This Week’s Sign that the Apocalypse May be Upon Us … And a bargain-priced mint SONY a9 body « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

This Week's Sign that the Apocalypse May be Upon Us ... And a bargain-priced mint SONY a9 body

What’s Up?

The weather on Wednesday morning was perfect for bird photography — sunny and clear with a decent east wind. The bird photography, however, was fair at best.

I spent four hours online and on the phone today before finally ordering a roof-top cargo box for the upcoming cross-country drive in my new SUV. Am I switching back to Canon? Who knows? Right now, I doubt it. But anything is possible.

My B&H Loaner Order!

This Week’s Sign that the Apocalypse May be Upon Us …

As a B&H affiliate, I am entitled to some very generous loaner gear opportunities. I am not sure when this will ship but I am curious and will be uniquely qualified to compare with Nikon and SONY. I am hoping to get this set-up in time to try it out at DeSoto as I will be there three times before the big road trip. Questions and comments welcome. For more on the R5 and the RF lenses see The skinny on everything that you wanted to know about Canon Mirrorless but were afraid to ask … blog post here.

This image was created on January 27, day 2 with the SONY gear. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens (at 244mm) and the beyond remarkable Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. ISO 3200: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:15:56am in the shade of the building behind us.

Image #1: Incoming Brandt’s Cormorant

Photographing Incoming Brandt’s Cormorants: As Tough As It Gets …

Photographing incoming Brandt’s Cormorants as they return to their nests is as tough as it gets. Try as I might, I had maybe one semi-sharp image in this situation over many years with various Canon bodies and lenses, that in many hundreds of attempts. I did, however, have many that were razor sharp on the feet. With both the D5 and the D850, I would usually get two or three fairly sharp images out of ten. From that moment on I knew that the a9 was the AF King.

A Bargain-priced Mint SONY a9 Mirrorless Camera Body

Multiple IPT veteran Morris Herstein is offering a Sony a9 in mint condition (with about 900 actuations) for the bargain price of $2498.00. The sale includes the strap, the front body cap, the battery and charger, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Morris via e-mail.

I was sold on SONY five minutes after trying my SONY a9 on the Brandt’s Cormorants at La Jolla, CA. The AF system is identical to the AF system on the more expensive a9 ii which costs $4,498.00. The a9 ii body is about 1/8 inch thicker than the a9 ii. If you do not have large hands or if you like the feel of a smaller body, you will want to get in touch with Morris ASAP. The a9 sells for $3,498.00 so you can save a very handsome $1,000 on this great body. artie

Bosque del Apache 2019 IPT

Notice the incredible variety of images that you can learn to make by developing your skills and your creative vision on a BAA IPT.

Bosque del Apache NWR 2020 IPT

NOV 18 (afternoon session) thru the morning session on November 23, 2020. 5 DAYS. Four full and two half days. $1999.00. Deposit: $500.00. Limit: 8 photographers/Openings: 6.

Extra Day Options: Please e-mail to learn about the before or after In-the-Field Day options.

The very best news is that the 2020 Festival of the Cranes has been canceled so we will be able to visit on what are usually the perfect dates!

I quit going to Bosque several years ago as conditions had worsened each year for several seasons running. In 2018, things had improved dramatically and in 2019 the photography was great. Simply put, I know Bosque better than anyone. Join me to learn how wind and sky conditions influence bird photography, how to create dramatic sunrise and sunset silhouettes, how to be in the right place at the right time, and how to create contest-winning blurs. As usual, you will learn to get the right exposure every time, to use your camera’s AF system to create pleasing, balanced image designs, and to improve your flight photography skills.

We should get to photograph many thousands of Snow Geese, more than a few blastoffs, some Ross’s Geese, and lots of Sandhill Cranes in the water, taking flight and flying. Depending on local conditions we may get to shoot some ducks: point-blank American Wigeon and Wood Duck. With any luck, we might enjoy sunrises and sunsets that leave you in tears. Live, eat, and breathe photography with one of (if not the) world’s premier photographic educators at one of his very favorite locations on the planet. Top-notch Photoshop instruction. Join me to learn to think like a pro and to recognize situations and to anticipate them based on the weather. Every time we make a move, I will let you know why. When you get home, applying what you learned will prove to be invaluable.

Lunch is included.

To Register

To register, send your $500 deposit — check made out to BIRDS AS ART — via US Mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Or call Jim weekdays at 863-692-0906 to put your non-refundable deposit on a credit card. Balances must be paid in full by check no later than two months before the IPT. If you cancel, all but your deposit will be refunded only if the IPT sells out.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for both big international trips and US-based IPTs is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality travel insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

6 comments to This Week’s Sign that the Apocalypse May be Upon Us … And a bargain-priced mint SONY a9 body

  • avatar Geoff

    I’m currently using an A9II, A7RIV, D500, D850 shooter and my last Canon bodies were 1DXII and 5D4.

