Photography instructor and reviewer Michael Andrew (aka Michael the Maven) recently tested the Sony α9, Canon 1DXII and Nikon D5 under the same conditions in order to answer the ultimate question:
Which camera should I buy?
Michael starts with running through the features of each camera, noting the α9's blistering shooting rate of 20 frames-per-second. He then puts the cameras through a sports test, using the α9's medium-size Flexible Spot Square at about the same position to get an apples-to-apples comparison, "Here's what I can tell you. The α9 is FAST."
Next testing low light focusing, he measures each cameras ability to focus between two high-contrast targets, one illuminated at +6.0EV and the other -2EV. Using the center focusing square, he goes back and forth for 30 repetitions to see how long it takes each camera to lock focus for three rounds. The Canon averaged at 54 seconds and the Nikon at 62 seconds, with the α9 proving quickest: "The Sony α9 scored an average of 50 seconds. Keep in mind that the α9 also has a focus assist lamp that was not used in this test."
He also tests the video focusing, dynamic range, high portrait ISO, moire, thermal, rolling shutter, real world video, portrait and ergonomics of each camera head-to-head-to-head.
At the conclusion of all of the tests Michael walks through the pros and cons of each, and the α9 comes out on top as his favorite. "I really don't put it in the same class as the other flagships. We have two apples and an orange – this is a completely different class of camera. I know many of you have come wondering if it is better than these amazing flagships and in many ways I do believe it absolutely is. I believe it's cutting-edge."
"I think Sony has put Canon and Nikon on notice. The Sony α9, I feel fits my style of shooting the most."
Watch the full video here.