Great Review on Sony A9, The Best Camera for Birds in Flight

Posted Sep. 26th, 2019 (4 weeks ago) by Daniel J. Cox

I’m still doing my homework in finding the best camera being made for Birds in Flight. Last month I did a fairly substantial test of puffins flying straight at the camera with the Lumix G9, Olympus EM-1X, and the Sony A9. Sony won this comparison hands down, and I’m tempted to think about getting this camera with one lens just for action photography.

In my ongoing efforts to learn more about the Sony system, I found this extremely well done review by a young man named Timothy Mayo. Above is his version of the Speeding Pooch Test, though his dog does not look to be running as fast as the labs I typically use. Even so, the tests he ran are very convincing. Thought those of you who love action photography might enjoy seeing this young man’s work with the Sony system.

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There are 6 comments on this post…
  1. Timothy MayoOn Oct. 11th, 2019 (2 weeks ago)

    I just discovered this article (and your fantastic site) and wanted to say thank you very much for sharing my video Daniel. I’ll have to find some tastier treats to get Frank running a little faster next time!

    I’ve since done a similar video photographing Red Kites but only had time to use one camera this time so decided to go with the a7III since it’s a more affordable pairing with the 200-600 or 100-400 than the a9. I hope to do some similar tests soon with the new a7R IV as well, but right now the weather here in the UK is not playing nicely.

    I think the puffins in flight are most definitely one of the most challenging subjects for a cameras AF system due to their speed and small size, I’ll almost always grab the a9 when I have the opportunity to shoot them.

    Well now that I’ve discovered your site and excellent work I’m looking forward to following your journey.

    All the best, Tim

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Oct. 11th, 2019 (1 week ago)

      My pleasure Timothy. You did an excellent review with lots of great examples. I was very impressed. They’re not easy to do. Thanks for your hard work and I look forward to continuing to follow your work.

  2. Cecil ThornhillOn Oct. 7th, 2019 (2 weeks ago)

    Dan, I have been following this thread along with Mark Smith’s experiences with the Sony ( https://msmithphotos.com/). However the size and weight of the glass is just a problem for me.

    Even if Panasonic never delivers on “the pony of hope” (https://youtu.be/a6QihiKNhyI) (Camera Conspiracies, yes he is silly, but he has a point), how far back is Olympus?

    At least they do have phase detect hardware…so the software could work…I hope…🙂

    I just was hoping to be able to stay light via M43, but I do need the pictures to be in focus. Clearly the Sony solution fixes focus, but how bad is Olympus? Could the be an option if Panasonic never comes through?

    I hate the thought of giving up hand holding for tripods and backaches. Not to mention bankruptcy for replacing everything yet again 🙂.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Oct. 8th, 2019 (2 weeks ago)

      I feel your pain Cecil. I’m an absolutely huge fan of the LUMIX system other than the AF flaws I’ve written about. I continue to believe Panasonic has the best camera being made today as far as ergonomics, durability and ease of use are concerned. AF is their only downfall but for many it’s a deal breaker. I continue to use the G9 for the vast majority of my wildlife and travel work but when the action starts I’m now using an Olympus EM-1X. That said, I’m not yet certain the Olympus is going to do the job as well as the Sony A9 I tested. I’ll be continuing to write about my findings and I’m hopeful that at some point LUMIX will make the grade. Until then I’ll be shooting whatever necessary to get the images I need for my professional work. Thanks for your input. I always enjoy hearing from our readers.

  3. Robert SuttonOn Sep. 30th, 2019 (3 weeks ago)

    Thanks Dan, great post and link and fascinating to see how effective all of those Sony models are at tracking albeit a reasonably steady moving dog. The birds in flight follow up will be more interesting. I am sorely tempted to hit the button on an A9. The hits rates are so appealing. Let us know how you are getting on with your own further tests.

  4. Portrait of Joel Kleiner

    Joel KleinerOn Sep. 27th, 2019 (3 weeks ago)

    Thanks for posting this very interesting video blog Dan. It was really “eye” opening and informative. I sure learned a great deal. I’m looking forward to Timothy’s test of the one camera with birds in flight. That should be really special. I am amazed at the keeper rate on these cameras especially the A9, WOW!

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