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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65 Comments

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.

michael andrew's picture

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.

Jeroen de Jong's picture

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.

Spy Black's picture

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?...

Brian Dowling's picture

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.

Pat Black's picture

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.

Pat Black's picture

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

Adrian Pocea's picture

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.

Michael Aubrey's picture

200 shot buffer is what Sony is saying.

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

Michael Aubrey's picture

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... ;-)

Adrian Pocea's picture

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

Leigh Smith's picture

My a7ii has this issue

Michael Aubrey's picture

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.

Rob Mynard's picture

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.

Zoli Tarnavölgyi's picture

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. :-)

Marius Pettersen's picture

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.

Craig Jeffries's picture

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

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1333228-REG/sony_ilce_9_b_alpha_a...

Rob Mynard's picture

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

michael andrew's picture

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.