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New Zealand Fashion Week - with the Sony A9

Hi, I am Auckland based Events & Fashion Photographer David Watson ,

I recently shot New Zealand Fashion Week 2017 ( NZFW )

I shot this years NZFW with Sony's flag ship camera, the A9!

Being a dedicated mirror-less photographer, NZFW was the perfect real world test for this high spec camera. I will break this down into pros and cons, but first a little insight into NZFW.


NZFW is a full 7 days of runway shows, designers collections, media frenzy's, oh and don"t forget .... after parties! With over 70 designers showcasing there collections, fashion week is the place for models to walk the runway and show off the upcoming spring and summer collections.

Face detection & Eye focus

From a photographers perspective, there are many challenges shooting fashion shows, focus tracking being one of them. The A9 's eye focusing system works seamlessly locking on and tracking even the fastest moving model. One of the ultimate tests for camera/ lens combinations is zoom tracking,

the A9 & G master 70-200 with face detection & eye focus seldom miss the target.

Battery life

A typical day at fashion week can run from 10am to 10pm and longer with offsite shows . For Sony users this means one thing ...Batteries. Yep one of the compromises of the small light weight form factor of mirror less systems is battery life, shooting on the A7rii I would normally have to use 4 plus batteries!

The battery life on the A9 is HUGE, 12 hrs & 2000+ images and only 40% through my second battery.

Dynamic range & Low light

Two important areas for any camera in the real world of event & fashion photography. The A9 has incredible low light focusing and dynamic range as good if not better than the A7rii.


Having shot NZFW on the A7ii the A7rii and the A9 my thoughts are that all three of these cameras are more than capable. The A7ii focus speed is pushed to its limit, whilst the A7rii has no trouble tracking & locking on with eye focus keeping on subject. The low light capabilities & dynamic range of both of these cameras is outstanding and indiscernible from the A9.

Where the A9 distinguishes itself is in sheer focus speed, that combined with a blistering 20 fps make it almost impossible to miss that moment on the runway. Shooting shows in jpeg means regular reviewing, here the A7rii struggled, with its massive file size even compressed, the read/write time was to slow to make this practical. Not so with the A9, combined with the Sony SF-G uhs-ii SD cards there is instant review and an almost limitless buffer .

To conclude Sony has really come of age, they have ticked all the boxes of a full Pro spec full - frame camera, the dual card slots, the extended battery life, the ultra fast frame rate and the incredible eye focus algorithm. There really is nothing left for dslr users to point the finger at ... and while they are the A9 has taken 20 frames !!

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