Sony a9 II Announced: The Press Agency Edition

Sony a9 II Announced: The Press Agency Edition

If the Sony a9 summed up in one word is “performance,” the new a9 II in one word is “connectivity.”

Two and a half years ago when the Sony a9 was announced, its sheer performance power was ahead of its time. Nothing proves that more than the new Sony a9 II being only a subtle iteration for most photographers not working within the time constraints of a fast-paced news cycle. Most changes to the a9 II, outside of the body design, involve new ways to transmit media off the camera faster.

Specs wise we have the same 24.2-megapixel stacked CMOS sensor, the same 693 autofocus points covering 93 percent of the image, the same ISO performance expandable up to 204,800, the same 20 frames per second blackout-free continuous shooting, the same 60 autofocus and auto-exposure calculations per second, and the same 3.68m-dot viewfinder and 1.44m-dot rear touchscreen LCD. I think you’re getting the idea.

What’s Different

As we saw first with the a7R IV, the a9 II is also receiving the same upgraded buttons and a deeper, more comfortable grip. The exposure compensation dial on the top far right now has a locking button on top to prevent accidental changes. Weather sealing has been improved and Sony has opted to use double sliding covers over the previously used hinged covers on the battery door and media slots. The a9 II also features a redesigned lens lock button and added cushioning around the lens mount for improved reliability.

Further body improvements include an added USB-C port, dual card slots that are both UHS-II compatible with Slot 1 now in the top position (now if they only figure out how to have the labels facing you when inserted), as well as slightly better battery life (less than 50 more photos per battery according to CIPA testing).

While the first a9 could do 20 frames per second continuous, that was only by way of using the electronic shutter. With a mechanical shutter the photo burst was limited to only 5 frames per second. New to the a9 II is the ability to shoot 10 frames per second with a mechanical shutter (AF/AE active), as well as enhanced anti-flicker control for indoor shooting. According to Sony, the entire shutter mechanism was redesigned to achieve the faster continuous frame rate with reduced vibrations. The a9 II has a shutter life expectancy of over 500,000 cycles.

Then there’s that connectivity. The Sony a9 II has a gigabit Ethernet port, adds 5 GHz band wireless functionality to the previous 2.4 GHz option (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac), and incorporates a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C data port for tethering and file transfer. Pairing the a9 II with the Imaging Edge mobile app will allow users to transfer photos and videos from the inserted SD card via Wi-Fi even with the camera turned off.

Files can be transferred via FTP in the background while continuing to shoot, and up to nine FTP servers can be saved in the camera for quick recall. Outside of the quick recall memory, up to 10 sets of FTP settings can be saved and loaded from the SD card, and using the Imaging Edge mobile app allows for 20 sets of settings to be saved there.

Voice memos have also now arrived in the a9 II. Up to 60 seconds can be recorded to a .wav sound file and attached to images. With Sony’s Transfer & Tagging add-on app, the spoken voice memos can be converted and embedded to IPTC metadata text automatically.

The Remote Camera Tool 2.1 app update will support the a9 II’s improved wired LAN connection by reducing release time and live view lag. Now possible is the ability to remotely format SD cards, switch FTP servers, and change still image storage destinations.

Other tidbits of improvements include the ability to save and load camera settings from SD cards, separate customizable Fn menus for video and stills shooting, 1.5 times faster touchpad responsiveness, touch tracking now available while looking through the viewfinder, focus frame color options (white or red), adjustable focus points while AF-C is active, and an added 10 or 100 image jump option in playback.

The Sony a9 II will remain at the same $4,498 launch price of the original with the shipping date yet to be released.

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27 Comments

Alex Yakimov's picture

Wow! Sony is treading carefully.

Anyone guess why the evf was not upgraded on the a9s?

Eric Salas's picture

The newer EVF in the A7Riv can’t keep up with the AF. Refresh rate is too slow.

Ryan Ringstad's picture

awesome so this will just drive the price of the original down to near 50% of msrp with very little performance deficit?

Ryan Mense's picture

The a9 will be continue to be sold alongside the a9 II, so it's not a full model replacement as of right now. I would think that kind of limits the price drop going that far.

Jan Kruize's picture

Wich new mirrorless camera. Did i miss something?

Jan Kruize's picture

Aaaahhh...... and canon doesn’t have the eos-r and the eos-rp with the complete new rf-mount?

Farhad Farajov's picture

1. Canon's RF lenses are the best FF AF lenses available in the market.
2. Nikon's Z cameras are not any good than Canon's R cameras except the sensor (which is made by Sony).

Tyler Chappell's picture

1. Wrong.
2. Wrong.
3. Troll harder.

Farhad Farajov's picture

If you think so, then there is no value of discussing anything with you.

Milenko Đilas's picture

Do you maybe own an Alfa Romeo car? If you do not own then urgently buy one to be complete, because no one is as pathetic as Alfa Romeo drivers and photo labels fanboys... Grow up.

David Love's picture

Sony, check, now let's get an iphone is better than everything post and we can call the day complete.

I'm all for better connectivity, its the big missing piece between cameras and smart phone cameras, but is FTP really still the standard for this kind of thing professionally? Seems like a standard from 15 years ago.

David Apeji's picture

Do you know of any protocol that works for file transfer better than FTP?

ssh. so either scp or sftp for file transfer. anything is better than ftp which transmits user/pass in the clear.

ssh supports nearly every modern operating system. should be easy to implement in sony's firmware as long as the license is compatible.

yeah it's just a camera and the connection would be shortlived, still no reason to not choose a more secure option than a protocol whose original spec (RFC 959) appeared in 1985.

David Schloss's picture

N.A., the a9 II supports SSL and TLS encryption (FTPS)

David Schloss's picture

FTP is by far the most common transfer format professionally, yes. All the news agencies use FTP, all the sports agencies. If you're uploading images from a football game, you're not really concerned about data privacy either.

David Apeji's picture

They seem to be bumping up against the limits (for now) of their technology, so they have decided to look at usability.

Penny Fan's picture

Look like it's inevitable for these tech company to slow down over time, became less innovative, just like Apple, whether it's limited by speed of technology advancing, or they simply became more conservative.
I am worry that the next generation of Nikon/Canon mirrorless will catch up or even surpass Sony's.

Tony Tumminello's picture

"I am worry that the next generation of Nikon/Canon mirrorless will catch up or even surpass Sony's."

Why worry? Competition benefits the consumer.

ANDREW WILDER's picture

Surprised they didnt bump up the resolution to 30+ mp. But i know getting that much information buffered and written is a challenging technological feat.

Sony probably listened to this guy (https://petapixel.com/2019/07/19/is-sonys-pace-of-innovation-actually-hu...), so they slowed down with the upgrades. /s

David Schloss's picture

This is the kind of thing that cracks me up. Every camera release is either too big of a change, and destroying the industry, or too small of change and destroying the company.

Spy Black's picture

Seems like Sony hasn't been able to get their real A9 upgrade up to speed, so they put out an incremental model in advance of the forthcoming Canon and Nikon flagship bodies.

David Love's picture

Looks like now that that Sony has got people to jump over for the innovation, they can now slow down to a crawl and start releasing minor updated cameras like the rest of them. In the meantime the others will work to also add those features and everyone will be the same again.

This is the problem. I think Sony's goal was to convert as many people from Nikon to Canon before these companies release pro mirrorless on par with a9. Perhaps they feel a little smug with their lead and are now resting on their laurels. Perhaps the a9ii is just a point release even though the a9iii is already designed.