So this was my first wedding using the Sony A9. Going to go into that a bit more for the photographers out there but first wanted to say what a lovely wedding! Clare and Quen tied the knot in glorious sunshine in the grounds of Southwood Hall in Norfolk. One of my favorite types of weddings; nothing too formal, just two people in love getting married surrounded by their family and friends. Who could ask for anything more?
So to the photographers out there, yes this was my first wedding shooting with the new Sony A9. I’m coming from a Nikon D5/D4/D3 background so the most striking difference is the size & weight. The A9 is roughly half the weight of the Nikon, quite a difference, especially when you have a backup as well! Other than that it just generally feels like an evolution of the DSLR. When I say I shoot with a D4/5 I actually currently own a D4. I trialled a D5 for a month in wedding season last year and just couldn’t see enough difference to make me upgrade. I’d have been upgrading for the badge number rather than any particular feature.
So why did I buy an A9? Well the biggest selling features for me were the weight (I travel a LOT for photography and am already carrying an awful lot in the way of cameras, lenses, lights, modifiers etc) and the silent shutter. For those non-photographers out there still reading, all professional DSLRs have a mirror in them which has to move out of the way when you take a photo: it’s the mirror which makes the loud clack you hear. The A9 is the first professional camera which has no mirror and therefore can be completely silent. I’m always hyper aware during wedding ceremonies that I don’t want to intrude on the moment, so being able to shoot in silence is absolutely amazing.
I’m not going to go on too much more about the camera now, I’m going to do a video review soon. In the meantime though I highly recommend it to anybody considering switching and I’ll leave you with my Pros/Cons list followed by some photos!
- Small and light, brilliant if you travel lots & for long days.
- Silent shutter!
- AF System – The choice between Eye-AF, tracking and normal is amazing. You need to set it up properly and know how to use it but when you do it beats the hell out of the D4.
- EVF – Great to be able to see exactly what you’re shooting.
- Tilt Screen – Really useful for different angles.
- Customisation- the ability to customise the A9 is so much better than the D4. I’ve always been annoyed Nikon limits the things you can set to different buttons. No such limit in the Sonys.
- Battery Life – The A9 battery is best measured in time rather than photos but I find a battery will do about 6 hours of heavy heavy use.
- Sony Professional Support – It’s pretty new and I’m in the first 50 members but it’s been ace so far. Very responsive and willing to help.
- SD Cards – I know a lot of people complain about it taking SD cards. I really like that though, they’re cheap and readily available in a pinch.
- Speed outside of focus and frame rate – The camera is blindingly quick at taking photos and focusing. Outside of that it can be really sluggish at times.
- Inability to ‘double tap’ photos in AF-C – This is a weird one: for some reason in AF-C mode the shutter button is a lot less responsive. While you can burst photos if you try to double tap quickly it just won’t do it. In AF-S, no problem. I’m pretty sure this is a bug which needs fixing by a firmware update.
- Aperture Lag – I think this is another bug but sometimes I get a 1-2 second delay trying to change aperture. Usually happens when I’m shooting a group and need to quickly stop down to get more in focus. So frustrating when everybody is looking at you!
- Size – Weird to put this in the cons as well as the pros but people react to the camera differently. There’s something about walking into a room with a D4/D5/1Dx which says “I mean business and I know what I’m doing”. You don’t get that with the Sony.
- You can’t customise the records button. While you customise every other button you can’t change the record button. It would be great to be able to make this another autofocus button when not in movie mode.
In summary, the biggest praise I can give this camera is that it’s allowed me to take photos which I otherwise wouldn’t have got.
Anyway, on with the photos! Thank you again to Clare, Quen and all the staff at Southwood Hall.