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Sony A9 – No Longer A Rumour! Official Announcement & My Thoughts

To be completely clear, I haven’t yet had a hands-on with this camera. Unfortunately my profile is not to that level yet where I would be invited to these Sony press events, so for now I am referring to other YouTubers and online blogger materials to gauge my thoughts on this new release.

I have done my best to cover the key points within the announcement, but you can scroll down to the bottom of my blogpost to review the YouTube videos I have seen to get my information. Likewise, to read the Official Sony Press Release, Click Here. 

I also recently wrote a thought piece on what I would like the Sony A9 to be. So if you would like to check out that blogpost, it’s somewhat a prequel to this… so please do check that out also.

Let me start off by discussing what the rumoured Sony A9 was expected to be.

It was anticipated to have a beefier body, 72mp sensor and all the bells and whistles you could ever need or want as a photographer/videographer.

72mp-sony-a9-prototype

This camera is not quite that!

The Sony A9 body is basically the same as the Sony A72 line.

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From what I can see, the general layout of buttons and dials are basically the same and the body size is comparable. Some reviewers have stated it’s slightly wider, but otherwise, comparable.

There is an additional dial on the top left to select your Drive Mode, which I did miss coming from Nikon DSLR’s to Sony Mirrorless. I found the menu driven selection to be quite tedious at times.

Unfortunately the sensor is only 24.2.mp, not 72mp! – I say unfortunately as it didn’t match the rumours, although I am actually relieved they didn’t go too crazy and kept it more reasonable at 24.2mp.

Fortunately it does have dual SD card slots and the battery complaint has been addressed by having a battery double the size.

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There is also a rear joystick to assist with focus selecting and if you ever read my Sony A7R II Review, I actually discussed why I hated the rear dial as it’s too many functions under one switch which is generally way too sensitive. Changing ISO, focus modes and points you could easily nudge it in the wrong setting. So having this new joystick should alleviate this issue! – I hope!

Selling Points

I watched the press conference thanks to Jason Lanier for Live Streaming it, not entirely sure if he was allowed to do that but hey, it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission as they say…

During the press conference, a few things were discussed as it’s selling points and the cliché things are faster AF, better buffer, faster frame rates etc.

Basically, what every other camera does, but just more, better and faster…

However there was one innovation which is tickling my fancy!

The new Silent Shutter.

Now Sony have had Silent Shutter on their cameras dating back to the Sony A7S. Silent Shutter is not only a Sony feature, as other cameras do have this feature also.

However, the Silent Shutter that I’ve been using with my Sony A7S, A7RII and A6500 has annoying issues!

Rolling Shutter occurs during fast panning motions, or even if the subject within the frame is moving quickly! This issue also translates into video.

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As you can see the photo distorts as my god-daughter moves down the slide which warps her head.

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This new Anti-Distortion shutter supposedly is remedied by the sensor being read incredibly fast and in their example above they have shown a direct comparison.

I would have liked to see the exact settings for both as it is a shot in bright sunlight and at 1/3200sec I doubt much distortion could occur as the moment would have been frozen in that split second. When you slow the shutter down to something like 1/50sec, how would it handle the distortion then? That’s what I’m curious about.

 

Sony A7R II with Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM @ f/1.4, ISO400, 1/500sec

Sony A7R II with Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM @ f/1.4, ISO400, 1/500sec

Likewise the photo above is of my niece which I featured in my Sony A7R II Review where I discussed how under certain lighting conditions you see banding in the photos. As my niece is predominantly lit by window light, the above shot is still usable to me, but if you review the background on the wall, you see the banding that occurred due to the flicker light of the TV. If I had shot this at 1/50sec the banding would have been non-existent however the shot would have been over-exposed at f/1.4. Likewise I may have caught motion blur as my niece wasn’t really sitting still.

So I do wonder if the Anti-Distortion Shutter helps with the above scenario also.

They did also tout the black-out free shooting, however I am not a sports shooter and this has never really bothered me in my day-to-day shooting.

Drawbacks

One of the drawbacks that has been discussed, mainly by video shooters, is the lack of any Picture Profiles such as SLOG.

I’m not a video shooter, however I have been thinking to dabble into it soon. Having recorded my first event last month, I am yet to get my head around editing the footage, let alone color grading!

So SLOG is not something I will miss right now, but this may quickly change the more I shoot video.

Sony in the past listened to their consumers and gave us Uncompressed 14bit RAW files in a firmware update after they were criticized for only providing us 12bit Compressed RAW, so maybe with enough noise from social media, Sony will include SLOG into it’s next firmware update.

However they have also stated this camera is targeted at the photographers, but if it’s just a software tweak, I can’t imagine why Sony wouldn’t just include it later.

Conclusion

Following on from my previous predictions blogpost, I wanted a bigger body for better battery, better heat dispersion and dual SD Card slots.

Battery – Check

Dual SD Card Slot – Check

Bigger Body – Check (Technically so…)

In essence, this camera has more or less lived up to my expectations.

However! The price has EXCEEDED my expectations. At £4,500 it’s a little too steep for me. I will have to see how the silent shutter has been improved before jumping onto this camera. So I won’t be pre-ordering…

I will be looking to get one around 2018 as I have been wanting to drop my Nikon kit for a while now, but needed to keep that around for my wedding work with the Dual SD Card slot. So after this wedding season, I will put all my Nikon gear up for sale and use that money to fund my Sony kit.

But if this Silent Shutter works the way I hope, I may make this switch sooner than expected!

YouTube Videos

 

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