In case you’ve been in a coma or otherwise avoiding media for fear of what news comes next, you’ll no doubt be at least marginally acquainted with Sony’s new flagship, the A9. Sony pulled a ‘John Hammond’ and spared no expense with the A9’s launch, and as such the media coverage of it worldwide was at dizzying heights. It was all rather shouty but frankly, there was a lot to shout about.
Two of us from SLR Lounge were there to take it in, speak with Sony’s team and other press and spend some quality days with the new camera. You can find my initial review of the A9 here, whereby I extol it for what it is and means for the industry and mirrorless, but until recently we’ve not been able to really have a look at the raw files so see how that sensor was working. With the release of the latest iteration of Capture One Pro 10 that malady has been remedied and I’ve spent a bit of time looking into the file performance of those coming out of the A9.
Within this post you will see some side by sides of raws vs jpegs and a few processed images and then SOOCs, but the overall initial findings are as follows – they’re as expected.
Ok that’s a short summary but for those who use Sony cameras with frequency the behavior of the sensor is a bit predictable, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 24MP is considered by many, myself included, to be the sweet spot at the moment for camera sensors and Sony’s are some of the best and most consistent in behavior. Noise is handled well even shooting in low light, with relatively high ISOs and quick shutter speeds, and recovery of details are what we’ve come to expect from Sony and Nikons – pushing an underexposed raw up two full stops or more (see above) and having a very good file remaining is entirely plausible.
That said, part and parcel with the good there are the less brag-worthy traits. Under very mixed lighting the auto white balance isn’t exactly accurate, and it seems Nikons aren’t the only ‘green machines’ around because the Sony files tend to sway that way, especially in the presence of a cooler ambiance. Those like myself who have spent a good amount of time with modern Nikons won’t even blink at this and sort of just go through the motions of fixing, and easily too. It does, however, warrant a mention because it is obvious. More to that point, those used to this will know how to adjust in-camera which is what I resorted to and got on with things.
The only other obscurity I noticed was a slight inconsistency with JPEG files at a distance, where saturation (often more pronounced in JPEGs than their counterpart raws) was actually less pronounced.
And before I forget, these files sing beautifully in Capture One. Granted I’ve only opened the raws in COP and Affinity, but in situations where there were some skin tone corrections to be done, the fix was easy and results were truly nice.
We’ll have more of an in depth review of the A9 to come, but for now you can have a gander at some of the initial files, what can be done with them, and generally see how well this thing holds up at speed.