Sony A9ii & 100-400mm

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Feb 1, 2005
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Tennessee
For my trip out to California for the Rose Parade I rented a Sony A9ii and the Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 to take along with my Z6 and the 24-70mm. Wanting to get a little shutter time in with the A9ii I took it to a high school basketball game. Knowing that a f/5.6 lens in a high school gym is going to suck, since I normally cover these games with f/1.4 to f/2.8 lenses, I was not hoping for much.

I will say the A9ii is the fastest responding and focusing camera I have ever used. I would love to run it with f/2.8 glass, but I was blown away with the focus speed it did with the 100-400. Shooting 20 FPS really didn't add time to my review and tagging of images to transmit to the paper before the nightly deadline. But I didn't do any insane long busts of 20 FPS. I never just lay on the trigger. But I know there are people out there who have complained about the Z6 buffer, but I have never had an issue with the Z6 buffer. I used the Z6 heavily this year for soccer and football and never had a slow down because of the buffer. So I can't really compare write speed, but it didn't seem to take long for the A9ii to write to the card.

I like the A9ii having a scrolling dial on the back of the camera like the Canons do. I can scroll much faster using this for image review then using the main dial on the Nikons, you can only rotate the main wheel so far to the left or right before you have to move your thumb back to rotate it some more. With he scroll wheel on the back, I never had to lift my finger. I like that you can program almost every button on the A9ii and it seems to have a lot more menu options then the Z6 give per button.

It's not all greener on the Sony side. Somewhere deep in the bowels of Sony there must have been a holdover from the days of VCRs. It seems Sony found the man that wrote the instruction manuals for VCR in the late 70s and put him in charge of developing the menu system. Simply put, every other camera manufacturer has a better menu system than Sony.

The Sony A9ii without a grip feels just as bad as the Nikon Z6 does in my hands. These cameras are to small for my hands, I will not spend the money for Nikons embarrassment of battery grip they just now got around to putting out for the Z6/7. I'm sure the addition of a grip would make these mirrorless cameras feel better in the hands of many. Thank you to Sony and Canon for understanding what functions an add on grip should have.

I'm a manual shooter, and I need my thumb and finger to be able to find the shutter and aperture dials quickly. I find the shutter dial on the back of the A9ii to be small and easy to miss and have my thumb trying to turn the EV dial that sits right next to it. Good thing the EV dial has a lock. I'm sure with more use of this camera this would happen less, but I would like to see it offset a little more.

Below are a couple of shots from the game. An f/5.6 lens is really not something I would shoot at a high school basketball game, but I only rented one lens. These are all at 1/800 sec at f/5.6 and the ISO is at 20,000!!! ISO 6400 to 8000 I'm used to living in that range when I cover basketball, having to push it to 20,000 was new for me.

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Right now Sony's two recently released "flagship" cameras are indeed the A9 II and the A7R IV. The A9 II is the one aimed at sports and wildlife (including BIF) shooters, with an incredibly fast fps with no blackout and the A7R IV has the higher resolution (61 MP) and is meant for landscape shooters and everybody else. Sony is finally adding to their lineup of long lenses, which for a while was a sticking-point for sports and wildlife shooters. I think they wanted to get both camera bodies and new long lenses in the hands of shooters well in advance of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Todd, nice images! I'm guessing that the Boone team is from Boone, NC? :).
 
Joined
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Tennessee
Right now Sony's two recently released "flagship" cameras are indeed the A9 II and the A7R IV. The A9 II is the one aimed at sports and wildlife (including BIF) shooters, with an incredibly fast fps with no blackout and the A7R IV has the higher resolution (61 MP) and is meant for landscape shooters and everybody else. Sony is finally adding to their lineup of long lenses, which for a while was a sticking-point for sports and wildlife shooters. I think they wanted to get both camera bodies and new long lenses in the hands of shooters well in advance of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Todd, nice images! I'm guessing that the Boone team is from Boone, NC? :).
No, not NC. It is Daniel Boone high school out of Gray, TN. We also have a David Crockett high school here. For the life of me I can’t remember who is who in history.
 
Allan, I think you will be very happy with the A9 II and the 200-600mm lens..... I love my A7R IV and the 200-600mm is one of the lenses on my list to buy later once my bank account has had a chance to recover from its last big hit, and everything I've seen and heard about that lens is that it is outstanding, especially for the comparatively reasonable price. The A9 has long been highly regarded by a lot of shooters and I'm sure that the A9 II takes everything to the next level there.

Maybe it is because I've now used several Sony cameras through the years, but I personally don't find the menu to be all that obnoxious; just like anything new, one has to learn one's way through it a couple of times, and of course it is going to be a bit different than the ones in Nikon cameras, but it actually is flexible and offers many options for customizing one's camera body, which is always a good feature.
 
