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Gear & Apps

Sony A9 Eye-AF Tracks Like A Predator | See It In Action

By Kishore Sawh on May 16th 2017

There’s an unusual amount of excitement around the Sony A9. Even for us members of the press, who get access to pretty much all new gear, the fervent energy and curiosity surrounding the A9 is beyond that of almost anything – but for good reason. In so many ways the A9 is, as I described it, “the affirmation of mirrorless and wish fulfillment”; a demure mirrorless camera with the beating heart of 1D X – and then some.

So while the press has been shouty about it there has been much to shout about, and one of those noteworthy features is the Eye-AF. Even just a year ago or less, Eye-AF was something that existed almost only in principle, because in execution it was generally a failure – a gimmick like smile detection used to sell compacts to families and help prop-up a company’s profit and loss accounts. With the A9, though, Eye-AF is no longer a fringe idea but a primary feature, as for the first time Eye-AF works and works as advertised.

[REWIND:] SONY A9 REVIEW / OVERVIEW| THE AFFIRMATION OF MIRRORLESS & WISH FULFILLMENT

 

We know that the A9 performs some 60 focus calculations per second, which is beyond that of pretty much anything else, but somehow its recognition of facial structure is also greatly improved.

As a consequence of the serendipitous meeting of these two, subject tracking is extremely good, and perhaps there is no greater manifestation of that than in Eye-AF. Eye-AF in the A9 is the first time I’ve thought Eye-AF even mattered. Whereas before it was a sort of lumbering hit-or-miss, now it’s agile and reliable; it just tracks Davey Crockett.

[REWIND:] SONY A9 SAMPLE IMAGES & INITIAL THOUGHTS ON A9 RAW FILES

In the video here we get to have a look at it in action, and it becomes clear even within a minute, just how good it is. It’s simply remarkable, and anyone doing sports, weddings, event and reportage, and all other manners of photography centered around people will get an idea just how much of a benefit this is. But just an idea, because it’s once you use it when the real revelation comes. Hopefully this trickles down into the rest of he Sony line soon.

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. barbara farley

    I have to brag on Sony just killin it.  If I ever make money I am going to buy this.  Since both me and my Sony gear were dismissed by a couple of “pro” photographers, I am feeling a little smug lately.  So immature, right?   

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  2. Motti Bembaron

    I wish Nikon had lens adapter for Sony. Than again, I wish Nikon had a lot of things. 

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  3. Andrew Paradise

    As a Canon user who is readying to jump ship, which lens adapter would be best for my canon lenses ( 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM and EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM). And am curious as to what would the ideal speedlite system would be?

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    • Matt White

      Sigma MC-11’s a good bet. If you’re local to a good photo store, might be worth seeing which ones they have in stock (that, Metabones, etc), and if they’ll let you try them out with an A9 body once they have stock. 

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