Sony a9 - not quite as good as I'd thought

Started Oct 27, 2019 | Discussions thread
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chrisrabe Senior Member • Posts: 2,000
Sony a9 - not quite as good as I'd thought

Don't get me wrong, I know it is better than the a7iii, but I just don't feel yet that it is THAT much better.


I was out with it yesterday (heavy cloud, rain, gloom) and today (light cloud, then sun)

From reading what people had to say about the tracking, I thought it would be useful for a number of things. And while it is certainly better than the tracking on a7iii/a7riii and all that came before, it still has a tendency to shift away from object being tracked, or just not lock on to quite the right thing.

Some examples:

When focusing on this heron, the tracking kept going to the grass behind. Something I experienced with many different scenarios.

And this - a green woodpecker on a trunk. Now I would think it would be fairly easy to keep distinguishing the object from the tree, but it kept wandering on to the tree. I really wanted it to work here, cause I knew the bird would be taking off, and I was hoping the tracking would be smart enough to start following when it took off.

But no - tree firmly in focus

Same with this robin - focus kept shifting to the fence, and when bird took off, focus still firmly on fence.

Though, on the flipside, this following image I don't think I would have managed with the a7iii - it was so quick that I saw this duck taking off and fling towards me, and didn't think focus would find it in time, but it did.

Such high iso that noise reduction killed it a bit, but I was still impressed to have gotten this at all

Also, tracking was sometimes good - this heron was coming in through mist, not very clear, and I was able to follow it well until it landed, helped also by no blackout.

And here it tracked the head of the mallard well, as I'm sure with the a7ii, the focus would have shifted to the wing.

The blackout free EVF is brilliant though. I accidentally set the shutter a little lower than intended for this, but was able to follow so easily that even at 1/250th this was farily well focused - I'm sure the 10mpx in camera jpeg will look fine.

The good: (Those that could go to any camera with firmware marked FW)

It does certainly lock on faster, and find it a bit better in lower light.

The black-out free view is great

the 20 fps is great

Feels snappier in control as well

Love that it is actually silent

Coloured focus point is a god send! (FW)

Great that you can only select focus modes you use (FW)

The bad:

The drive and focus mode dials are a hindrance more than anything to me - with the a7iii/a7riii, I have default drive and focus mode set on memory slots and buttons set to easily change them - here I have to fiddle with a locked dial.

That real time tracking - just not quite there...

focus not nailed quite as often as I had come to expect - even on stationary subjects.

Here's a few more snaps

Squirrels with 1.4tc

 chrisrabe's gear list:chrisrabe's gear list
Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony a9 Sony a7R III Sony a6600 Zeiss Batis 18mm F2.8 +5 more
Sony a9
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