Jim Decker of Backscatter.com recently detailed the process of diving off the coast of Baja, Mexico with Sony's α9 to swim with great white sharks. Decker points out that capturing images of these magnificent underwater predators is not an easy task. "The white sharks are a perfect subject to test with this camera due to their speed, relative unpredictability, stealthiness, and camouflage." These attributes demand a camera with a robust set of sophisticated and reliable capabilities that Decker describes as "fast and accurate autofocus, fast continuous shooting mode, and a really deep image buffer to capture as many pictures as possible...." However, Decker isn't panicked because "Sony designed the Sony α9 to do just that..."
The first thing Decker notes about the α9 is the superior autofocus ability of the camera. "The Sony α9 has a crazy amount of AF points at 693 when set in wide mode that covers 93% of the frame and updates focus at a stunning rate of 60 times per second. I used the Sony 16-35mm f/4 lens exclusively for this trip and let the camera pick from the 693 autofocus points on its own." He goes on to note the tremendous benefit of the α9's ability to track while shooting in burst mode without any blackout. "This was a godsend for the rapidly changing distance to subject and framing that happens as these sharks move through the scene."
Decker points out that that the need for a high aperture setting and quick shutter speed "in the past has meant needing to shoot full manual exposure, but with Sony’s excellent ISO performance and customizable auto ISO feature, manual exposure mode with auto ISO is how I shot each one of these shots..."
The image quality of the α9, like the rest of Sony's mirrorless series, even shooting such a tricky subject underwater, is heralded by Decker as having been "at the top of the heap of not only the mirrorless camera category but also beating out top level SLRs as well for the last few years." He has a definitive bottom line for anyone shooting fast and mighty marine life under the sea: "...this is definitely the camera for you.The speed of focus, focus tracking and shooting, and 241 RAW shot image buffer is mind boggling and second to none. You’ll be able to get the shot with focus nailed better than any other camera out there today."
See the full video below of the α9 in action with the great whites and read the full article at backscatter.com.