The Alpha A9 from Sony is an impressive mirrorless camera designed for professional sports photographers with 24.2-megapixel full-frame stacked CMOS sensor that permits faster data readout when compared to previous sensors. It was officially announced in April 2017.
Compared to the pro-Canon and Nikon bodies, the Alpha 9 is smaller and lighter and more convenient in shape. Some Photographers will love the fact that it permits a larger grip due to its size.
Oversampled 4k footage
No viewfinder blackout
Incredibly fast and capable AF
Excellent result from 24MP sensor
Impressive level of customization
No XQD card slots
Battery life not a match for rivals
Very limited touchscreen control
Weather sealing not as robust as rivals
Balance not great with long lenses
The Sony A9 utilizes a completely electronic shutter to permit quick, quiet and vibrating free shooting, with a shutter speed up to 1/32000, and electronic piece eliminating blackouts. Rolling shutter artifacts are being disposed of; since the camera can convey an anti-distorting shutter with faster speeds.
- Full-frame stacked CMOS sensor, 24.2MP
- 3,686 K-dot electronic viewfinders.
- 0-inch tilt-angle touch screen (1,440,000 dots).
What makes the Alpha 9 to stand out is the 24.2MP full-frame stacked CMOS sensor. The stacked design means the integrated DRAM memory modules, the BIONZ X image processing engine and a high-speed processing circuit are all lined up behind the image sensor. The high-speed processing circuit, the embedded DRAM memory modules, and the image processing system (BIONZ X).
The Alpha 9 pushes data through the sensor, and these data are being read 20 times faster than the previous versions. At this rate, the Alpha 9 can shoot at a dashing 20fps for 241 raw files and up to 362 JPEG files according to Sony camera news.
The stacked sensor is designed in a bid to enhance the A9’s performance. It delivers a better noise control with the aid of light-gathering elements. The Alpha 9 has a broad native ISO range of 100-51,200, which can be expanded up to 50-204,800, with an extended ISO ceiling proportional to 3,280,000.
We’ve always liked the large electronic viewfinder on the Alpha A7R II, but the EVF on the A9 is bigger and better. The Sony Alpha 9 features a larger and better electronic viewfinder compared to that of the Alpha A7R II.
Alpha A9’s high-luminance EVF has the highest resolution when considering viewfinders that have been used by Sony in cameras according to Sony camera news. It permits 0.78x magnifications with a 120fps refresh rate and a coating to reduce reflections. A9’s viewfinder is fresher compared to Sony’s previous EVF and better at avoiding electronic artifacts. It offers a rich shooting experience for photographers.
The camera can record quality videos as well, offering a 4k (3840 x 2160p) video recording through the width of the full-frame sensor. When shooting, the camera obtains up to 6K of information using full pixel readout, which produces high-quality 4K footage.
An important upgrade on the Sony A9 is the twin SD card slots, with one slot to the faster UHS-II media support, which is a little bit disappointing. The good thing is that, like other cameras with twin card slots, you can setup the camera to flawlessly switch from one card to the other.
As far as connectivity is concerned, the Sony Alpha A9 features the usual Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth supports. Most importantly, it features the flash sync socket which is missing in the Alpha A7R II.
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The camera consists of a 3.5mm microphone and headphone jacks, a Micro USB for output and charging, and a Type-D Micro HDMI port. You can charge the Alpha A9 over USB and at the same time powering it on for live shooting, something that is peculiar to Sony. The USB port speed remains at 2, which is a little bit sad looking at the nature of the camera because some Photographers’ expected Sony to upgrade to a USB port speed of 3.
SONY ALPHA A9 DESIGN
Observing the Sony A9 specs, it follows a similar design pattern with the Alpha 7 series. However, the Sony A9 is considerably more compact compared to bulky and heavy cameras like the Nikon D5 and Canon EOS-1D Mark.
The Alpha A9 is considerably efficient for professional Photographers and Videographers. Though there are no rubber seals to protect some of the camera’s element, the body is weather-resistant, made of magnesium alloy. Its grip is nicely comfortable and of a decent size. An alternative GPX1EM grip extension is attached, with a VGC3EM battery grip as well.
There is an increment in the numbers of direct controls; there are presently dials for both drive and auto adjust modes. Sony A9 features an AF joystick (which is extremely decent to utilize) and committed AF-ON and AEL buttons. No doubt, the Sony A9 features impressive customizations; you can also work out your own preferred customizations for optimum results.
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The Sony Alpha A9’s Autofocus reacts faster than that of the A7R II. An improvement which features a sophisticated approach to auto focusing. It comes with a dashing 603 phase detection, with AF points of 93% coverage. AF speed has been increased up to 60 fps, initializing faster acquisition. Depending on what you are shooting, there are plenty of autofocus settings and customizations to make it easier for you.
The joystick allows you to focus areas properly by positioning anywhere in the frame. An Expanded Flexible Spot Mode which utilizes additional AF points is added to eliminate struggles when focusing. With the addition of a Lock-on setting, you also have a wide variety of focusing area options when shooting with the Sony Alpha A9. The AF system is simply impressive, being the first Sony Camera to permit customizable AF tracking sensitivity according to Sony camera news.
PERFORMANCE AND IMAGE QUALITY
The Sony Alpha A9 is a masterpiece with no viewfinder blackouts and a burst shooting of 20 fps. It has amazing functions, like the electronic shutter which can help you in silencing when capturing subjects.
Compared to the A7R II, the Sony A9 sensor readout is 6 times faster than an A7R II with its rear side illuminated system and 20 times faster than the A7 II which utilizes a more regular front-side illuminated sensor.
The Alpha A9 uses less power consumption than the AR7 II when recording videos. Start-up times in the Alpha 9 are 30% quicker, and the camera feels more energetic to use than the previous full-frame models from Sony.
With a 3686k-dot resolution and a 120 fps refresh rate, the electronic viewfinder can produce a large and clear view of your shootings. The EVF creates a plain view of what the camera is about capturing in real-time with a blackout-free burst shooting in place.
The Sony A9 can deliver 480 shots with the upgraded battery life. However, you need a substantial number of spare batteries, if you are an active and a working Photographer. The A9’s expanded battery life is good for a mirrorless camera of its nature, but it achieves less compared to that of the EOS 1Dx Mark II and D5. You can actually double the total battery life to 1000 shots by attaching the VG-C3EM grip accessory to approach the tagged 1210 shots by the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II.
Alpha A9 is incredibly vibrant in color output and also effective in the reduction of noise.
The 24MP sensor has the rich capabilities of delivering well-detailed images, particularly when hitched with some of Sony’s G-Master lenses. Results gotten from capturing subjects are more favorable compared to the EOS-1D X Mark II and D5. You can generate clear and sharp A3 and A2 sized prints with ease.
The Sony Alpha A9 price goes for $4498 on Amazon. It is a masterpiece from Sony that shares the same intents with the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and D5. However, Sony is coming with an entirely different approach with the most resolution offered and its world’s first full-frame stacked CMOS sensor system.
Looking at some of the cons; the sealing on the body is not as standard as that of its rival. It has limited touch screen controls and lacks proper balancing with long lenses, with its battery life not matching up with that of the EOS-1D X Mark II and D5.
Nevertheless, it possesses a snappy performance with a fast and impressive autofocus. There is no viewfinder blackout when capturing and you are guaranteed excellent and sharp results from the 24MP CMOS sensor.
The Sony Alpha A9 offers an improved overall responsiveness for a camera of its nature with Sony meeting up to the necessary expectations with this great product.
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