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Hands on with the A9 - A disappointment for me

Mus Aziz

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On a side note - and a little disappointing too - I posted the video above to one or two well known reviewers and review sites in the hope that they could confirm what I saw as a firmware bug or an actual production limitation with the EVF in mechanical continuous mode. When I first broached the topic (gently too I might add) I was challenged quite aggressively. Instead of arguing I provided tangible video evidence to back up my hands on experience. My comment and video link were removed.
On another site, my post with the actual video is awaiting moderation and has been in this state while newer comments are approved immediately.

This is terrible to say the least. Omg...
 

bdbits

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Dumb question time: Wouldn't a momentary interruption be expected when using a mechanical shutter even with an EVF? It seems to me that it physically requires a momentary interruption as the shutter does its thing. Granted the video looked pretty bad, but it could be a lot of things including pre-production bugs, the way the camera was configured, lighting, etc.

As far as having comments stuck waiting for a moderator, or worse removed, that is pretty terrible. On the other hand, to play devil's advocate, maybe they are currently feeling overwhelmed and avoiding having to deal with heated arguments in response, with all the discussion swirling around the A9. More of a possible explanation than an excuse for their behavior, though.
 

tomO2013

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Dumb question time: Wouldn't a momentary interruption be expected when using a mechanical shutter even with an EVF? It seems to me that it physically requires a momentary interruption as the shutter does its thing. Granted the video looked pretty bad, but it could be a lot of things including pre-production bugs, the way the camera was configured, lighting, etc.

As far as having comments stuck waiting for a moderator, or worse removed, that is pretty terrible. On the other hand, to play devil's advocate, maybe they are currently feeling overwhelmed and avoiding having to deal with heated arguments in response, with all the discussion swirling around the A9. More of a possible explanation than an excuse for their behavior, though.
Great question! Yes there will always be some blackout with a mechanical shutter. However the viewfinder between blackouts is realtime with an OVF, it is stop motion in the video I've shown. Either it's a limitation of the camera or a bug in the firmware in the current setup or there is a setting somewhere that I am not aware of buried deep in the menus that causes this behavior.
 

WNG

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Great question! Yes there will always be some blackout with a mechanical shutter. However the viewfinder between blackouts is realtime with an OVF, it is stop motion in the video I've shown. Either it's a limitation of the camera or a bug in the firmware in the current setup or there is a setting somewhere that I am not aware of buried deep in the menus that causes this behavior.

Perhaps the camera had shot Preview enabled. Thus creating a jerky stop motion effect.
 
D

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The A7RII shooters here can (and likely will) enlighten me as to whether they ever or often use high frame rate continuous shooting for stills.
Another apsc user answering.
It happens and apart from the work afterwards deleting images it's fun ;)
A6000 with 12mm f/2 samyang @ f/? and 1/350sec
DSC06816_1.JPG
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TN Args

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It is 14-bit with e-shutter up to 5 fps.

It's worth my asking the question, "so what?" Every current Olympus OM-D camera with its little 4/3 sensor and 12-bit raw files has a higher Landscape Score* on DxOMark than the Full Frame 14-bit Nikon D5.

So what is the practical effect, realistically stated, of this "drop"? Prove it isn't a storm in a teacup. IMO Sony are right to waste no time on this insignificant performance detail.

* from DxOMark, "Landscape Score is defined as the maximum dynamic range performance".
 
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fractal

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I
...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......



It is my understanding that the vast majority of Pro Sports-shooters shoot Jpeg. This makes sense as it's much more efficient time wise.

So who uses 14bit RAW files at high speed continuous shooting? Not sure, maybe wildlife shooters that want to get the very most out of a file? Even there, 12 vs 14bit difference is so minuscule and really only becomes an issue with low light or night time long exposure.

Maybe a wedding photog would want 14 bit 20fps? But are the advantages (if there are any) worth handling larger files?
 

Hawkman

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A6000 vs A7Rii, but high frame rate nonetheless.

Another apsc user answering.

Thanks for your input guys. And while I do appreciate it, I think I must not have made my original point all that well. My point was questioning how often someone with a high-megapixel camera (here defined as anything greater than 24 megapixels, as 24 seems to have settled in as the new "normal") actually uses a high frame rate continuous shooting mode very often. In other words, if you are shooting action at a high frame rate, while more resolution is always nice, wouldn't you rather have the speed than the megapixels?

The A6000 (and all m4/3 and APS-C cameras to date... except the now discontinued Samsung NX-1) max out at 24 megapixels. I have an A6000 and have used its high frame rate several times and found it very useful... for fast moving things like my dogs at play, airplanes at an airshow, and... rockets launching. But I'm more than satisfied with the 24 megapixel results it yields.

