If you’re a sports or wildlife photographer, you may be giving the Sony a9 a long and eager look. But so far, telephoto options are limited, and there’s nothing available over 200mm from Sony (yet). In this video, photographer Dan Watson mounts the Canon 300mm and 400mm lenses to test the autofocus capabilities.
The lenses being tested are the Mark I versions of the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM and Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM lenses. Using the Metabones and Sigma adapters, these lenses can be attached to the E-mount Sony A9.
Don’t get too excited. Things are pretty disappointing.
The video starts straight away with a negative: the far off-center AF points don’t perform well with the long lenses. DPReview points out that it’s worth remembering that they will still work with wider lenses.
Also, Watson states that continuous drive shooting in medium or high FPS loses the ability to autofocus. However, Sony A-mount lenses do actually shoot 10 fps with the LA-EA3 adapter – something DPreview has tested and confirmed with the 50mm f/1.4 lens.
But with the Metabones and Sigma adapters, only in the low FPS mode will you be able to achieve continuous autofocus. That means that for Nikon (F-mount) and Canon (EF-mount) lenses, you’ll be limited to what is actually (contrary to the video) about 3 FPS during continuous focus.
This is a big blow to wildlife and sports photographers who might’ve had their eyes on the Sony a9 with the thought of attaching their Nikon or Canon telephotos through the adapters. High frames per second shooting speeds are key for action photography, but this seems to not be possible right now.
Overall, the adapters seem to kill the functionality of the camera. Autofocus tracking is not possible in anything but the center of the image, and it doesn’t even work properly at all in video mode (according to this test).
So, perhaps hold on to your DSLRs until Sony release their own big telephotos if both reach and speed are what you need.