Sony Alpha DSLR-A900: Review

sony-a900Sony, the newest new kid on the DLSR block, first high end DSLR. The pressure was on Sony to show it was committed to becoming a major SLR system player and that it wasn’t going to squander Minolta’s long legacy in this market after picking up the assets Konica Minolta shed. Thus we saw the first prototype of the Alpha 900 – Sony’s flagship full frame digital SLR – back in early 2007.   Information has been trickling out ever since January of this year of a 35mm full frame CMOS sensor.

So when Sony finally showed the finished Alpha 900 to us back in the late summer there were few surprises at the basic specification or the appearance of the camera. As we started to actually use the Alpha 900 we were surprised at some of the decisions made by Sony’s engineers when designing its flagship SLR.

The success of the Alpha 900 amongst the Minolta, Konica Minolta and Sony faithful seems assured. The launch price of the Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 is just shy of $3000. It offers a lot of great feachers and there is undoubtedly a significant number of Minolta film SLR users who’ve been waiting years for a full frame digital body on which to use their existing lenses. The challenge for Sony, however, is to generate some interest from people without an existing investment in the Minolta system. On paper the Alpha 900 looks promising –

Key features
24.6 MP 35mm format full-frame CMOS sensor (highest res in class)
SteadyShot INSIDE full frame image sensor shift stabilization (world first)
High Speed Dual Bionz processors
Eye-level glass Penta-prism OVF, 100% coverage, 0.74x magnification
9 point AF with 10 assist points, center dual-cross AF w/2.8 sensor
5 frames per second burst, newly developed mirror box
Intelligent Preview Function
3 User programmable custom memory modes on mode dial
Advanced Dynamic Range Optimizer (5 step selectable)
40 segment honeycomb metering
3.0″ 921K pixel Photo Quality (270 dpi) LCD display, 100% coverage
Direct HDMI output
ISO 200-3200 (ISO 100-6400 expanded range)
User interchangeable focusing screens (3 options)
CF Type I/II and MS slots, LI-ION battery, STAMINA 880 shots
Weight 850g (without battery, card, accs)
New Image Data Converter SR software (includes vignetting control)
New Vertical Grip
Supplied with wireless remote control
Magnesium Alloy body and rubber seals for dust and moisture resistance
AF micro adjustment
$2999.99 body price; available late October 2008

Sony A900 compared to Canon 5D MKII

What separates these two outstanding DSLRs from anything else on the market is that they offer 20+ Megapixel resolution, full frame sensors, standard body size, and all at a price under US $3,000. This essentially makes them the first cameras since the beginning of the digital revolution […]