Hi Everybody, I had early access hands on with the a9 camera last Friday. I was not very impressed with the camera relative to it's price point and target sports shooter 'pro' audience. *DISCLAIMER* I've sold most of my Sony stuff and shoot Fuji and Canon predominantly now. I was invited to attend a local camera store demo last Friday. I'm not a reporter who is paid to fly over, put up in a fancy hotel, yada yada yada. I predominantly shoot weddings/lifestyle/portraiture and starting to try and get my business up off the ground. I'm like most of you guys here and my opinion is subjective and should be treated as such. I am not coming in here to poo poo on what is no doubt a great camera, but I felt with all the ravings going on out there somebody needed to provide a more honest/balanced perspective on the pro's and con's after a first look at the camera. Things that I feel that you should consider before deciding 'is this the camera for me'. *DISCLAIMER*. Build Quality: I tend to feel that when you charge a premium for a product it really needs to differentiate itself by excelling more. If own an a7ii, a7rii or a7sii this will feel very similar in heft, weight but with an noticeable bigger grip. This isn't a bad thing as I feel the a7ii series are well built and have nice ergonomics - the a9 ergonomics are better for larger hands. If you found the grip on the a7ii too big, you will not like the a9. So remember when I saw the a7ii has good build. I saw good but not great as I had issues with the weather sealing capability and moisture damage to the hotshoe. The a9 uses the same exposed pins in the hot-shoe unfortunately. I guess this is inevitable in order to maintain flash compatibility but really I had hoped for better sealing here. Straight off the bat, no this camera does not feel as well built as a 1dxii. If you have compared a 1dxii or d5 with an a7rii in build then you will know what I am talking about. On the a9, the audio input flap, ethernet flap are plastic doors without rubber grommits. The Sony rep said that the seems are are tight and this is how they are managing to get their moisture resistance. Personally I like rubber grommits around doors etc.... and for the price point I feel they should have included some grommits here. The a9 is a well built camera with some nice advancements on the a7ii, but really I cannot help but feel that it is an enhanced a7ii with a similar level of performance jump as we saw when we moved form the a7i to the a7ii (IBIS, better body) and now to the a9 (same build and IBIS, but better viewfinder and electronic shutter capability). Electronic shutter / Mechanical shutter. The computer scientist in me had my jaw on the ground when I first read the specs. However, the devil is often in the details. The a9 looks to follow the same pattern as the a6500, a7rii, a99ii etc... and drops to 12 bit raw when you shoot electronic shutter, continuous, bracketing, HDR or anything outside of single shot mode. I confirmed with a Sony rep that the a9 uses the same continuous/electronic file format as the a99ii i.e 12bit! I know Canon and Nikon advertise 14bit file output for their continuous shooting. Electronic shutters (even smaller stacked BSI sensors like the RX100V which should be more immune to rolling shutter/jelo effect) present issues with banding in flickering lights and fast moving subjects (i.e. the types of things that the camera is targetted at!). It also carries limitations with respect to flash sync speed. Most often sports shooters will drop to mechanical when shooting sports in flood lit stadiums, panning cyclists etc.... the stacked BSI sensor in the a9 did not look to totally eliminate this. However going to mechanical shutter, the camera defaults to the same 5fps mechanical shutter as the a7ii. I also found that in mechanical shutter mode, the EVF performance dropped to a slide show. Here is a video that I made that demonstrates, you will see the slow down in the EVF at this speed: Please note that the shutter speed was 1/80 for this which may explain - Sony note that electronic shutter speeds of 1/125 or greater are required for blackout free electronic shutter + EVF mode. They mention nothing of mechanical + EVF. I also tried 1/250 and it wasn't much better so I reckon that this is either a firmware bug or a limitation of their shutter mechanism and readout. Sensor / Video performance: I've no doubt this will be excellent. Sony make great sensors. We were not allowed to put in our own memory cards and these were taped shut. I asked the rep if the sensor had an AA filter. He believed so. I feel this is a good call for wedding shooters personally - I'd be prepared to sacrifice a little sharpness for reduced chance of moire/false colours. For video, this thing will be a beast - BUT... no color profiles or s-log. I couldn't help but feel that Sony were taking a leaf out of Canon's book here and deliberately trying to cripple/ differentiate their FS5/FS7 lineup. You want S-log, buy an A7sii or FS5/FS7. Why sony, why? I guess the a7ii doesn't have this capability , perhaps it will be paid upgrade like the 5d iv or original GH4... It was a glaring omission for video shooters. IBIS: I'm told it's better. I only had 10-15 minutes with the camera but first impressions were positive and I've always found Sony's IBIS to be excellent relative to the sensor that they have to stabilize. Adapting lenses/Native lens support: Sony A-mount has a range of beautiful fast long telephoto glass - the stuff that many sports 1dxii / d5 photographers like e.g 500mm f4, 300mm 2.8. These can operate with the a9 in conjunction with the laea3 adapter at a 10fps penalty and obviously you loose weather sealing with the LAEA3 adapter. If I had to shoot football at night in a floodlit environment, the a9 would not be my weapon of choice at all. In native e-mount there is the new 100-400 but that is quite a slow lens for professional shoots at night. It's a daytime lens. At this price point and if you want fast glass and better weather sealing you are probably better served with an a99ii - where you will gain faster mechanical shutter speeds natively, better battery life and have a higher resolution sensor to crop from. Did I mention the a99ii is cheaper! With the money saved you could pick up an a6500 for video. Price: First things first... the obvious....6k Canadian is huge bit of wedge. Price wise it sits between a 5div and a 1dxii. I keep coming back to price in almost every category or competitor that I compare the Sony to. I even mention the APSC XT2 as it's a camera that I have today and feel wants to target the same audience as the A9. The XT2 does not have IBIS which is a major disadvantage for some subject matter. It also has a proprietary sensor format that often requires going outside of lightroom to get the best from it and you don't have a touch screen. However parking the first negative and second piece of info aside (it's easier to park that aside when it's 1/3 the Canadian price of the a9) you get dual UHS2 card slots, moisture, dust and freeze-proof capability, native focal lengths from 12mm to 800mm equiv available now or 1200 equivalent with the 2x tele-convertor (still no fast long glass natively). You get faster mechanical shutter speed and better EVF performance when using mechanical. You get F-log (external for now). You get the same 1/32000 shutter speed and associated disadvantages for sport. Looking to the A6500, you loose the second memory card slot, but you get IBIS, probably the same level of weather sealing, touch screen capability, no joystick but it's 1/3 the price. If Sony had launched this camera and called it an a7iii with a price tag of 3 - 3.5k Canadian I'd have considered this a reasonable price point for the capability and feature set relative to competitors. It spiritually felt/feels to me like a refined next-gen a7ii. Heck when the rx100 went from regular CMOS in the mark iii to BSI stacked in the mark iv/v the price didn't almost treble! I'm aware the cost of a larger sensor for newer technology goes up - but to this extent? For my needs and looking at the competitive landscape I'd wondered if the A9 would be the camera to bring me back into the Sony camp. From my experience, no it won't. It's a great great camera with a gorgeous EVF. But anybody reading the hype would do well to rent one first to see if it meets their needs and real world expectations outside of spec sheet measurefests or computer science forums!.