Sony a7S Vs a9 – Detailed Comparison

Our comparison today focuses on the Sony a7S Vs a9. The two cameras in comparison are both pro-level, full-frame mirrorless cameras. Plus, they are also a bit high-end too.

Now, this comparison is quite detailed, therefore, it is going to be a long read. So, if you can’t afford the luxury of time that this article would require, then, you can go through our comparison overview section to make a quick decision.

Sony a7S vs a9
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We do recommend, however, that you check out the complete article considering how much of an investment you’d be making getting either of these cameras.

To see how the Sony a7S compares with the Panasonic GH5, click here.

Sony a7S Vs a9 – Comparison Overview

Sony a7S Vs a9 – Where Both Cameras Get It Right

These cameras both have Wi-Fi Connectivity, Near Field Communication as well as smartphone remote control feature.

Also, these cameras both support the RAW format, so you get high quality images. They also have the face detection focus and auto exposure bracketing features as well.

The face detection focus is a great feature for shooting portraits, while, the auto exposure bracketing is a fantastic feature for shooting areas with variation in light and high dynamic range.

For shooting video, these cameras have a 4K display resolution, a microphone port, and headphone port.

Other great features these cameras have include the external flash shoe for light enhancement, the viewfinder for framing, and the environmental sealing for harsh weather conditions.

Sony a7S Vs a9 – Where The Sony a7S Does It Better

First off, this camera has a higher max ISO value, therefore, it will do a better job for shooting in low-light conditions.

Also, this camera is lighter, making it the better pick for your travel and daily photography.

Finally, this camera has a larger sensor pixel area.

Sony a7S Vs a9 – Where The a9 Does It Better

The first feature that places the Sony a9 in front in this comparison is its sensor-shift image stabilization system.

Furthermore, the LCD screen of this camera is touch-sensitive, and also has a higher resolution.

For image quality, the Sony a9 will do a better job as it has a higher sensor resolution.

This camera also has the higher number of focus points, color depth, and dynamic range in this comparison.

When it comes light enhancement, the a9 offers an extra feature with the use of the external flash with its flash sync port.

This camera also has a Bluetooth connection feature.

For storage, this camera has two storage card slots and supports UHS-II memory cards.

Other features where the Sony a9 does it better include the battery life and in continuous shooting mode.

Sony a7S Vs a9 – Where Both Cameras Get It Wrong

Both lack a built-in flash. Every light enhancement required would have to rely solely on the external flash.

As for their individual issues, the Sony a7S lacks image stabilization while the a9, it is quite heavy.

Sony a7s Vs a9 – Comparison Table

 

Sony a7S

Sony a9

Built-in Image Stabilization None Sensor-shift
Touch Screen No Yes
Weight 489 grams 673 grams
ISO Range 100 to 409600 100 to 51200 can be expanded to 204800
Sensor Resolution 12 megapixels 24 megapixels
Number Of Focus Points 25 693
LCD Screen Resolution 1.230k dots 1.440k dots
Continuous Shooting 5 frames per second 20 frames per second
Battery Life 360 shots 650 shots
Viewfinder Resolution 2359k dots 3686.4k dots
Color Depth 23.9 24.9
Dynamic Range 13.2 13.3
Flash Sync Port No Yes
Bluetooth No Yes
Storage Slot 1 2
Support For UHS Memory Cards None UHS-II
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Sony a7S vs a9
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Sony a7s Vs a9 – What Situation Is Each Camera Best For?

Sony a7S

Sony a9

The Sony a7s is a fantastic multipurpose camera.  

With the features this camera has, it can do pretty much anything from portrait to street to daily photography.
As for the a9, it is a mind-blowing do-it-all camera.  

Its video and photo capabilities are excellent. It even does better than the Sony a7S in low light even though the a7S belongs to Sony’s low light camera listing.
However, its video capabilities seem to be much better than its photo capabilities with a meagre 12 megapixels of sensor resolution. The major job categories which this camera might not be best for are daily and travel photography because it’s quite bulky.  

So, it would take up a lot of space and constitute a burden.
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With this section, we come to the end of our comparison overview. If you need more information, keep reading as we get into the meat of this comparison.

Sony a7S Vs a9 – Common Features

Wireless Features

The first wireless feature that can be found in both of the cameras in comparison is Wi-Fi. With this connection, the camera can share files with numerous devices in the same or other locations as long as they have an internet connection.

