#BeAlpha - A Week with the Sony A9 / by Deen Schroeder

Sony A9 Pics-4.jpg

 I have been taking photos for years and it’s not often that I get treated with something as special as the flagship camera from Sony, the Sony A9. After following the rumours, announcement and subsequent barrage of online reviews for this new camera, I couldn’t wait to take it for a spin.

Let me begin my review with the following disclaimer. “I am not a videographer and I tested this camera from the perspective of a stills photographer”

My first impressions for the Sony A9 were that of awe. This is a super-premium product and with the bulbous 12-24mm F4 G on the front, I felt like a fully fledge pro.

The Sony A9 is a beast. The 24MP CMOS sensor is astounding, the 693 phase detection points that cover 93% of the image area, a burst rate that goes up to 20 frames per second with no black out, a magnesium alloy body that is weather sealed, the incredible low light performance, the 5-axis image stabilization, the 3.7 million dot EVF and that lovely touch screen. Like I said, it is a beast!

After the usual stumbling and fumbling around a new camera system and delving into the menus to try and find preferences that would suit my style of photography, I was good to go. I started taking photos all around me with all the confidence in the world, convinced that the camera would show me the light. It did the complete opposite, I took it for granted, I didn’t respect the machine and before long I was quite annoyed by my lack of photographic skills. This made me take stock of what I wanted to achieve and instead of clicking away like a crazy person, rather focus on learning the camera and exploring its possibilities. They say that you need to learn to crawl before you walk, and here I was trying to enter the 100m Olympic race. Silly me.

I made some time and just learned how the camera operated and before long, I was ready to give it a proper test.

 The camera is extremely user friendly and though there are many buttons and extensive menu systems, it won’t take you more than 5 minutes to get accustomed to the interface. The key physical features that I enjoyed most were the positions of the aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation dial. They are intuitively placed on the right side of the body in such a way that you can adjust any of these settings without having pull your eye away from the viewfinder. The fact that these controls are also around a more robust grip, makes the camera feel extremely comfortable in the hand.  

During the week with the Sony A9, I did my best to squeeze in as much shooting as possible whilst being extremely busy with my regular day-to-day work. These are a few of my favourite images taken with the camera and all images have been edited using Adobe Lightroom CC.

Below are some of the images that I managed to snap whilst from Durban and Cape Town with the 947 Breakfast Club and the 702 Breakfast teams with Tsogo Sun:

While shooting on a deceptively cold Sunday morning, I met up with my good friend Kgabo Legora and here are some of his thoughts on the Sony A9 and his experiences with the camera:

 KGABO LEGORA

KGABO LEGORA

I touched a 9!

” I’ve been using Sony Alpha A7Rii for almost 3yrs now. Before that I was using Canon and at the moment using a Nikon D750 as second body. 

Trying out the A9 today felt awesome since watching the launch campaigns and thinking this thing would be amazing for the kind of work I do with Mi Casa. Speed and sharpness are the main things I need the most so walking about the streets of Sandton to do some street photography was a good trial basis for the camera. 

Immediately the first thing I spotted as a difference between the A7Rii and A9 was how it felt it my hand - it’s bigger. All the common options I need of focus points, burst settings and file formats are more accessible via the button additions and not in the action menu (life changing). 

Then what was really great was the quality upgrade in the LCD display screen - great detail and color. My only dislike is the EVF, which doesn’t seem to be as good as the A7R’s one in terms of resolution and sharpness. 

Because I’ve been thinking about saving for a Nikon D5 or Canon 1DX, the specs on the Sony A9 aren’t too far off from what I need. Difference really is the size - for reference, my hand is like half 3/4 of a ruler ;)”

Below photos were taken by Kgabo:

Overall, I believe that the Sony A9 is a spectacular piece of engineering and the form factor is the most pleasing things for me, its small and powerful, robust with finesse and an absolute beast. The camera is aimed at the high-end professional market that is currently dominated by DSLR’s. Its refreshing to see that mirrorless technology has gotten to the point where it is competing and in many ways exceeding the capabilities of the traditional workhorses of the photography world.

If I could buy one of these beasts, I would have done so yesterday.

#BeAlpha