Sony has just thrown down the gauntlet in the professional camera market with the introduction of the new Sony Alpha 9 full-frame interchangeable lens camera, and companion Sony G Master FE 100-400mm super telephoto zoom lens.
Sony is pushing hard to expand its already-growing #2 position in the U.S. for full-frame detachable lens cameras, and the new Alpha 9 is a big step forward — featuring speed and accuracy with continuous shooting at up to 20 fps and electronic shutter speeds up to 1/32000 sec. with silent, vibration-free shooting — and in a relatively compact body. It will be available in May for about $4,500 US.
The performance of the new Alpha 9 is great news for sports and action photographers. The Auto Focus and Auto Exposure also keep pace, continually tracking high-motion subjects by re-computing AF/AE 60 times per second, using 693 AF phase-detection points on the image sensor to cover approximately 93 percent of the image area.
The electronic shutter also eliminates blackout (i.e., from SLR mirror action), providing an uninterrupted live view even during shutter release, so you can actually see what you shot.[image:blog_post:64001]
The new 24.2-megapixel 35mm Exmor RS CMOS sensor uses integrated memory to provide temporary storage for large-volume data, providing 20 times faster readout speed. The continuous shooting mode then provides 20 fps for up to 241 RAW or 362 JPEG images, so you can be sure to capture that exact moment.
The silent shutter in the Alpha 9 also is a great benefit for photojournalists, and in other situations where you want to be an invisible part of the scene. You can shoot side by side with videographers, or in a church, or out in nature, without the signature clicking sound of the shutter imposing on the moment. The electronic shutter also allows faster shutter speeds and avoids the vibration from mechanical action.
Videographers also can use the Alpha 9 to shoot Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps (to edit for slow-motion effects), and 4K (3840 x 2160) at up to 100 Mbps. The 4K uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 6K of information, which is then oversampled to produce higher quality 4K footage.
Sony also has provided two media card slots, which can be used to separately record images and video, or RAW and JPEG, or simultaneously backup the imagery — as well as to copy between cards.[image:blog_post:64000]
Another Sony design focus is allowing you to run the camera from the viewfinder, so you can keep your focus on the action and do not need to struggle with the rear LCD screen in bright sunlight. You can shoot without blackout, monitor focus, and review footage, all in the high-res 3686k-dot electronic viewfinder, with twice the brightness of the a7R II and near that of the actual scene. Sony also has brought out menu options like focus and frame rate to physical controls for quick manual adjustments.
For more flexible focus control, the a9 also has a multi-selector joystick on the back of the camera to shift the focus point, as well as touch focusing on the rear LCD screen.
Another nice bonus is the new battery, which offers twice the life of the previous NP-FW50, so you can capture 480 (viewfinder) to 650 (LCD monitor) still frames on one charge. You also can add the vertical grip (sold separately) that can hold two batteries.
The Alpha 9 also now has an Ethernet port for wired LAN connection, providing fast FTP connection to an external server for immediate editing and publishing.
The Sony Alpha 9 is built with a magnesium alloy body for professional toughness and reliability, with a dust-and moisture-resistant design. It's relatively compact at 5 x 3 7/8 x 2 1/2 inches and 1 lb 7.7 oz.[image:blog_post:64002]
Sony also unveiled the new FE 100-400mm super telephoto zoom lens in its flagship G Master line. This has a double motor system for fast and precise focusing, and a minimum focusing range of just 3.22 feet. It's relatively compact at 3 3/4 by 8 1/8 inches and 49.3 ounces, and will be available in July for $2,500.