Another wireless feature common to the two cameras in comparison is Near Field Communication (NFC). This one does not require an internet connection to function. However, it will only work with devices that are NFC-compatible.

To create the connection between the two devices, all that is required is for both devices to come in contact with each other. Once that is done, file sharing and other functions can be carried out wirelessly.

The final wireless feature that these two cameras is smartphone remote control. The connection between the camera and the smartphone is made via a mobile app on the phone, after which you can now frame, adjust settings, and trigger the shutter, from your smartphone.

Articulating Screen

Both of the cameras in this Sony a7S Vs a9 comparison have the articulating screen.

Articulated screens come in different designs. The screen design of the two cameras in comparison allows move about just one axis, thereby, tilting only slightly upwards and downwards.

This articulated screen type is known as the tilting articulated screen. Other screen types are the fully articulated screen and cross-tilt articulated screen.

The fully articulated screen has a design that moves about two axes. This allows it to both tilt and swivel.

While, the cross-tilt screen has a design that allows it move about various axes. This implies that it can move vertically, horizontally, and also rotate certain, while staying aligned to axis of the lens.

High ISO Range

This is one of the features determines the exposure of an image shot by the camera. The ISO value of a camera determines how sensitive the image sensor of the camera is to light on the scene.

As the value of the ISO increases, the sensor becomes more sensitive to light, thereby making images brighter.

Both of the cameras in this Sony a7S Vs a9 comparison have very high max ISO values. However, the max ISO value of the Sony a7S is higher than that of the Sony a9. Also, the max ISO Sony a9 can be expanded (See comparison table).

For a better a view at the ISO performance of these cameras, below are videos displaying how they perform at different ISO values.

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Max Shutter Speed

The shutter speed of the camera is another feature that determines the exposure of images shot by the camera. However, this feature has a lot more to do with subjects that are in motion.

Now, when the shutter speed is set to a slow value, the shutter remains longer for longer time, thereby, exposing the image sensor to light for longer and making the images brighter.

For shutter speed, the value you select needs to be based on the effect you want to achieve.

If your intent is to have a motion blur with the images shot, then, you’d make use of a slightly slower shutter speed in order to record that motion.

The opposite goes for those trying to freeze the subject, a faster shutter speed is required. However, don’t forget that this results in the images being darker, so don’t forget to adjust other settings.

Both the Sony a7S and the a9 have an impressive max shutter speed at 1/8000s.

External Flash Shoe

The external flash shoe is a component that allows you to attach an external flash to the body of the camera.

There are low-light situations that require that you make use of light enhancement tools like the external flash.

The external flash shoe is one of the very essential features these two cameras have, seeing that they both aren’t designed with a built-in flash.

So, in order to achieve any form of light enhancement with these cameras, you must purchase an external flash with these cameras.

Electronic Viewfinder

The Sony a7S and a9 both come with an electronic viewfinder which is commonly found on mirrorless cameras. This is as a result of the fact that it doesn’t require the mirror mechanism of DSLRs to function.

With the EVF, the preview of the scene is recorded by the sensor of the camera, after which the image sensor electronically projects the preview to the EVF.

The EVF has its advantages and one major disadvantage. One big advantage of the EVF is that its display shows the exact way the image will turn out after taking the shot. While, the major and most common disadvantage of the EVF is its battery-consuming habit.

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RAW Support

Getting the best out of image quality is the highest priority for every photographer, and there are different factors that determine how this happens – this feature is one of them.

RAW is a file format for saving images on the camera. RAW images are usually the highest possible image quality that the camera can offer.

RAW images are usually uncompressed, unedited formats of the images. This means that every bit of detail recorded by the camera is saved by the camera, thereby, having a high quality, but requiring a large storage size.

Now, not all cameras support the RAW format of images. The alternative option would be to shoot in JPEG which is quite the opposite of the RAW format.

The JPEG format is a camera edited format of the images shot. In this format, the camera automatically compressed the detail in the image before it is saved.

Note that JPEG images aren’t poor quality images, however, it doesn’t provide the best quality.

Face Detection Focus

Both these cameras come with a Face Detection Focus feature. This feature is great for shooting portraits.

Face detection recognizes the features of the human face on the scene which is how it finds the face. This feature also helps the camera lockdown on the face on the scene, thereby, keeping it in focus at all times.