Pushing 42 megapixel images at high frame rates is much more taxing than 24 megapixels. 1.75 times as hard to be precise (all other things being equal). All other things being equal then, the 20 fps rate on the sensor-stack-processor combo of the A9 might be able to yield up to 11 fps at 42 megapixels in a mythical A9R... not bad actually. But again, as we're seeing with the a9, that would be compressed RAW or JPEG only. Since it appears from some of the initial reviews now coming out that the A9 drops to 12 fps maximum for uncompressed RAW, that would mean a maximum of 6.85 fps on that mythical A9R. And that's not much faster than what the A7RII does now.

So, getting back on track, I guess my point was that I'm not sure that there is much of a pressing call in the market for a super-high frame rate AND super-high megapixel camera. Oh, there's always someone who WANTS one... but there's probably not enough folks - yet - who would actually pay for one.

Seriously though, I am interested to hear experiences from from A7RII users who do shoot continuous drive mode often. @addieleman 's comment about HDR bracketing being a related use-case indeed.

**stepping off soapbox**
 
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quezra

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The compressed raw "issue" was always way overblown to begin with. I've never heard of a professional complain about it in real life. Yes, professional pixel peepers and bloggers who rely on controversy to attract clicks but not working professionals whose bread and butter is actual images.

What I have heard actual professionals complain about in real life are that file sizes are too big, for instance, with the raws of the D800 (74MB uncompressed I think?). Every time I've shot a wedding I came back with 1,200+ images for about 4-6 hours worth of shooting. If I had 74MB per image, that would be 90GB of files! Then consider that I only have a 2.5 fps camera (A7 original), so with 20 FPS, I could easily be at 2,000+ images. That would also mean upgrading my computer just to process the job. Not so likely. I'll also wager that despite all the noise generated by A7rII compressed RAW, most professionals other than landscapers have never switched it off.

fractal is right that working professionals like press conference photographers all shoot jpeg. I should know, I've had to scream at them when they got WB horribly wrong (DSLR woe) back in the day and there was no easy fix. I am sure sports photogs do too, shooting jpeg or raw+jpeg (compressed raw then) at most. There's no other way I can see amazing photos of live sporting events minutes later. Being first is more important than being perfect, and once your image gets picked to go round the world nothing else matters.

Now if you absolutely "need" 14 bit raw (which mind you no one even had access to a few years ago), what sort of scenes are those? Sunsets, mostly. How many FPS do you need for a sunset?
 

JonathanF2

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Thanks for this mini-review! I'm tired of these so-called "reviewers" with their Sony sponsored trips spouting all sorts of BS. The E-M1 mark II has all sorts of tech thrown into it and many users still considered the D500 the better cropped frame body for critical work. I have no doubt the A9 will an excellent camera and will probably find a place in the kit of many photographers, but I don't see it replacing a fully mature pro line-up with the likes of Nikon and Canon.
 
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davect01

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Clearly, the A9 is focused on the ultimate High-Speed Shooting, even if it sacrifices a slight bit of the image processing and final image.

This is not a camera I ever plan on buying, way too much $$. The way I see it, the more options the better. If it's not for you, pass on it.
 

TN Args

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...Build Quality:....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 (sic) 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....

Ducati used to build racing bike engines with no cylinder head gaskets. It raised the manufacturing cost because of the tolerance requirements. But they were the ultimate seal. Point being, if Sony are willing to build sealed doors with no grommets, then they get extra credit, not criticism as per your post. As the pressure builds, it is the soft grommets that give way and leak. You want that?

In fact, build quality is one area that camera enthusiasts say the most with the least truth. To the ignorant consumer, they always correlate build quality with bigger and heavier, and this correlation is also a psychological phenomenon, a strong impression that is difficult to ignore. So if a manufacturer builds a smaller and lighter product with genuinely equal or better build quality, a most commendable goal, they will always be battling ignorant consumer opinions that their product is no match for the bricks for build quality. Psychology vs truth.

If we want to comment on build quality, we should test it, or hold our tongues. This never happens. No tests. No tongues held.
 
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SamSS

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After all these years, I wonder why they still keep that useless AF assist lamp on the a9. It's good to have it but its placement isn't ideally because most lenses would block the projected beam from all of the E-mount cameras. I shut mine off completely.
So much for the MIShoe invention. With many pins under the MIS yet Sony could not make it to communicated with its own designed MIS flash that has AF assist light is a big laugh.

I would like to add my prediction on the next 7mIII with only a few changes to keep the price in check to attract new comers and especially those competitors entry level FF cameras.
a) ultilize bigger battery the same as the a9 (this should be going forward for all future FF cameras)
b) better AF
c) slightly improved sensor to implement better AF.