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Winter Haven, florida
I have been very pleased with the 200-600mm lens on the a7riv. The overall system- camera and lens- is slower to acquire focus than my d4 or d850 and nikon prime zooms. No surprise. It just weighs so much less!! Once the subject is locked on, it holds and tracks really well. I actually find I use the 100-400 more, but when I need 600mm I am very happy to mount it and shoot away.
Gary
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
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One last thing, yes the menu system on the sony is TERRIBLE. But I have gotten used to it over the last 4months. I have most items in the 2 assignable my menu sites. The other stuff I can find. I rarely now have to go through the actual menus, so I no longer want to throw my camera across the room.
Gary
 
LOL, Gary! Yeah, the "My Menu" thing really helps, as does the ability to customize and set up different settings in the function buttons. Have to admit that I still have not really fine-tuned my A7R IV yet, but am just enjoying using it! An amazing camera body with features I'll probably never use but oh, do I love the ones I have discovered and do use!

With the NEX-7 some years ago I experienced that "just-want-to-throw-this-thing-across-the-room" feeling but after I'd had a couple of RX100s, too, and eventually the RX10 IV, the menu finally began to feel more familiar to me. I was actually rather surprised at how quickly I seemed to sail through the menu when setting up my A7R IV for the first time. Of course there was the need for some fine-tuning and adjustments, afterwards, though, once I actually began using the camera.

I am hoping by the onset of Spring to have a 200-600mm lens, as I've been spoiled by my RX10 IV and its (35mm equiv, 1-inch sensor) 600mm reach and know that with the A7R IV I could capture so much, much more detail.... Just have to be patient for now..... It is a fantastic lens.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
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Allan, I think you will be very happy with the A9 II and the 200-600mm lens..... I love my A7R IV and the 200-600mm is one of the lenses on my list to buy later once my bank account has had a chance to recover from its last big hit, and everything I've seen and heard about that lens is that it is outstanding, especially for the comparatively reasonable price.
I sold my d5, 80-400 plus a Fuji with 3 lenses to finance this purchase.
 
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Apr 21, 2006
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Nashua, NH
I am far from making a complete switch. My 800 lens and tc work fine on my d850. I like the z7 with its 2 lenses for landscape.
i will sell many lenses I do not use much. I may even sell my 500 pf
 
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For me the situation was a little different inasmuch as I didn't have any camera bodies or lenses that were fairly new; it had been quite a while since my last Nikon purchase. I also decided that I really did not want to try keeping up with two major systems, and so that affected my final decision as well. I really did not want to keep a lot of lenses sitting around that simply were not being used, and I felt that for me this, trading them in and going with just one system was the better way to go.....
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
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I'm still on the fence if I want to invest more into Nikon DSLRs or Sony mirrorless. I've been shooting Sony since the original A7 and have no problem navigating on Sony bodies. The biggest issue with Sony is not having enough tactile controls for things like metering, AF selection, etc. The old school knobs and dials are far easier to use in real-world use as opposed to menu diving. Also for things like flash and stopped down shooting I prefer DSLRs due to the OVF, because mirrorless advantages go out the door in those scenarios. Sony's hot shoe is a pain in the butt and finicky, while Nikon's standard hot shoe is far more sturdier and just WORKS if you're heavy into strobe work. With Nikon at least you have the option to have mirrorless and DSLR, versus Sony's approach that has a very compelling, but mirrorless-only option. Sony's major advantages though are their AF system, superior eye-AF for portraiture and open lens mount. For example I'm using Samyang AF lenses and there is nothing in either DSLRs or other mirrorless formats that compare to their performance, physical size and price. In fact Samyang's 85mm 1.4 AF lens for Sony, puts the Nikon 85mm 1.4 G to shame and is probably on par with the current Nikon 85mm 1.8 S for the Z mount, while being cheaper and faster.

Using both systems I see compelling usage arguments for both. Hence I own both, but I've been overlapping a bit with lenses I like to own like multiple wide angle lenses, two 70-200 lenses for each system, buying multiple flashes, etc. I really want to to consolidate, but haven't!
 
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Yesterday I succumbed to lens lust again and bought the 200-600mm! I had been concerned that it might be too heavy for me or too awkward to handle, but that doesn't seem to be the case. It's not a lens I would be able to handhold and shoot for hours, but I can actually handhold it for a few shots, then take a little break..... I did also get the Wimberley replacement foot for this lens, so that it is all set to go on my tripod as needed. So far all I've done is shoot it from my deck, where the deck railing also serves as a handy support, too. For the most part for me this will be a tripod or monopod lens, which is perfectly fine. It's a slow lens, but I have been pleased so far with its responsiveness, even under poor lighting situations. Of course in those cases the ISO went sky-high.

This lens offers flexibility because of the zoom range, and the zooming is quick and responsive, too, easily moving from 200 to 600 very smoothly. I haven't tried it on BIF (yet) so not sure how it will work in those kinds of shots, but for geese drifting idly around or swimming in the lake, it's been just fine. I am looking forward to a lot of shooting opportunities with this lens around home, since I live on a small lake where we get waterfowl in addition to other wildlife, plus in other places as well.
 
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