Author Topic: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both  (Read 6610 times)

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hackman127

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a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« on: October 06, 2013, 06:57:31 PM »
After shooting several weddings using both the a99 and the a900, I've found that for most things I prefer the a99, though the interface seems a bit sluggish. The exception, though, is wedding receptions when I'm using bounce flash. I'm not sure if it's a difference in metering methods or what, but when I'm bouncing flash, I get much better results using the a900. The a99 always seems to favor underexposing or generally inaccurate exposures, all while eating batteries like cookies. The a900 also finds focus much quicker and much more consistently than the a99 in low light. Not to mention at lower ISOs, I still think the a900 has the best color reproduction and general IQ of anything I've used.

Anyone else care to chime in with their experience with the two?

Offline Stef.

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Re: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2013, 09:45:24 PM »
That's interesting...I use the A99 with flash and Gary Fong Lightsphere and I find the A99 unbeatable (compared to the A900). What I do though is to set the ISO to auto and that works brilliantly.
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hackman127

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Re: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2013, 08:10:16 PM »
I'll see if I can dig up some examples, but at every reception where I bounce flash, it's the same reaction. I try with the a99 and I'm underwhelmed, and with the a900, I get exactly what I'm looking for. Same metering methods, same flash in some cases also. I have 2 F58s and 1 F60, and I usually rotate them out after a few minutes of heavy utilization so I'm not overheating them and missing shots. So both cameras have used both flashes with the same results.

When I was using the F56 or my 5600HS, I would use a lightsphere, but since going to the new head style, I haven't used them at all. They can give some nice lighting, but for me, they spread too much lighting around and I wind up with a lack of contrast between the subject and the background. Below is a shot straight off the camera bouncing flash off the wall to the left. I set the flash head zoom to 105mm to try to keep as much spill out of the background as possible, and when you shoot in reception holes like this, I like to try to make the background as dark as possible. I like the direction of light this gives me more than the lightsphere. One could argue that the shadows are too deep, but that's how I like it, and many times make them deeper. :-)

« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 08:12:21 PM by hackman127 »

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Re: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2013, 03:40:18 AM »
What are your ISO settings?
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hackman127

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Re: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2013, 03:52:10 AM »
The exposure for that shot is 1/80, f/3.2 @ ISO640

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Re: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2013, 04:09:39 AM »
I only have the A99 so cannot comment on the difference.  I am amazed that the background is not more blurred out at F3.2.  The exif is not there but I presume it is the 24-70CZ....john
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hackman127

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Re: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2013, 04:13:17 AM »
John, it was taken at 50mm from a decent distance. If I were closer, the bokeh would have been considerably greater.

Offline REX (aka TG)

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Re: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2013, 04:46:06 AM »
Two ways to separate the background from you main subject are:
a)Reduce Iso & aperture(Value) or
b)if distance is close use manual mode in High speed sychronaitation
aSLT/SLR/NEX,DYNAX

hackman127

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Re: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2013, 02:34:05 PM »
Rex, I try to not get too close during the first dance, I don't want to be in their face. I was bouncing, and the flash guns won't go into HSS unless the head is pointing straight forward. I don't like to go below 3.2 typically on a 2.8 lens, even though it is a Zeiss, the IQ is still better 1/3 stop down from wide open, and it gives me just a touch more wiggle room on the DOF. Going from 3.2 to 2.8 isn't going to give me a noticeable increase in bokeh anyway when I'm shooting a wider angle. A lot of times I'll go with the 70-200 for the first dance, which can really separate them from the backdrop, but the primary shooter had a 70-200 on her Crapnon, so I went with the 24-70 for variety.

Also, it is worth noting that shot was not my typical style. I was the second shooter for that wedding, so I had to bounce. I usually have an assistant carrying my OCF for the major dances, like the shot below. I'll usually put her more off-axis, but there was nowhere to go in that little barn. I shot that one at 24mm full frame, so as you can imagine, the area we had to work with was much smaller than it looks.

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Re: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2013, 11:49:45 PM »
Post as many of these as you like with the descriptions  of how it was done Luke.  The only wedding I have ever shot and will shoot is our daughter's and then I was only the family tog following the Pro around and picking up ideas and tips.  It is good learning though for my new career of granddaughter shooting....john
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hackman127

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Re: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2013, 07:00:20 PM »
Thank you for the vote of confidence John! If you're curious about that shot, I can dig up the EXIF and show you how it was done.

Stef, I thought you may find this funny after me mentioning that I don't use my Lightspheres anymore. The wedding I shot over the weekend was in a lodge style barn, so the only walls around were lacquered pine. Nothing to bounce off of, at all. While I was shooting there, I had my assistant/second shooter running the OCF rig, but when I would leave her to cover the reception, the only way we got good light was to go back to my lightspheres. I'm serious, I haven't touched them in a year and a half, but they came in handy Saturday for sure.

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Re: a900 vs a99 - Opinion after shooting a few weddings with both
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2013, 10:16:27 PM »
Yes with no ceilings it can be a bummer without the lightspheres. I put my camera on auto ISO and set the max ISO to 3200. This works very well for me.
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