Michael Reichmann konnte die SLT-A99 eine Woche lang testen und hat hat seinen Erfahrungsbericht publiziert:
Wie immer geht er weniger auf spezielle Details ein, sondern beschreibt seinen Gesamteindruck. Er bescheinigt der Kamera eine hervorragende Bildqualität und freut sich über viele Detaillösungen wie den Silent Multi-Controller, die AF Range Funktion oder den neuen Multi Interface Blitzschuh. Was er aber gerade im Hinblick darauf, daß die Kamera Phasendetektions-AF ab Hauptsensor anbietet und daß es sich um eine Vollformatkamera handelt, kritisiert, ist der elektronische Sucher. Sein Urteil im Direktvergleich mit dem Sucher der DSLR-A900 sowie mit optischen und elektronischen Suchern anderer Kameras ist eindeutig - und deckt sich frappierend mit auch hier im Forum von erfahrenen Fotografen wiederholt geäußerten Einschätzungen:
ZITATBut one of the key advantages, especially to Pros and advanced amateurs who are familiar either with full frame DSLRs of the past decade, or film-based cameras prior, is the large and bright view possible though a mirror reflex with a prism. Shadow areas are open rather than black holes, colours are accurate and natural, fine details are visible, and one can see and focus and compose even with the camera turned off. These are significant advantages, and for many experienced photographers are among the main raison d'etre for appreciating what full-frame has to offer.
I had been grumpy all week while we were shooting in Algonquin, complaining that I was not happy using the A99's EVF in either bright sunlight or dim forest glens. I simply knew from four years of experience shooting with the A900 and its large glass prism and mirror, that I was not "seeing" as effectively as I was used to, or would have liked to be.
At the end of the week when we returned to the studio, to get a handle on what we were seeing (or not) Nick Devlin and I did a side by side viewfinder shoot-out . We lined up the A99, A900, Sony NEX-7, Olympus OM-D E5 and Olympus E-X1. We put on lenses of comparable focal length and maximum apertures and looked though the cameras, focusing and composing, both indoors and outdoors and under varying light levels.
The point was not to pick a winner (though in the EVF category we thought that the Olympus was superior in terms of clarity and refresh rate) but we wanted to particularly compare the A900 DSLRs traditional prism and mirror against the A99's EVF. In the end it wasn't that the A900 optics were all that much larger and brighter (indoors they were in fact less bright, though the A99's was more noisy), but that the clarity and accuracy of a really good OVF system was missed. It's as simple as that. I would say that if you're new to photography within the past 5-8 years this won't bother you. If you've shot with a full frame DSLR (film or digital) in the past, you may want to visit a Sony Style store or other retailer before jumping into an A99, just to be sure that it's what you expect, and that you think that you can find happiness with for the next few years.
One day when the last of the optical VF / mirror reflect cameras disappear from the shelves and the buyer has no choice this will have become academic, But in the meantime against price and or segment competitive cameras such as the Nikon D800, D600, and Canon 6D, comparisons are in order unless one is totally committed to ones existing lens collection. I'll have more to say on this momentarily.
Speaking as plainly as I can - I don't care for it. While the Sony EVF works fine on a NEX camera, and even on an APS-C sized model, it just seems out of place on a pro-grade full-frame DSLR. I stress the word full-frame, because to my mind this lies at the core of the issue. Previous Sony DSLR/DSLTs have used this same EVF, but they are competing with other brand's APS-C sized sensor cameras, which typically have small, dim and distant appearing optical viewfinders. But one of the big selling points of full frame DSLRs is that they have larger, full sized (usually 100%) viewfinders, and they are bright and with natural clarity, contrast and dynamic range; essentially the same as what the human eye sees unaided.
When I first picked up the A99 my very first impression (I'd been using my Nikon D800e the day before) was that there was something wrong. What it turned out to be was the outcome of virtually a lifetime of using full-frame film and digital cameras with their large and bright viewfinders. Holding up the A99 side by side with a camera like the D800, or new Nikon D600 or Canon 6D, brings the matter to light - so to speak. As good as it is, the Sony EVF just can't compete in terms of realistic contrast, brightness and overall clarity to a full frame glass prism viewfinder.
And in reality, that's one of the things that attracts photographers to full frame cameras. A large bright viewfinder has a definate role in both the pleasure of use as well as the functionality of such a camera. So why isn't this as much of problem with Sony's APS-C cameras, and especially their NEX series? In the case of the APS-C cameras it's that the relative difference to competitive optical VF models is less. In the case of the NEX cameras it's one of expectations and willingness to accept trade-offs.
Sony could have (and in my opinion should have) used an optical prism and finder with the A99. It would also have eliminated the EVF switching lag, which can be annoying when going back and forth quickly between the EVF and LCD. Of course one would lose the fully electronic image, with instant playback in the EVF and other things that video people like. Amateur video users like EVFs but serious film makers will still have to purchase accessory electronic viewfinders or clip-on external monitors. They need these regardless.
There's one other downside to an EVF, and that's that the camera needs to be powered on to be able to see though it. With a traditional DSLRs optical / prism viewfinder that camera can be lifted to ones eye for framing and composition without power. The image can be focused and if a zoom lens is attached the focal length changed before turning the camera on. No battery waste, particularly at the end of a long shoot when the battery may be low and you've left your spare battery back at the car a mile or two away.
The issue of OVF vs. EVF has to also be seen in the context of competitive price point and market positioning as well. Currently (early October, 2012 from B&H) the Nikon D800 is $2,999, while the Sony A99 at $2,798 is just $200 less. The Canon 6D at $2,099 and the Nikon D600 at $2,096 are both a significant $700 less expensive. There is no denying that the A99 offers a lot of camera for the money, and as we've seen above it has almost every feature enthusiast photographers want. But when it comes to its use of an EVF rather than a prism / optical viewfinder in combination with its translucent mirror I feel that Sony has sailed on the wrong boat. Loyal Sony fans will undoubtedly not be swayed, but I believe that when a prospective customer is standing at a sales counter looking though the viewfinders of these four cameras by way of comparison, Sony will have a tough sell on its hands, particularly at its current uncompetitive price point.
Based on my personal experience using the A900 since its introduction four years ago, and now field testing the A99 in the real world, as discussed above I believe that the marketplace success of the Sony A99 will rest on whether advanced photographers considering the purchase of a top-speced, large sized, full frame DSLR will find the use of an EVF preferable to a large DSLRs optical viewing system. Both the also new Canon 6D and Nikon D600 offer that traditional solution while the Sony A99 takes the EVF path. I believe that this issue will weigh more heavily on photographers considering either upgrading or cross-grading than any other of the camera's features, performance, or design aspects, excepting maybe price.
Let me be even more provocative. What if Sony had built the A99 with the same excellent prism and reflex mirror as the previous A900 and A850, but had also included either a built-in or optional accessory EVF? Imagine being able to plug Sony's hi-resolution NEX EVF into the new Multi-Interface Shoe and be able to go to Live View and select whether to use either the LCD or EVF, or switch at will to a traditional optical finder. Choose the one that appeals most or works most effectively in a given situation.
This isn't so far fetched. The new M Leica will have three seperate finders; its traditional window optical finder, Live View on the rear LCD, or an accessory EVF. If Sony had been brave enough to take this approach not only could they have justified the A99's higher price, but also trumped the competition with something truly aggressive and unique in DSLRs.[/quote]