Sony Electronics unveiled at the Photokina show in Cologne, Germany Monday its new flagship A-mount full-frame camera, model α99 II, carrying a new Hybrid Phase Detection AF system and Sony’s Translucent Mirror Technology.

Sony called the α99 II full-frame interchangeable lens camera (ILC), which ships in November at a $3,200 suggested retail for the body only, “a supremely specified, professional level camera that will be appealing to a variety of professional and enthusiast photographers.”

For video, the α99 II will record 4K video internally with full pixel readout and no pixel binning using Sony’s XAVC S format. The camera will capture 4K scenes at up to 100Mbps. A new Slow and Quick mode supports both slow motion and quick motion.  In this mode, frame rates from 1 fps to 120 fps can be selected in 8 steps for up to 60x quick motion and 5x slow motion recording.

The camera also has a host of pro-level video recording features including: picture profiles, time code and clean HDMI output, gamma assist for real time S-Log monitoring and a zebra mode for easier exposure adjustment. S-Log3 and S-Log2 gamma are also included.

Read more about Sony’s new high-performance full-frame flagship ILC after the jump:

The α99 II camera incorporates a 4D Focus system that delivers an advanced level of AF speed and accuracy. The Hybrid Phase Detection AF system employs a precision 79-point dedicated phase detection AF sensor with 399 focal plane phase detection AF points to produce a 79 hybrid cross AF point array.  This produces precise autofocus performance and advanced subject tracking for shooting high-speed moving objects across the frame.

The Translucent Mirror Technology removes the mirror to enable steady, continuous AF operation and live image preview during both still image and video shooting, Sony said.

The AF system is said to provide exceptional low-light performance, and will perform in brightness levels as low as EV-45 and in dark locations where most other cameras struggle.

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Sony said the α99 II has been designed to allow for high resolution, continuous shooting at high frame rates. The camera features a new front-end LSI that works with the image sensor, Bionz X image processing engine and a newly designed shutter unit to enable continuous shooting at up to 12 fps with AF/AE tracking.

Continuous live shooting is available at up 8 fps with AF/AE tracking and minimal display lag, and can be set in three stages to match a variety of subjects: 8 fps, 6 fps and 4 fps.

The camera’s back-illuminated full-frame 42.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor uses a gapless-on-chip design for fast readout of large volumes with greater light gathering ability.  The ISO range is 100-25,600, expandable to ISO 50 – 102,40010, for greater flexibility with low-light shooting.

Sony said it omitted the optical low-pass filter in the camera to preserve fine natural details and textures in greater depth and realism.

Image stabilization is provided using a 5-axis SteadyShot Inside system. This new in-body 5-axis IS system effectively detects and compensates for movement in all directions, including pitch and yaw and camera roll, for blur-free hand-held shots. The system provides a shutter speed advantage of 4.5 steps.

The α99 II is 8 percent smaller than the original ɑ99 and features a newly designed grip, magnesium alloy body, dual SD card slots and dust and moisture resistance.

It features a new shutter unit that has an estimated life of more than 300,000 operations, as well as an XGA OLED Tru-finder with a Zeiss T* coating and 0.78x.

Sony said it also improved the silent multi controller from the ɑ99 to include a click-stop ON/OFF switch in addition to allowing control of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, AF area, AF mode and other settings.

The α99 II also offers location data acquisition via a Bluetooth connection to a compatible mobile device and an updated menu structure to deliver a smoother navigational experience.

By Greg Tarr


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