Video Mode

The two cameras in this Sony a7S Vs a9 have a number of video shooting features in common. In a few sub-headings, we’ll be doing a breakdown of these features.

Video Resolution

The video resolution of a camera is the number of lines the video has stacked from top to bottom of the screen. This determines the size of screen that the video can be displayed on without losing its quality.

As for the cameras in this Sony a7S Vs a9 comparison, they both have a very impressive video resolution.

They are both 4K resolution cameras. The 4K resolution is one of the highest video resolutions there is. It is known as an Ultra High-Definition resolution.

This resolution can be used for shooting commercial and cinematic purpose videos.

Now, the 4K resolution has different dimensions, however, for the cameras in this Sony a7S Vs a9 comparison, they have a 4K resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels.

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Microphone And Headphone Port

These are two features that are essential for achieving clear audio when shooting video.

The microphone port lets you connect an external microphone which is a very useful tool for shooting video (especially in public). This is because it records way better audio than a camera’s built-in mic being able to isolate background noise.

As for the headphone port, it allows you hook up headphones while recording. This way, you can monitor the audio while recording in order to make adjustments where necessary.

Slow-motion (Frame Rate)

Finally, we’ll be looking at the capabilities of these cameras at shooting slow motion videos. Both of the cameras in comparison shoot at pretty high frame rates, however, one camera does better than the other.

The Sony a7S can shoot as high as 60 frames per second, while, the a9 shoots about 120 frames per second.

This means that the Sony a9 would shoot better slow-mo videos than the a7s.

Environmental Sealing

Environmental sealing is a feature that shields the camera the harm caused by the entrance of weather elements.

Weather elements like dust, rain, and snow, are some of the most common causes of damage to cameras.

The environmental sealing on a camera is designed as a part of the camera body and positioned at places on the camera where the weather elements could enter through.

This sealing would usually be rubber and silicon gaskets and linings. Without this feature it would unsafe to use the camera under some weather conditions.

Thankfully, both of the cameras in this Sony a7S Vs a9 comparison have the environmental sealing feature.

It is also important to note that having the weather sealing doesn’t make the camera completely waterproof and water-resistant. However, to a very large extent, the cameras are splash-proof.

Auto Exposure (AE) Bracketing

The final common feature of the two cameras in this Sony a7S Vs a9 comparison is the Auto exposure bracketing feature.

This feature is most useful for shooting scenes with variations in lighting and a lot of shadows. Scenes like this usually pose a challenge when trying to make exposure settings.

When the AE bracketing the option is selected, the camera allows you to take multiple shots at different automatically set exposure values.

The AE bracketing sets the exposure values based on what the exposure meter of the camera is reading. With this, at least one of the shots taken will be perfectly exposed.

Sony a7S vs a9
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Sony a7s Vs a9 – Unique Features

Now, for this Sony a7s Vs a9 comparison, the Sony a7s doesn’t have any feature unique to it. The Sony a9 on the other hand, has a few features unique to it in this Sony a7S Vs a9 comparison. Alright, let us take a look at these features.

Image Stabilization

Many times, photographers take hand-held shots and end up with blurry images as a result of camera shake.

Now, in order to help the photographer avoid these blurs, image stabilization is the best option – especially for photographers who always have to shoot with the camera hand-held.

There are different image stabilization methods. Some are built-in as a part of the camera system, while for some, they require the use of special lenses known as Vibration Reduction lenses.

With built-in image stabilization there are also different types, but for the sake of this review, we’ll be discussing just one – which is the one found in the Sony a9.

The image stabilization feature on the Sony a9 is known as the sensor-shift image stabilization – a system of image stabilization that functions with electrical actuators. How does it work?

When the camera experiences a shake, the accelerometers of the camera detect the shake, while the actuators calculate the direction and speed of motion and move the image sensor to keep it aligned with the image being projected by the lens.

Touch Screen

Touch-sensitive screens are one of the most interesting features that technology has brought to the world that has made using devices easier.

So, instead of the traditional hard-button-pressing system of navigating through camera settings and functions, by just swiping and touching, you get things done with ease.

Flash Sync Port

In the last section, we spoke about the light enhancement tool that both of the cameras in this Sony a7s Vs a9 comparison are both compatible with – the external flash.

Now, there is another unique thing about the usage of the external flash with the Sony a9. The Sony a9 has a feature called the Flash Sync Port.

