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June 2, 2017
Posted in reviews

New Sony A9 tests: Shows no banding issue and makes a great job shooting Roland Garros!


Photo credit: Christophe Ena / AP

Roland Garros:
Christopher Eno from the Associated Press used the new Sony A9 for his Roland Garros shooting. He got interviewed at Focus-numerique (Google translation here) And these are some of his comments on using the camera:

  • The main issue he found using the A9 is that Wifi connection doesn’t stay on. And also that once the link is activated, it is no longer possible to zoom in the images to check the quality. Moreover Nikon and Canon do background transfer. SAR note: This is surely something Sony can fix and add via firmware.
  • With the grip Christopher did shoot a full day and never needed to change battery.
  • He found the adjustment wheels a bit small (Note: His hands are big). The joystick worked perfectly for him. Overall he also like the small size of the camera.
  • He finds optical viewfinder more pleasant but the electronic viewfinder is really useful.
  • He was surprised by the lack of noise (silent shutter).
  • Autofocus is a delight
  • Having 20fps is very useful because you are more likely to get the right momenta
  • He liked the default rendering of the A9 images. It’s less shiny than the Canon images.

A9 sensor performance:
Jim Kasson tested the sensor quality of the A9 and concluded: “The numbers are higher than I’ve seen for 24 MP full frame cameras, indicating that Sony continues to make better sensors.

Videos:
First weekend SONY A9 Camera highlights by NYC Wedding Photographer – Susan Shek Photography
Sony A9 vs. Sony A7SII Real World 4k Video Comparison by Ryan Douthit
Sony A9 vs A6500 by TheDigitalDigest
A9 tracking an Airplane (Sony Satouchi).

Banding test:
Jared Matthew Jarvis tested the Sony A9 for banding and find none. This is one of his test pics shot with 1/12800 electronic shutter, f2.8, 100 ISO (Click on it to enlarge)

Note: I saw some Sony haters posting photos and videos of the A9 showing what they call is “banding”…but it was actually normal light flickering!!! you see on all kind of cameras and in both mechanical and electronic shutter mode!!! Please do watch tests from pros and not from amateurs!

Sony A9:
Sony A9 at BHphotoAdorama, Amazon, BestBuy. FocusCamera. Calumet.de. Park UK. Wex UK. Jessops.
Sony A9 with Grip Extension Kit at BHphoto, Adorama and Amazon.
Note: US readers preordering the A9 at BHphoto or Adorama using our links (and our affiliated links only!) have a chance to win a Sony A9.

The new Sony FE lenses preorders:
16-35mm GM at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy, Focus and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.
12-24mm G at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy, Focus and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.
Sony 100-400mm GM at BHphoto, Amazon, Adorama, BestBuy. Calumet.de. Park UK. Wex UK. Jessops.

Sony world’s fastest SD cards:
Sony SF-G 128GB: BHphoto, AdoramaAmazon. In EU: AmazonDE, AmazonUK, AmazonFR, AmazonIT, AmazonES.
Sony SF-G 64GB: BHphoto, AdoramaAmazon. In EU: AmazonDE, AmazonUK, AmazonFR, AmazonIT, AmazonES.
Sony SF-G 32GB: BHphoto, Adorama, Amazon.

June 1, 2017
Posted in deals, reviews

Fujinon 50-135mm E-mount lens now available for preorder. First tests by Philip Bloom and Hugh Brownstone.

Starting today you can preorder the new Fujinon 50-135mm E-mount lens at BHphoto and Adorama.

We also got first previews and tests by philip Bloom and Hugh Brownstone

May 31, 2017
Posted in reviews

Shooting with the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8mm and 12-24mm f/4 wideangle lenses (Photogearnews)

Richard from Photogearnews tested the two new Sony FE wide angle lenses. The one thing that really makes me curious about these lenses is the newly tuned focus by wire. If it’s really as Richard is saying than these might be the first lenses I will be happy to use when using manual focus (Yes, I am one of those old fashion people still using manual focus).

The new Sony FE lenses preorders:
16-35mm GM at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy, Focus and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.
12-24mm G at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy, Focus and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.
Sony 100-400mm GM at BHphoto, Amazon, Adorama, BestBuy. Calumet.de. Park UK. Wex UK. Jessops.

May 31, 2017
Posted in reviews

Sony FE 100mm STF tested at DxOmark: “excellent optical quality”

DxOmark tested the new Sony 100mm FE STF lens:

While the use of apodization elements or filters in lenses is no longer a unique proposition, the introduction of this lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras is bound to be treated with some excitement.
Even though the lens is somewhat limited by the T5.6 maximum aperture, the inclusion of optical stabilization goes some way toward offsetting that in daylight. Although we can’t comment on the quality of the lens’s most intriguing quality (the blurring in the out of focus planes), there’s no denying that the Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS has interesting specs and excellent optical quality.

