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Sony Alpha 99 (SLTA99) Review

by | Mar 26, 2013 | Blog, MAARTECH

For the last month I’ve been shooting with the Sony SLTA99 (alpha 99) camera equipped with the Sony Carl Zeiss SAL2470A (F2.8) lens. I’ve now posted an in depth review of the alpha99 as a video camera, following on the “how to shoot video with a DSLR camera” I posted earlier. 

Executive summary: Powerful camera with some unique features and a few quirks. 

Here are some production/behind the scenes notes. 

 The flexi-zoo characters featured throughout are from Mastermind, but I purchased them years ago. The flexi-zoo scenes are all exported directly from the camera’s HDMI output at 1080i to an HDMI to component adapter made by HD Cable Ltd. Its maximum resolution is 1080i. The adapter’s output is the input to an eyeTV HD encoder. Some scenes are reduced to 95% size in order to keep the details on screen within safe action. 

The other scenes are composites – I captured the settings screen (recreating the settings from my notes) and superimposed the original shot from the alpha 99 at 80%. I shot the exteriors on Vancouver Island, while visiting our friends Sue and Rob Fullerton. The skating scenes are at Harbourfront, Yorkville and at Bell Lightbox in Toronto. Kim Worobec and Leonora Simpson are the skaters. Doug White shot the scenes where I’m on camera. 

I shot Juice at 3030 (3030 Dundas West in Toronto) during their video launch concert. If you’d like to catch one of their gigs (they gig around Toronto quite frequently) you can get more info on their facebook page. I’ve shot at 3030 before, and the alpha 99 performed better than any other camera I’ve used for those kinds of shoots. I used a Manfrotto 679B monopod, which is great to get the camera up in the air above the crowd.  

Scenes where the alpha99 is pictured where shot primarily with the NEX VG20 camcorder, some directly to the memory card, some using the HDMI output to the capture system described above. I also shot some on-location in BC using the NEX5N. 

I edit in Final Cut X on an iMac. Voice-overs are recorded directly to FCX using an Audio Technica AT2020 through a Shure XLR to USB adapter (X2u). I’m using a K&M pop shield, but still seem to pop the occasional P. 

As always, a big shout out of thanks to Christina Stefanski at Sony Canada – who is always friendly, helpful and efficient, even when she’s under the weather. And my family and friends, who are willing to indulge me while I’m shooting. 

I buy my hats at Beau Chapeau in Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

I’m always happy to have your comments and suggestions.

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