Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – Detailed Comparison

Today we’ll be comparing two semi-pro DSLR cameras- Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III. However, this comparison is not as straightforward as it looks. Sony and Canon take different approaches as to how they make their DSLR cameras, which makes this an interesting comparison.

Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III
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If at the end of this article you do not like either of these cameras, click here to check out other cameras that we’ve looked at before. This article promises to be very informative. However, that also means that it will be quite long.

So, if you do not have the time to read through the whole article, we’ve brought together the key points you’ll need to take note of when choosing between Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III. Check it out below.

Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – Comparison Overview

The overall features of these two cameras are pretty similar. They’re both semi-pro DSLR cameras and because of that, fundamentally, they have a lot of similar features. They both have external flash shoes that allow them to connect an on-camera flash to your camera.

Also, both of them come with viewfinders, RAW storage support, face detection focus, amongst others. They’re both full-frame sensors with 24-megapixel and 22-megapixel, respectively. Honestly, you won’t be able to notice the difference.

Now to the individuality of these cameras, the Sony Alpha a99 comes with an articulating screen, built-in GPS, and built-in image stabilization. On the other hand, the Canon 5D Mark III comes with a flash sync port.

Picking between these two cameras- Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III is often down to what your personal preference and what you want to use it to do. If you take a lot of action shots, then you definitely want to get the Sony Alpha a99.

This is as a result of two major features that the Sony Alpha a99 comes with: Image Stabilization, and Continuous shooting rate. The sensor-shift image stabilization that this camera comes with is better than optical image stabilization because it doesn’t depend on the camera’s lens. So, no matter the lens you use for the camera, the image will be stabilized.

Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – Cost To Performance Ratio

Finally, looking at the cost to performance ratio of these two cameras, we have to say that both of them are not very good. There are a lot of other newer cameras with more attractive features that you can find with a similar price like these two cameras.

If you’re looking for value for money, you might have to look over these two cameras- Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III, and look at other cameras instead.

However, if you do have the budget to fund the cost of either of these cameras, you will not be very disappointed because these cameras are still quality.

We are of the opinion that these cameras are this expensive because of the status of the companies that made them. Getting either of these cameras will get you into the ecosystem of either Sony or Canon. This will enable you upgrade to their better cameras easily.

Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – Brand Comparison

Both Sony and Canon Japanese Multinational companies. Deciding which of these brands is the bigger brand is quite difficult because they’re both very big. Sony is a more diverse brand. It’s involved in consumer electronics, professional electronics, gaming and entertainment, as well as, financial services.

On the other hand, Canon is strictly involved in optical and imaging products. With that said, if you already have some Sony devices across the board, it’ll be better to get a Sony camera as it helps with the ecosystem.

However, both of these brands are a trustworthy brand that you would not have any problems buying from. Their customer care service is good. Also, if you buy from their trusted supplier, they would readily give you affordable repairs when necessary.

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Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – Comparison Table

 

Sony Alpha a99

Canon 5D Mark III

Maximum Sensor Resolution 24 megapixels 22 megapixels
Continuous Shooting Rate 10 frames per second 6 frames per second
Image Stabilization Sensor-shift None
Weight 812g 950g
Articulating Screen Yes No
Built-in GPS Yes No
Battery Life 500 shots 950 shots
Flash Sync Port Yes No
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Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – What Scenario Is What Camera Best For?

Sony Alpha a99

Canon 5D Mark III

The first, and most visible situation where you the Sony Alpha a99 does better than the Canon 5D Mark III is when you’re taking action/moving shots.  

First, this camera comes with sensor-shift image stabilization. This refers to a group of techniques that your camera uses to keep your camera’s lens stable, even when the camera moves slightly.  

Coupled with this, this camera shoots ten frames per second. This continuous shooting rate is something that you hardly find, even on newer, more expensive cameras.
The biggest advantage the Canon 5D Mark III has over the Sony Alpha a99 is the battery life. If you want to get a camera that will last you for the whole day, then you definitely want this Canon camera.  

This is because Sony tries its best to make their DSLRs as small and as compact as possible. Which is the major reason why the Sony Alpha a99 has a smaller battery than this camera, the Canon 5D Mark III.
If you use your camera to take pictures and videos of yourself more than other things, say you’re a vlogger, a social media influencer, or a youtube, then you would definitely prefer this camera.  

