My Sony A9 Review – The Best Full Frame Mirrorless Camera Yet for Sports!

Sony A9 Review
Sony A9 Review
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Best Full Frame Mirrorless Camera For Sports!
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In this highly detailed Sony A9 Review I will cover pretty much everything this new flagship mirrorless camera is capable of doing. I tested the Sony A9 in the lab and in the field including street photography, high speed subjects, landscapes, and more! I have a large variety of sample photos and video to show you including lots of slow motion 120fps video and 4k video from around the area I live.

For optics I used the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens primarily for this review and I must say it was one heck of a match up with the Sony A9! I also used my Metabones electronic lens adapter and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS Lens as well as an old school fully manual Minolta MC 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X lens via a super cheap non electronic lens adapter.

Please strap in and prepare for spending some time on this article, because it has a ~40min video style review, plus all the good stuff in this written portion, including a more detailed analysis of various aspects of the Sony A9 and more.

I will also link to the various articles I have written on the Sony A9 which test certain things, like High ISO for example…

The Sony A9 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera

So lets talk some numbers first:

  • Price = ~$4500
  • 24mp latest and greatest Full Frame Exmor RS CMOS Sensor
  • 693 AF points embedded in the sensor
  • 93% AF point sensor coverage
  • 1200-zone evaluative metering
  • 20fps shooting with Continuous Autofocus
  • 5-axis steady-shot
  • 4k internal video
  • 120fps HD Video for Slow-Mo
  • 3.6 million dot OLED viewfinder
  • 1.44 million dot touchscreen TFT
  • 1/250sec max flash Sync
  • 1/8,000sec max shutter speed (mechanical)
  • 1/32,000sec max shutter speed (electronic)
  • 1 x HDMI micro connector (Type-D)
  • 1 x Multi/Micro USB Terminal
  • 1 x Pc Interface
  • 1 x X-Sync Socket
  • 1 x 1/8″ Headphone
  • 1 x 1/8″ Microphone
  • 2280 mAh NP-FZ100 Battery
  • Approx. 480 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 650 shots (LCD monitor)
  • Weight = Approx. 673 g / approx. 1 lb 7.7 oz

Sony A9 – Around The Camera

The Sony A9 camera itself is only slightly larger and heavier than the A7r II. I honestly can’t notice a weight difference at all based on my hand holding use with the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens and my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS Lens mounted. The new camera body design is very nice and has a lot of improvements! I particularly like the new buttons, locking dials, and refined ergonomics. See the top view of the Sony A9 vs the Sony A7r II below for comparison.

Weather sealing wise, the doors on the sides for the various ports are the plastic style, not rubber. Therefore it’s not the super rugged water resistant style doors found the the DSLR style A99 II, and A77 II cameras.  They are the same as the A7r II in that regard for reference and do offer an overlapping lip design which you can see more clearly in the video review below.

Here is the port side of the A9, A7r II, and A99 II for comparison:

Sony A9 - Port Side
Sony A9 – Port Side
Sony A7r II - Port Side
Sony A7r II – Port Side

And here is the A99 II Port side doors for reference which are the hardcore rugged style…

Sony A99 II - Port Side Doors
Sony A99 II – Port Side Doors
Sony A99 II - Port Side Doors
Sony A99 II – Port Side Doors

The new dual memory card door design on the Sony A9 is really nice and a very welcomed improvement over the single slide lock style door found on the A7r II as seen below. The A9 can hold 2 SD cards total. Only one slot is UHS-II compliant however, the other is UHS-I…

Sony A9 - Memory Card Door and Grip
Sony A9 – Memory Card Door and Grip
Sony A7r II - Memory Card Door and Grip
Sony A7r II – Memory Card Door and Grip

From the back, the new thumb joystick is awesome for moving around the focus point quickly, and the locking drive mode/ focus type dials are very convenient. The focus type dial lock was a little awkward at first, but using the thump and pointer finger ironed that out.  Also note in the image below, how the thumb dial is larger and bumped outward a bit compared to the A7r II. A more refined and better ergonomically oriented design in my opinion. The video record button is also in a better spot on the A9. You can see it next to the viewfinder as apposed to the outside right edge of the thumb grip on the A7r II.

