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THE SONY A9 SHORT REVIEW
The Sony A9 flagship interchangeable lens camera system is, hands down, one of the greatest ILCs (or DSLRs) ever made, but is it worth the $4,500 body-only price tag in a world where the A7R III exists?
The A9 is a wonderful blend of speed, low-weight ergonomics, battery life, color, contrast, and dynamic range. And it’s flexible too, easily bouncing between action sports photography and 4K video recording. In fact, if you’re doing a lot of video, especially stuff like vlogging, the A9’s video AF is extraordinary.
That said, the Sony A9 isn’t perfect. The body is less rugged than flagship DSLRs and might not survive treks into harsher, wetter environments. Also, it lacks 4K/60p video (available on the Panasonic GH5, GoPro HERO 6, and iPhone 8/X) along with a flat color profile (S-Log) and 10-bit color that would enable more accurate and HDR color grading.
Then there’s Sony’s lack of super-telephotos to consider…
Make no mistake, Sony’s G Master and G Series lenses are freakin’ incredible. A Sony A9 with G Master glass produces straight-out-of-camera JPEGs that look like processed RAW images. But, if you’re shooting sports or wildlife at a distance, Canon and Nikon have better, faster glass available. Sony is, of course, introducing more lenses than anyone right now, but do you want to wait another year or two before getting the lens you need now?
And, lastly, there’s the newly announced Sony A7R Mark III to consider. It costs $1,200 less than the A9, but boasts very comparable performances specs, includes S-Log video profiles and (8-bit) in-camera HDR, and has more megapixels (#AllTheMegapickles), which on a sensor this good, help with cropping and larger format printing. (Please keep in mind that I LOATHE the “more megapixels is better” game and I’m oversimplifying a bit, but this type of megapixel count on this sensor with this processing are trying to produce Medium Format-esque results on a 35mm sensor.)
That said, when you have an awesome camera like the A9, it proves you don’t NEED more megapixels to get excellent performance and handsome images. I just wish the A9 was more affordable, to be honest.
SONY A9 SAMPLES
SONY A9 SHADOW RECOVERY
SONY A9 ISO SAMPLES
All of the below images are straight out of the camera and shot at F2.8. No correction, no noise reduction. As you can see, the Sony A9 boasts quite good low-light capabilities. I’d say clean and for online work at up to 20,000 ISO, and maybe with some noise reduction and in the right conditions, you could maybe-sometimes get usable shots at up to ISO 32,000.