Sony Just Announced the a9 and It Looks Amazing

Sony just announced its most impressive camera to date, the a9. If you've been thinking about making the switch from Canon or Nikon to Sony, this camera may make that decision easier. 

This camera was created with professional sports and wildlife photographers in mind. Instead of competing with the 42-megapixel a7R II, which most people consider a "studio camera," the a9 will be geared towards photographers who need speed. The sensor falls right in-between the a7R II and the a7S II at 24.2 megapixels, but in almost every other way, the camera is a big improvement. 

The first exciting feature is that this camera offers blackout-free shooting, meaning that you will be able to see your subject in the viewfinder 100 percent of the time as you snap up to 20 frames per second. Standard DSLR cameras are incapable of doing this because the mirror, used to see through the lens, needs to flip up to take the picture, blocking your view as the camera exposes. The a9 will work like a video camera, snapping pictures instantly without any break in the feed. If you need silent shooting, the camera can shoot without any sound while using an electronic shutter. 

The autofocus is probably the most impressive aspect of this camera. The a9 has 693 phase-detect AF points that cover 93 percent of the entire frame. No more having to focus and recompose, because basically, you'll be able to focus on any point in your frame. 

The viewfinder is now the sharpest ever created and it can play back live footage at 120 fps so that it feels like a standard optical viewfinder. 

One of the biggest problems with Sony cameras is the battery life, but the a9's new battery now has 2.2 times the capacity of Sony's other full-frame cameras. 

This camera also comes with an Ethernet port, which may allow the camera to be controlled over a network and of course the camera also has 4K video and 5-axis stabilization along with dual SD card slots. 

If you're a sports photographer or you are shooting moving subjects like kids or weddings for a living, the a9 may end up being the most impressive camera on the market. Of course, for all of these incredible features, you will pay dearly. The a9 will be released on May 25th for $4,500. Of course, if we can all have a little patience, all of these amazing features will eventually trickle down to Sony's other cameras over the next few years. 

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Lee Morris is a professional photographer based in Charleston SC, and is the co-owner of

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This is an impressive camera and I wonder how many shooters would jump right in as they did with the A7RII.

When I reviewed the A7RII I was very impressed but it didn't feel better than a DSLR to me, it just felt comparable. This camera feels like a significant upgrade from a standard DSLR to me.

I kind of like mirrors, like a stick shift, not gonna die for me. The electronic EVF is forcing me into the future too much, i know its better, but I don't want to be George Jetson.

You want to remain Julius Cesar?

Like you, I don't like EVF, also like mirrors (the feeling of taking a photo instead of pushing a button).

It's the time getting further to the futere. It's maybey the same as the time betwee analog and digital. Or the first DSLR with live-view (there is a viewfinder, why do I need live-view) or with filming instead of using a dediated filmcamera.
Time flies, time emerges. It's the technology that pushes us forwards. Why struggle with it? If you embrace it, pherhaps you can grow to something new.
If a new camera has functions that I don't need, I don't use them. Or I start thinking about it and find ways to use them. For instance; Live-view. I love it to stick my camera up in the air and still able to make a composition above the crowd. I don't need to drag along a small stair or find a chair to stand on.

(p.s. I drive stickshift for years now, but I love automatic gears because I'm lazy)

There's quite a gap between Julius Caesar and George Jetson. Generally, I don't like to think of most features as being generally better or worse but rather more or less suited to an application or taste.

One thing I find weird is that they finally put two cards slots in one of their top-of-the-line models, only to make one slot be able to accept ONLY UHS-1 cards. This, on a FOUR THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED dollar camera. Hello?...

I'm more on the entertainment side of news photography, but I think this camera is a huge game changer. I'm really curious when agencies like AP or Getty will take the big jump and order this body in bulk. 20fps with minimum noise is mind blowing. I would make all golf and White House press photographers use this camera. :)

Wow quite impressive,addressing faults of previous cameras like lousy battery life,now what about longer/faster glass and better ergonomics?Gee might as well buy a DLSR.Weight will increase substantially?
I do like the fact that Sony is going to rock the boat and press Canikon into stepping up the game,we all benefit in the end as consumers.

People have been saying that Sony is pressing Canikon for years but so far crickets.

Sony passed Nikon in Market shares last week, That is hardly crickets. not to mention that canon has yet to put out a camera that can utilize a full frame sensor for their video side, and sony accomplished that over 2 years ago now.

by "crickets" I meant no response (silence) from Canon & Nikon.

ahh i see what you meant now, it still has forced them to put 4k into the 5d4 and the 1dxii, as well as drop the price of the Cinema series of cameras

Targetting thr pro wildlife, sports, photo journalists photographers. Tough to chage the mind of those stubborn, middle age to old guys, which have 30-50k into glass and only a fraction of that into bodies. 120fps with full autofocus sounds the most appealing to me. Nikon has to come with some amazing tech in the new D820 body to match these. I highly doubt it. Canon shooters already did the jump to 5div and 1dx2, don't see many of them running to Sony. As gor wedddings, yes, this sounds like an amazing camera, but with the only option of 70-200 at 2700 dollars ( anazing lens indeed) , we are talking about 7200 dollars for a quintessential setup for a wedding. With a D750 and a Tamron G2 you get pretty much the same setup for 2800. That is a hell of a money difference

On behalf of middle aged to old guys, kiss my ass! That aside, I'm wondering what the buffer on this thing is like.