Price? No more than $1850. Well, $1900 might just be alright. (there was no price changes from the original a7 to 7mII)
I doubted that Sony would implement touch focus.
 

tomO2013

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Ducati used to build racing bike engines with no cylinder head gaskets. It raised the manufacturing cost because of the tolerance requirements. But they were the ultimate seal. Point being, if Sony are willing to build sealed doors with no grommets, then they get extra credit, not criticism as per your post. As the pressure builds, it is the soft grommets that give way and leak. You want that?

In fact, build quality is one area that camera enthusiasts say the most with the least truth. To the ignorant consumer, they always correlate build quality with bigger and heavier, and this correlation is also a psychological phenomenon, a strong impression that is difficult to ignore. So if a manufacturer builds a smaller and lighter product with genuinely equal or better build quality, a most commendable goal, they will always be battling ignorant consumer opinions that their product is no match for the bricks for build quality. Psychology vs truth.

If we want to comment on build quality, we should test it, or hold our tongues. This never happens. No tests. No tongues held.

Hi Tony,

I'd prefer you to see my comments as observation or even to see them as light criticisms tempered by experience with other products in the same class rather than a whim, hunch or without logical reason. I've shot 1dx's , A7rii, A7s, A7ii and Pentax K1 bodies over the past few years (currently with XT2 and 1dxii).

It's quite possible (and reasonable) to suggest that Sony's engineering has allowed for a perfect seal when the audio input flaps are closed and that they simply do not need to include grommets/gaskets. Comparing with Canon and Nikons approach where liberal usage of rubber flaps and rubber grommets around audio input jacks on the 1dx and d5 and this design choice has already proven itself over a number of camera body generations to be effective in providing class leading weather sealing. To answer your question I'd personally prefer to have rubber flaps and gaskets around any area where water/dust could ingress :)

Take a look at Roger Cigala's tear down of the Canon 7d ii to get an idea of the level of sealing the competition puts into their camera bodies (lower cost APSC in this case). This level of sealing does not necessarily incur a significant size/weight penalty either.
There are some interesting observations on the 7dii teardown, notably that liberal usage of rubber grommets in a camera body design really does help prevent dust/moisture around ingress points rather than relying only on tight fit and finish ;)
While I don't normally like sharing petapixel articles - of late I've found them quite sensational rather than fact based or informative, I do really value the opinion of Roger Cigala (guest author here). He runs lensrentals and has taken apart/repaired any number of camera bodies and lenses.
Cracking Open the 7D Mark II, The Most Thoroughly Weather Sealed Camera I've Ever Seen

Zeiss also tend to believe that rubber gaskets are a good thing in their weather sealed lens lineups.... (note the mentions of gaskets)
Whatever the weather

Again let's wait and see, even if the A9 is not as weather sealed as the D5 or 1dx, this does not make it a bad camera particularly if you do not care or need good weather sealing for the environments in which you shoot. Somebody will no doubt give their shiney new A9 a dust and water bath... like this guy!!!
 

Kiwi Paul

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Hi Tony,

I'd prefer you to see my comments as observation or even to see them as light criticisms tempered by experience with other products in the same class rather than a whim, hunch or without logical reason. I've shot 1dx's , A7rii, A7s, A7ii and Pentax K1 bodies over the past few years (currently with XT2 and 1dxii).

It's quite possible (and reasonable) to suggest that Sony's engineering has allowed for a perfect seal when the audio input flaps are closed and that they simply do not need to include grommets/gaskets. Comparing with Canon and Nikons approach where liberal usage of rubber flaps and rubber grommets around audio input jacks on the 1dx and d5 and this design choice has already proven itself over a number of camera body generations to be effective in providing class leading weather sealing. To answer your question I'd personally prefer to have rubber flaps and gaskets around any area where water/dust could ingress :)

Take a look at Roger Cigala's tear down of the Canon 7d ii to get an idea of the level of sealing the competition puts into their camera bodies (lower cost APSC in this case). This level of sealing does not necessarily incur a significant size/weight penalty either.
There are some interesting observations on the 7dii teardown, notably that liberal usage of rubber grommets in a camera body design really does help prevent dust/moisture around ingress points rather than relying only on tight fit and finish ;)
While I don't normally like sharing petapixel articles - of late I've found them quite sensational rather than fact based or informative, I do really value the opinion of Roger Cigala (guest author here). He runs lensrentals and has taken apart/repaired any number of camera bodies and lenses.
Cracking Open the 7D Mark II, The Most Thoroughly Weather Sealed Camera I've Ever Seen

Zeiss also tend to believe that rubber gaskets are a good thing in their weather sealed lens lineups.... (note the mentions of gaskets)
Whatever the weather

Again let's wait and see, even if the A9 is not as weather sealed as the D5 or 1dx, this does not make it a bad camera particularly if you do not care or need good weather sealing for the environments in which you shoot. Somebody will no doubt give their shiney new A9 a dust and water bath... like this guy!!!

When took the test pics after rinsing the cameras under the tap he still had lens caps on the lenses :doh:
 
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