A1 or Z9

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guitarman67

Active member
I'm happy with my D500/500PF combo at this point in time. However, I know that I'm going to go mirrorless at some point, as bird AF and WYSIWYG in the viewfinder is a major improvement over the D500 combo. So, for me my options right now are the Sony A1/200-600 or keep the 500PF and add the Z9 with adapter. Megapixels are similar, so that's not a concern. As for cost here in Australia the Z9 is showing at around $8900 and the adapter FTZii around $400. The Sony A1 is $8999 and the 200-600 $2500. So, $9400 for Nikon vs $11,500 for Sony. Selling my Nikon (not sure what it's worth now...just over a year old) would reduce the cost of the Sony combo.
So...if my main concern is bird eye AF, which is the best combo? (especially for BIF) Renting either combo is not feasible or even an option here in Brisbane. I know there needs to be more reviews of the Z9's eye AF, but I'm just interested in other views here. Cheers.
 

TonyB

Member
The Z9 is pretty much an unknown in performance. Until it is released and in the hands of unbiased consumers, we really don’t know. The A1 has plenty of reviews of its performance. You either take a leap of faith on the Z9 or go with what is known about the A1, at least for another month or so until the first production units of the Z9 make their way to the consumers and we get some real feedback.
 

arbitrage

Well-known member
No one really knows how the BEAF compares in the field. I've seen some of the EVF recordings and it looks decent. My main camera these days is A1. I have a Z9 coming as I've held onto my 500PF and want to try out the Z9. I have no idea if I'll get my Z9 in December or not. I will certainly report my findings once I can test them side by side.
 

guitarman67

Active member
Thread starter
Thanks so much. It's as I thought...time to wait it out and see what the Z9 delivers. I must admit that using an adapter is a concern, and may be the deciding factor. Cheers.
 

abc123brian

Well-known member
Thanks so much. It's as I thought...time to wait it out and see what the Z9 delivers. I must admit that using an adapter is a concern, and may be the deciding factor. Cheers.
The Nikon 200-600mm is expected to be released within the next year and the 100-400mm is already available for preorder so you don't have to keep the 500mm. I bought the 500mm PF to use with my Z cameras using the adapter. No issues with it with it, though it does add a little to the length of the lens.
 

Doug Herr

Well-known member
Your only option right now is the a1 + 200-600, because the Z9 isn't shipping yet.

Until there are some real-world tests of the Z9 we won't know how it compares with the a1. I expect the two cameras will be very similar.
 

dtibbals

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I'm happy with my D500/500PF combo at this point in time. However, I know that I'm going to go mirrorless at some point, as bird AF and WYSIWYG in the viewfinder is a major improvement over the D500 combo. So, for me my options right now are the Sony A1/200-600 or keep the 500PF and add the Z9 with adapter. Megapixels are similar, so that's not a concern. As for cost here in Australia the Z9 is showing at around $8900 and the adapter FTZii around $400. The Sony A1 is $8999 and the 200-600 $2500. So, $9400 for Nikon vs $11,500 for Sony. Selling my Nikon (not sure what it's worth now...just over a year old) would reduce the cost of the Sony combo.
So...if my main concern is bird eye AF, which is the best combo? (especially for BIF) Renting either combo is not feasible or even an option here in Brisbane. I know there needs to be more reviews of the Z9's eye AF, but I'm just interested in other views here. Cheers.
No one really knows as no one has actually taken delivery of a Z9 they own. The folks you see with a Z9 provided by Nikon to help Nikon promote the camera don’t have an a1 (except for Jarod Pollen who owns the a1, but isn’t a nature photographer) to give you an honest review of the two cameras side by side.

Steve Perry or possibly even Steve Mathis are about the only two wildlife photographers I know who will provide the exact comparison you are looking for.

The a1 and 200-600 can be had now, the Z9 who knows. If you have Nikon glass you like I would sit tight and see what Steve has to say before making a decision. I suspect the Z9 will be good but everyone thought the Z6/7 would be and they aren’t for birding. No doubt the Z9 isn’t going to be a Z6/7 but will it be on par with an a1? Only time will tell. Unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket wait a few months for Steve to provide some feedback. If you have to buy today it’s Sony a1 and 200-600.
 

