α9 – Sony’s Mirrorless Canon and Nikon Dinosaur Killer

For ages Canon’s and Nikon’s snobbish pro-DSLR argument has been that mirrorless simply isn’t yet there and likely will never be there. Well, that’s a dinosaur argument since the announcement of the Sony α9, a true challenger to Canon’s and Nikon’s long-held last bastion, the high-end pro market.

Sony α9 — beast in a humble body
The announcement of the α9 both marks a day of mourning and a day of celebration. Mourning, because an era comes to an end. DSLR cameras are officially demounted by Sony as dinosaur technology gear. Celebration, because Canon and Nikon can’t just stand still. They won’t overtake Sony, but there will be more choice.

With the Sony α9, those speed arguments for high-end DSLR cameras are utter bollocks. I’ll hold on tightly to my precious Dƒ with the beautiful large viewfinder and mechanical shutter – which now officially have become antique.

Well the Dƒ with its timeless, classic concept was always a means to an end to break that constant upgrade urge. Sony though knows how to tickle that upgrade desire even deep within the most ascetic photographer. With the α9 the tools shall never again impede the workflow.

The mighty Sony α9 solves many of mirrorless’ deficiencies, if not all. The α9 is a mighty challenger to so-called pro DSLR cameras — if the specs perform in real life, which I have no doubt they will.

Not cheap with a price tag of $4,499, but I have not the slightest doubt in my mind that many existing α7 users can’t withstand the desire to upgrade while all of a sudden there is a new market leader contender tempting CaNikonians to switch and newcomers to seriously take note. Wanna bet all iterations of pristine new and used Sony a7 will flood the market?

The Sony α9 — in it’s predecessors same inconspicuous, humble body — offers blazing fast speeds, truly silent shooting and a blackout-free viewfinder in an incomparably lightweight and compact body, thereby offering unprecedented mobility. Plus wide uninterrupted 4D focus with 693 AF points… Gulp!

Goes without saying Sony still lacks some of the lenses the honorable Canon and Nikon offer. But in all honesty, with two nice basic primes and two nice zooms, what else does a photographer need? Sony offers and covers nearly everything — right, except a support network for professionals, but who needs that if cameras are built well enough and don’t break down?

Will Canon and Nikon stand up to the challenge? Canon is still doing reasonably well for some mysterious reasons, yet the heat is on Nikon to lose their pro market to aspiring Sony that already supplies sensors to rival camera makers, including Nikon.

Make no mistake, Sony keeps its best sensors for its own cameras, like the α9 with its fully electronic full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with integral memory, making the still fictitious Nikon D6 or Canon 1D X Mark III look like true dinosaurs.

Bit of a game changer. Or in Sony’s own dry words, “Capture the previously uncatchable.”

+++ You can preorder the Sony α9 on B&H Photo, Adorama and Amazon.




  • Muck

    Is the Sony on sensor AF as sensitive as a DSLR’s separate AF sensor, like eg. the Canon 5D Mark IV – 4 EV AF sensitivity? I have no clue but it seems to me that a specialized AF sensor could have higher frequency and therefore higher accuracy than Sony’s on sensor AF with 60pps. I’d have expected a small highly capable landscape camera from Sony. Sportsprophotogs do not need small cameras but highest AF accuracy. Real world tests will show whether Sony got it or not. The specs are impressive though, as always.

    • Sony claims high AF precision down to light levels as low as EV-3 in AF-S mode at ISO 100,

      -3 EV is a new breakthrough for AF-S with On Sensor PDAF (OSPDAF).

      We’ll have to see how the AF sensitivity stacks up against the most serious contenders 1D X II or D5 in AF-C.

  • I guess that makes two of us. The Df is all the camera I need. And yet I find myself enjoying the a7r2 more and more, for its size and convenience with the little 35mm pancake lens. As a traveler that’s important to me. Yes the Sony cameras have problems like overheating, battery life and fragility but the problems are being addressed with each new release. My biggest problem though is my distain for fly by wire focusing. The Fuji solution with their af/mf lenses is brilliant. It’s an exciting time to be sure.

    • Am trying to avoid everything that’s above photography’s three basic controls, to keep it straightforward and, yes, basic.