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|
Three new lenses from Leica for the M system, including a pair of limited edition Safari options (28mm F2 and 75mm F2) and a silver version of the 75mm F2.
The Timelapse+ View is a sophisticated device that aims to solve a common challenge for time-lapse photographers: shooting through extreme changes in light levels, such as day-to-night transitions. As we discover in our review, it works really well.
The model includes replaceable batteries, Bluetooth and a compact folding design.
The new Olympus 12-45mm F4 Pro lens promises to be a high quality, compact zoom for Micro Four Thirds cameras. Does it live up to the hype?
The DPReview TV team recently traveled to Costa Rica where they had an opportunity to shoot with the new Olympus 12-45mm F4 Pro lens. Check out their sample images in this gallery and see how it performed.
The company says it designed the jacket in partnership with an actual (although current unidentified) photojournalist.
The company's CEO says this 'may seem like bad news at first,' but that it'll ultimately benefit customers.
The ISOCELL Bright HM1 camera sensor features the industry's first 'Nonacell' technology.
At $199 it's not the cheapest underwater housing for a phone we have seen, but it looks more solid than most.
He'll remain with the company as Executive Chairman of the Board, however.
It's not cheap and the initial setup is time-consuming, but the Loupedeck+ improves on its predecessor in some important ways and makes a lot of sense for those with demanding photo editing needs.
The FAA recently proposed rules that could impact all drone operators in the US, virtually requiring an internet connection to fly and a requirement to broadcast personally identifying information. Here's what's at stake and how to make your voice heard.
CIPA, the organizer behind the CP+ tradeshow, has announced it’s canceling this year's exhibition, citing concerns surrounding the Coronavirus.
The service isn't intended for long-term storage, instead making it easier to send images to third-party platforms.
The bike has a modular clamp-on system with support for baskets and other attachments.
The Selphy Square QX10 is a pocket-sized dye-sublimation printer with a built-in rechargeable battery for making easy prints on the go.
Wedding photographer Richard Wong created a video showing side-by-side comparisons between images created with similar full-frame mirrorless cameras. One has an anti-aliasing filter over the sensor while the other doesn't. Is there a noticeable difference?
The world's most important smartphone exhibition has been cancelled at the last minute due to fears of the spread of coronavirus amoung exhibitors and the 100,000 visitors
Without water, El Capitan's annual waterfall event may very well end up being a massive disappointment for the barrage of photographers who swarm there every year to capture the iconic scene.
Canon has announced the development of the R5 - a flagship RF-mount camera capable of 8K video and 20fps shooting. Details are scant, but the new camera is expected to be released at some point this year, alongside nine new RF lenses and two teleconverters.
The Canon EOS Rebel T8i packs a pretty impressive set of features, including a new Digic 8 processor, which enables 7 fps continuous shooting and 4K video capture.
Canon's RF system gains an affordable, compact travel zoom in the form of the 24-105mm F4-7.1. It will be offered as a kit option with the EOS R and RP, and will be available separately for $400.
Photographer Alireza Rostami took inspiration from a recent book he read to create a pair of cameras made entirely from 35mm film cassettes.
Sony World Photography Awards recently announced the finalists and shortlisted winners for their 2020 Professional competition.
The new model follows Negative Supply's Film Carrier MK1 designed for camera-scanning 35mm film.
In a wide-ranging conversation, Kenji Oishi gave us an insight into Nikon's strategy at all levels of its business, and shared some details of the new D6.
The OM-D E-M1 Mark III offers a number of new features, many of which come from the E-M1X. Find out what's new, and whether you should upgrade.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a 20MP high-end Micro Four Thirds camera. It brings a whole heap of E-M1X capability to a sensibly sized body.
Chris and Jordan traveled to Costa Rica to test the new Olympus E-M1 Mark III. Will Chris survive the crocodiles? Will Jordan's audition tape for the next reboot of Baywatch make your head spin? Watch to get answers to these and other important questions.
We got a chance to use the new Olympus E-M1 Mark III surrounded by wildlife at the official launch event in Costa Rica, as well as in our own backyard in Seattle. Get a sense of what this camera is capable of in our sample gallery.