Setting out in steady rain this afternoon in hopes of learning more about the a9 II’s features while shooting, I seem to have found more of its shortcomings instead. It appears that its big selling points are the fast readout sensor, instant AF, and no-blackout shooting, all of which work as claimed. That means no more elongated sunbirds!
But the EVF, supposedly exactly the same 3.6mp one that’s in the a7 IV, isn’t utilized nearly as well as in the a7 IV. Being typically hyperopic for my age, I rely on the EVF for playback and magnification. It’s perfect on the a7 IV, abysymal on the a9 II. Even when shooting there’s a noticeable difference.
Factor in bird eye AF on the a7 IV, which the a9 II doesn’t have, in fact being just as lousy with birds in foliage as the R5 was, as well as better IQ, and it looks as though the “lesser” model will be the first choice in the arsenal. That said, I was well aware at acquisition time that it’s a three year-old update of a five year-old model; and that it would likely be a placeholder of sorts until the next latest, greatest thing is on the market. However, I didn’t expect certain aspects of it to be so “2011”!
Still much to learn, but I think key to really appreciating the a9 II would be using it where its strong points could be exploited, such as with birds in flight. Today’s outing wasn’t helped at all by the fact that I shot compressed rather than uncompressed raw, forgettting for the moment that the camera’s compressed raw is lossy, while the a7 IV has both lossless and lossy compressed raw (in addition to uncompressed).
So from what I’ve seen so far, I guess pro sports shooters rarely chimp. And if they do, I hope they use the LCD . . .