With the introduction of Sony’s a9, photographers who have the need for speed have three fast-paced, full frame bodies to choose from. We’ve reviewed the Nikon D5 and the 1D X Mark II but have yet to get our hands on Sony’s new hero. Still, it makes sense to see how the three heavy-hitters stack up.
Canon 1D X Mark II: 20.2-megapixel CMOS
Nikon D5: 20.8-megapixel CMOS sensor
Sony a9: 24-megapixel, back-illuminated CMOS sensor
Canon 1D X Mark II: 100-51,200
Nikon D5: 100-102,400
Sony a9: 100-51,200
Canon 1D X Mark II: 61 points; 41 cross-type points all supported to f/8
Nikon D5: 153 points, including 99 cross-type and 15 supported to f/8
Sony a9: 635 phase-detect points and 25 contrast detect covering 93 percent of the frame
Continuous Shooting Speed
Canon 1D X Mark II: 14 fps w/ AF tracking; 16 fps w/ mirror up to unlimited JPEGs, 173 RAW files
Nikon D5: 12 fps w/ AF tracking; 14 fps with w/ mirror up to 200 JPEGs
Sony a9: 20 fps w/ AF tracking up to 233 RAW + JPEGs
Canon 1D X Mark II: -3EV
Nikon D5: -4EV
Sony a9: -3 EV
Canon 1D X Mark II: 4K (4096 x 2160) at 60p; full HD at 120p; 1.3x crop during 4K
Nikon D5: 4K (3840 x 2160) at 30p; full HD to 60p; 1.5x crop during 4K
Sony a9: 4K (3840 x 2160) at 30p; full HD up to 120 fps; full sensor readout.
Canon 1D X Mark II: 1,210
Nikon D5: 3,780
Sony a9: 450 shots
Size & Weight
Canon 1D X Mark II: 54 ounces
Nikon D5: 49 ounces
Sony a9: 24 ounces
Canon 1D X Mark II: $5,999
Nikon D5: $6,500
Sony a9: $4,500
The D5 is the superior camera for low-light/high-ISO performance, while the Canon 1D X Mark II can deliver better burst and slightly higher video quality. We can’t yet vouch for the Sony, but if it delivers S-Log (a9 color profiles were not yet published by Sony), it’s already got a leg-up on its rivals in the video department. It looks, on paper, to be faster but it’s too early to say if it’s more accurate, despite having vastly more AF points.
Unsurprisingly, the a9 is a distant third when it comes to battery life, even if it is a marked improvement over the a7 R II. The price for the a9, however, is quite attractive relatively to the D5 and 1D X Mark II.