It comes with an articulating LCD screen. This screen can turn all the way around to let you use it as a selfie screen.
This camera is better for flash photography. If you cover events where you would need a lot of lighting, say you shoot red carpets and things like that, then this camera is better for you.  

This is because, unlike the Sony Alpha a99, this camera comes with a flash sync port. This flash sync port allows you to connect our camera to an off-camera flash. We all know that off-camera flashes provide the brightest light when compared to built-in and on-camera flashes.
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Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – Common Features

Just like we’ve mentioned earlier, these two cameras- Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III, are fundamentally similar. Because of that, they bear a lot of similar features. In this section of this Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III comparison article, we would be looking at those features in details.

External Flash Shoe

While we have confirmed that the Canon 5D Mark III is better for flash photography, that doesn’t mean that the Sony Alpha a99 is bad at flash photography. Only the Canon 5D Mark III comes with a flash sync port for an off-camera flash. However, these two cameras come with an external flash shoe.

An external flash shoe allows you to connect an on-camera flash to your camera. Most times, an on-camera flash works really well as a source of lighting. In most low-lighting conditions, it does the job efficiently.

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They’re Both DSLRs

This is the basic similarity between these two cameras and the reason why they have some other similar features too. DSLRs have been in existence for a very long time and have been the photographers’ choice for everything, both video and still photography.

DSLR is an acronym that stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex. It’s basically a digital form of single-lens reflex cameras which exchanges films for digital sensors. A single-lens reflex camera is a camera that uses a single lens to capture the image and for the viewfinder.

In a DSLR, light enters into the camera through the single lens that it has. When the shutter is closed, a mirror is placed over the camera’s digital image sensor. The light then bounces off the mirror and is divided into two ways.

The first part of the light is sent upwards to a pentaprism. The pentaprism then straightens the light, horizontally, before it’s passed to the camera’s viewfinder. The second part of the light is sent downwards to a specific autofocus sensor.

The reason why people prefer single-lens reflex cameras to other camera types is framing. With a single-lens reflex camera, you do not get framing errors due to parallax. This is because, what you’re seeing with your viewfinder is exactly what your camera is seeing, because they’re using the same optic system.

In recent times, another type of SLRs has emerged, “mirrorless cameras”. This camera type ditches the mirror system for a single electronic sensor that transmits the image from the lens to the camera’s electronic viewfinder.

Because there’s no mirror, they are a lot small and more portable. Although we think mirrorless cameras are the future, right now, we still think there are few things DSLRs do better than mirrorless cameras.

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What Do DSLRs Do Better Than Mirrorless Cameras?

1. Battery Life

DSLRs have better battery life than mirrorless cameras. This is as a result of two things. The first reason is the size of the mirrorless cameras. Mirrorless cameras are made to be as small and compact as possible. To achieve this, there has to be a reduction in the size of the battery used also.

When it comes to batteries, a reduction in size equals a reduction in capacity. So, the batteries in mirrorless cameras are smaller, carrying smaller capacities.

The second reason is the fact that mirrorless cameras have a lot of power-dependent and power-draining features. Look at their viewfinders for example, electronic viewfinders that come with mirrorless cameras depend on batteries, while optical viewfinders, on the other hand, do not depend on batteries.

Mirrorless cameras also have other power-draining features like their processing powers and the always-on electronic image sensor. So, if you want a camera that will last you long hours of shooting, you definitely want a DSLR camera.

2. Autofocus

This one is pretty straightforward. DSLR cameras come with a specific autofocus sensor, while with mirrorless cameras, the electronic sensor is responsible for converting light to a digital image for the viewfinder, taking the picture, and autofocusing.

To get mirrorless cameras that can compete with DSLRs when it comes to autofocus speeds, you have to look at the really expensive mirrorless cameras with the latest technology.

3. Ergonomics

This one depends on you and your preferences, really. If you are a travel photographer or you cover events and things like that, you will definitely love the ergonomics of mirrorless cameras. They’re small, compact, lightweight and still do the job efficiently.

On the other hand, if you do stuff that would need you to use really large lenses, then you will definitely prefer the ergonomics on DSLR cameras. The weight of DSLRs helps balance out the weight of those heavier lenses. So, if you’re a wildlife photographer, an astrophotographer or a sports photographer, you definitely want to keep this in mind.

We’re sure you now see the reason why you can’t completely abandon DSLRs for mirrorless cameras. So, without further ado, let’s look at the other similar features that these two cameras have.

