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Thursday, 20 April 2017


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Sony is definitely the other camera manufacturer I watch. If this works well with an adapter I'll be looking at this camera for sports work. Sadly Sony is still pretty weak on professional lenses, especially those meant for bodies like this.

Well, yes, on one hand they are developing exiting cameras, and I think this one really is great. On the other hand, I think the problem with Sony a7 and now a9 series is the size of their full frame lenses, to large for me. If I have the money and willing to accept large lenses, I'll buy the Fuji GFX 50S hands down over this Sony, or over the a9r, even if it is 80 mpix.

Over a few decades cameras have moved from being MECHANICAL devices to electro-MECHANICAL devices to ELECTRO-mechanical devices to (in the case of phones) ELECTRO devices.

Sony has been the leader in reducing the mechanical content of our (professional and serious amateur) cameras -- floppy mirrors -- while upping the electro content -- EVF. For Sony it has likely been an expensive journey. For Canon/Nikon it has been costly but hopefully not fatal.

And you first wrote about the A9 in May, 2016.

Mike, FYI.
the link to "Imaging-Review" takes me to Imaging Resource! They also have a first take on the A9, how odd is that? ;-)

[Egg on face. A Freudian typo...now you know how I privately refer to the two largest camera review sites, a la "Canikon." :-]

Fixed now. Thanks. --Mike]

Foo. It doesn't have GPS/compass, and doesn't do in-camera astrophotography, like the Pentax K1, which uses its GPS/compass to know exactly where it's at, and the in-camera 5-axis stabilization to track the stars to allow a drift-free timed exposure of the milky way, for instance.

What about weather sealing? No where in the press release was it mentioned.(Maybe I missed it?) For me, it is one of the most important features of my equipment. I trust my 6D and most of my L glass to easily survive the snow and rain of my new home in the country of Tolstoy. It seems like a great camera, but pros don't only work indoors in churches. Years ago I laughed at the idea that sony would become a contender, I never imagined a pro camera with "SONY" across the faceplate.
We surely do live in intresting times.

Hi Mike,

Just an aside on the beam/splitter technology.In the late 60s I had access to a Bessler/Topcon 35mm with translucent mirror. Am I correct? And did that pre-date the Canon you referenced?

Back to the Sony A9. Wow! A true game changer.

Sony is on a roll. They make arguably the best sensors in the world, and have the electronics background to make the most of them. If this camera performs as expected (and there's no reason to believe it won't) and is as rugged as the top-dog Nikon & Canon DSLRs, it will be a major game changer for a lot of pros.

The 20 fps continuous capture speed and hi-res OLED finder with no blackout offer huge benefits for high-speed work. And if Sony follows their established pattern there should be an "R" version with an ultra-high resolution sensor in the offing as well.

With an excellent and growing range of top-shelf lenses available from Sony and Zeiss, they have positioned themselves well from a pro photographer's perspective to take on the established giants. Canon is an 800 pound gorilla and won't go down easily. But Nikon should be very worried...

Completely agree. Interestingly, that quirky, sometimes great, sometimes awful, DPR site did a smart thing today by pairing the A9's announcement with a "Throwback Thursday" piece on the A900. I think it and the A850 were the cameras with which Sony said to all, "game on".

I had the A850, and I recall you had the A900, Mike. Since then, Sony has done nothing but surprise and innovate: FF pocket camera, the RX1 series; exceptional 1" sensor RX100 series; maybe the best digicam ever made, the RX10 series; and then the excellent mirrorless apsc cameras, with some true groundbreaking devices (NEX7); and then the pretty incredible mirrorless A series cameras, right up to this one. Meanwhile, still improving the A mount series (albeit slowly...).

No other camera company comes close. Pentax would be the number 2 innovator (look closely at the cameras, they're pretty terrific and well priced...), but there's a spread of distance between them.

When you consider that it's Sony sensors in Sony, Nikon, Pentax, and Fuji cameras....plus a bunch of smartphones...pretty impressive, I'd say. And while some of the mis-steps with menus &etc. would loom large otherwise, in relation to the astonishing innovations they seem like niggles.

Who thought things would be at this juncture today back when Sony took over Konica-Minolta? Not me.

It may seem almost silly but if Fuji had IBIS, in body image stabilization, they would likely be even with Sony except that Sony is a much bigger corporation. IBIS is the latest and greatest! It appears that EVERYONE :-) from Brooks Jensen of Lenswork to Dennis Mook, the Wandering Lensman, is touting the benefits of IBIS. Very few people have a use for 20 fps with no blackout, but it seems that everyone wants to get rid of their tripod. Kudos to Sony for putting the pressure on the other manufacturers to produce better gear.

Well, darn. That sure doesn't make the Sony environment any easier to resist. (Well...except for the price; I've never gone to that level and don't see how I could.)

I seem to be very hopeful that I can give up the flappy mirror thing relatively soon, without giving up AF good enough to track fast action and ISO fast enough to photograph fast action (or normal action in very dark rooms). I think I can give up AF on the prime lenses, too, with EVF help. Still need it on the lenses for the fast action.

