The Sony A9 is an A7 2.0, boosted with hormones and, above all, correcting many of the ergonomic flaws pointed at its predecessors. It is as if the engineers had decided to implement at one time all the grievances submitted by the testers and photographers during the last four years.
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Like most professional cameras (hybrids and SLRs), the Alpha 9 has a double dial on its left shoulder to quickly select the frame rate and type of focus. (manual, automatic disengage, continuous autofocus, one-time autofocus). These two wheels are individually lockable.
The Alpha 9 has, finally, a double housing SD. Nevertheless, only one of these dwellings is UHS-II compatible. The other is content with UHS-I for a dark history of backward compatibility with Memory Stick cards. But, honestly, who still uses it today? On the other side of the case, the connectivity is most complete: USB (but not Type C), HDMI (but not complete HDMI), microphone, headphones, this quartet are added a synchro-flash and, especially , an Ethernet port that will allow sports photographers to remotely control their cameras and transfer their images from the stadium to their writing in no time. Let’s add, among others, that the Alpha 9 has Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth … that we invite you to cut by switching to “airplane” mode to save battery. This is a new reference: NP-FZ100, with a capacity of 2280 mAh. In normal use in the field, you will easily reach 500 views, or even more if you have a hand a little heavy on the gust. Farewell the NP-FW50 and its 1080 mAh introduced with the Nex C3 of 2011 and used since on all hybrids Sony! We will not regret you, even if it will be necessary to make a cross on the backward compatibility.
Viewfinder and screen are new. The first uses an Oled slab of 3.6 million points. The quality of the aim is greatly improved, especially since it benefits from a refreshing at 120 fps. The screen, for its part, retains its articulation and a diagonal 7.5 cm for a definition of 1 440 000 points. Above all, it is finally touch … but we will come back to it later. Note, on the right, the new joystick that allows you to quickly select its AF point, convenient when the case is brought to the eye, or navigate the menus. These have changed, and well, since they take advantage of the new organization introduced with the Alpha 99 II. The A9 is the first hybrid of the brand to take advantage of four fully customizable sub-tabs, a real blessing for those for whom the menu logic Sony default remains opaque. Moreover, a real effort of rationalization was made on the fast menu (Fn key) since it finally allows, by default, to access the quality of compression (RAW and / or JPEG). After four years, it was time! By the way, it is also possible to go through there to change the registration policy on memory cards.
Very excited, the Alpha 9 reassures that engineers really listen to users, even if others are more reactive (randomly, Fujifilm …). However, this new flagship is not yet perfect. The touch screen is single point and only serves to select the AF point, doing duplicate with the joystick. Can not navigate the menus with the touch of a finger or use the touch to view his photos, switch from one to another or simply zoom! Another flaw: one of the strengths of ergonomics pros boxes is to be handled by one hand, especially the Canon. On this Sony, despite its small size, both hands will be essential, especially to access the menu. It also lacks refinements, such as backlit keys, anti-flickering, etc. But one last detail will make the smile smile: the A9 is supplied with a mains charger on which it is possible to visualize the level of charge.
The Alpha 9 is one of the rare interchangeable lens cases to use a BSI CMOS sensor, that is to say backlit, since the only other representative of its kind is the Alpha 7R II. The images remain perfectly usable up to 6400 ISO and, as long as your shots are for press printing or online broadcast in a newspaper, you can even risk 25 600 ISO. The higher sensitivities will be used sparingly but, why not, maybe you will one day have the opportunity to photograph a jumping antelope at dusk at 16.7 fps, in which case the sheeted images at 204 800 ISO will always be better than no images at all.
Even if it is not thought for the video, the Alpha 9 does not forget to be excellent in the matter. Of course, he films in 4K / UHD 25p at 100 Mb / s, without cropping, with a perfect finesse of the rendering. In Full HD, sports fans will appreciate the S & Q (“Slow & Quick”) modes directly accessible via the mode wheel, which can shoot up to 100 fps, a 4x slow motion. We would have liked to have the possibility to shoot in Full HD 1000 fps. However, the engineers told us that the limitation was not technical and that the appearance of this function would not be impossible via firmware update if the demand from users is strong enough. For the rest, the sound is of very good quality – but you prefer to go through the microphone jack for a more ambitious recording – accurate autofocus but lightly pumps with our 24-70mm f / 2.8G Master test and the touch screen remains hopelessly useless. Note the absence of the S-Log, it seems for technical reasons.
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Sony a9 Full Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera (Body Only) (ILCE9/B)