Viewfinder

Both of these cameras come with viewfinders. Viewfinders help you frame your images better. We’ve mentioned earlier that single-reflex lens cameras make use of the same lens for view-finding, and for capturing the photos.

There are two major ways that SLRs show the photographer the frame of his view. The first way is by using a viewfinder, while the second is by using an LCD screen. However, LCD screens are more popular with mirrorless cameras.

Viewfinders are a lot better than LCD screens because they are not affected by the rays of the sun. While it’s difficult to see your LCD screen when the sun is out, you do not have that difficulty with viewfinders.

There are two basic types of viewfinders: electronic viewfinders, and optical viewfinders. Almost all DSLR cameras come with optical viewfinders. There are only very few DSLRs that use electronic viewfinders, and those are still not the same as the electronic viewfinders on mirrorless cameras.

One thing we have to point out, though, is that these two cameras are equipped with different types of viewfinders. The Sony Alpha a99 comes with that type of electronic viewfinder(the one with the translucent mirror), while the Canon 5D Mark III comes with an optical viewfinder, which is more popular with DSLRs.

RAW Storage Support

Both of these cameras allow you to save your images in their RAW format. RAW format is an image saving format, just like JPEG. Basically, all digital cameras initially capture images in this format “RAW”.

However, some cameras do not let you save in this format. Those cameras initially edit these pictures, then compresses them, before converting them to JPEG. This process reduces the information in the picture and the quality.

So, if you want to get images with the best quality, you want a camera that allows you to save images in their RAW format. As you might have already figured out, RAW format saves the images in their raw state.

One thing you have to worry about, though, is your storage space. RAW images are really large. So, you have to make sure you have enough storage space if you’re going to be shooting RAW.

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Face Detection Focus

These two cameras- Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III have a feature called “face detection focus”. This basically focuses on any face that is in the frame of the photo. It might not be much, but it helps you get portrait photos quickly and effectively.

Microphone Port & Headphone Port

Both of these cameras come with a microphone port, as well as a headphone port. These two ports are very vital to recording good audio into your camera. If you’ve ever tried to record audio with your camera’s built-in microphone, you will definitely understand how important having a microphone port is.

A microphone port enables you to connect your camera to an external microphone. This external microphone is what then records the high-quality audio. So, the better the external microphone, the better audio you get into your camera.

The headphone port is to connect your headphone, obviously. Connecting your headphone allows you to listen to the audio that your microphone is recording, as it is being recorded. If you want a live preview of what your audio is going to sound like, then you definitely want a headphone port.

Environmental Sealing

Both of these cameras come with an environmental sealing feature. With this, you can keep shooting outdoors even when the weather is not favorable. These cameras are capable of this because they come with magnesium-alloy frames.

These frames are both dust and moisture resistant. The dust resistance is to prevent the cameras from being destroyed by dust particles when it’s windy, while the moisture resistance is to prevent the cameras from getting damaged by rain.

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Top LCD Display

Both of these cameras come with a top LCD display. This allows you to quickly view and change settings when necessary.

AE Bracketing

Getting the exposure right is very important and a very key factor that determines whether a particular picture is right or wrong. Because of the importance of getting the exposure for images right, photographers developed something called an “exposure bracket”.

When you’re not sure of what exposure is right for a particular image, you can take multiple shots of the same scene, using different exposure settings. This group of images is what forms the exposure bracket. It usually consists of three or more images with varying exposure settings, in the equal margin.

While this is effective, it is definitely not efficient. It takes time and is quite tiring to do. This is why auto exposure bracketing was introduced. With this feature, your camera automatically creates the exposure bracket for you. All you have to do is put in the different exposure settings you want for the different images.

Once that’s done, you can click the shutter button once to capture the different images with their different exposure settings. Apart from an efficient way to create exposure brackets, auto exposure brackets also allow you to create HDR photos.

An HDR photo is created by the combination of the different photos in an autoexposure bracket. Because it’s a combination of the different exposures, it forms one perfectly exposed image.

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Two Storage Slots

Both of these cameras come with two storage slots, each. With that secondary storage slot, you get good storage flexibility, as well as, extra storage space. Now, there are two ways you can implement having a secondary storage slot.

The first way is to use it as backup memory storage. This means that everything saved on the primary storage is also saved on the secondary storage. Although this makes shooting a bit slower, it ensures that no work is lost in the unforeseen event that the primary storage gets damaged.

