Every once in awhile there is a product that comes along that really pushes the technology envelope and causes us all to rethink what is possible. The original iphone is one example – is the Sony a9 another?
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I spent a day shooting with the Sony a9 – about 4500 photos at various events that Sony had setup for us and I am ready to share some thoughts.
Blackout-Free Continuous Shooting at up to 20 fps for just over 200 raw images or nearly 400 jpegs – It’s absolutely works and if desired, completely silently. This is amazing and yes as a few of you commented in my earlier videos – it’s not the first the camera to be able to shoot silently but it is the first to do so on this level with this AF performance, nothing else is close in the mirrorless world to this AF performance, low light performance and speed, silently and when we compare to DSLRS you need to spend at least a $1,000 more for a 1DX Mark II or D5 and they aren’t as fast and maybe even have fewer hit rates.
The AF system in this camera is impressive – nearly edge to edge coverage with over 360 AF points – I watched it again and again accurately track fast moving subjects, intersecting subjects, erratically moving subjects and the in focus rate I had with this camera was astounding. Between the 20fps and the AF system it’s unlikely you are going to miss a shot because of the camera. And the whole operation is fast – we had hockey at one end of the rink and figure skating at the other, for awhile I was in between and if I glanced over and saw a figure skater about to jump – I could bring my camera up to my eye, get focus and fire off a series of images without missing the actual jump!
It feels nicer in the hand and as an a7RII user I am really jealous of that little joystick for focus point selection and the bigger brighter viewfinder. I have additional specs on the website along with additional sample photos including full RAW images for download but I want to take a few minutes and answer a few questions people posted on my earlier videos.
silent shooting which is also electronic shutter has previously exhibited some serious drawbacks like rolling shutter – in still images if you or the subject is moving everything gets slanted – it’s not good. I didn’t see it in a full day of shooting with the a9 unless I tried hard to make it happen – swinging the camera back and forth. Image quality and dynamic range have also suffered in previous models when shooting silent and I am happy to say I could not see any difference
Overall High ISO performance is excellent – very similar to the a7RII which I compared it to.
Battery life – I shot over 4,000 images on a single battery, other reviewers have gotten even higher numbers – I suspect not having to physically move a shutter makes a huge difference in the power required. Dual SD card is nice although they need to tweak the options for setup – it’s not very logical at the moment. The screen is touch sensitive, like the a6500 which means it’s just ok – I don’t love it, always feels a little off to me but the touch to focus generally works well.
It’s not all wonderful –
Video system no S-log is a lame move and looks like Sony is holding back to protect their a7S line or a future a9S – something new for Sony as they typically have been the manufacturer to put it all in – this is not as strong a hybrid shooting machine because of it.
More importantly They are still lacking a few of the longer fast lenses that pro photographers desire – though with this excellent ISO performance the new 100-400 should satisfy some AND Sony support system is nowhere near what Canon CPS offers thought Sony made it a point to talk about the changes they will make to their support system in the US and abroad in the coming year but I do think many pros will wait to see how that works out.
And while this camera might not be as game changing as the iphone was for the smartphone market it certainly signals a serious shift and showcases just what is now possible – I don’t think it will be much longer before this sound is a thing of the past.
I’d love to know your thoughts – what is most exciting to you about this camera? What do you think is the biggest issue? Leave your thoughtful comments below! If you found this video helpful give it a quick thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on instagram for more content between these videos.
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