Nikon Z9 vs Sony A1 – Wildlife Shootout

Call me crazy (my wife does), but I’ve decided to dance through the minefield of brand fanatics by publishing a video comparing the Nikon Z9 and the Sony a1 for wildlife photography. As someone who owns and is heavily invested in both systems, I get a LOT of questions from people asking which is “best” or at least what the differences are.

This video will compare ergonomics, controls, colors, ISO AF systems, and much more. I think you’ll find the comparisons surprising. Enjoy the video – and I’ll brace myself for the comments! πŸ™‚

Nikon Z9 Setup Guide | Sony A1 Setup Guide

Video about cropping / ISO mentioned in the video above:

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backrooms game
7 months ago

Both Canon and Nikon have exhibited limited innovation in recent years. The company experienced a significant delay in entering the mirrorless camera market, thus necessitating substantial efforts to bridge the gap with competitors. 

mcdvoice
9 months ago

Thanks for sharing your video comparing the Nikon Z9 and the Sony a1 for wildlife photography. It’s great to see someone who owns and has experience with both systems provide insights and comparisons. I’m sure many people will find it helpful in making their decisions. Looking forward to watching the video and seeing the surprising comparisons you’ve mentioned. Good luck with the comments, I’m sure there will be a lot of engagement!

Notar Frechen
11 months ago

Thanks for sharing! I prefer the Z9. Just love the Nikon colours.

Fred
1 year ago

great vid …

anthony
anthony
1 year ago

Great video. I am a Sony user. I love my A1 and 600f4 and 200-600 combo. Nikon has done an amazing job to catch up to Sony and seem to have produced a very good camera. There is one aspect you never touched on that is innovation. Both Canon and Nikon have not really demonstrated a lot of innovation over the last few years. They took a long time to get into mirrorless and then needed to do a huge catchup. Sony keeps changing the game. They started with A9 then A1 but now with the new AI chip have… Read more »

Michael
1 year ago

Hi Steve, Congratulations and thank you for another extremely high quality and objective video. I have owned and extensively used the A1 for two years, exclusively with the 400GM and the 600GM for mostly bird photography. Have owned the Z9 since December 2021, initially using the Z100-400 but since acquiring the Z400f2.8 about 6 months ago, have worked just that lens. Similarly, I have the R5 and the R3 from the beginning but have just used the R3 with the EF600f4L3, the RF400f2.8L and the RF100-500L, again for bird photography. I agree with all your comments in the video and… Read more »

Michael
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Yes, a slight movement in the mount which is a bit more with the A1.

Michael
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Good to know and many thanks Steve.

Matt
Matt
1 year ago

Steve, great video. I have used both the Z9 and A1 extensively for wildlife photography and agree with everything you’ve mentioned, except : in my experience the A1 AF system is clearly superior to the Z9 for tracking the eyes of small, fast moving and/or erratically moving objects. For example, a swallow in flight. Or a Kestrel suddenly lurching off a perch coming towards you rapidly from a standstill. On the contrary, I have not noticed cases where the Z9’s AF outperforms the A1’s. So I would say the A1 has a clear AF advantage if small/fast/erratically moving birds, is… Read more »

Tony
Tony
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt

I am interested in your comments comparing the Sony A1 with the Z9 in terms of AF acquisition when a small bird suddenly takes flight or acts erratically. Having shot alongside a Sony A1 users trying to capture kingfishers diving I was continually failing to track the birds with my Z9 while the A1 users was getting pin sharp shots of the whole diving sequence. I am using firmware update 4.10. I consider my bif technique to be good. It’s just the Nikon AF system does not keep up with the action. Having just bought the 400tc I am heavily… Read more »

Dale
Dale
1 year ago

Steve, your video is great and piqued my interest to watch until the end. I particularly enjoy the way you break each topic into a short informative segment. I shoot the Z9 and am very happy with the 3.01 firmware update. I also try to sharpen my skills watching your Z9 videos. Given either systems and unlimited funds any shooter would be happy with the current technology of either system as well as image results. Personally, I do not see any shortcomings with either the Z or the Sony. I like the ZS lenses from Nikon especially their telephoto glass.… Read more »

Peter Tindall
Peter Tindall
1 year ago

Interesting and informative video. Personally, I have a z9. I have tons of f-mount Nikon glass that I can use on the Z9 for things I don’t think I would buy a new Z-mount lens for like macro. Maybe I missed it in the video but one big way the Z9 beats the A1 is price. Here in Canada I got the Z9 with the 24-120 f4 S lens for the same price as an A1 body sans grip. Not a big deal for pros I am sure but I’m just a guy who likes to shoot birds along with… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Tindall
Peter Tindall
Peter Tindall
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

I should add that your books on the Z9 were a big help. There are so many ways to set it up it gets a bit overwhelming to someone who doesn’t do photography for a living and is using it every day.