The second way you can use it is extra storage. If you’re going to be shooting for a long time, especially if you’re shooting RAW, you definitely want to make sure you have enough storage space. With the secondary storage, you now have double the storage. So, once your primary storage gets full, your camera automatically starts saving on the secondary storage.

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Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – Unique Features

We’re sure this is the section that you’ve all been waiting. This is where we talk about the features that either of these cameras comes with, that the other does not. Without further ado, let’s get on with it:

Features Unique To The Sony Alpha a99

1. Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization

The Sony Alpha a99 comes with sensor-shift image stabilization. Image stabilization generally refers to a group of techniques which your camera undertakes to keep the image or video stable even when the camera moves or shakes mildly.

For this camera, it’s something called “sensor-shift”. Sensor-shift image stabilization is an image stabilization system built on the image sensor of the camera. This basically moves the image sensor in the camera to balance out the camera shake.

The good thing about this type of image stabilization is that it works with whatever lens you’re using. With an optical based stabilization system, you will need to buy a lens version that supports image stabilization to keep using the feature.

One downside of this type of image stabilization though, is that you only see it after the shutter button has been clicked. This is because, it is sensor based and will only show after it has been processed by the image sensor after the shutter button has been clicked.

2. Articulating Screen

An articulating screen is basically an LCD screen that joins the camera using a pivot system. Because of this, the LCD screen tilts towards different angles. This tilting screen is good for when you’re shooting from awkward angles.

When you’re shooting from awkward angles, it’s difficult to use your viewfinder to frame your images. This is when this type of LCD screens is really useful. You’ll be able to tilt it towards whatever direction you’re shooting from so you can get really good framing and control.

3. Built-in GPS

This camera comes with a built-in GPS. A built-in GPS allows you to find your camera wherever it is. Apart from that, it also helps you to geotag your photos, which is a really nice feature to have if you’re a travel photographer or a vlogger.

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G

Features Unique To The Canon 5D Mark III

1. Flash Sync Port

The Canon 5D Mark III is better than the Sony Alpha a99 because of this one feature, a flash sync port. A flash sync port enables you to sync an external flash to your camera. With an off-camera flash, you get as much lighting as you want with your camera. This is best for flash photography.


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Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – Unique Pros

Sony Alpha a99

  • This camera comes with sensor-shift image stabilization. This keeps your image completely still even after mild movements. Also, it does this irrespective of the lens you’re using.
  • This camera comes with an articulating screen that enables you to frame your photos properly when you’re shooting from awkward positions, even selfies.
  • This camera comes with a 24-megapixel sensor, which is 2 more than is available with the Canon 5D Mark III.
  • Continuous shooting with this camera is simply insane! You can shoot as many as 10 frames per second with this camera.
  • This camera weighs a little less than the Canon 5D Mark III.
  • And finally, it’s more affordable.

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Canon 5D Mark III

  • With this camera, you can shoot as many as 950 shots per full charge, which is 450 shots more than is available with the Sony Alpha a99.
  • This camera comes with 42 more focus points than the Sony Alpha a99.
  • If you’re into flash photography, you’ll definitely love this camera because it comes with a flash sync port. This port enables you to connect your camera to an off-camera flash.

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Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – Unique Cons

Sony Alpha a99

  • The battery life of this camera is pretty low for a DSLR, only capable of 500 shots per full charge.
  • This camera does not come with a flash sync port, which means that you cannot connect an off-camera to your camera.

Canon 5D Mark III

  • There is no image stabilization on this camera.
  • This camera comes with a fixed LCD screen. This means that it’s useless when to you when you’re shooting from awkward angles where it’s difficult to use your viewfinder.
  • No GPS on this camera.
  • This camera is quite heavy, weighing 950g.
  • It is more expensive.

Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – Common Pros

 

Sony Alpha a99

Canon 5D Mark III

External Flash Shoe Both of these cameras come with an external flash shoe. This enables you to connect an on-camera flash to your camera, which is great for flash photography Same as the Sony Alpha a99.
Viewfinder Both of these cameras come with a viewfinder. A viewfinder is really helpful in viewing and framing your photos properly.  

Also, because both of these cameras are Single-lens reflex cameras, their viewfinders use the same optical system as the camera, so, there is no error due to parallax.  

There is a difference between the two viewfinders of these cameras, though. This camera comes with an electronic viewfinder.
This camera comes with an optical viewfinder.
High-quality Photos Both of these cameras allow you to save your images in their RAW format. Saving an image in its RAW format, you get the highest quality of that image because the camera has done nothing with it.  