Sony A9 - Back Side
Sony A9 – Back Side
Sony A7r II - Back Side
Sony A7r II – Back Side

The touchscreen on the back looks pretty darn good, but not as good as the new higher resolution electronic OLED viewfinder when comparing in use. I used the Sunny Weather mode while shooting outside for the most part which makes the 3inch LCD screen much easier to see!

Sony A9 Bottom
Sony A9 Bottom

One nit-pick I have with the new Sony A9 is the battery door lock. I just don’t understand why Sony does not make the door lock automatically when closing? You still need to slide the little lever over to lock the door, and this continues to baffle me. It’s seams like such an easy thing fix, but they refuse to do this on the mirrorless cameras for some reason. Room for improvement here if you ask me, but really not that big a deal at the end of the day…

A few more Sony A9 Camera Body Shots and Illustrations:

In the Box

Included in the box is a lot of goodies as well. You get both the real deal wall style battery charger (BC-QZ1) and the USB style in camera charger unit as well. The new NP-FZ100 battery is also quite large, and should really help extend life. It also comes with a cable support that mounts to the side of the camera for extended use like tethering and/or HDMI display hook ups. The A9 also comes with a standard camera shoulder strap and an awesome instruction manual!

Here is My Sony A9 Video Style Review

I cover pretty much everything in this ~40min Sony A9 video style review, and please be sure to select the best quality when viewing as well as going full screen! Sony A9 4k sample video will be below the review…

Sony A9 4k  Sample Video

Here is some Sony A9 4k Sample Video and I think it looks awesome! Please judge for yourself, as I am not a pro video guy, but based on all the testing I’ve done with 4k video, this looks amongst the best I’ve shot…

Sony A9 Review
My Sony A9 Review – The Best Full Frame Mirrorless Camera Yet for Sports!
Sports Photography Champ
Is the new Sony A9 the best full frame mirrorless camera yet? I say absolutely yes it is! I want one for sure, and only wish I could afford it... That being said, it's a bit to expensive for what you get at the end of the day in my opinion when compared to something like the newer A7 III. However, for high speed Sports action photography the Sony A9 is in a class of it's own.
Bang For The Buck
Feature Set
Build Quality and Design
User Interface and Menu System
Auto Focus System
Image quality
Video Quality
Audio Quality
Low Light Performance
Battery Life
Fun Factor
Reader Rating0 Votes
Best Full Frame Mirrorless Camera For Sports!
Buy Now

Sample Photos

Sony A9 High ISO Testing in the Lab

Here is the full Lab Scene first for reference, but below that are all the 100% Crops so you can check the details at 1:1 view.

Sony A9 @ ISO 100
Sony A9 @ ISO 204800

A few more real world High ISO Test Shots for Reference

I must say the Max ISO of 204800 is pretty darn good and this is thanks to the latest and greatest 24mp Exmor RS full frame sensor the Sony A9 is Packing.

Sony A9 20fps Focus Tracking Tests

Here are the consecutive photos from the first slower speed subject test, and I had a 100% sharp shot hit rate!

Sony A9 @ f/2.8, 70mm, 1/500sec – 1/1250sec

In this second test I took some photos of the kids swinging on a swing and very close range. With Jase I did not have a very good hit rate due to being so close and the relative speed. Layla however, I did get most of the shots sharp, because I backed up a few feet giving the camera a bit more room to judge the focus which also increased the depth of field a bit.

Sony A9 @ f/2.8, 70mm, 1/500sec

Sony A9 – Real World Sample Photos

I wanted to share some of my favorite shots from my time reviewing the Sony A9. And let me tell you , I got some really good photos of the kids, landscapes and much more! Be sure to click the images for a larger high resolution version.

From the bash Kill Wildlife Preserve

Using the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens

More Real World Sample Photos

Sony A9 and Lens Adapters?

Sony A9 w/ Metabones and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS Lens
Sony A9 w/ Metabones and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS Lens

I used my Metabones Lens adapter with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS Lens and took a bunch of photos at a family party.

The Sony A9 performed awesome with the Canon lens in my opinion. It nailed the focus on almost every shot and it only hunted a few times when shooting at 200mm. This is because my lens is the 1st generation and, because I’m using the older Metabones III adapter as apposed to the newest Mark V unit. Overall fantastic performance I would say and totally usable in the real world. For Pro work it could be done, but you do lose a little responsiveness compared to native glass.

Full dedicated article on this here >>

Sony A9 W/ Minolta MC 50mm F/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens