When it comes to cameras, faster is definitely better, and the Sony α9 is one of the fastest cameras available today. Does this make it one of the best? We had the chance to get our hands on the α9 for a couple of weeks, alongside Sony's new FE 12-24 F4 G lens, and the best way to summarize our experience is one word – exhilarating.
The α9 is capable of shooting up to 20 fps, with autofocus and auto-exposure tracking active. For comparison, its closest rival, a certain DSLR from the red camp, shoots up to 16 fps via Live View. It also has two SD card slots – the first supports up to UHS-II cards, while the second supports up to UHS-I – allowing it to transfer photos relatively quickly as well.
Autofocusing is also snappy, thanks to Sony's 4D FOCUS technology, and an impressive 693 AF points, all with phase detection. With so many AF points, 93 percent of the image area is covered, allowing you to focus on your subject accurately.
As for stamina, the α9 uses a new battery pack that gives you about 480 shots when using the 3.6-million-dot QuadVGA OLED EVF, and this rivals the performance of some of the beefiest DSLRs. We shot about 300 photos in both RAW and JPEG, and found that the battery life had only depleted to 80 percent.
Image performance is just as impressive as the other features on this camera. Color and tonal reproduction is great, and noise levels are well controlled. We'd recommend keeping the ISO below 2,000 for noise-free images, but if you're using it for the web, pushing it to ISO 5,000 is possible. The expanded ISO range of 50 to 204,800 meant more freedom in terms of controlling the exposure.
Those who have used Sony
α cameras before will feel right at home, as most of the button placements remained the same. The video record button is now closer to the EVF to avoid accidental capture with your thumb. Speaking of video recording, the α9 shoots up to 30 fps in 4K, and thanks to built-in 5-axis image stabilization, camera shake is significantly reduced. There aren't any S-Log profiles though, which is a rather peculiar move from Sony, if you ask us, as it hinders the productivity of videographers.
In a nutshell, the Sony α9 is simply amazing. Priced at RM21,799 (body only), it's not cheap, but if you're a professional considering options from the yellow and red camp, then yes, it's the most affordable option.
A bird's eye view of the α9' s top deck.