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Sony Alpha 900 Review

Digital camera review overview
Sony Alpha 900 Introduction
Sony Alpha 900 Camera
Sony Alpha 900 Control
Sony Alpha 900 Adjustments
Sony Alpha 900 Storage and Energy
Sony Alpha 900 Test-images
Sony Alpha 900 Test-images
Sony Alpha 900 Camera
Sony Alpha 900 Conclusion

Sony Alpha 900 Review conclusion

Sony Alpha DSLR cameras
Sony showed the world that it is possible to bring out an entire line-up of digital SLR cameras in a short period of time and at an immense speed. And not only that, it puts Sony ahead of the competition with certain techniques that the rivals aren't yet using. Sony takes over the lead from Canon as we solely look at the amount of Megapixels, which will be good from a marketing viewpoint. And of course, there is practice… The professional photographer has a completely different view on a camera than the amateur photographer. He wants his camera, to be a reliable tool in the first place, that lets him/her reach his/her goal. We are not only talking about the hardware here, also the software in the camera should provide him/her with the ultimate picture.

Sony Alpha 900 has strong competition
The Sony Alpha 900 enters a market that up to now has been dominated by experienced manufacturers like Canon and Nikon. Recently, Nikon attracted some attention and stirred up this extremely demanding market. The experienced competitors all have some beautiful professional equipment in their assortment and it might be a job and a half for a newcomer to conquer market share in this segment. There is one feature though that will appeal to the consumer, and that is the retail price. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Sony DSLR-A900 forces a price breakthrough by launching the first 20+ Megapixel DSLR that is going to cost less than the magical border of $3000 / Euro 3000.

Sony A900 works best with ZEISS lenses
Yet some comments are necessary in relation to the price breakthrough. A high resolution DSLR camera like this requires high quality lenses, ZEISS for example, which makes the total combination rise drastically in price again. And you may wonder if there have been compromises in relation to the material used and the design of the camera. It's hard to know whether or not there has been a cut down on these and if so, it will be a disadvantage. What's left in the end is the practical image quality, the use in practice and the thorough rigid technical DIWA Lab tests.

Small minors of the Sony A900 SLR
Some features that struck me in practice are, for example, the limited functionality of the dual card slot. Besides that, some information flows from the camera to the photographer don't seem to be complete, or at least; they are limited and certainly when compared to the rivals in this segment. I have trouble finding any advantage of the so-called 'Intelligent preview' mode. In any case not its restricted options in the Sony Alpha 900. Besides that, the Auto ISO mode is rather scarce with offering the actual ISO values. Anyway, the quality of the image does not depend on these items and they are features you learn to live with.

Sony A900 performs well according to the DIWA Lab test
The technical DIWA Lab tests tend to put its finger on the spot. In the case of the Sony Alpha A900, we may conclude that the camera easily keeps up and that it is an excellent base to start developing the Alpha generation II. The limited sensitivity settings do look skimpy compared to the competitors, however the quality is fine up to 800 ISO. A higher ISO than 800 requires a struggle to keep the signal/noise ratio under control. One of the solutions is to lower the actual sensitivity of the sensor. However, when shooting in RAW it helps tremendously if the noise reduction is eliminated. This way, the highest result is achieved.

Sony Alpha 900 offers 24 megapixel resolution
Although color reproduction is not perfect and accurate, it will certainly be satisfactory. The resolution is high and is able to capture lots of details. The photographer has to decide for himself whether the subject he is capturing actually requires the high amount of pixels. If that is a yes, serious thought should be given to upgrade the workflow. The files that have to be dealt with are huge. On this point, Sony stands out. Despite the file size, you never get the feeling it's slowing you down. It's only the reproduction of the picture that is (too) slow and will lead to feelings of annoyance in practice. Other than that, the Sony Alpha 900 is extremely fast regarding image processing.

Sony Alpha 900 a worthy SLR camera
The question was whether or not the Sony DSLR-A900 is able to withstand the competition in the current status quo of the DSLR market. The answer is a straightforward yes. Despite Sony's somewhat strange approach at times, there is sufficient camera to enter the battle with the established competition. And it seems, although it still remains to be seen, that Sony is able to open the door to a new market. A market that was meant for the professional photographer, yet becoming interesting for the advanced hobby photographer or semipro. I find it very unlikely that a skilled professional would switch to the Alpha 900. The competitors have too much to offer still. However, the Alpha assortment is still young and the birth of the Sony Alpha 900 may well be the sign of a new era in which many switches will occur in the market.

Sony A900 a valuable enhancement for the DSLR market
The Sony Alpha 900 is the top model of the Alpha DSLR series, and as far as we are concerned a most interesting model for those who want to make the step to a high resolution DSLR. The Sony A900 has a lot to offer and lives up to the expectations. The Sony approach of certain functionalities we take for granted, and we can't but conclude that the Sony Alpha A900 is a valuable enhancement of the current DSLR market.

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Sony Alpha 900 review

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Memory Stick Pro Duo & CompactFlash memory cards
You will find yourself using a huge amount of GBs due to the high resolution of this Sony DSLR A-900. And it's quite an amount; 24 megapixels of resolution with a RAW file size of approximately 38MB. It is obvious a 2GB card will not take you far, in particular when you shoot in a combination of RAW+JPEG. You will have to deal with 50MB per picture, which comes down to around 300 pictures on a GB card. My advice is to use a minimum of 8GB storage capacity and if you really get going with photographing, purchase a 16GB card!

Considering 8GB of storage capacity:
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - RAW - 38MB - 211 pictures
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - cRAW - 26MB - 313 pictures

24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - RAW & JPEG - 49MB - 166 pictures
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - cRAW & JPEG - 36MB - 224 pictures

24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - JPEG Extra Fine - 24MB - 343 pictures
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - JPEG Fine - 10MB - 790 pictures
24 Megapixels - ratio 3:2 - JPEG Standard - 7MB - 1185 pictures

The table above considers a storage capacity on a CompactFlash memory card and a ratio of 3:2. Ratio 16:9 will mean a few more pictures, however, when shooting in RAW the camera always selects ratio 3:2.

SanDisk Extreme Ducati 8GB a fast memory card
Processing speed of the Sony A900 is excellent, especially since this is a 24 megapixel DSLR. If you compare the performance of the A900 to its rivals, the A900's performance is average. It's hard to compare these models, since most of them don't work with large files like the A900. I'd recommend purchasing a fast memory card with a speed of a minimum of 40MB per second. In combination with the SanDisk Extreme Ducati 8GB you will reach a high speed of 30-35MB per second, which suffices to keep the speed going.

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