We test the full-frame Sony A9 mirror. Is it a camera to drop a SLR camera? Will it work in the hands of a professional photographer?
Watching Sony A9 for the first time during the world premiere in London, I already knew that this camera could be the nail in the coffin of professional SLR cameras. After the Sony A7R II, we get another great looking professional mower for a professional photographer – with a smaller resolution matrix, but with a great deal of possibilities.
Construction and ergonomics
The Sony A9 launches a new series, so it's no wonder that not only the capabilities but the looks have to be different from the A7 models. And indeed, the differences in appearance are quite a lot. The basic difference is weight and size – the camera is bigger and heavier than the A7 series. This, next to the Panasonika Lumix GH5 or Fujifilm X-Pro 2, one of the largest LCDs on the market. With the battery weighs over 670 grams , so definitely feel it in his hand. And that is exactly what it can appeal to many photographers who are accustomed to a solid, well-placed camera. The housing is made of durable material and feels very solid . However, the appearance of the A7 series has been largely preserved, but instead of the silver "alpha" logo we find gold – perhaps the manufacturer suggests that we are dealing with premium hardware. A9 is in the palm of his hand. It has a comfortable, strongly protruding grip case. It was well profiled and obviously covered with rubber. All this provides a sure grip. Significantly increased the number of buttons. The ergonomics of the camera has been improved to accommodate photographers accustomed to adjusting all the settings from the buttons and knobs on the case. At the top you will find a mode change knob. In addition to P, A, S, M, Auto Mode, Movie, and three custom modes (labeled 1,2,3, to which we set our own settings) we also have the mysterious S & Q mode. It is used to record movies in slow motion and fast tempo. At the top of the body, you will find two function buttons (C1 and C2) and an exposure dial, but also a new two-level dial on the upper left. The lower one is used to set the autofocus mode, and the higher is set to burst mode. This is a great solution because photographers often use situations where they are going through a lot of situations, using serial mode and the ability to quickly switch between settings is very useful. Like changing autofocus from constant to continuous. The front of the body partially occupies the screen and viewfinder. We will find here the menu button, the function buttons, the menu selection wheel, and, if necessary, the quick increase of the ISO speed. The new joysick is used to set the focus point . This next-generation solution from many SLRs shows the target audience is aiming for the Sony A9. Also noticeable will be the placement of the film button on the front of the body instead of on the side, as was the case with both the first and second generation A7 models. I never understood the point of placing a button in such an inconvenient place and as you can see, the manufacturer finally understood his mistake. The left side of the camera has been filled with different inputs. It will certainly be useful to use the microphone and the headphone, just like the micro HDMI . For everyone there is a micro USB port for the Sony A9, but not the new standard 3.1. We also have an input for the flashbulb hose and a LAN input for connecting the camera to the Internet using a cable. There was no shortage of wireless. We will find WiFi with NFC support as well as Bluetooh 4.1 . Using the Internet, we can download interesting applications to the camera, as well as use a smartphone for wireless camera control. On the right side we find – hidden behind a special, pop-up when the lock is unlocked – two memory card slots. And probably from the point of view of many photographers, the fact of having two connectors will be a major advantage of A9. At the bottom we find another input for the battery. Here was a big change – the manufacturer finally decided to increase the capacity of the battery, beating one of the biggest A7 series failures, as well as other "alpha" – energy efficiency. Capacity doubled – up to 2280 mAh . The battery is slightly larger physically, resulting in a larger body. At present, we do not lose energy so fast, but still to the ideal is far – using the viewfinder we will do about 480 photos . This is a result that makes it impossible to talk about a weak battery, but at the same time it's still not what SLRs offer.
Display and viewfinder
The screen has changed noticeably since it has become much thinner. So it does not stick out of the housing, because it needs less space. That's a big plus. The display parameters are standard – 3 inches and 1.440 million points make it stand out from the competition, but also provides a good viewing class (also on sunny days). The screen is tilted , but not 180 degrees, because the viewfinder would be difficult to make and unnecessary – it was not the type of camera we would use for selfie. It is a shame, however, that there was a lack of touch – something that seems obvious today.The camera menu has undergone a metamorphosis – gained a slightly modified appearance. The categories are colored (some symbols have been changed), and we have as many as six: photography, film, network, playback, setting and setting of my menu. So we can adjust the menu to our needs. However, it must be admitted that the number of options may initially dizziness. Depending on the category can be up to several dozen. The A9 is finally a very advanced model that gives you tremendous possibilities. Much space is dedicated to the AF system – we can set its area, sensitivity, speed or accuracy. Much attention was also paid to the film mode. So it will take some time before we get used to the menu and we will move freely. The A9's electronic viewfinder is the highest shelf. The manufacturer has ensured that the viewfinder offers the highest possible resolution and preview quality. It has 100% coverage and resolution of 3,686,400 at 0.78x magnification. Made in Quad-VGA OLED technology and its quality can not be criticized. The viewfinder reacts to the eye close-up and its shell is designed to provide a comfortable working environment.
