The Sony A900 was officially unveiled on September 9, 2008. The A900 is the first 24.6 megapixel DSLR, making it a class leader at the time of its release. The DSLR-A900 body will be available in November for about $3,000.
It is available from the following trusted online retailers:
Editor’s Note: Although Photography Bay was promised delivery of a review copy of the Sony A900 prior to launch of the camera, none has been provided and, therefore, I have yet to publish a review of the A900. Sony has not communicated a reason why they have failed to deliver one and I’m afraid I will not be able to provide a proper review of the camera in the foreseeable future as my most recent inquiries have essentially gone unanswered. I do hope that this situation is unique to us and does not indicate some development or shipping issues with Sony. From what I’ve read and seen thus far, the A900 appears to be a capable first endeavor in the pro-level arena for Sony. I apologize to Photography Bay readers and, hopefully, this situation will rectify itself before long. In the mean time, I have provided for your consideration links to a number of reviews of the A900 below.
Sony A900 Key Features
- 24.6 Megapixel Full Frame CMOS Sensor
- Dual BIONZ Image Processing Engine
- Intelligent Preview
- 100% Viewfinder, 0.74x Magnification
- 3.0″, 921,000 Dot Xtra Fine LCD
- 9-point Center Dual-cross AF
- 5 fps Continuous Shooting
- SteadyShot Inside
Sony A900 Reviews
In the end, what the A900 does, it does exceptionally well,and in my opinion is the finest Sony camera ever made (as of todays date). I hold no reservation in that conclusion.
Overall, noise is probably one of the A900’s weakest areas considering that anything beyond 400 means a visible decline in image quality as a result of obvious noise.
The Sony A900 delivers excellent image resolution at 24.6-megapixel resolution, paving the way for substantial cropping and large-format prints.
No other camera aside, perhaps, from the 21.1 Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III has produced such rich, luscious, and true-to-life tones in good lighting as the A900.
Its viewfinder is the best you’ll find south of medium format, the build is incredibly robust, the controls are intuitive, with some of them – such as the dedicated Histogram button, the metering mode knob or the well-implemented rear joystick – being close to pure genius.
A good first try at a pro-level camera, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 has the high resolution but unfortunately lacks some of the performance and usability you expect from a model in its price range.
For those without major lens commitments to other brands the Sony A900 offers tremendous value for the money. In almost every objective test criteria measured on DxOMark the A900 comes in in the top two or three, and in many categories does so against camera either costing twice as much or offering half the resolution.
For an experienced photographer not married to another brand’s system, the A900 deserves a look. If you have even a modest stockpile of Konica Minolta lenses, then it demands your attention.
No doubt about it, there is much to like about the Alpha 900 – from the quality of images it produces to the extensive control over image parameters and, as I’ve already mentioned, the excellent, intuitive and uniquely user-friendly handling.
There’s no doubt the Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 delivers an impressive specification for the money, and one which stands-up well against its rivals. You get very high resolution images, quick continuous shooting, a superb viewfinder and built-in image stabilisation which works with any lens you attach.
Sony’s first full-format camera is designed to meet the needs of ambitious amateurs and semi-professionals. JPEG compression is perfectly balanced, and input dynamic range at high ISO speeds is excellent. Tonal reproduction focuses on instant image appeal (rather than something more neutral, which you see with more pro oriented cameras), and the sharpening is OK.
Bright, vivid and spacious viewfinder. Excellent in-camera image stabilization system. Easy no-menu adjustments with Fn button and multi-selector toggle. Killer price for the highest resolution, high functioning, easy to use DSLR.
If you want the most pixels in a small package, the Sony A900 is where you’ll find it. It’s bulky, but less so than the more expensive 1Ds Mark III, and that makes it easier to bring along. I enjoyed shooting with the 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss so much that I recommend it if you can afford it.
Luminous Landscape (field report)
All things considered I’d have to give this camera a big thumbs up.
PopPhoto (hands-on preview)
All told, with the Alpha 900, Sony solidifies itself as a serious player that’s here to stay. So, we can definitely look forward to Sony building out its lines of lenses and accessories as it reaches for the same footing as Nikon and Canon.
Cnet (hands-on preview)
The bottom line is that when you look at shots from a camera in this class you should have at least a few “wow” moments and that hasn’t happened yet.
DP Review (hands-on preview)
As we started to dig a little deeper, pore over the fine print and actually use the Alpha 900 we were, however, increasingly surprised – and almost always pleasantly so – at some of the decisions made by Sony’s engineers when designing its flagship SLR.
Sony A900 Press Release
Sony introduces Alpha A900
The world’s first full-frame 24.6 megapixel DSLR:
A900 delivers the unmatched image quality, creative expression and performance demanded by professional photographers
- Superlative, detail-packed images from full-frame 24.6 effective megapixel CMOS sensor ExmorTM
- Bright optical glass pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage
- Enhanced SteadyShot INSIDE offers up to 4.0 steps anti-shake performance with α lenses
- Ultra-sharp shooting responses and flawless, low-noise images from dual BIONZ image processor
- Review images on High Resolution 3.0-inch Xtra Fine LCD
- Fast, high-accuracy 9-point AF with 10 focus assist points
- 5fps continuous shooting at full resolution 24.6 megapixels
The A900 digital SLR from Sony sets a new benchmark for serious photo enthusiasts who demand the unrivalled quality and creative possibilities of full-frame imaging.