Hut2

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Once I decided I didn’t want to wait I went with the S word Alpha 1 and 200-600 G, it got to my door in a few days, no regerts!
 
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FB101

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Do you have a deadline, like a big trip or a workshop coming up? If yes, go with what’s available and practice with it as much as you can Ahead of that event. If not, wait and see what the early z9 reports have to say and if it meets your needs… or, just get an A1, it simply works, and get off the guessing game - worked for me.
 

sid_19911991

Active member
I'm happy with my D500/500PF combo at this point in time. However, I know that I'm going to go mirrorless at some point, as bird AF and WYSIWYG in the viewfinder is a major improvement over the D500 combo. So, for me my options right now are the Sony A1/200-600 or keep the 500PF and add the Z9 with adapter. Megapixels are similar, so that's not a concern. As for cost here in Australia the Z9 is showing at around $8900 and the adapter FTZii around $400. The Sony A1 is $8999 and the 200-600 $2500. So, $9400 for Nikon vs $11,500 for Sony. Selling my Nikon (not sure what it's worth now...just over a year old) would reduce the cost of the Sony combo.
So...if my main concern is bird eye AF, which is the best combo? (especially for BIF) Renting either combo is not feasible or even an option here in Brisbane. I know there needs to be more reviews of the Z9's eye AF, but I'm just interested in other views here. Cheers.

I think the AF ability of A1 & Z9 for action/birds will be similar as there is scope for software updates on both the systems.

So the deciding factor could actually be the lenses & the image quality of the sensor.

Sony A1 may have better ISO performance than Z9 as it is Sony's 3rd go at a stacked sensor. Perhaps by 20% is my guess/speculation.
Time will tell.

The Sony 200-600 is insanely sharp even when one crops the image by a big margin. I have seen several examples of it live (my friend owns one) & also on the Internet (Flickr, Insta, 500px, etc), where the pictures are very sharp.

In my experience the 200-600 Sony is sharper than a 500 PF by a big margin, especially at distances more than 60-70 feet, while the 500 PF renders the background better.

Here is an example of a roller in flight...Shot with A1 & 200-600

http://instagr.am/p/CWXveufPgSI/
 

Backdoor Arts

Active member
The Sony A1 is $8999 and the 200-600 $2500. So, $9400 for Nikon vs $11,500 for Sony. Selling my Nikon (not sure what it's worth now...just over a year old) would reduce the cost of the Sony combo.
So...if my main concern is bird eye AF, which is the best combo? (especially for BIF) Renting either combo is not feasible or even an option here in Brisbane. I know there needs to be more reviews of the Z9's eye AF, but I'm just interested in other views here. Cheers.
This D500/500PF guy chose none of the above. I picked up the R5 + 100-500mm at under $6K US after borrowing one for a long weekend and I could not be happier. I understand the desire to stay in brand, and as a decade+ long Nikon shooter it's hard to utter the 'C' word. I've not shot with Sony so I cannot compare, but based on reviews by folks who shoot like us the idea that Canon's middle of the road holds par with Sony's flagship leads me to believe that the R1 is going to be crazy good - not that I need it. Animal eye tracking is superb, and scheduled to be improved on December 1. It will also add vehicle and bike tracking from the R3, not that I need it a lot, but it promises that new tech will trickle down.

No arm twisting, but whenever I see someone talk dollars I need to throw the R5 into the equation. I sold off most of my Nikon gear (I kept a D500 and a couple lenses around for my wife to play with) and replaced it with a body, 3 lenses, and 2 TC's that now give me a focal range of 14-1000mm for not much over $10K US.
 

jeffnles1

Well-known member
Supporting Member
If you're satisfied with the gear you have and really are not in a big hurry, I'd suggest holding out for another year or so to see where all this shakes out. 3rd generation Z6 and Z7 could (maybe, could, might, possibly...) bring faster processors and improved AF to the mid tier Z lineup. I was hoping for a "Z8" (D850 mirrorless) but I don't see that happening anytime soon. By the time it comes out and the traditional Nikon year long backlog before they really do become available, I'll most likely be in the market before that.

