several years ago and bag on them for taking so long but honestly it was worth the wait! Yes, it may be missing a feature or two that the Nikons and Canons have but the a900 is a fraction of the cost. What Sony has really done to both impress and surprise me is release a camera that is JUST A CAMERA. I'm sorry but all the wiz-bang crud (video, gps, in-camera post processing, etc) Nikon and Cannon (and others) are trying to pack into their bodies is ridiculous. The a900 is clean, easy to use and clean and simple, uncluttered and easy to use AND it's a full sized SLR body. A man with gloves could actually hold onto this camera and even operate it. Hear that Sony? The majority of SLR users are NOT ultra-petite women and children!
If you're a high end amateur or low-mid professional photographer moving from SLR film to DSLR and want to continue in a 35mm format you will not be disappointed. The menu is easy to use and clean. The quick menu lets you access all the commonly used functions quickly and easily with just a few button clicks. Actual buttons duplicate most functions (WB, Drive, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc) for even faster access. Continuous shooting speed is as advertised. Auto focus is fast (depending on the lens in use, of course) and accurate and about a light year ahead of the 7D. The view finder is AWESOME! It's crystal clear, large and BRIGHT. There is absolutely NO way to describe it. You have to see it yourself. Battery life is at least as good as the 7D. Still, I have two batteries for my a900 body and that's what I'd recommend having.
Things to be aware of but are not necessarily negatives: there is no built in flash. This is considered a professional body and professional grade bodies typically don't come with built in flash. It does have the Minolta hot-shoe, however, and whatever you plug in has to be compatible. RAW files are 36MB. EACH. That means you can fit about 110 on a 4GB card and they have to be FAST cards if you want to maintain the continuous shooting speed Sony claims. So, multiple cards or fewer bigger cards. I opt for the 4GB cards because if one dies I'm not loosing 200+ pictures. The RAW (or ARW as Sony names them) files require the packaged picture converter software or something like Photoshop 4+ with Camera Raw. CS3- users will have to upgrade (as I found out). Sony's software is functional but it's very clunky; CS5 Standard puts it to shame. You will need LOTS of storage on your laptop/pc. RAW->TIFF will generate HUGE files. The body is big and it is weighty. With a prime lens like the 50mm it's perfectly balanced and very easy to hold and use. Coupled with something like the Minolta 28-70mm f2.8 G or the equivalent CZ lens you have a monster. Thanks to the body size and ergonomics its perfectly manageable it's a HEAVY, BULKY package. Personally, I have no issues with this as it's the same as using my old 35mm film bodies but if you're a very petite woman or you're teaching your kids they're probably going to have problems.
One negative with the a900 -- and it ABSOLUTELY IS NOT a fault of the camera or Sony -- has turned into a nasty got-cha for me and is documented elsewhere on the 'net. If you have a lens (or more) of 'questionable quality' such as my old kit lens from one of my 7Ds they're probably going to be unusable on the a850 and a900. A 22 Megapixel 35mm body will show up and magnify any glass quality issues. A LOT! My most important piece of advice with either the a850 or a900 is to be prepared to replace your glass if necessary with GOOD glass. A poor lens on this body is just a waste of an incredible piece of technology. BTW, it is possible to use (most) APS-C lenses but again this is just a total waste of a body. Go get an a700 if you want to use your APS-C lenses.
My favorite feature (besides the view finder): AF Micro Adjust. This gives you the ability (if necessary) to 'tweak' the AF of specific lenses (up to 30 on the a900) on a per lens basis to compensate for front or back focus. This might not sound like such a hot feature but it sometimes comes in handy if you have old lenses. For example, my Minolta 50mm F2.8 Macro was always reasonably sharp but I could tell it was off just a tad if I looked closely. After making an in-camera adjustment of -3 now you can cut yourself on the pictures.
The only negative 'feature' on the a850-900 is the addition of stupid point-and-shoot features to a professional grade DSLR: Creative Style. Really?? Does anyone that buys a $2800+ body want their camera screwing with the picture? I thought that was what post-processing was for. This is a pet peeve of mine because any pictures I shoot with my Minolta lenses on any other setting than Neutral end up looking like cartoons. Minolta lenses are known for their contrast and color reproduction - IMHO, they don't need help from the camera. So, in order to compensate I'd have to make micro-adjustments to the styles and I've given up with that. I've 'fixed' Neutral and just leave it at that. IMHO, this was a waste of Sony programming resources. I think I'm going to nominate this for the 'stupid feature of the year award'.
In my opinion - which has changed since purchase - the only real drawback to the a850 and a900 is the price. Steep for even high end amateurs but after spending a few weeks with my new a900 body I've changed my opinion. The cost is well worth it if you have a lot of a-mount gear and good glass. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to do it again. In fact, I wish I would have bought one a year ago.
What makes this a great body is in most ways subjective but I believe it boils down to image quality and ease of use. The image quality is incredible and in many ways is like the difference you see between 35mm and medium format if you were comparing an APS-C DSLR (like the a700) to the a900. My personal opinion echoed by many others is that the a850-900 is one of the easiest to use and most comfortable bodies produced in quite some time. So, between these two I give the a900 an A+++.:)
But, the world of the a900 isn't all roses. If you have a collection of Sony/Minolta lenses, hopefully they're all full-frame. Yes, the a900 supports APS-C lenses, but there is no real advantage to them with this body over other Sony DSLRs. The a900 does "find focus" better than previous Sony DSLRs, but the location of the focus points aren't as well laid out as other Sony models. While I usually carry an external flash, so the lack of a pop-up flash isn't a problem for me, many users will find the lack of one to be, at least, an annoyance.
And last, but certainly not least, is post production once the images are off of the camera. If you primarily shoot in RAW (as I do), and do much post-production, be prepared to bring your computer to it's knees. These files are huge, and all that wonderful resolution comes at cost; that being the amount of pure computing horsepower required.
Given those few caveats, the alpha900 really is a big step forward in digital SLRs, in many ways. If you can justify the cost of this body, it really is worth having, and you'll be surprised at just how much detail a single image can have when its almost 25 megapixels.
If you have Minolta or Sony glasses and need a full frame camera, this is the best option.
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