200 shot buffer is what Sony is saying.

Really? With SD cards? Is that RAW or Jpeg?

Wow. Apparently I was wrong. It's even better. Must have seen a "more than 200" statement somewhere. Searching through the official press release for the word buffer came up with this quote:

"The immense processing power from these new components allows for faster AF/AE calculation while also reducing EVF display latency. The processor and front end LSI are also responsible for the larger continuous shooting buffer, enabling photographers to shoot at a blazing 20 fps4 with continuous AF/AE tracking for up to 362 JPEG6 or 241 RAW5 images."

fn5: “Hi” continuous shooting mode, compressed RAW, UHS-II memory card. Sony tests.
fn6: “Hi” continuous shooting mode, UHS-II memory card. Sony tests.

Dang! Now if it only had a mirror... ;-)

Buffer for ten seconds means nothing if the camera bricks out for 45 seconds after that, like the a99ii does

My a7ii has this issue

Same with my A7rII.

But neither have UHS-II, so one *would* expect that will no longer happen.

Great point. I'm learning even with my GH5 that non-Nikon/Canon lenses are super expensive and they kinda have you trapped.

Don't forget that many Sigma ART series lenses are available in SONY E mount, like the 50mm f/1.4 and the 35mm f/1.4, and more will be coming in the near future. Less expensive than Canon/Nikon glass, and a lot less expensive than Sony Zeiss glass, and often better.

It was released with a new 100-400mm lens.

When you talk of "changing the minds of stubborn photo journalists", in Australia most of our major paper photographers have just lost their jobs, and lost the access to the paper owned cameras, so they've been coming into my shop looking at the Sony's and Fuji's.

I think, at the moment Sony positioning there line up like Rollls-Royce, an extra, not for everyone, and that is a huge mistake. When they decide to sell there lens and bodies (especially lens) for the same price like Canikon, they will win the battle for a long time on. :-)

Slap me if I'm blind, but does Sony mention anywhere that the body is weather sealed? I'd guess that's a pretty big thing for nature and sports photographers shooting pro Nikon and Canon today.
That price too.

On the BHPhoto website, they say it's fully weather sealed.

The a7ii series were weather sealed so there's no reason to think they would have back pedaled on that.

One thing about Canon that I have always loved is the gear just works, I have had a few failures, but the amount of work I have put through my 1D series and 5D series cameras have blown me away as far as the reliability.

I have little experience with Sony, they might be great, but they are still fresh enough that when I hear about overheating, and glitches I just lose interest. I have used the A7s series on video jobs and the ISO performance is just extraterrestrial, and i will say certain shots (ISO 25,000 clean) I could not get with any other system on earth . Other than that, the colors and Log are kinda whatever to me, the work flow of a different system is a pain in the arse and it takes an insane amount of time to master a system. Knowing how to change every setting on my Canon gear blindfolded is immeasurable to me. Sony's menu and button system keep me up at night.

This is true. I can't see Nikon or Canon releasing a camera with an overheating issue. Hopefully it won't be an issue in any future Sony camera.

no but Nikon has had every major camera have a recall in like the past 4 years, with having ether light leaks or oil on the mirrors/ sensors

Also true

Wasn't this weeks firmware update for the 5d4 to fix an overheating problem?

Michael. A9 will be more reliable than any dslr when it comes to durability and long life. Because of its non moving parts, electronic silent shutter. Expected shutter count should be around 5 million.

Do we know what the fps is when in silent shooting mode?

Full 20 fps. It's incredible. You can feel it in vibration when you are firing but no sound.

Whaaaaat?? Game changer. I'm a still photographer and I use a sound blimp on my Nikon D4 and D810. I have the a7rii but it is abysmally slow in silent mode.

Also, do we know if they solved the distortion problem in silent mode on the A9? On the A7RII I get bad horizontal lines through the frame in some lighting scenarios.

The tech specs look great but have you guys looked at their sample images? Ugh.

Haha those are pretty bad pictures... I can't blame the camera

If they could make with with a native Canon mount... that'd be lights out. Use all my awesome Canon-mount glass without an adapter, in addition to 1Dx and 5D4. Yes please.

Game changer!!!

when using a cheap fotodiox adapter my canon 70-200 is II focuses noticeable faster on the sony than on my 5dIII or my 6D

Impressive specs for sports and wildlife. But where are the long and fast lenses for this?

Yep... Seems like Sony is building amazing cameras before they have all of the lenses that the sports pros need to switch.

agreed. An adapter that provided close to full function for Canikon lenses would be a showstopper.

there are a few out there that are good for canon, even in photo mode but Nikon is much harder since there mount is mechanical

No doubt, but considering that whomever decided to go with the a9 would be switching systems regardless, it's still more economical for a Nikon user to sell off their glass to acquire Canon glass than purchase/wait for Sony lenses. It's amazing that Sony has neglected good sports lenses for so long.

it is without a doubt, but from my understanding sport lens are the most expensive to not only produce but to research. and in terms of lens sold sport lens have to be some of the least popular in sheer numbers, with the most popular being kit lens, 50s and 24-70s

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