Not so long ago, there was no way a pro would pick up a mirrorless camera and trust it completely for shooting sports and perhaps weddings. But the Sony A9 may well change all that.
The Olympus EM-1 Mark II made significant ground for team mirrorless previously, but some photographers may require a bigger sensor. In this respect, the A9 fits the bill and has been fitted with a host of new tech that even DSLRs would be envious of – the shutter fires off at a crazy 20fps with continuous autofocus, with no blackout on the electronic viewfinder. And because the sensor has fast readout ability, it is able to track subjects more accurately. This is partly due to the unique stacked CMOS design, which is better at collecting light. It all adds up and it’s evident when you use it. The image quality is stellar, and the camera is not troubled by low light situations.
The speedy electronic shutter is now a viable option and can be a usable feature in a sports or wedding photographer’s arsenal (if silence is needed to not distract an athlete for example), and not just for street photographers. The 693-point AF system also has quite insane eye-tracking capabilities; it’s not easy to force the camera to fail and makes an excellent insurance policy in the heat of the action to ensure that the face is in focus. It is quite a decent 4K video camera as well, capable of up to 120fps output with an oversampling feature for great levels of detail.
There are some quirks, however. For a camera that presents itself to be a top-level, sports-shooting wonder, there are some notable omissions. Only one of the two SD slots supports high-speed UHS-II, while you have to rely on USB 2.0 speeds if you are transferring files directly. Given the rate at which you are shooting pictures and their file sizes, this may be a potential pain. All is forgiven however, in the light of what it has achieved technologically.
The sheer speed and image quality of the A9 is extremely impressive and there is no question that this is a tool that is well-equipped for professional jobs. It is quite pricey, but it’s an amazing photographic tool that has relatively few weaknesses. Professionals and amateurs alike now have a viable third option in this category.
S$6,299 (body only)