Sony Announces the Top-of-the-Line a9, a Blazing Fast 20fps Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Perfect For Sports

Sony a9 with FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM

Sony has announced what’s possibly the most advanced full-frame mirrorless camera at a live event at New York. The 24MP a9 is Sony’s new flagship and features a stacked CMOS sensor for super-fast readout. This allows the a9 to achieve a staggering 20fps for up to 241 compressed RAW frames before the buffer is full. If you shoot in JPEG mode, you can get up to 362 frames!

The a9 has a 693-point AF system providing 93% coverage, and AE/AF calculations are done at 60fps while also providing 60fps blackout-free live feed. Sony also claims improved subject tracking and Eye AF speeds, and focus down to -3 EV with F2 lens. This is a whole stop better than the a7R II. How does shooting at 20fps with no blackout look like? Check out this video by Hugh Brownstone of Three Blind Men and an Elephant Productions. With no blackout and a high frame rate, it looks as if he has not started shooting!

The Electronic View Finder (EVF) has a resolution of 3.68M dots (1280×960) and runs at 120fps, making it one of the fastest EVFs around. In comparison, thet X-T2’s EVF can only achieve 100fps in boost mode, and a resolution of only 2.36M dots. This should be quite something to look through. The shutter on the a9 is primary electronic, but it also has a mechanical shutter with a flash sync speed of 1/250s. There is also a 5-axis in-body image stabilisation providing 5 stops of stabilisation.

Sony a9 (Front)

On the video side of things, the Sony a9 shoots 4K downsampled from 6K worth of pixels, with full pixel readout without pixel binning. It is also able to record Full HD 1080p at up to 120fps with a data rate of 100Mbps.

Sony a9 (Rear)

Other improvements include dual SD card slots supporting UHS-II cards, an AF joystick and an AF mode dial. In addition to USB, an Ethernet port on the a9 alows for super fast data transfer. Sony also says that battery life has been improved by 2.2x with the new NP-FZ100 battery. A separately-available battery grip lets you double your shooting time by allowing the use of a second battery.

It looks like Sony has pulled all the stops for this, and it sure is a good contender for the stalwarts like the Nikon D5 and Canon 1DX II, both of which costs more than the a9.

Tempted? The a9 will be available in May 2017 at a cost of around US$4,500.

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