One thing you have to take note of, though, is your storage space. This is because RAW images are very large.
Same as the Sony Alpha a99.
Face Detection Focus Both of these cameras focus on a face once it’s in the camera’s frame.  

This helps you get great portrait photos really fast.
Same as the Sony Alpha a99.
Good Sensor Resolution Both of these cameras come with really good sensor resolution.  

With these many megapixels, you can get really large prints with your camera without the images getting pixelated.
Same as the Sony Alpha a99.
Microphone & Headphone Port Getting great video with your camera is good and so is getting great audio alongside.  

An external microphone is what helps you do that and a microphone port is what allows you to connect this external microphone to your camera.  

The headphone helps you monitor this audio as you’re recording it.
Same as the Sony Alpha a99.
Environmental Sealing With these cameras, you can keep on shooting outside even when the weather is no more favorable.  

This is because they’re both moisture and dust resistant.
Same as the Sony Alpha a99.
Top LCD Display This lets you view and edit settings quickly and easily. Same as the Sony Alpha a99.
AE Bracketing With this feature, you get an exposure bracket easily and quickly.   It also lets you create HDR images. Same as the Sony Alpha a99.
Two Storage Slots Both of these cameras come with an extra storage slot. This extra storage slot can either be used as a backup so your files don’t get lost or extra storage space for when the first storage space gets full. Same as the Sony Alpha a99.
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Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – Common Cons

 

Sony Alpha a99

Canon 5D Mark III

No Built-in Flash Neither of these cameras provided a built-in flash.  

With a built-in flash, you would’ve gotten a substantial amount of extra light to shoot in low-lighting conditions, without having to carry your external flash wherever you go.
 
No Bluetooth Connectivity Neither of these cameras comes with Bluetooth connectivity.   Looking at the fact that there are so many devices have Bluetooth connectivity, it’s quite sad that you won’t be able to use that feature to transfer files from this camera to those other devices. Same as the Sony Alpha a99.
They’re Quite Heavy Both of these cameras are quite heavy. If you want something that’s portable for you to take around, you definitely do not want either of these cameras or any DSLR for that matter. Same as the Sony Alpha a99.
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Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – General Feeling Amongst Users

Sony Alpha a99

Canon 5D Mark III

People really like this camera. The biggest reason why they like it is because of the unique approach to the mirror mechanism that Sony took.  

Instead of a normal flipping mirror, Sony decided to go for a fixed translucent mirror. Because the movement of the mirror was eliminated, this camera good captures a lot faster than many other DSLRs.  

This was very appreciated by sports photographers, wildlife photographers, and basically any photographer that captures action photos.
One thing people often pointed out about this camera is the quality of the JPEG pictures. Yes, everyone wants to shoot RAW. However, we all know that RAW images are very large.  

If you do not have the storage space to shoot RAW, or perhaps you prefer to send your images as they are without editing, then you definitely want to save your images in JPEG.  

A lot of people said that you can go on to shoot your images in JPEG format with this camera because of how good the pictures come out to be.
Still, on action photos, photographers who used this camera to record videos and action photos were very impressed with the image stabilization on this camera.  

With this camera’s sensor-shift image stabilization, people who used this camera did not have to worry about what lens they were using because it didn’t affect the image stabilization.
One thing that people commended with this camera is the autoexposure bracketing. With this, you can get up to seven different exposures for the different images.  

This helps you to find the best possible exposure setting out of a wider range of options. Furthermore, with this camera, you get in-camera HDR processing which is great.
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Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III – What Do We Think?

Honestly, the battle between these two cameras- Sony Alpha a99 Vs Canon 5D Mark III, is very tightly contested one. First, they are both semi-pro DSLR cameras. They both come with full-frame sensors which are really nice.

However, the Sony Alpha a99 is better for shooting action shots. This is because this camera has the ability to shoot 10 frames per second, while the Canon 5D Mark III has the ability to shoot only 6 frames per second.

On the flip side, the Canon 5D Mark III is better for flash photography. This is because it comes with a flash sync port. This allows you to sync an off-camera flash to your camera for better lighting in low-light scenarios.

But if we were meant to choose, we would choose the Sony Alpha a99. First of all, it is more affordable. Furthermore, it has built-in image stabilization, an articulating screen, and a built-in GPS. It’s also slightly lighter which creates better ergonomics.

Sony Alpha a99

Canon 5D Mark III

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