Sony A9 - Review, Price and Specs

Sony A9 images

Sony announced the mirrorless A9 (ILCE-9) camera, a model that is positioned on the high-end range of the Japanese brand. The heart of the A9 is a CMOS Exmor RS full-type stacked frame sensor with a resolution of 24.2 megapixels. What has changed compared to a traditional sensor? Normally the light-sensitive portion of the sensor and the circuits are placed within the same substrate.

In a stacked sensor this is not the case and the components are placed on separate substrates and stacked one on the other to be precise. This solution allows to obtain various advantages, such as a greater space for the sensitive part of the light of each pixel.

Sony says that the sensor is the first of its kind in its category (full-frame and stacked). To accompany the sensor are the new BIONZ X processor and the LSI capture chip. These components make the A9 20 times faster in data processing than previous full-frame mirrorless cameras. The specifications show the ability to perform continuous shooting up to 20 fps and a shutter speed of 1/32,000 of a second. The buffer for continuous shooting allows you to capture up to 20 fps with continuous monitoring AF/AE for a maximum of 362 images in JPEG format or 241 in RAW format.

The focusing system boasts 693-point AF phase detection that is able to cover about 93% of the frame and provide a quick focus even on fast-moving subjects. They are then also present 25 points contrast detection that contribute to create a hybrid AF system, capable of associating the speed of the phase detection with the accuracy of a contrast detection. The shutter is fully electronic: Sony describes it as silent and vibration-free.

The camera also boasts a new Z battery capacity with about 2.2 times higher than W. batteries There are a slot for SD Dual Card (one compatible with UHS-II card), an Ethernet port, Bluetooth 4.1, the Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, micro HDMI output, an input microphone, a headphone output and a USB port.

The increased processing power provided by the processor and the LSI chip reduces the latency of the display means of the electronic viewfinder. The latter is a Quad-VGA OLED True-Finder has a resolution equal to 3.6864 million points. Users can select the frame rate from 60 to 120 fps. The construction uses an aspherical element on two sides and offers a 0,78x magnification. There is also the ZEISS T * coating and an additional fluorine coating on the outer lens. On the back is one swiveling LCD screen (+ 107 °/-41 °) from 3" with touch screen and a resolution equal to 1,440,000 points.

A9 is also equipped with the Image Sensor-Shift stabilization on 5 axes. Sony declares that the system is able to compensate for 5 stops. Sensitivity extends from ISO 100 to ISO 51,200, expandable to ISO 50 and ISO 204,800. Obviously it could not miss a range of facilities for video shooting. The top of the Sony mirrorless range is capable of recording in Ultra HD resolution with 30 or 25fps and a bitrate of up to 100 Mbps. The formats and resolutions supported are the following (PAL):

XAVC S Ultra HD: 3840x2160 (25p, 100M), 3840x2160 (25p, 60M)

XAVC S HD: 1920x1080 (100p, 100M), 1920x1080 (100p, 60M), 1920x1080 (50p, 50M), 1920x1080 (25p, 50M)

AVCHD: 1920x1080 (50p, 28M, PS), 1920x1080 (50i, 24M, FX), 1920x1080 (50i, 17M, FH), 1920x1080 (25p, 24M, FX), 1920x1080 (25p, 17M, FH)

AVC MP4: 1920x1080 (50p, 28M), 1920x1080 (25p, 16M), 1280x720 (25p, 6M)

When shooting in Ultra HD the camera will take a complete reading of the pixels to record information in 6K resolution. It then runs an oversampling for higher quality video in Ultra HD. A9 also offers other innovations as the back is a joystick that lets you easily change the focus within the frame when shooting in the focus area mode, Flexible Spot or Spot expanded flexible. The focus may also be found by means of the touch screen.

The release is scheduled for June in the US with a price list set at 4,500 dollars for the body only.