Sony's big announcement for the Photokina 2016 trade show was the A99 II, a flagship, full-frame camera designed to appeal to professional photographers. The A99 II improves upon its four-year-old predecessor with a much higher resolution sensor and faster performance. It's Sony's best effort at capturing some of the pro sports photographer market that's been dominated by Canon's EOS 1D line for years.
Speed is really the name of the game with the A99 II, and it can rattle off full-resolution images at up to 12 frames per second. Even more impressive, it can maintain autofocus tracking throughout the burst, thanks to its hybrid system that has 399 autofocus points plus a supplemental 72 points. Firing the A99 II is less dramatic than you might expect — though it rattles through frames faster than the vast majority of cameras, it remains quiet and composed the entire time. You can hear the shutter, for sure, but it's not as loud as other, full-size DSLR cameras.
The A99 II is able to achieve those high speeds without a cost to resolution — each of those 12 frames snapped every second is a 42.4-megapixel image. That's the kind of performance that's lost on the vast majority of people looking to fill their Instagram profiles, but it's crucial for sports photographers to do their jobs.
Sony has crammed the A99 II's body full of dials and switches, and it says it has refreshed the user interface to be more intuitive. In the brief time I spent with the camera, it seems that Sony is mimicking Canon's interface more than its own, older systems. Sony says the changes are in response to feedback from pro photographers.
Other things of note include a fully articulate display that can even flip all the way around. You could, if you were so inclined, use the A99 II to capture 12 selfies per second with the screen flipped around.
It's going to be very tough for Sony to really break into the pro sports photographer market, but it's certainly putting all of its technological might behind the A99 II to do so. At just about $3,200, the camera even costs less than many pro rigs, but we'll see if that makes a difference when it launches in November.