Goodness Gracious

Started 3 months ago | User reviews thread
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Tommygun45 Senior Member • Posts: 1,372
Goodness Gracious

This isn't a nuts and bolts full on review of this camera. I am not nerdy enough to do so. However I am a parent of a three year old who hangs out with other parents who have little, fast moving rascals. I have by default become the photo guy of our group of friends. Pros I get invited places all the time, cons I have to sift through thousands of photos to make other people's kids look good on facebook. But I love it.

Since my daughter was born in April of 2014 I have been searching for the perfect camera for families with little, and even mid range kids. I got into photography back with the NEX 5n. I knew Sony was onto something but the entire time it kind of felt like they were just dabbling, not really committed. I have gladly watched them increase their technical prowess, while the big boys have sat around on their laurels.

Once my daughter had become active the A6000 didn't cut it. I went big and got the D750. It was an excellent camera, but still, aspects of it drove me nuts. Why was the live view implementation almost unusable? Why could that big fancy camera not reliable focus on people's faces? I am supposed to feel guilty because I don't think its cool to move a focus point around with a joystick and then recompose my shot? And I am supposed to do what to focus on something during video?! Every time I raised the camera to my eye to use the optical viewfinder my daughter would run away. Was I the first person to experience this kind of frustration?

Then, I actually got into professional photography. On a whim a friend of mine asked me to shoot a house for him, as he is a realtor. A year later and I am making more money doing that than I am at my full time job of being a high school history teacher. Things have been good. Therefore, the A9 came on my radar. Normally spending this much money in my life has been relegated to cars. Not to mention the lens investment that would need to be made. Well, at least I can write it off.

After having the A6500 as a backup and being familiar with the latest Sony tech, I wanted to see what the big boy boy was like. At first, the differences aren't that apparent. Sure, it is a little bigger and bulkier, and the button layout is superior, but the A6500 is lighter and easier to pocket. The image quality when viewed side by side also isn't entirely night and day. I wasn't all that impressed to be honest.

Compounding the problem was that so far I only had a Rokinon 12 f2, the PZ16-50, and the FE28f2. The first two are virtually unusable on the A9. Luckily I had an old Canon FD 50 1.4 that I hadn't been able to sell on dpreview forums years ago when I sold my 5n. I figured I'd pull it out of my attic and give it a whirl. Hello Full Frame 1.4 goodness.

Canon nFD 50 1.4

Canon nFD 50 1.4

One of the biggest problems I have had using these manual 1.4 lenses is nailing focus on the eyeball. The A9 allows me to get close enough, and then do a focus pull as I hold the shutter. I will rattle off 20-40 shots and at least one of them will be painfully sharp. Also, since its a silent shutter my daughter has no idea what I am doing. With the D750 the second that thing would start rattling away she would make a face or a game of hide and seek would be triggered.

With native lenses its even easier. I can sneak up on a subject, hold the camera out pointing at their face, make a comment, and as they turn around I am simply holding the EYE AF button (AF ON in my setup) and the shutter (won't release without AF) In the split second the camera grabs their face, and the person reacts, the camera is rattling off RAW Files with a deadlocked focus point on the subjects IRIS. It is beyond insane.

These images, and dozens more, were all captured in the past week. They are some of my favorite pictures I have ever taken, and I am using a 30 year old manual Canon lens that can be had for $50, and an entry level 28mm prime lens that I got for $369. I have been using the 12-24f4 Sony which is fantastic for real estate work and the 85 1.8G shall arrive tomorrow. I cannot wait.

Finally, last night I was intentionally putting the camera through its paces. My daughter and nephew were going down a slide and landing in snow. It was beyond dusk. The camera was literally able to see and track their faces. At times I could not actually make their faces out with my own eyes. On top of that it could track a kid moving at me at f 2.2 incredibly quickly. It did this over, and over again. Also, I am using older SanDisk U3 95 mb/s cards and the buffer has not been an issue, even when rattling off hundreds of uncompressed raws. I think this mini-review has been long enough already, so I will just end by saying how ridiculously lucky I feel for being spoiled to this level. I have maybe 10 decent pictures of me as a kid my parents had taken or preserved. I won't make that same mistake with my daughter.

These are 1000k jpegs, but the point is to see the sharpness and tracking...With a $400 28mm prime.

To show relative light level

Adjusted just for brightness

And one more series... This camera focuses on and tracks eye balls in the dark. Good luck Canon and Nikon. You are going to need it.

Eye focus locked on instantly. It was extremely dark outside.

Pulled raw 2.60+ Exp Comp in LR.

See the kid on the slide? I barely could.

 Tommygun45's gear list:Tommygun45's gear list
Sony RX100 III Nikon D750 Sony a6500 Sony a9 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +3 more
Sony Alpha a9
24 megapixels • 3 screen • Full frame sensor
Announced: Apr 19, 2017
Tommygun45's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Nikon D750 Sony a6000 Sony a6500 Sony a9
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