Paul Fox of Albion Row Photography is a professional documentary wedding photographer who, for around four years, shot with Canon and Fuji cameras. He says he was an early adopter of the mirrorless system for professional work because he felt the benefits outweighed any negatives for what he was trying to accomplish. The release of the Sony α9 caught his eye and he decided to purchase two for his work. After shooting over 10 weddings with α9s, he gives us his take on the camera:
"This is a real world review of the camera from a documentary wedding photographer's point of view. I’ve been shooting with two Sony α9’s and a bunch of native FE mount primes; the 21mm f/2.8 Loxia, the 28mm f/2, the 35mm f/1.4 ZA, the 55mm f/1.8, and the 85mm f/1.4 GM. I’m going to stick to the key areas which I feel are important to this camera."
The key areas important for Fox were autofocus, customizability, silent shooting, electronic viewfinder, frame rate, battery life, buffer, IQ, ergonomics, tilt screen and the size and lens lineup. Here are just a few of his thoughts on some of the different features:
On the α9's auto-focus:
"Looked at as a whole, I think you can safely say it is one of the best autofocusing cameras out there today."
"Most of the time, despite all the fancy AF modes on offer, I stick to single point AF-C and move the point over my subject with the joystick: it just works so well and so reliably. The α9 has made culling my images so much harder because almost everything is in perfect focus, tack sharp and ‘technically’ correct!"
On the α9's silent shooting:
"Shooting silently has had the biggest immediate impact on the way I can shoot on a wedding day, compared to any other feature on any camera. I no longer have to tread carefully during the vows or during a quiet moment for fear of shutter noise... THIS IS HUGE. I would hate to go back to a camera without this ability. HUGE!!!"
On the lens lineup:
"One of the criticisms often leveled at Sony is that it has a poor lens lineup, however this statement is out of date and just plain wrong now. The lens lineup is full of incredible lenses and plenty of options that will cover most wedding photographer’s needs. There’s still a few gaps, but they are rapidly filling, and when one considers the fact that you can mount pretty much any lens on the Sony, you can normally cover everything that you need. For what it’s worth the 35mm ZA, the 85mm GM and the little 55mm f/1.8 are three of the best lenses I’ve ever used. Especially that 35mm, it is stunning and has a beautiful way of rendering images that I love."
On the α9 for wedding photography:
"In my opinion, the α9 is the best camera on the market for wedding photographers right now!"
"This camera allows a freedom of shooting like no other on the market at the moment. The combination of silent shooting, superb AF speed/coverage/accuracy, seamless switching between EVF & tilt-screen, and extreme customizability in a relatively small and light package provides a wonderful shooting experience. It really does get out of the way and allow you to focus on the important aspects of an image – moment, light, composition. "