New Sony a9 Full-Frame 4K Mirrorless Monster Announced!

Sony has just announced their new flagship full-frame monstrosity called the Sony a9. It shoots of course 4K in both full-frame and S35 mode and it features the pinnacle of Sony’s sensor and photographic technology. Aiming for the top of the full-frame photographic pantheon – a where Canon and Nikon, for the most part, reign supreme, the new Sony a9 packs an incredible amount of technology into a mirrorless body priced at more than a grand less than a top flight Canon 1DX II or Nikon D5.

After much anticipation and rumours the new Sony a9 is now a fact – and it is billed as “the most technologically advanced, innovative digital camera that Sony has ever created, the new α9 offers a level of imaging performance that is simply unmatched by any camera ever created – mirrorless, SLR or otherwise…” by its maker.

sony a9 front

Sony a9 Highlights

  • World’s 1st 35mm Full-Frame Stacked 24.2 MP CMOS sensor
  • 4K (UHD) Video at 3840 x 2160 up at 24/25/30p
    • in Full Frame and Super35 crop modes without pixel binning
    • XAVC-S 100 Mbps (8bit 4:2:0)
    • Micro HDMI out 🙁
    • Clean output to external recorders (Atomos, CD, Video Devices etc.)
  • Full HD up to 120fps Super Slow Motion (Full-Frame)
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization
  • Blackout-Free Continuous Shooting at up to 20fps
  • 241 RAW/362 JPEG images
  • Silent, Vibration-free shooting at speeds up to 1/32,000 sec
  • Quad-VGA 3686m-Dot OLED EVF at 120fps
  • 693 point focal plane phase detection AF points
  • Dual SD Cards (one of them UHS-II)
  • New Battery with 2.2x capacity
  • Ethernet port for file transfer
  • Built-in Wi-Fi/Bluetooth

Sony a9 Back LCD

The big thing with new Sony a9 is its blazing-fast speed – the monster is capable of blackout-free continuous shooting at up to 20fps, 60 AF/AE tracking calculations per second, and a maximum shutter speed of up to 1/32,000 second.

This is all possible thanks to the new 35mm full-frame stacked Exmor RS™ CMOS sensor – the world’s first of its kind – which enables data speed processing at up to 20x faster than previous Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras. This unique sensor is paired with a brand new, upgraded BIONZ X processing engine and front end LSI that maximizes overall performance.

This industry-leading speed and innovative silent shooting is combined with a focusing system that features an incredible 693 phase detection AF points. Covering approximately 93% of the frame, the focusing system ensures that even the fasting moving subjects are reliably captured and tracked across the frame.

Looks like Sony have finally listened and addressed one of the biggest problems with the A7 cameras – the dreadful NP-FW50 battery life with a brand new NP-FZ100 with approximately 2.2x the capacity of your Sony A7sII or A7RII batteries.

Sony a9 Overview Video:

Sony a9 4K video sample:

Sony’s new Full-Frame CMOS Stacked Sensor:

The Sony a9 certainly has the potential to have a huge impact on the high-end photography market, with it’s brand new stacked CMOS Full-Frame sensor, blazing fast speeds, huge amount of AF phase detect point, AF joystick and dual card slots and more.

On the 4K video side of things, 4K DCI is missing from the spec sheet, but we do have a really nice 6K full readout – down-sampled to a UHD resolution in the familiar XAVC-S codec; which is an 8bit Long GOP codec, but not overtly difficult to edit compared to the 10bit Long GOP (IPB) codec on the Panasonic GH5.

Some will be disappointed to see that Sony is rocking the good old 8bit 4K and Full HD codecs at a rather thin 100Mbps data rate, but come on – a 10bit codec in a full-frame camera is a bit of a stretch at least for now (in my opinion).

Heat dissipation in 4K in small cameras is one of the biggest challenges, and one that Sony are very familiar with. This could have been of the many reasons why the Sony a9 flagship is an 8bit camera…. Rolling shutter skew may have been improved due to the faster sensor, but this is yet to be tested of course.

The big shocker for me is the omission of Slog2 and Slog3 from the specs? It seems that Sony have left only a bunch of creative profiles from their stills mode – Portrait, Neutral etc and no LOG profile, which is a pretty damning omission on the video side… You can pixel peep the full specs here, but I sure can’t see a LOG profile or Cine 1-4 anywhere!

But then again, those are just numbers and the proof is in the stellar videos and images, both of which I am sure the Sony a9 can deliver in spades.

The new Sony a9 is scheduled to ship in May/June this year for $4,499 USD. Pre-orders start on April 21st, and you can do so from the links below.

Pre-order links:

Sony a9 (Body) – $4,499 (B&H)

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