What I've done is "earmark" money for a new camera, set it aside (in a separate investment account) and am holding tight to see what develops over the coming year. One truth about technology is there really is never a great time to buy. There is always a "next" version just around the corner.
 

FB101

Well-known member
Supporting Member
This D500/500PF guy chose none of the above. I picked up the R5 + 100-500mm at under $6K US after borrowing one for a long weekend and I could not be happier. I understand the desire to stay in brand, and as a decade+ long Nikon shooter it's hard to utter the 'C' word. I've not shot with Sony so I cannot compare, but based on reviews by folks who shoot like us the idea that Canon's middle of the road holds par with Sony's flagship leads me to believe that the R1 is going to be crazy good - not that I need it. Animal eye tracking is superb, and scheduled to be improved on December 1. It will also add vehicle and bike tracking from the R3, not that I need it a lot, but it promises that new tech will trickle down.

No arm twisting, but whenever I see someone talk dollars I need to throw the R5 into the equation. I sold off most of my Nikon gear (I kept a D500 and a couple lenses around for my wife to play with) and replaced it with a body, 3 lenses, and 2 TC's that now give me a focal range of 14-1000mm for not much over $10K US.
That’s very fair, the R5 is probably the best price / performance ratio today. I always say, it is the true D850 successor at this stage. Although I was a very long time canon shooter I didn’t go that route mostly because I didn’t really enjoy the 100-500 handing (but optically it is excellent). I also preferred the real time EVF of the A1 over the R5 EVF.
Unfortunately with canon the price advantage of the R5 gets quickly erased if you dial in price of native glass - the 100-500 is about $800 more than the Sony 200-600 and you don’t have access to sigma and Tamron to build the holly trinity of f:2.8 zooms if you need them - of course you can use adapted EF glass very well and then the price favors canon again.
 

sid_19911991

Active member
This D500/500PF guy chose none of the above. I picked up the R5 + 100-500mm at under $6K US after borrowing one for a long weekend and I could not be happier. I understand the desire to stay in brand, and as a decade+ long Nikon shooter it's hard to utter the 'C' word. I've not shot with Sony so I cannot compare, but based on reviews by folks who shoot like us the idea that Canon's middle of the road holds par with Sony's flagship leads me to believe that the R1 is going to be crazy good - not that I need it. Animal eye tracking is superb, and scheduled to be improved on December 1. It will also add vehicle and bike tracking from the R3, not that I need it a lot, but it promises that new tech will trickle down.

No arm twisting, but whenever I see someone talk dollars I need to throw the R5 into the equation. I sold off most of my Nikon gear (I kept a D500 and a couple lenses around for my wife to play with) and replaced it with a body, 3 lenses, and 2 TC's that now give me a focal range of 14-1000mm for not much over $10K US.
I have used the R6, its AF is insanely good.
 

Doug Herr

Well-known member
This D500/500PF guy chose none of the above. I picked up the R5 + 100-500mm at under $6K US after borrowing one for a long weekend and I could not be happier. I understand the desire to stay in brand, and as a decade+ long Nikon shooter it's hard to utter the 'C' word. I've not shot with Sony so I cannot compare, but based on reviews by folks who shoot like us the idea that Canon's middle of the road holds par with Sony's flagship leads me to believe that the R1 is going to be crazy good - not that I need it. Animal eye tracking is superb, and scheduled to be improved on December 1. It will also add vehicle and bike tracking from the R3, not that I need it a lot, but it promises that new tech will trickle down.