The flagship of the Alpha digital SLR camera range features the industry’s first ever 24.6 effective megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor. Developed by Sony, this groundbreaking sensor’s ultra-high pixel count and large size – equivalent to a 35mm film frame – deliver extraordinary image detail and wide dynamic range.
The new-generation sensor captures flawless images with unprecedented fidelity, characterised by vibrant colours, ultra-real textures and subtle tonal gradations. Complementing the extremely high native resolution of the sensor, Exmor performs on-chip analogue/digital (A/D) signal conversion and two-stage noise reduction. This guarantees ultra-low noise image files that take advantage of the superb resolving power of high-precision α lenses.
Realising the immense creative potential of the 24.6 megapixel full-frame sensor, the new advanced dual BIONZ processors handle massive amounts of image data at extremely high speed. Powerful noise reduction algorithms are applied prior to RAW data conversion and then again during image processing, yielding flawless, detail packed images with an absolute minimum of noise. The dual BIONZ processors also underpin the camera’s razor-sharp shooting responses, allowing sustained 5fps continuous shooting at full 24.6 megapixel resolution.
Serious photo enthuasiasts will appreciate the ground-glass optical pentaprism viewfinder that offers exceptional brightness and a field of view covering 100% of the full-frame sensor’s imaging area (approx.).
The camera’s uncompromising credentials are underlined by a fast, high-accuracy 9-point AF system to ensure fewer missed shots. It’s supplemented by 10 focus assist points to assist subject detection, improved out-of-focus detection to reduce focus hunting and a dedicated F2.8 sensor for enhanced AF accuracy with wide aperture lenses.
The A900 digital SLR camera is also the world’s first full-frame camera to feature SteadyShot INSIDE. This enhanced in-body optical stabilisation system delivers up to 4 steps of anti-shake correction with all compatible lenses*, opening up even greater creative possibilities when shooting handheld.
Shots can be evaluated critically on the 3.0-inch Xtra Fine LCD with an exceptionally high resolution (921k dot) that offers sharp, clear viewing – even outdoors or in bright ambient light. There’s a wide choice of index view options to simplify best-shot selection, plus a full-featured RGB histogram and shooting information display.
At the touch of a button, the LCD display switches to Quick Navi mode, allowing rapid on-the-fly adjustment of camera settings without disturbing your creative workflow.
A new Intelligent Preview function simulates the effect of White Balance, D‑Range Optimiser and exposure level on the LCD screen without actually taking a picture. By simple confirmation on the camera, all the new settings are applied to take the next picture. This simplifies precise control over the final image in complex setups.
Shots can also be viewed on a connected HD television. PhotoTV HD mode provides optimised still image viewing with breathtaking clarity and lifelike colours on compatible BRAVIA televisions. The HDMI terminal also give acces to HD picture viewing on any compatible TV.
Built for years of unstinting service in challenging environments, the A900 digital SLR camera is ruggedly constructed from a high-tensile aluminium chassis with magnesium alloy body panels. Viewfinder, card slots, controls and other sensitive areas are protected from dust and moisture by rubber seals for worry-free shooting. The inside of the camera is also protected by an anti-dust system that safeguards the full-frame sensor from the effects of dust entering the body during lens exchange.
Allowing stable, comfortable handling in portrait or landscape orientations, the optional VG-C90AM Vertical Grip holds up to two high-capacity batteries for extended shooting time and all the major controls are available in vertical holding for easy operation. The grip has also been designed in same high quality material as the A900 with magnesium alloy and rubber parts.
There’s now wide range of compatible α lenses to fully realise the incredible imaging potential of the camera’s full-frame sensor.
The choice of premium G series optics by Sony is joined by the high-power 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM telephoto, featuring a High-torque Super Sonic wave Motor for fast, silent AF operation.
Also from Carl Zeiss, the Vario-Sonnar T* 16-35mm F2.8 ZA SSM is a fast, high-performance wide angle zoom that’s ideal for interiors, landscapes and challenging photo-reportage applications.
The complete α system is further strengthened by the new HVL-F58AM – a high-power flash (GN 58) featuring Sony’s innovative ‘Quick Shift Bounce’ system that offers even more creative control over lighting, flash and bounce angles. It’s unique ‘Quick Shift Bounce’ design make the flash head able to rotate instantly in portrait mode to keep the bounce direction for much more natural and beautiful subject lightning. For those using studio setups, Wireless Auto Flash Control also computes power ratios for up to three groups of flashes, simplifiying the management of complex lighting set-ups.
* Automatic crop factor is applied when DSLR-A900 is used with DT format lenses. Exposure accuracy is not guaranteed with DT lenses in certain shooting situations.