New camera, switching from Canon EOS to Sony.

Trading in my Canon Eos 1dx for the Sony a9 camera

Trading in my Canon EOS 1dx for the Sony a9 camera

It’s been about 5 years since my last camera purchase (Canon EOS 1dx review) and whilst the 1dx has been faultless since the day I bought it, recently I have been getting a bit fed up of carrying 2×1 series EOS cameras around with me on jobs. The weight was becoming a bit of an issue. I’ve been using Canon EOS cameras since 1989, with a few years of enforced Nikon use when I was a press photographer, however, I have now swapped systems and am using Sony mirrorless cameras.
I have traded in all my Canon gear and purchased a Sony a9 with a Sony a7ii as a backup body, along with some fantastic Sony lenses, 24-70GM F2.8, 70-200GM F2.8, Zeiss 16-25 F4 and a 85mm F1.4GM.
Sony really have hit the ground running with the a9. At their first attempt they have made a camera which rivals, and surpasses in some respects, the 1dxmk2 and Nikon D5.
Whilst I’m not writing a camera review, hopefully this will help any other photographers thinking of making the switch.

• Lighter to carry, after a days shooting my shoulders don’t ache as much, the grip is well worth getting as it makes portrait images easier to capture. Battery life is also excellent.
• The eye tracking autofocus system is incredible, makes framing images a lot easier and quicker.
• Autofocusing generally is better than my 1dx, it locks on pretty much first time, even when it’s nearly dark.
• Viewfinder takes a while to get used to but after a while you don’t even notice it’s a screen you are looking at.
• Lenses are as good as the Canon versions, although the zoom is the wrong way round when compared to Canon’s, no problem if you are coming from Nikon.
• The silent shutter means no more shutter noise, something I think I’ll be using a lot during conferences and some of my medical work.
• Never thought I would say this, it’s good to have physical dials back, a lot quicker than pushing buttons to change drive speeds, AF modes etc.
• Tilting rear screen means overhead and very low shots are now easier to capture, still miss the days when you could take the viewfinder off a Nikon F4 though.
• I don’t often use on camera flash, but when I do I’ve purchased a couple of Godox TT685S Speedlite flashes. They are as well made as the Canon versions, and at £94, a bargain.
• Finally, something I’ve wanted for years, when tethering with Capture One; I can now write the files to both the internal sd card and computer at the same time, worth the cost of switching alone.

• It’s an almost perfect camera, hopefully a future a9ii will address these shortcomings.
• Lack of proper weather sealing means Sony will never compete fully against the Canon and Nikon flagship models. As I work in a lot of factories and spend a fair amount of time shooting outside, time will tell how well the camera holds up to our Northern European weather.
• No access to menus when writing to the sd cards, hopefully a firmware update will solve this problem.
• Still not 100% sure about the longevity of SD cards, I’m having to treat them a bit gentler than cf cards.
• Flash contacts look a bit flimsy, I will have to treat my Elinchrom transmitter very gently.

In conclusion, very happy so far, will update this post after a few more months with the camera.


Update 22/01/18

I’ve been using the a9 for about 6 weeks now and switching has not been without a few problems, but overall I’m finding the a9 has changed the way I am taking pictures.

• The eye tracking AF is amazing, it means there is no more AF, re-frame, shoot , repeat. It locks on, and stays locked on, making re-framing quicker and easier. Never thought I would use continuous AF for portraits. The AF is very, very good in low light.
• Tilting screen is coming in very useful, no more guessing when shooting overhead or low down

• I’m still struggling with the Sony menu options. Camera manufacturers need to look at how Android or iOS organise their menus. I have customised a few buttons and use the mymenu option for the ones I use the most, but why not have a football/swimming/athletics etc pre programmed settings for the AF so I can switch quickly between shooting options. The menu looks like something we used 10 years ago.
• Shooting tethered via Capture One and writing to card and PC I’m finding there is a delay in the images showing up on the laptop. Not sure if it’s lack of processing power or no USB3 on the camera. In 2017/8 a flagship camera should really have USB3.