First Look – Sony Alpha 9 Camera – Raises the Bar & the Price


You’ve got to give Sony a lot of credit.  At the debut of its new Alpha 9 mirrorless camera, it proudly announced that it is now in second place in the world interchangeable lens camera market (ILC), overtaking legendary nameplate Nikon (still behind Canon). This is no small feat for a company that’s only been a factor in the field for a few years.  

At its global event, Sony unveiled its new full-frame Alpha 9 (A9) 4K mirrorless camera and a new G Master FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens. 

The new top of the line mirrorless camera has a slew of significant improvements from the existing A7 family, including the world’s first full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with integral memory which will increase data readout speeds by approximately 20 times.  The 24.2 MP camera is capable of 20 fps (frames per second) continuous shooting allowing 362 JPEG or 241 RAW images without a stop using its blackout-free viewfinder so that you can always get the shot.  The A9 includes 60 fps auto-focus and auto-exposure calculations providing accurate tracking of subject motion and brightness changes even though they may be complex and erratic.   Its ISO range is 100 – 51200, expandable to 50 – 204800, and the enhanced BIONZ X processor helps to minimize noise in the higher sensitivity ranges.

It also has 693 AF points which allow 93% coverage of the frame maximizing focusing capabilities.  Sony claims this new AF system is approximately 25% faster in performance when compared to its Alpha 7R II.  

The A9 shoots completely silently and vibration-free allowing photographers to capture shots without any telltale clicking at shutter speeds up to 1/32,000 sec.   This feature is a plus for photographers who are trying to shoot wildlife without scaring them or not ruining the video being taken by the person standing next to you.  

In addition to Wi-Fi Sony’s A9 includes an Ethernet port for quick, easy file transfer.  Dual SD card slots can be programmed for use as you wish.  One slot can be a back-up copy, hold only video content or hold only RAW photos.  Sony has also extended battery life with 2.2x capacity over the last battery.  There is also 5-axis in-body image stabilization, enhanced eye AF, touch focus on the LCD screen and full-frame 4K video capture.

The G Master FE 100-400mm will have corner-to-corner sharpness and beautiful bokeh throughout its entire zoom and focus range.  It will be fast, precise and have a quiet AF performance.  Its class-leading lightweight design will bring it in at approximately 49 ounces.  

Both the lens and the camera are available for preorder now.  The A9 will be shipping on May 25th and will be US $4,499 / CAN $5,599 for body only.  That’s about $3500 more than the original A7 body and about $1600 more than the current top end A7R II, which may put it beyond the reach of anyone other than pros or the most serious (and well-heeled) prosumers.  But this is also about the most advanced MILC (mirrorless interchangeable lens camera) we’ve seen, and if you want all the bells and whistles this vaults to the top of the wishlist. The FE 100-400 mm lens will be shipping in July and costs US $2,499 / CAN $3,399.

We’ll be bringing you a complete review of the A9 as soon as we can get our hands on one.