100mm f/2.8 STF FE at Amazon, BHphoto, Adorama. Amazon DEAmazon UK. Amazon IT. Amazon FRAmazon ES.

May 30, 2017
Posted in reviews

Sony A9 studio shots at Dpreview: Neck-and-neck with the competition (and slightly ahead in some aspects)

Dpreview updated their A9 review by including studio shots and a few more findings:

Dynamic Range:
The A9 is at least a stop behind that of the a7R II. A more relevant comparison might be to the a9’s direct peers: it performs neck-and-neck with the Canon 1D X II (and perhaps a bit better at ISOs above 640 thanks to its dual-gain design), and a full stop better than the Nikon D5 at base ISO. For most sports photographers this won’t matter much, but those shooting high contrast scenes may require workarounds other cameras – such as the a7R II – don’t.

ISO performance:
Above ISO 640, the camera is fairly ISO-invariant, since it’s overcome most of its downstream read noise, but there’s still some benefit to increasing ISO to keep noise levels low if your scene demands it. Below ISO 640, the lower conversion gain means that you’ll start to see more (read) noise if you push shadows as opposed to having them pushed in-camera by increasing ISO gain.

RAW performance:
Although at first glance the a9 appears slightly softer than the Nikon D5 and the Canon EOS-1D X II, it appears to be showing a similar amount of detail as well as color aliasing.
Compared with the Sony a7R II, you can see that the a7R II is slightly sharper as well as being much more detailed than the a9. The a9’s magnified live view doesn’t help achieve perfect focus, but no number of attempts yielded results as good as the a7R II at the pixel level. This leads us to believe the a9 includes an anti-aliasing filter, which makes sense for the pro market it’s targeted at.

JPEG output:
At base ISO, clever sharpening means the text sharpens up nicely compared to the Raw, without any strange artifacts, and actually appears to show more detail than the D5 in some areas. The a9 basically shows no visible noise while foregoing the ‘haloing’ effect of the D5’s large-radius sharpening.
As the ISO values climb, both the a9 and D5 leave behind some luminance grain while all chroma noise is removed (this is also similar to the a7R II‘s behavior, though the a9 looks cleaner even when at normalized viewing sizes, showing a similar performance to the Canon 1D X II as well). At ISO 12800, the a9’s noise reduction removes some small details in the dead leaves pattern, though it does a much better job than the Canon, and seems to be trading punches in detail retention with the D5 at ISO 6400 in other areas compared.

Just my two-cent: You have to compare apple’s with apple’s and orange’s with orange’s. The A9 is not an “A7rII with faster autofocus“. It is a camera trimmed for speed and aimed for sports photographers. This means for example the A9 is aimed to give the best results at mid ISO (Sports photographer do need fast shutter speeds). If you compare the A9 with the more expensive competition Sony seems to have done an excellent work in terms of Image Quality and Autofocus performance.

That said we still have to understand if banding and overheating are two real issues or something that easily can be fixed with proper settings or via future Sony firmware upgrade. I can already tell you that I heard from reliable source that Sony is checking into this, and it seems like we can get some good news very soon… ;)

Sony A9:
Sony A9 at BHphotoAdorama, Amazon, BestBuy. FocusCamera. Calumet.de. Park UK. Wex UK. Jessops.
Sony A9 with Grip Extension Kit at BHphoto, Adorama and Amazon.
Sony A9 battery grip at Adorama, Bhphoto, Amazon. Wex UK. Jessops.
Sony A9 Glass screen protector at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon.
NP-FZ100 battery for the A9 at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Jessops.
GP-EX1 grip at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Wex UK.
FDA-EP18 eye cup at Adorama, BHphoto.
MQZ1 multi battery charger at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Wex UK.
BCQZ1 Z-series Battery Charger at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon.

The new Sony FE lenses preorders:
16-35mm GM at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy, Focus and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.
12-24mm G at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy, Focus and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.
Sony 100-400mm GM at BHphoto, Amazon, Adorama, BestBuy. Calumet.de. Park UK. Wex UK. Jessops.

May 30, 2017
Posted in reviews

Aga Tomaszek says “A9 autofocus hitrate destroys my D4s”

New A9 tests roundup:

Jim Kasson analyzed the Noise Behaviour:

I want to emphasize that the absolute noise level is low in the a9, but the periodic nature of the read noise and the PRNU will cause visible noise to be more objectionable that it would be if it were random.

So the problem with the A9 “banding” seems to be the noise pattern on the red channel. It’s not random enough to avoid it. I do hope Sony will work on this to fix it via firmware upgrade.

