DPReview: Sony a9 Takes Home The GOLD and More Thoughts on The a9


The Sony a9 took home a gold award just like the GFX, even though DPReview had a critical opinion piece about the camera that stirred up a lot of controversies, which was also similar to the GFX. DPReview is developing a bit of a pattern here. There is also no mention of the overheating issues, which some have experienced.

Pros Cons
  • Newly designed 24MP sensor offers incredible speed
  • 20fps silent burst shooting with 60 AE/AF calculations per second
  • 693 AF points, will focus down to -3EV with an F2 lens
  • No blackout when shooting with electronic shutter
  • Drastically improved battery life
  • High-res electronic viewfinder with 120fps refresh rate
  • Increased direct controls, better feedback on most buttons and dials
  • E-shutter offers 1/150s shutter rate, only 1 EV behind 1/300s mechanical
  • Banding in artificial lighting barely an issue over DSLRs, since e-shutter is only 1 EV behind mech shutters
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Ethernet, flash sync ports
  • Rolling shutter well-controlled
  • Oversampled 4K footage
  • Full HD at 120fps
  • Improved menus (including a My Menu), customizability
  • Improved overall responsiveness
  • USB charging
  • Base ISO dynamic range lags existing Sony full frame cameras
  • Battery grip all-but-required for comfortable use with larger lenses
  • Lock-On subject tracking still less dependable than Nikon 3D Tracking
  • Only one SD slot is UHS-II
  • Default color response improved, but still behind competition
  • Shooting uncompressed Raw drops burst speed to 12fps
  • No lossless compressed Raw option
  • Auto white balance can struggle under artificial lighting
  • Won’t sync with flashes in e-shutter; max frame rate with flash is 5 fps
  • Poor solution for AF assist in dim light
  • No picture profiles or S-Log in video
  • Center Lock-On AF in video is archaic, unreliable and cumbersome
  • Cannot enter menus while buffer is clearing
  • AF-ON and AEL buttons need more travel
  • Memory Recall modes, while improved, are still not comprehensive
  • USB 2.0 for file transfer

The Sony a9 isn’t a camera for everyone, but I am disappointed that DPReview didn’t address the potential quality control issue that led to the overheating controversy. They let someone write a big opinion piece about nothing and then completely ignore an issue that will affect potential purchasers. Poor quality control is something that everyone should be aware of and blog/sites that are simply trying to sell cameras over trying to provide consumers with valuable purchasing information should be called out.

The Sony a9 is a great camera, but you might have to exchange your camera a few times during the 30 day exchange period in order to find a properly functioning camera. Hopefully, quality control will get better as time goes on, but Sony really needs to get on top of this, because I am still coming across reports of people with “new” overheating cameras.

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Sony a9 Action Shooting Kit: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama
Sony a9 Accessories Kit: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama
Sony a9: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama
Sony FE 100-400mm: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama
a9 Battery Grip: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama
a9 Battery NP-FZ100: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama
GP-EX1 Grip: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama
MQZ1 Battery Charger: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

 

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