SONY a II Launch

David Dodds

David Dodd’s reputation as one of South Africa’s premiere professional photographers with a wealth of experience having achieved many accolades and awards covered the launch of Sony’s new cameras. The event in Johannesburg was held at St Stithians Boys College in Sandton.

Overview of the launch:

I met with Nic Bothma Chief Photographer (based in CPT) EPA European Pressphoto Agency. A lecturer who attended the function promoted the sports angle of the A9II.

The SONY function hosted: A run through of the features unique to the A9II. A wildlife photographer, who demonstrated eye follow focus on wildlife at 20 frames a second…. absolutely impressive. A sports coverage round up, including Wimbledon Final, from Nic Bothma, also touting sports related benefits in the A9II… also impressive.. Then active shooting using many of the bodies on the sports hockey field, by the invited morning media. I attended the media briefing in the morning.

An invitation was extended to the trade to attend the evening function.






Take a moment and visit David’s website where you can explore the majesty and magnificence of Africa. Meld together some of the stories that have been told as this will bring your visit and experience to life, giving you a better understanding as to how they seamlessly interact with one another. David is now hosting promotable features about Africa, where the focus is majorly visual, and networking the stories and promoting all the components becomes the marketing focus…


As a long standing photographer, with traditional film photography as a background, I think that the viewfinder experience has always been paramount in photography, in both clarity and anticipation of framing and capture. Both in rangefinder and DSLR, that clarity in the screen area has been a significant part of the experience and indeed enjoyment of photography, and one that all manufacturers paid attention to over many years of getting the screen ‘right’. Remember and witness how good wasn’t the Olympus OM4 series.

And consequently, the advent of Electronic View Finders (EVF) were always going to have to compete to at least equal the viewing experience that had taken so many years and so many manufacturers all that effort to perfect. Any hint of image lag, image shudder or low resolution, amounting to an old style looking through broadcast television cameras, was always going to be, well, like looking at a bad tv screen. And any promotion of improvements in EVF screen experiences was, and still are, going to be processed against available and current viewability in standard SLRs.

So without a doubt, the jump in screen resolution and response time now available in the A9II and A7RIV bodies from SONY have to constitute the turning point in the mirrorless versus OVF debate. As a personal skeptic of the whole process of mirrorless, I would have to say that the SONY screen response now demonstrated is fully justified in turning the tide of the viewing experience for the professional arena. And proponents of mirrorless before the advent of these two bodies actually agree, because they are the ones who have been advising the very sympathetic SONY technicians, that that’s what they want. And now have. Amongst other things.

So this is the defining moment, for which other manufacturers will have to chase. My opinion. End of 2019. SONY A9II & A7RIV. Check for yourself.


Along with the screen viewing response time and overall viewing experience in the A9II and A7RIV, the next steps in autofocus accuracy must warrant accolades for the SONY version. Eye focus, as in wildlife eye focus or sports star eye focus, has been developed to such an extent that lockable follow focus at 20 frames per second is now a reality. The ability to define and lock on to eye detail, and have it followed by the camera, despite intervening other subjects, is a truly remarkable consideration. And luckily, I don’t have to be the person with the skills to demonstrate this benefit. A wildlife life and a sport specialist both independently showed burst photography where the cameras and lenses, at extreme distance, never blew a single frame. That’s a defining revolution heading the way of SONY adopters.


Much of the shoot experience to be enjoyed in SONY A7RIV and A9II bodies has come about through attentive listening by SONY technicians at professional functions worldwide. The innovations can best be explained in a substantive list that interested parties to the SONY system can check for themselves. WEIGHT: Yes, the mirrorless system and design ethos from SONY has made these reductions a material benefit across bodies and lenses. This is significant for all day professionals. And travel. COMFORT: A bigger grip has been created to universal applause, without an infringement on weight. COMPATIBILITY: All SONY lenses work across all SONY bodies. Period. Full frame to APS-C, that’s a major plus in creating imaging solutions, and long term value.

EYE FOCUS: Selectable Focus points covering 93% of the viewable area leads to, well, industry leading precision. Apart from the lockable Focus identity and tracking, which is remarkable. IMAGE DISTORTION: Rolling shutter, which causes inconvenient truths in image results from other manufacturers, has been sorted in SONY body iterations. BURST RATE: 20 frames a second, including focus tracking, has to be a defining moment, if that is in your professional sphere.  BODY CONTROLS: Dials and buttons have been re-positioned and effectively re-allocated to assist with logical near-term adjustments required by professionals. It spreads on down into the user experience for everybody on SONY. DURABILITY: Weather sealing has been attended to in terms of substantial improvements against rain and dust, not to mention heat and cold operations.

WI-FI AND FTP: This is now ready at 5G access speeds, and could be immense value in studio, as it already is for the sports personnel around the world.

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