As an ambassador, I was really excited when Fixation gave me one of the first Sony A9’s in the country to test up against the flagship Canon 1Dx Mk2. To test the insane new focus system and 20fps we decided to do a sports shoot with some professional runners. The location that we picked was in Rotherhithe to give an urban feel, with views across to Canary Wharf for one shot (not pictured).
The first thing to note, coming from a traditional SLR system is just how familiar the Sony feels in the hand. Most mirrorless cameras I have used in the past have the buttons you are used to using in the wrong place or often just not there, making working with them time consuming and not an option for professionals. This camera feels so intuitive and everything seems to be in the right place. When I got familiar with the menus I found they weren’t quite as quick to navigate as a Canon, but quite straight forward.
The camera comes into its own when there is something moving in front of the lens, the tracking focus is absolutely insane. The fact that there are focus points across the entire sensor means you never need to focus and recompose and because it is so sensitive I found you didn’t have to worry about moving the focus point because the camera just knew what to focus on. Being able to shoot a high frame rate is nothing new, but with this camera the hit rate is so high. Almost every one of the frames I shot on the day was pin sharp. Something that is often not the case when tracking fast moving subjects.
Throughout the day, when I had a shot that was looking good I kept find myself reaching for the Sony over the Canon, despite my familiarity with the 1Dx.
I was given two Sony lenses, the 24-70mm and 70-200mm which I thought gave very nice results. However what I was more interested in, was trying the camera using a Metabones adaptor to use my existing lenses. I was really excited to find that all of my L series lenses worked exactly as they do on my Canon cameras. I have some canon primes that I love (the 50mm f1.2 L for example) and would never want to stop using. So being able to add a Sony A9 to my kit bag rather than have to change the entire system is a massive plus for me.
A final huge plus for the Sony was the electronic view finder. Being able to review images in the viewfinder is a great alternative to tethering to a computer on fast paced shoots. I could shoot in the sun and when we paused just put the camera to my eye and review images with no glare. It was so intuitive that I found my self trying to do it on the 1Dx! Being a lifestyle photographer and shooting on location all the time I am usually tethered to a laptop with a sun shade, to me this was probably one of the biggest plus points for the camera and something I will miss on my Canon cameras.
In summary, I feel like Sony has really taken hold of the video market in the last few years. Combining the A9 with their high megapixel camera the A7R ll it looks like they have got a good chance of shaking up the professional stills market too.
Having been a die hard Canon user my entire career, this is the first camera that has really made me question if a non Canon camera body could be a good addition to my bag. I cant recommend the Sony A9 highly enough.
There are more images from the shoot in the project section here
You can read the full review on the Fixation website here