For the last few decades, Nikon and Canon have sewn up the sports photography market. Especially Canon with its long prime lens collection and its professional service network. Sony has coveted this position for a long time but has had to wait for the technological advantage to grow before really challenging. Well here it is, the real challenger has appeared in the guise of the Mirrorless Sony Alpha A9 camera.
On paper, the specification is superior, with 20 frames per second, 24M pixels, 693 phase-detect focus points and Full-Frame 4K video. The weak points have been addressed with a bigger battery, 3.686M dot electronic viewfinder with 120 Hz refresh rate. So is this now the complete package?
The Canon advantage was their overall system and this is going to be much harder for Sony to overcome. Its shortage of long lenses and lack of professional support system. So it's more likely that any move toward Sony will be a gradual one and more likely it will be that professionals will incorporate Sony kit into their existing gear rather than make a complete break and switch over.
From a technology point-of-view, the new Sony A9 with its revolutionary stacked sensor that incorporates high-speed processing and memory that allows it to shoot at such high rates is a game changer. Its ability to deliver fast and accurate auto-focus even at this speed and its use of an electronic shutter that doesn't bend golf clubs will be tempting. The totally quiet electronic shutter will please Tiger!
So should Canon and Nikon be worried? Yes, they should. They need to respond in kind very soon as Sony will no doubt continue to develop this camera.