No arm twisting, but whenever I see someone talk dollars I need to throw the R5 into the equation. I sold off most of my Nikon gear (I kept a D500 and a couple lenses around for my wife to play with) and replaced it with a body, 3 lenses, and 2 TC's that now give me a focal range of 14-1000mm for not much over $10K US.
There's the rolling shutter thing to consider: virtually absent with a1 and Z9, significant with R5.
 

guitarman67

Active member
Thread starter
Thanks again for the replies. I was a Canon shooter for quite some time before the Nikon combo (7Dii/100-400ii) and did consider the R5/100-500, but got put off by rolling shutter issues as well as the f7.1 at the long end of the lens. I still have my 6D and lenses which I use for landscape, and I love that camera.
So...at this point in time I'll wait it out, and as I've stated there's no urgency to buy now. Cheers.
 

Rassie

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Thanks so much. It's as I thought...time to wait it out and see what the Z9 delivers. I must admit that using an adapter is a concern, and may be the deciding factor. Cheers.
Using an adapter would be the last of my concerns. From what I've seen, everybody (myself included) see no issues like reduced performance on any F-mount lenses used on Z cameras caused by using an adapter. Any differences in how the lens works on a Z body vs. on a DSLR is purely a matter of lens/body communication. The adapter does not add or subtract in any way except for the added length of the lens on the camera. Most good F-mount lenses tend to be sharper with more accurate focus on a Z body than on a DSLR.
 

bsinc1962

Well-known member
Supporting Member
You're other option is to wait until the A1 mkii is released and get a used A1 because at that point it will have become an obsolete camera body.

All kidding aside unless you have an immediate need I would wait just a few weeks to see if the Z9 performance matches the hype.
 

Venkatesh VT

Love nature & nature loves you back
Supporting Member
I'm happy with my D500/500PF combo at this point in time. However, I know that I'm going to go mirrorless at some point, as bird AF and WYSIWYG in the viewfinder is a major improvement over the D500 combo. So, for me my options right now are the Sony A1/200-600 or keep the 500PF and add the Z9 with adapter. Megapixels are similar, so that's not a concern. As for cost here in Australia the Z9 is showing at around $8900 and the adapter FTZii around $400. The Sony A1 is $8999 and the 200-600 $2500. So, $9400 for Nikon vs $11,500 for Sony. Selling my Nikon (not sure what it's worth now...just over a year old) would reduce the cost of the Sony combo.
So...if my main concern is bird eye AF, which is the best combo? (especially for BIF) Renting either combo is not feasible or even an option here in Brisbane. I know there needs to be more reviews of the Z9's eye AF, but I'm just interested in other views here. Cheers.
I picked Sony A1 & 200 600 when I found Z9 is heavier & comes with a grip( I have heavily invested in Nikon with D 500,D 850 & 2 PF lenses .
Winter migration season is here & I did not to miss the action .
I am able to take BIF shots which was not possible with my D 500/ D 850 500 PF combo.
I will certainly invest in Z8 if it is lighter & use it as my back up with 500 PF.
If you are in no hurry wait for Z9 else A1 is available at hand ( I got it with in a month of booking & A1 does not seem to be facing any chip shortage inspite of the heavy demand).I am also expecting a firmware update for A1 to match some of the features of Z9 or even some new features since stacked sensor & the hardware provide lot of flexibility to the Sony engineers
 

dtibbals

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I think the AF ability of A1 & Z9 for action/birds will be similar as there is scope for software updates on both the systems.

So the deciding factor could actually be the lenses & the image quality of the sensor.

Sony A1 may have better ISO performance than Z9 as it is Sony's 3rd go at a stacked sensor. Perhaps by 20% is my guess/speculation.
Time will tell.

The Sony 200-600 is insanely sharp even when one crops the image by a big margin. I have seen several examples of it live (my friend owns one) & also on the Internet (Flickr, Insta, 500px, etc), where the pictures are very sharp.

In my experience the 200-600 Sony is sharper than a 500 PF by a big margin, especially at distances more than 60-70 feet, while the 500 PF renders the background better.

Here is an example of a roller in flight...Shot with A1 & 200-600

http://instagr.am/p/CWXveufPgSI/
That is an incredible shot. Seeing how much the background is blown out with the 200-600 he was incredibly close (unless that is done in post) which makes it that much harder to get. I am guessing that image has been run through Topaz but the end result is solid for sure.
 
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