Sony A9

Sony A9 vs. Canon 5D Mark IV

It’s time to pixel peep a little with images that I captured this week between the Sony A9 with the 200-600mm lens against the Canon 5D Mark II with 100-400mm L II lens.

Spending time in Assateague National Seashore on Veterans Day it was a beautiful Indian Summer day. The park was quiet early in the morning and the wildlife slept in a little. Driving around the park I kept hoping I’d run into some Assateague wild ponies, and at long last I found a small group of four ponies.

Ms Macky and her foal N2BHS-ALR (yet to be named) was there along with two stallions. One who is presumably the dad, was sound asleep on the road ‘protecting’ his son who was also napping in the grass next to the roadway. Ms. Macky was grazing nearby along with the other stallion.

In my previous post I showed images of Royal terns in flight, and when you zoom in on the images there is a lack of detail in the feathers. It didn’t concern me all that much as it is hard to get details on white birds.

But it did give me cause to pause to do a comparison between the Sony A9 and the Canon 5D Mark IV. What better subject to do it with than with a horse and its fur?

Here are the two images without any edits or adjustments applied to either one of them. Granted it would have been better if I knew I was going to do this comparison in-field as I would have used the same exposure settings. Let’s first look the images at full frame.

Zooming in 1:1 you can see a difference in the detail captured by the Canon 5D Mark IV versus the Sony A9.

I have a friend that posts birds in flight images regularly with the Sony A9 and a variety of lens combinations. With and without extenders. I have studied them over time and noticed a lack of detail. I thought perhaps it might have been because of the extenders, or if he might have cropped the image. But this comparison is telling.

Is it a deal breaker for me? Nope as most of what I plan on doing with the Sony kit is wildlife photography and as many know it’s tough to sell bird pictures.

I love the compact nature of the Sony kit as well as having the 600mm reach. The Auto focus tracking is so fun and fantastic as well as having 20 frames per second. To note, the Sony A9 is 24.2 MP, while the Canon 5D Mark IV is 30.4 MP.

What this will have me do though is when I want to make sure the images ‘count’ I’ll rely on my Canon gear to produce the quality of images it has gotten me accustomed to.

9 replies »

    • Not the results I expected. The reviews I’ve seen claim that the A9 has taken it’s place as the leader in sport and wildlife photography. I read one review that expects the majority of shots from the next Olympic to be shot on the Sony. Looking forward to seeing other comments. Sticking with my D850 for now.

      • Agreed about the loss of detail in the Sony kit but honestly I’m not surprised. I did see it repeatedly on my friend’s images but took it with a grain of salt. Shorter lenses, using teleconverters, didn’t know about the crop. I’ll keep looking & comparing them but I’ll at least get rid of the 1D X ii pro body that I have as I don’t use it.

        The Sony is taking charge because of the tracking AF and 20 FPS. The new version has a boosted wifi file transfer for those Olympic shooters.

  1. Emily,

    When comparing two camera systems, it would help if you clearly marked which photo was taken with which camera.

    John Jennrich Reston, Virginia


  2. I did notice the depth of field was deeper with the canon at f5 than the Sony at f7.1. The color is richer on the canon. Interesting. Of the two, appears Canon has the edge. You need to try a Sony 100-400 GM and go head to head!

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