In Sony A9 we deal with a full-frame matrix with a resolution of 24 megapixels . There is no resolution here, as in the Sony A7R II, but few photographers will need it. Certainly not wedding or event photographers. The BIONZ X processor is used in most of the new Bionz X models. The camera works well at high ISO speeds , which is already a strong part of the A7 series. ISO can easily raise up to a dozen thousands without fear of significant loss of quality. At ISO 12 800, the image is still acceptable to me, and the camera also has a digital noise elimination feature that, if not exaggerated, is able to handle quite a bit of noise at a sensitivity of over 10,000. ISO We can set in the range of 50-204800, and the quality statement for each resolution you will find below.Image quality and tonal range are at the highest level . The detail is awe-inspiring, and tonal dynamics makes the camera's quality comparable to the best SLRs on the market today. The camera automatically adjusts to white balance, very rarely lost. The pictures are nicely saturated and they look just like postcards. The camera has a great selection of modes and colors, so that the untrained cadets look as if we have made basic work in the Lightroom. It is worth mentioning that the hardware gives you the ability to save "clean", uncompressed RAWs , which gives us great opportunities in later postproduction. The main advantage of the camera, in addition to photo quality, is the speed. Both autofocus and serial mode. The manufacturer firmly placed on the AF system, resulting in an incredibly efficient and accurate autofocus. Hybrid AF based on Face Detection and Contrast uses up to 693 focus areas. Such a large number of points guarantee that the camera will succeed in sharpening the frame even under difficult conditions, such as when shooting fast. Autofocus is excellent and only a small fraction of images is sharpened incorrectly. It also performs well in low light conditions and is still very useful. Below the sample photos and full resolution you will find in the gallery . You can also look at the photos taken during the London premiere of the camera. [Gallery ids = "133838,133840,133842,133844,133846,133848,133850,133852,133854,133856,133864"] If you want to act fast, for example at weddings, events or sporting events, you will appreciate the serial mode. Within 20 seconds, we can shoot up to 20 RAW images . This is really a great result, which few cameras can boast. For example. Panasonic has a 6K Photo feature that allows you to make 30 frames per second but only at 6K resolution. Here we will take photos with full resolution. The speed of the serial mode is as follows: The most complete solution is the full shutter release function. This option will be very useful for sports photographers (such as golf) where silence is indicated. It is also invaluable when shooting a wedding when the shutter sound is extremely audible. The Sony A9 also features a 5-axis 5EV matrix stabilization . It also works with stabilization on Sony lenses. Such a dual stabilization system guarantees excellent results and allows you to worry about shooting from your hand with longer shutter speeds.
Sony A9 is not dedicated to filmmakers. True, it offers advanced movie options, but to Panasonic Lumix GH5 equipment in terms of its far-reaching capabilities. The manufacturer probably did not want to give everything he has to spare the news for the Sony A7S III (or rather the Sony A9 S). So we get the ability to shoot in Full HD at 50 or 100 frames per second, and 4K mode at 25 frames per second. In both cases we can get a "clean" signal through HDMI. The image can be saved with a 4: 2: 2 8bit sampling rate. However, something that is present in the cheaper and older models of the manufacturer – film profiles was missing. Sony has drowned S-Log , which is surprising. Many filmmakers can not imagine working without suitable film profiles, and Sony A9 unfortunately will not find them. So the A9 will allow us to record very nice movies, including 4K quality, and in Full HD we can record even slow-motion, but we do not make a film that we can then suit the color. Thus the manufacturer suggests that the A9 is a model for photographers, and for another camera typically for filming we will have to wait a bit longer. However, this does not change the fact that the model for filming offers a lot. We record material in semi-automatic modes, to help we have focus peaking or zebra. Generally, we will use the A9 to shoot movies, but the camera does not introduce any new features , and it even loses a bit on older models. But I can understand that – Sony is trying to sell a new model to photographers telling filmmakers that they too will get something for themselves – but not necessarily at Sony A9. If you are looking for something that will replace the Sony A7S II, then surely this is not Sony A9.
Summary and evaluation
For the body of Sony A9 will come to us to pay over 20 thousand zlotys. It is therefore the highest shelf (excluding the medium format), but fortunately the price goes with quality . We have a fully professional camera that will satisfy even the most demanding photographers. The A9 handles high sensitivity, ultra-fast AF, very fast serial mode, but also an electronic shutter that does not produce any sound. On the other hand, the A9 will not be a model to reach filmmakers, because it offers nothing new, and in addition, he was deprived of film profiles. However, this is not an overly large defect if we assume that this camera is dedicated mainly to taking pictures and not filming movies. And as such it works great, having the opportunity to replace SLRs in many photographic bags. Photographers clutching SLRs lose almost all of the arguments against the bad guys in the face of models like the Sony A9. That's why the camera gets a maniacal "Choice of redaction" award from us . [Temperature2 product_id = "22362"]