Alin Popescu posted his one week review and Bird shooting experience:

I tell you, as long as I locked focus on the bird (Expanded Flexible Spot Lock-on AF), then the A9 did it’s magic tracking the absolutely erratic flight of these magnificent creatures.

Sony A9 wedding photography by Aga Tomaszek:

Bear in mind I’ve only shot one wedding with the A9 so far, it’s hard not to jump to conclusions. Sod it, I’m going to jump to a conclusion. MIND BLOWING. A7RII focusing is acceptably fast, impressively accurate, and tracking is good enough for most wedding situations. The A9 is quite simply another league, another stratosphere! Focusing feels effortless and the hit-rate destroys my D4s.

Also Mariano Friginal tested the A9 for wedding. Ryan Armbrust did an Event Photography with the A9. And there is a sports Photography report by Qamera: They tested both Canon and Nikon lenses on the A9. At the end the conclusion is simple…we need fast native E-mount tele lenses :)

Three small updates on the overheating saga:

1) Sony reached out ThatCameraGuy to find out more about the Over the issue. Glad to see Sony taking a promopt response on this. I am confident this will be solved positively
2) Jared Matthew Jarvis did some more testing and had no issues whatssoever.
3) Similar report by Edde Burgess:

Sony A9:
Sony A9 at BHphotoAdorama, Amazon, BestBuy. FocusCamera. Calumet.de. Park UK. Wex UK. Jessops.
Sony A9 with Grip Extension Kit at BHphoto, Adorama and Amazon.
Sony A9 battery grip at Adorama, Bhphoto, Amazon. Wex UK. Jessops.
Sony A9 Glass screen protector at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon.
NP-FZ100 battery for the A9 at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Jessops.
GP-EX1 grip at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Wex UK.
FDA-EP18 eye cup at Adorama, BHphoto.
MQZ1 multi battery charger at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Wex UK.
BCQZ1 Z-series Battery Charger at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon.

The new Sony FE lenses preorders:
16-35mm GM at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy, Focus and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.
12-24mm G at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy, Focus and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.
Sony 100-400mm GM at BHphoto, Amazon, Adorama, BestBuy. Calumet.de. Park UK. Wex UK. Jessops.

May 29, 2017
Posted in reviews

More interesting tests on the A9 “overheating indicator” issue…

We now learned via first Sony A9 owners that in a very specific situation (shooting under direct sunlight) the A9 overheating indicator turns on after 20-40 minutes. What’s also very strange is that only a handful of people noticed this while most of the photographers seem to not have had any issue at all. Also to be noted: It doesn’t seem the camera ia actually shutting down neither. Here are a few new information:

  1. On the video above you can watch an update on ThatCameraGuy A9 overheating report. I understand he is upset and I am glad he exposed the problem. A $4,500 camera should just work out of the box. Also a few more people reported the same annoying problem. So this is not just him having noted this!
  2. Jared Matthew Jarvis reported the same A9 overheating indicator issue on our A9 facebook group (there is a video too). But he also discovered more details: After he had the “indicator” warning when shooting under direct sunlight he remade the test indoor:

    It’s warmer physically than it was ever when I had it outside yesterday when the heat indicator came on, yet there is no warning yet. Maybe the a9 just hates sunlight. I no longer want to call this an overheating “issue”. My camera has not yet at any point overheated and I’ve been putting it through its paces in scenarios far more stressful than most real world shooting. If anything I think Sony may have been a bit over zealous with their overheating warning considering the issues they’ve had with heat in the past

    He also noted this: “The warmest part on the camera is the base plate around the tripod mount.” So maybe keeping the A9 on a hot surface exposed previously by sunlight triggered the warning?

  3. Many A9 owners also reported that they had no issues under similar conditions:
    – Andreas Bechthold wrote on the A9 group: “I had it in 92 degrees (Fahrenheit) yesterday with about 2000 shots. Worked nice, not Problem at all….
    Alin Popescu told me this: “I’ve shot in 33 degrees celsius for more than 2h. Then on streets of Bucharest, at an entire wedding, birds, etc.. Never saw that warning!
    – Max Yuryev also commented on ThatCameraGuy video: “I shot a ton with it with not a single overheating icon

If what Jared Matthew and others are reporting are true it seems like the “overheating indicator” is reaction wrong on direct sunlight and not on the real heat inside the camera. I invite A9 users to test the camera for a long time under direct sunlight (and please do record what happens). Let’s see if we can make some sense out fo this story. But to me this sounds more like a software problem or a problem related to a few “flawed” cameras.

In the meantime Sony will have for sure taken notice of that buzz on the web and I hope they will make some statement soon.

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