With the flash sync port, you can create a connection between the camera and the flash and then take the flash off the camera body and trigger the flash every time you press the shutter button.

What makes this such a great feature to have is that you get the flexibility to test lighting on your subject from different angles, especially when shooting in studios.

Sony a7S vs a9
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Bluetooth

Virtually all digital devices have the Bluetooth feature, which is what makes such a great feature to have on your camera. With the Bluetooth connection, you can connect any other Bluetooth enabled device and share files.

UHS Card Support

UHS here stands for Ultra High Speed. It’s a type of memory card that allows for high-speed storage and file transfer.

The UHS card has different versions that different cameras support. For the Sony a9, it supports a version called the UHS-II.

This a very high-speed SD card. The UHS card version is said to have a transfer rate of about 156 MB/s and 312 MB/s for full and half-duplex respectively.

Unique Pros – Sony a7s Vs a9

Sony a7s Vs a9 – Pros Of The Sony a7s

  • Higher max ISO value than the Sony a9.
  • Lighter in weight which makes it the easier camera to carry around.
  • Finally, the sensor pixel area of the Sony a7s is about double that of the a9.

Sony a7s Vs a9 – Pros Of The a9

  • Comes with a built-in image stabilization system.
  • Features a touchscreen LCD.
  • The max Sensor resolution of this camera is double that of the Sony a7s.
  • Better focusing as it has a lot more focus points than the Sony a7s.
  • The LCD screen of the a9 will have better display quality as it has a higher LCD screen resolution.
  • Features more frames per second.
  • Longer battery life.
  • Better at color detailing with higher color depth.
  • Higher dynamic range.
  • Comes with a flash sync port.
  • Features Bluetooth.
  • Has more than one storage card slot, and supports UHS-II SD cards.
Sony a7S vs a9
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Unique Cons – Sony a7s Vs a9

Sony a7s Vs a9 – Cons Of The Sony a7s

  • Lacks image stabilization.
  • Sensor resolution isn’t high.

Sony a7s Vs a9 – Cons Of The a9

  • Quite heavy and uncomfortable for daily commute.

Common Pros – Sony a7s Vs a9

 

Sony a7S

Sony a9

Wireless Connection Present Present
Articulating Screen Present Present
External Flash Shoe Present Present
Viewfinder Electronic viewfinder present Present
RAW Support Present Present
Face Detection Focus Present Present
High LCD Screen Resolution The Sony a7s has a high LCD screen resolution, offering you good quality of display. The Sony a9 also has a high LCD screen resolution, although its higher than that of the a7S by a number of dots.
Microphone Port Present Present
Headphone Port Present Present
Environmental Sealing Present Present
Auto Exposure Bracketing Present Present
Near Field Communication Present Present
Smartphone Remote Control Present Present
  Click here to get the Sony a7s now! Click here to get the a9 now!
Sony a7S vs a9
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Common Cons – Sony a7s Vs a9

 

Sony a7s

Sony a9

No Built-in Flash Does not come with a built-in flash. All light enhancement would have to be done with the external flash shoe Same as the Sony a7s.

Sony a7s Vs a9 – What Users Think About Both Cameras

Sony a7S

Sony a9

First off, users are very impressed with the user interface of this camera.  

Apart from being easy to learn, users appreciate all the customizable and adjustable settings on this camera.   Another big win for this camera according to users is its ISO performance.  

The noiseless images this camera offers even at ISO values reaching 10000 ISO make users love this camera for low-light scenes.
With the Sony a9, users cannot help but fall in love with the manual and autofocus system of this camera.  

The large number of focus points that these camera has make it easier for a lot user to frame objects at different points on the scene.  

Also, for users who shot sports with this camera, they are completely satisfied with the performance of this camera.   Image quality, action capturing, low-light performance all get top marks from users for this camera.
The only issue users had with this camera is, of course, its sensor resolution.   With its 12-megapixel sensor resolution, creating large prints will not be very impressive. The only common complaint among users about this camera is with its menu system.   The menu system isn’t very user-friendly, some users even called it “confusing”.
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Sony a7s Vs a9 – Our Take

Sony a7s Sony a9
This Sony a7s is a fantastic camera, we have to admit it.  

Just for it being such a great multipurpose camera, we are very much in love with this camera.
As for the Sony a9, this camera is built to impress.   It has a lot of features that you, definitely, cannot ignore.   This is as close to perfect as you can get with a camera.
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