The feature war has been raging for a long time in the DSLR world, and it seems Sony have decided to define themselves as “the autofocus” camera company. In recent years we’ve seen the battle wage over MegaPixel number, ISO capability, and more recently video prowess; but one area which has made steady progress without gaining too much attention has been AutoFocus.
I suspect that will change now that sonyalpharumors has reported that Sony is already testing an A99 prototype with, you might wanna sit down, 102 cross-type AF points in a new SLT (Single-Lens Translucent) camera. To put that number in perspective, you should know that the Canon 5D Mark III has 61 AF points, only 41 of which are cross-type. Keep in mind that, being a prototype, the specs might change; however, as of right now they are as follows:
- 24 MegaPixel Full Frame Sensor
- 100-25,600 ISO expandable to 50-102,400
- 102 cross-type AF points
- OLED Viewfinder
- New generation SLT technology
While in my mind the quality of the sensor and other abilities of the camera body itself should play a more significant role than AF points when selecting a high-end SLR, Sony are sure to put – in big block letters I assume – “102 CROSS TYPE AF POINTS” on the A99 box. Unfortunately, the rest of the companies will likely follow their lead, leaving the photographically adept explaining to their friends what “cross-type” means and why AF isn’t everything (I once had a customer at a photography store scoff at a 7D because his camera phone “has more megapixels than THAT!”)
I, for one, will stick to dreaming about the D800 and its highly touted image sensor, even if it does offer only a measly 51 AF points (15 cross-type). However, if incredibly versatile – and I can only assume lightning quick – AutoFocus is what you’re looking for, look no further. You’ll just have to wait for Sony to officially announce/release the A99.