Sony A99 Reportedly Boasts a Staggering 102 Cross-type AF Points

Sony is reportedly focusing on autofocus as one of the main battlegrounds it’ll wage war on in the DSLR market. According to sonyalpharumors, the company is working on a new A99 SLT camera that’s already being tested by photographers in the wild, and one of the main selling points of the camera is a whopping 102 autofocus points — all of them cross type. For comparison, Canon’s 1D X has 61 AF points with 41 of them cross type, and the Nikon D800 has 51 AF points with 15 of them cross type. Granted, the autofocus performance of a camera is much more than the number of cross-type points it has, but perhaps this is the beginning of a new “cross-type war” now that the “megapixel war” is cooling down a bit.

(via sonyalpharumors)

Image credit: Focus Test by John Loo

  • Gary Simmons

    Like you said… this is becoming the new ‘megapixel war’.  On average, how many focus points do I use on my current camera?  One.  Not always the centre one (although usually), but it is always just one of them.

    And the reason is simple… I don’t want the camera deciding on where to focus.  I want it focused right there!

  • John Milleker

    I’ve never used more than one. Send focus to a different button, point the camera there, focus, point it to my exposure point, half shutter, compose and shoot.

  • Casey Myers

    That’s just stupid!

  • Jason Banks

    Well, if there is little added cost, I can see the benefit being that you can select a region, and to maximize DOF, ensure focus encompases all of the points, adjusting aperture automatically.

    And yes, one will argue that is the job of the photographer, however, I could see the benefit shooting sports/action in some situations. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with maximizing the effectiveness of each component. We may not use it, but someone will.

  • jdm8

    That AF field is a bit of a mess and looks pretty distracting, it’s more clutter I’d have to see through.  I’ve done pretty well with nine points.

  • Dean W. Thompson

    Auto focus? Sorry I’m not sure what you’re talking about… Oh that thing I used on my point and shoot 5 years ago? Okay really. When you learn how the focal plane works on your lenses. You will NEVER use auto again. There are big benefits to not focusing right on the subject. Google “hyperfocal distance” and switch your camera to manual focus.

    p.s. Auto focus can be off by a bit some times. 
    p.s.s The view finder has a little dial that can be turned with out you noticing. Make sure to calibrate it to get the best results! 
    p.s.s.s You’re awesome.

  • Joey Duncan

    Gary, you aren’t everybody.That many focus point are for Auto mode. I for one shoot on multi-point (in manual) most of the time unless it’s a moving object. It’s nice to have. If you know your camera well enough it works in your favor, granted you are paying attention. P.S. If you are using the center point it raises the question of whether you are composing correctly… :-P I kid… 

  • russianbox

     spoken like a true idiot photographer from 10 years ago. AF > MF

  • Howie

    Knowing that the A77 crops for video shooting I’m guessing that if the matrix of focus points illustrated in the accompanying image is the real thing then they have  most of the field of view covered for auto-focussing in video mode which means subject tracking is going to be very effective – the whole point of the SLT technology is to allow continuous PDF in both stills and video capture. You might not need 102 focus points for taking stills but you might quite like them when making a video.

  • Vladimir Byazrov

    There are people with bad eyesight  like me. This is a good news for us. 

  • OSAM

    Except that you should be doing video with MF anyway

  • Dean W. Thompson

    I have only been taking photos for three years. And have never seen the point in auto focus.

  • TSY87

    self portraits in the mirror rarely need AF… :p

    I’d love to see someone shoot sports without AF. I’m sure its possible but unless all you take pictures of are static players, its not going to work out so well getting good action

  • russianbox

    Ok, I don’t want to turn this into a slagging match, So don’t take this response as me being bitchy towards you. In my experience a computer checking focus is far better and faster than me looking in a tiny viewfinder and trying to do it myself.

    Yes people like to bitch that autofocus can be off but i’ve never had that happen. maybe years ago but not now. if you have issues its because you’re doing something wrong.

    as for focusing points. I, like most people here will set 1 focus point in the centre, I then focus on an object I want then move to frame the shot. Thats what the whole half press thing is about.

    So really, Don’t try and focus yourself, its not going to work right. even if you think it is. This technologys here to help, its not somthing to try and ‘grow’ past just to show off.