Don't forget the lenses too! No superteles in the Sony lineup.

Glad to see this has (a) a 3.7mp EVF - I've been reading about these for 2 years now, maybe the bigger battery made it feasible; and (b) 6 screws fixing the lens mount to the body! Holy Contax!! - Sony finally got the message!

I'll take the bait : I disagree. While I'm no more in the market for a Fuji GFX than I am for the A9, the first one is exciting, the second is not. Basic car analogy : latest Ferrari vs latest Mercedes sedan fitted with an over-the-top engine. No contest.

I don't know, maybe it is just basic marketing ? The official Fuji vids on youtube are small treats. The fact that I'm totally uninterested in video capabilities may play a role as well.

I like Kirk Tuck's take on the A9 announcement : So what? (What I read, not what he actually wrote.)

Good on Sony.

This fast bugger is right up there with Fuji's new biggun.

Gear for the few, to create angst among the many, who can't/won't afford them. And who don't/won't need them.


(These grapes never tasted so sour.)

In answer to some of Keith B's points.Sony claim that the viewfinder is not only higher res than the A7's but twice as bright. They claim that there is no blackout at all! A first for any mirrorless or slr camera. The shutter is totally electronic and they say it does not suffer from the distortion problems that existing electronic shutters have. The sensor is a revolutionary design. It will be interesting to see if Sony's claims hold up. Canon and Nikon have their heads in the sand, although you never know what they might have in development. The problem for them is that Sony are way ahead of Canon with sensor design and Nikon don't have their own sensor fabrication plant.

A correction to my previous post. The A9 does have a mechanical shutter in addition to its electronic one. That means that there must be some limitations on the electronic version.

Nice camera. A little more of the same-o.

These very expensive overpriced hunks of electronics will be obsolescent in five years.

The limitations of circuit board manufacture and soldering (not to mention greedy/stingy spare-part inventory policies of the makers) will ensure that we will have to fork out large multiples, over our lifetimes, of what we used to spend on camera gear in the film era.

We will be spending our precious money on buying cameras and electronic lenses, over and over again. In the latter case, we will junk lenses that are perfectly good optically, simply because the electronic focusing doo-dads inside the barrel won't work. Landfills will groan. Bankruptcy will be a certainty.

Whooeee, 20fps; the sports guys will love it, their SI/Getty editors not so much when they see the very stuffed memory cards. The big guns love their fast Canikon glass so it'll take some doing to get them to switch. One reason we loved the fast glass was the clear viewing. The A9's super finder might change all that. But fast glass permits low ISOs and fast shutter speeds. The Canon 400 f2.8 on the A9 will be a mighty beast! Sony needs to make some speedster glass.

Even a horseless carriage needs somebody to turn the crank.
I just can get it out of my mind that an electronics company builds and sells camera, mind Panasonic has been round for a while however to me Sony should have kept the Minolta name.

Being a traditionalist I hope Sony falls flat on its face...

"On a (D)SLR, you can manually follow focus while shooting at 10 FPS." I have a laugh at and then stop. As I reflect that it is what I have done unconsciously. It is very hard to focus using AF and especially if there is any lag when there is a lot of dancers in a concert format. Hence, switch "back" to use Nikon and manual focus (with AF-on assistance). I note the AF-on button on A99.

Dump A77 long time ago. Not going back. But good for someone to try. Still one has to worry about Nikon. No image sensor, no mirror-less, no strategy ...

Disagree. Sony makes appliances, not cameras. Don't like the current one? Wait six months, there'll be another. And forget about firmware updates...just wait six months, there will be another.

The elephant in the room still remains....the reason to move away from Canikon or Sony full-frame is that the lenses are STILL too big and heavy.

The respected pro and Photofocus founder Scott Bourne recently ditched all his Canon pro gear because, now, with the OM-D E-M1 MkII, he can shoot "bird-in-flight" photography of eagles in Alaska all day long with Oly M4/3 telephotos rather than 15 minutes at a time with a 600mm Canon. I'm with Scott on this.

No, thanks, my back can't take it anymore....literally.

I'm stickin' with Fuji. And if it weren't Fuji, it'd be Oly.

Two to three years back, the top five brands in the DSLR market were Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Fuji and Sony.

Then the industry started imploding and the casualties seem to be N-C-P.

My guess is that Fuji is next, and the last man standing is likely to be Sony.

Hey, what about Leica? Leica will always be Leica, and many consider it the camera of the gods.

For the hobbyist, this camera doesn't matter, unless your hobby is shooting sports or theaters.

The future is small & simple. Big & complex is out of fashion.

I'm all for innovation but I've lost interest in what other brands are doing since Fuji got things right.

Looks like a great camera.
I'd think it wouldn't really be competitive in the sports pro arena until there is a full selection of long fast lenses available, meaning exotic glass like 400 mm f:2.8, 500 mm f:4 and 600 mm f:4.
This was certainly true in the SLR age, when fast lenses were needed for an adequately bright viewfinder image, and for sufficient light transmission to the focusing sensor. Perhaps mirrorless ILC technology provides sufficiently fast focus speed and bright enough electronic viewfinder images with slower lenses? That would be a real game-changer, since a 100-400 f:5.6 lens is about 1/3 the weight and 1/4 the cost of a 400 mm f:2.8 monster.