    Do you take any type of psychotropic or neurotrophic drugs??? Shooting two systems at once can be taxing on the brain!

    I’ve now had two full days of shooting the R5 borrowed from a friend.


    My brief impressions:

    The R5’s Bird-Eye Detect makes it an easier camera to use for perched birds, floating birds, foraging shorebirds because the eye thing just takes over and all you have to do is concentrate on composition.

    Such systems are fabulous. But they take practice and care .. I am looking forward to seeing that in person. I do quite well with Tracking Flexible Spot (M) in the situations you speak of. Does the R5 ever lose the eye?

    With A9II you can use Real-Time Tracking but that likes to drift,

    I think that I know what you are talking about but have not heard the term “Real-Time Tracking.” I just did a search and see that it is a SONY advertising term. I would ask them, “What is the alternative reality?”

    I usually use Zone but that still requires some thought about placing the Zone towards the head and moving it around which takes away from composing when a bird is moving, feeding on the shore.

    You are correct. We cover the use of Zone vs. Tracking Flexible Spot in great detail in the big SONY e-Guide.

    But for flight the A9II still has the edge, quicker acquisition, stays on target once acquired better.

    You are the first to say that.

    The R5 still was jumping to specular highlighted backgrounds after starting to track the bird against sky…bird would drop down over shore and the tracking would jump to the background.

    Bad news. The 7r ii has trouble acquiring against backgrounds other than sky. The a9 series bodies do not.

    Another big negative to me with the R5 is there is still risk of distortion in Electronic Shutter (ES) (although not as bad as the A7RIV) and the ES is fixed at 20FPS…there is no way to go to a lower FPS other than going into One Shot. I like 20FPS sometimes but most of the time I prefer around 10FPS or else culling is a nightmare of duplicate images.

    I shot lots of flight the past two days with the a7r iv/600GM. I used the electronic Shutter about half the time. With yesterday’s images, I did not see any signs rolling shutter. I do not understand what it is. Can you send me a JPEG or two that illustrate the problem?

    With my A9II I’m at 20FPS maybe 20% of the time and 10FPS the rest. Also the Mechanical Shutter starts dropping to lower FPS as battery is depleted. Canon states that one the battery gets to 60% left the FPS drops from 12FPS to 9FPS and will drop again near the end of a battery. The MS is very quiet though so you don’t really need MS for stealth…but the EVF shooting experience is much better in ES so I’d prefer to use ES anytime I could.

    I use my SONY body at maximum frame rate all the time.

    Regardless I have an R5, 100-500 and 1.4TC on order, supposedly to arrive next week. The Bird Eye Detect is just too fun to use to pass this one up. But my A9II isn’t going anywhere. My D850 was sold last week…. A 7RIV is on the fence…

    Welcome to SONY world. I look forward to playing with the R5/RF 100-500 combo.

    with love, artie

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for your thoughtful and interesting comments. I hope that you are using my affiliate links when purchasing your new gear.

      with love, a

  • avatar Adam

    Pretty exciting to be on the loaner priority list. I am sure that you will be impressed by the new R5 though given the success that you’ve experienced with the Sony system and having used both, it is difficult to imagine a wholesale switch. The Sony 600 f4 is a stellar lens and you’ve demonstrated its IQ and capabilities including with the 2x tc’s. As much as I like the canon 600 f/4 is III, it isn’t quite as sharp with a 2x as the Sony. Moreover, Canon doesn’t offer a 200-600 for $2k or at any price. FWIW, Canon just released a firmware update for the 100-500 because of issues. Besides at 500 it’s a f/7.1 lens and adding the 1.4x is a bit convoluted, requiring extension of the lens resulting in a reduction of its overall range.

    While I like my R5 quite a bit – I find the images require less overall PP – there are many things I miss about the Sony bodies from button placement and feel to customization. The R5’s battery life isn’t as bad as they say especially if one keeps the screen closed (off) and only uses the evf. Incidentally, I still prefer the Canon mount as it mates easier with the lenses and feels more secure.

    If I didn’t have so much invested in Canon glass and wanted to shoot primarily birds and wildlife, it would be tough to beat an a9ii, a7riv, a 600 f/4, 200-600, tc’s, etc. Best wishes on your trip and I think Morris is selling his a9 and not his 99?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yes, exciting. Thanks for the update info. Do you have a link? Good plan with the SONY — just add the 100-400, the 70-200mm f/2.8, and the 24-105 and you are all set 🙂

      Morris spotted the typo and I fixed it but forgot to hit Update. It is fixed now so thanks as always.

      with love, artie

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