    Also other things effect you’re camera being able to focus such as how much light the shot you’re taking has, what type of camera/lens you have (Canon L series lenses have faster focusing elements [USM] than cheaper lenses), regardless of this its good to know how to focus, but its defiantly something we can let the camera do the work on.

  • Anonymous

    Few people realize that manual focusing is a bitch at f/2.0 and below primarily because of a standard focusing screen that is only accurate up to f/2.8. You could replace it into a split-screen focusing screen for better manual focusing, but personally I’d rather trust my autofocus to do the work.

  • Kadarpik

    Not bad if they focus on AF, current A77 is so weak in AF and inaccurate. Hope they can get their AF points operational, A77 is really amateurish AF camera, tried once and this really does not work at all compared to 5DIII or 5DII (center point). My experiences are with Nikon V1 and 5D mark II, A77 was very slow when subjects or camera was moving. 

  • Zefanya Hanata

    As you can see, these focus points are not for still objects. With the right software, it would be a great tracker, especially for an accurate video. And only Sony that can utilize it on video.

  • raden

      All this is fine. The Most Important point in all cameras is PICTURE
    QUALITY.Primary purpose of any camera is to take good pictures. They
    have to concentrate on that,if not every thing else they project 
    becomes useless.

     Sony please get your Sensor and algorithm right to render – Accurate
    Color,  right White balance, right Exposure even at very low light. Sony
    in recent past with Nex series is known for very good low light
    performance. Keep that reputation going. Because most people take
    pictures indoors either day or night, home, parties, wedding, gym,
    church, museum etc.

    Try to beat Nikon D3S in Dxo Score – 3253 in low Light. and be the
    best camera for Low light ever . This matters a lot for 90% of the
    people out there.

    Having more number of AF points is good , but most important is Speed
    of Auto Focus. If it does not  focus fast and keeps hunting for focus
    at low-light,  then there is no point.

    Sony please give us an all purpose Fast wide angle prime Zoom – f2 fixed 20-200mm prime lens.

  • Howie

    Agreed that professionals using DSLRs do usually MF whilst using them to video but the fact is that the likes of Canon, Nikon and Sony know that even high-end cameras will be used by ‘amateurs’ and ‘enthusiasts’ who will welcome such features. You wouldn’t think that a camera like a Canon 1DX would bother having a face detection autofocus mode but yet it does.

  • Boris


    Even you all seems to focus manually, you look blind.
    You guys are not alone and many photographers are around you too and takes other kind of photography in different condition than you taking macro photo of flowers who need to manual focusing.
    When i’ve time to take pictures of still subject or portraits i do manual focussing, it’s more accurate we all agree with that. BUT when you are in the rush and you must give a professional result to your client, in very short time, of very fast subject (car race, basketball game.. etc. ) You need this kind of things in your camera and improvement is so so so much welcome ! 
    Fortunately camera company don’t just think about you guys, but also others photographers too. Ok we can do Marathon with barefoot but it’s much more pain. Tools are here to give you less pain. That’s why Nike make good running shoes and never stop improvements in this, even YOU never wear sneakers..Cheers.

  • Asdf

    Hi Moron,

    Try “hyperfocusing” on a telephoto lens.

  • goofduck

    And when Nikon and Canon up their AF points you people say nothing.  LOL

  • goofduck

    Correction:  You say ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’.

  • effoff

     LOL try writing to Santa.

  • John

    strongly  recommend touch screen function on this camera to speed up the process of selecting the 102 focus points. Pls distribute the focus points on the whole lcd, in every corner, including the upper and bottom part of the lcd, instead of all concentraing in the centre. Hope u guys are listening, Sony.

  • sean


  • phlip

    like all such posts, this has generate some great points but also some complete nonsense – i have not bothered to count the supposed focus points in the above image but there appear to be 7 rows…
    meanwhile as you ponder that one, those advocating focus then compose have clearly never worked with anything that has the propensity to move.
    horses for courses, but having a good numebr of focus points does actually help, although speed and accuracy are more paramount, and of considerably greater import woul dbe the ability to choose a focus point outisde of the most central area.
    my won camera has i think 45 AF points and sometimes there is not one in an appropriate place to gain proper composition in camera.