Things We Love: The Sony a9


After working with a combination of the Sony a7R II and a7S II for years, switching out as the scenario dictated, I was surprised by how well the a9 managed to replace both of them as the most used camera in my arsenal. When I first reviewed the a9, when it was released, I was impressed with its performance, but a sports camera isn’t exactly the primary thing on my list when most of my photos are of food and the other half of my work is video. However, after using it for a bit, I was convinced that this was a must-have due to the vast number of improvements over the older models.

There were two main enhancements that sold me: the battery and the viewfinder. These gave me two “finally!” moments during shooting. The first was that I could go out for a day on a single battery without any worry that I would have some juice left at the end of the day, and the second was that this viewfinder was among the sharpest and clearest I had every used (I still think the Leica SL takes the crown here). These two simple-sounding ideas really made the a9 a go-to camera for me, and with the huge boost to low-light performance with the 24MP Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor, it could even keep up with the a7S II for video.

Regarding video, I made a choice to replace my a7S II, which was made easier by the fact that I still have an a7R II and a6500 to rely on for video jobs. The a9 was a better choice for having in my bag at all times and shooting quicker video, where I don’t necessarily need to use S-Log and all the supporting gear that may require. Shooting neutral and then applying a slight grade later on is perfectly acceptable for on-the-fly shooting, and the a9 made it easier for me to focus on that ability rather than lament the lack of a picture profile. And, it still has super-sharp UHD 4K video, thanks to down-sampling of the full sensor—and the stacked architecture means the a9 has the least rolling shutter of any of Sony’s full-frame models.

Finally, I need to talk about the one thing that everyone talked about when the a9 was announced: autofocus. It’s the best of any mirrorless camera I have ever seen. It just works, which is all I have ever wanted since jumping from a DSLR to mirrorless. I don’t even really know what to say about it because it may even be overkill for me personally, but it is exactly what I want from a camera.

All these changes resulted in a camera that can be my sole go-to option with just enough resolution and high-performance video to satisfy my needs, making the a9 an easy choice as a thing I love.

Is there a surprise camera that you can’t part with or even a camera that has been on your wish list for a while? Join the conversation and let us know in the Comments section, below!

The “Things We Love” series articles are written by B&H Photo Video Pro Audio staff to talk about products and items that we love. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and do not represent product endorsements from B&H Photo Video Pro Audio.