Sony a9 Full Review: Mirrorless Redefined
[UPDATE: July 2019] Sony released firmware v5.0 that brought major improvements to the camera's autofocus system in April 2019. After testing, we found the performance enhancements to be significant enough to increase the overall score from 89% to 90%. Read more here.
The Sony Alpha 9 is the company's first camera aimed at professional wedding, action and sports photographers. It's a 24MP, full-frame mirrorless camera that can shoot at 20 frames per second with full autofocus. And, just as importantly, with very low viewfinder lag and absolutely no blackout during continuous shooting.
That's right, a mirrorless camera targeted at wedding, action and sports photographers - a strike at the DSLR's area of greatest strength. It's true that Olympus has pushed in this direction with its E-M1 Mark II, but Sony is promising both super-fast readout and full-frame image quality, backed up with an expansion of its Pro Support scheme that will be needed to break into the pro market. This is ambitious stuff.
Of particular note for wedding and event photographers are the a9's speed and silent shooting, both of which are certain to have a positive impact on capturing just the right moment without any interruption from the clacking of a conventional shutter.
All this capability stems from a stacked CMOS image sensor, which includes processing circuitry nearer the pixels and features built-in memory to deliver all this data to the off-board processors at a rate they can cope with. It's this structure that enables the camera to shoot at 20 frames per second and do so with an electronic shutter that's fast enough to minimize the rolling shutter effect. The fast readout also allows 60 AF/AE calculations per second, promising better subject tracking and prediction.
- 24MP full-frame Stacked CMOS
- 20 fps continuous shooting with full AF (electronic shutter, 12-bit files)
- Continuous shooting buffer of up to 241 compressed Raw files (362 JPEG)
- 10 fps continuous shooting with AF with adapted lenses
- 5-stop (estimated) 5-axis image stabilization
- 3.7M-dot OLED viewfinder (1280 x 960 pixels) with up to 120 fps update
- 1.44M-dot rear touchscreen LCD
- Oversampled UHD 4K/24p video from full sensor width (1.24x crop for 30p)
The stacked CMOS design not only allows the super-fast readout that powers so much of the camera's attention-grabbing spec, it also means it has all the benefits of BSI design. This means that the light-sensitive section of each pixel is closer to the surface of the sensor which, in turn, means the sensor is better at collecting light near the corners, where the incident angle will be high. It also generally means improved low light performance, and sharper pixel-level imagery.
|Sony's crammed the a9 with seriously speedy technology and is aiming it at true sports professionals. Out-of-camera JPEG cropped to taste.
Sony 24-70mm F2.8 GM | ISO 2500 | 1/800 sec | F2.8
Photo by Carey Rose
Beyond the technical wonders of the new sensor, there are a large number of significant changes to the a9 relative to Sony's a7-series that have all been made with demanding professionals in mind; these include updates to menus, controls, image quality, and more. Will all of this be enough to tempt professionals to switch? Let's dig in and find out.
|23 Apr 2017||Introduction, Shooting Experience, Image Quality Impressions, Autofocus Impressions published|
|30 May 2017||Studio Scene and Raw Dynamic Range published|
|14 June 2017||Full review published|
Looking to get in on the instant camera fun? We tried every model and think the Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 strikes the right balance between price and feature - the Instax Wide 300 is our choice if you crave a larger format.
Chrome users can now 'unhide' Instagram likes on the Web using a new browser extension called The Return of Likes.
Profoto has announced its compact A1X studio light now supports Fujifilm camera systems.
The new Motorola One Hyper has a 64MP sensor in its main camera, and even the pop-up selfie camera produces 32MP pictures that can be display across the full area of the 6.5in screen.
The Thanksgiving break gave us a chance to take the Nikon Z50 on a tour of New Orleans. See how it did with both the kit zoom and the new Nikkor Z 24mm F1.8 S.
The update adds support for Canon's new RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS lens and addresses a number of bugs throughout the system.
Among the topics of discussion with Mr. Murata were the new OM-D E-M5 III and his company's strategy to attract professional photographers.
Canadian retailer Back-Gear is offering a modified 'Ribcage' version of the Sony RX0 II that features a passive MFT mount for manual lenses.
What better way to promote a phone than to shoot a commercial for it directly on the device. It's not the first of its kind, nor will it be the last, but as has often been the case, it's a fun watch from a blockbuster director.
The new Snapdragon 865 is more power-efficient than ever but continues to push the boundaries of mobile computing, especially in the imaging department.
Here is a slideshow of some of the shortlisted photos for Wildlife Photographer of the Year's Lumix People's Choice Awards.
Since launching in 2014, over 18 million aerial photographers and content creators have uploaded their work to SkyPixel. They are celebrating by giving away big prizes for their 5th anniversary.
Capture One 20 is live with a new and improved interface and a number of new or redesigned tools to help process your photos more effectively.
Senior Editor Barney Britton's first choice for Gear of the Year is a camera that he has carried with him more than any other in 2019 (not including his phone) – the Ricoh GR III.
Chris and Jordan test the Canon EOS R with new v1.4 firmware to see how much it improves autofocus. TL;DR – if you use eye-AF, you'll want this update.
Google's latest update for Google Photos makes it possible to have conversations and share images with others directly from the service's mobile apps and Web.
The Laowa 12mm F2.8 Zero-D, 25mm F2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro and 100mm F2.8 2X Ultra Macro can now be used with Canon RF and Nikon Z camera systems.
Google has announced it's rolling out new features for its Google Photos mobile app that makes it possible to manually tag faces that aren't recognized (or mistakenly identified) by its AI system.
ZY Optics says the lens was specifically designed ‘to have one of the longest working distance for any super macro lens.’ It's available in eight mount options and retails for $499.
The fourth lens to debut in Panasonic's full-frame lineup is the 24-70mm F2.8. It's a popular and versatile focal range, and the company makes big claims of its image quality.
According to retail analyst BCN Ranking, Sony has overtaken Canon and Nikon to claim the top spot the full-frame camera market in Japan.
Facebook gets the Data Transfer Project moving by announcing the ongoing roll-out of an open-source tool that lets you move all your Facebook photos to Google Photos
The original CamRanger was one of the first wireless and app-controlled camera remotes. Now the company has released an updated version.
Panasonic has announced it's selling its minority stake in its joint venture semiconductor business to Taiwanese company Nuvoton for $250M.
A number of anti-virus programs have been flagging Nikon's software as a virus due to mistakenly identifying a specific installation file. Nikon has updated its suite of Windows software to correct this issue.
There were a lot of cameras released in 2019, and this is your chance to vote for your favorites.
Which prime lens was your favorite in 2019? This is your chance to vote.
A lot of really great zoom lenses were released this year - vote for your favorites in our 2019 readers polls.
FCC filings and additional reports suggest the Autel EVO 2 drone will have a 48MP camera and will be capable of recording 8K video.
Planning to do any outdoor photography this winter? Here are some products you might want to take with you.