From my perspective as a hobbyist, Sony is focusing on innovation in electronics and mechanics (sensors, processors, miniaturization etc.) They're making impressive progress, but that does not automatically help all users. I'm personally more interested in: ergonomics (body and grip shape and size, physical controls), user interface (simplification, ease of use), form factor (digital Rolleiflex anyone?), viewfinder usability and versatility (improved OVFs, improved multi-angle EVFs and LCDs), different sensor sizes and aspect ratios, interchangeable sensors (one body - many sensors), consistent and coherent design (less of the "who moved my cheese" from model to model). From this point of view, Fuji is still the manufacturer who understands my needs best and provides me some comfort on the direction in which they seem to be going.

I'm curious to hear from pros who have switched: what is their experience with Sony Imaging Pro Support Services? It seems to me that if Sony wants to see the sidelines of major events filled with Sony cameras, they're going to need to match Canon and Nikon on the professional services side not just the gee-whiz camera side.

This development was inevitable, as is the demise of the SLR. Perhaps not today, but soon...

Sony are now #2 in the ILS market, and are investing a lot in their sensor tech. Clearly, if anyone pushes mirrorless ahead of SLR once and for all, it will be Sony. They are probably the only company that can offer the level of pro support that Canon currently do, and that will be the clincher.

But, Sony have never made a camera that I liked using. It's not the tech, it's the layout, controls, menus and other human factors.

So I will be watching how their technology disrupts the market, but I wish they would get some of the old Minolta guys involved to teach them how to design a camera body.

This camera seems to be aimed at the segment of professionals that shoot sports. For this group, it is not just about frame rates but the whole system of lenses that go with such a camera. Without the large, expensive lenses (600mm f 4.0, etc) that go in front of a camera like this, I don't think it will be enough to get too many professional sports photographers to jump ship. That said, the A9 seems to be a very impressive technological achievement and probably points the way towards the future of still photography.

This is the first I have heard that the average Joe-Bob (a) exists, and (b) has access to a high-priced market in amputated human feet.

Manually follow focus at 10 FPS on a DSLR? Sounds like a myth to me, Keith. I can't see that there is physical time for it.

Keith you mention a mechanical delay of 130 sec. Do you know anything about human reaction times? Check http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/reactiontime.html for a good round up.

As for the EVF -- I do fine on my m43 cameras, the Panasonic GX7 and G6 -- now the G85. I can't imagine the Sony is going to have a lesser EVF than these; particularly the G85 which really is top quality.

Cheers, Geoff

"These very expensive overpriced hunks of electronics will be obsolescent in five years.

The limitations of circuit board manufacture and soldering (not to mention greedy/stingy spare-part inventory policies of the makers) will ensure that we will have to fork out large multiples, over our lifetimes, of what we used to spend on camera gear in the film era.

We will be spending our precious money on buying cameras and electronic lenses, over and over again. In the latter case, we will junk lenses that are perfectly good optically, simply because the electronic focusing doo-dads inside the barrel won't work. Landfills will groan. Bankruptcy will be a certainty."

All this doom and gloom may be misplaced. I have electronic devices that are still working after almost 40 years.

A fun anecdote to add. This past week, as part of the conclusion of a show of Japanese photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, we hosted a rather celebrated Japanese photographer whose work is in the show. He, like most of his peers, is known for his mid-century bw film work. I knew that he is still shooting and wondered if he's still using film. Nope. When the shutter finger urge struck he whipped out...a Sony A7R with what appeared to be an old Leica lens mounted!

There was a camera crew from a large TV network at my house doing a story about my son. They were using large, heavy, and expensive Canon video equipment. I asked them why they weren't using current relatively small DSLR or mirrorless pro cameras. Answer was that resultant video from recent small cameras was just as good . . . but the equipment they were using was tough and absolutely reliable, stable, easy and fast to manipulate, etc. as needed for professional use.

The death of the DLSR is greatly exagerated. I just played with the A7's and while the bodies are marginally smaller, the lens aren't. Even the editor's beloved Fuji mirrorless lenses are big! It just takes a lot of glass to cover APS-C or full-frame - that's just physics.

I just wish Canon would get their act together and stop handicapping their lower tier cameras (like the 6D - or even the 5DIV which doesn't even have proper 4K video) - IBIS would also be nice too.

Still, once has to applaud Sony for their enthusiasm and their willingness to rock the boat. The Canikon duopoly badly needed that.

In high school I photographed our football and basketball games with a Speed Graphic. Frames per second with one of these bricks wasn't all that good. Still got some good photos. That is until I was tackled during one football game. To make matters worse it had rained all day so that night everything was mud. I saved the camera and the flash but my ass was a goner.

And this was in the Rose Bowl no less.

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