Last week I purchased a full Sony a9 setup including the Sony FE2470GM lens, and am heavily disappointed with the lens concerning face focusing. The lens is capable of focusing with good, but not great, detail when using magnification zoom (C4 button) with center focus in P A S or M, but in Auto mode it will place a green frame around the person's face and lock on, yet deliver a slightly out of focus result on the eyes, whether using Eye AF with the center button or not. However, the focus always seems to be accurate with high detail either above or below the green frame around the face, giving the hair line good detail or the shirt collars detail enough to see the lines going through the material. Whereas the eyelashes are a mild bit of a blur even on a model with extremely long eyelashes. I've tested the lens with a few hundred shots using various configurations on different models to try to find a clear facial result, but am unable to. Every time the green frame is displayed on the faces, all are registered as well, and with or without Eye AF, the highest detail of focus is above or below the the green frame.
Then, as the retail shop said that Sony does not accept any returns and my only choice is to send the camera and lens off to their repair center for 8-10 weeks, I decided to purchase a Zeiss SEL50F1.4z, and also experienced a similar result when using the Auto mode with the highest focus above or below the green frame, however when using the Eye AF it is able to get better detail in the eyes than the FE2470GM. Also, when using P A S or M modes, I am able to use the magnification zoom (C4) to accurately target the focus on the eyes with better detail, unfortunately, without the ability to use the Face focus feature or the Eye AF feature or end up with just slightly better results than with the FE2470GM lens.
Having read all the hype and articles claiming that the camera is excellent in facial autofocusing, I was expecting much more, but am definitely disappointed. Yes, it can find the faces and eyes well, but it just applies the focus point directly outside of the green face frame instead of inside the frame. What's worse is that unfortunately I purchased the camera and lenses in Southeast Asia instead of the US and they will not honor a return policy. Having sold my entire Nikon D810 setup for the Sony a9, I am also now in a bad situation as I use the camera for work, and cannot get the same model detail that I could with the D810.
When browsing through the various Sony Alpha forums looking for answers to my face focus issue and also looking for ANY Sony email addresses to contact for support, I didn't come across any solutions, but I did find one curious aspect that stood out in multiple forums not owned by Sony: There were several topics that had comments from the website admins with "Email address requested to be removed by Sony", "Information deleted as reported inaccurate by Sony", and a few other similar edited topic comments. So apparently Sony has a large division inside their company that goes through all non-Sony owned forums policing information and requesting removal of information that they do not agree with or when an email address of Sony is posted. If Sony spent the same amount of effort to support their cameras, maybe they wouldn't need the forum policing group.
Here are my points of why Nikon and Canon still have a big advantage over Sony, apart from having more lens choices, and why Sony falls short in being a top 3:
Returns: Finding out that Sony does not accept any returns, puts Nikon and Canon at a strong advantage for professionals. Having previously returned a D800e and a Nikkor fisheye lens after using them and simply not liking them, I received a full credit on my credit card. With Sony, you buy it and are stuck with it, having no 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
Support: Sony makes contacting them very difficult, having been trying for a week and cannot even get a single response via phone or email. There is no email listed on the website or in the documentation that refers you to their contact form on their websites, which I have tried and are currently not working, instead after filling out the form you receive a message that the page 'may have been binned'. Being a previous Nikon user, I was able to get a response normally within 24 hours after emailing them, and there are several support options such as English speaking call centers, online chat, contact forms that work, and email addresses. I was also assigned a direct rep to contact after requesting a few items from Nikon and was impressed with the responsiveness.
International: Nikon will assist you in any country, as I have experienced support in both Southeast Asia and America. When contacting Sony USA, after calling the local Asian number and the operator couldn't speak English, the USA staff said that they cannot help me as I purchased my camera in Asia. When I asked for an email address or a direct a9 contact support number, they said there is not one, they don't have access to Sony Asia contact information, and I need to contact my local Sony office for support, then click...
Repair Time: When I needed a lens adjustment or camera cleaning, I was able to get my gear back from Nikon within hours to a day, and once when they said they needed at least a few days to do a repair on a prime lens, which was my fault, they gave me a loaner lens. With Sony, I was told that my brand new, less than 6 day old defective camera and lens need to be sent away for testing and repair for 8-10 weeks! How am I supposed to work without a camera? With Nikon's 30-day satisfaction guarantee I would have a new camera and new lens in hand after walking into the shop.
So, after being unable to get support from Sony after a week, unable to return a defective camera, and unable to get the clarity of detail that I could with the D810, I have discovered that Sony is still far behind Nikon and Canon after you purchase the camera. I think my next move will be to put the USD $10k Sony gear up for sale and wait for the release of the D850, knowing I will be supported by Nikon after I purchase it. Lesson learned: Don't believe the hype and don't invest in work gear by a company new to professional photography.