Sony E 35mm
size sensor
image of Sony Alpha ILCE-A9
Front side of Sony A9 digital camera Front side of Sony A9 digital camera Front side of Sony A9 digital camera Front side of Sony A9 digital camera Front side of Sony A9 digital camera
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Sony Alpha ILCE-A9
Resolution: 24.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: 35mm
(35.6mm x 23.8mm)
Kit Lens: n/a
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 51,200
Extended ISO: 50 - 204,800
Shutter: 1/32000 - 30 seconds
Dimensions: 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in.
(127 x 96 x 63 mm)
Weight: 23.7 oz (673 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 04/2017
Manufacturer: Sony
Full specs: Sony A9 specifications

Sony A9 Review -- Now Shooting!

by , Brent Durand, , , Jaron Schneider and Zig Weidelich
Originally posted: 04/19/2017
Last updated:

04/25/2017: Tech Info added
04/27/2017: Field Test Part I & Gallery Images added
05/22/2017: Sony A9 Live Stream added
05/22/2017: First lab shots posted
05/29/2017: Image Quality Comparison posted
05/31/2017: Performance page posted
06/13/2017: Print Quality posted
06/16/2017: A9 Overheating Test posted
07/14/2017: Field Test Part II posted
07/25/2017: Video Features & Analysis posted
08/08/2017: Field Test Part III posted

To learn more about the Sony A9's design and feature set, 
click here to jump to our overview


Sony A9 Field Test Part III

Blazing up the trail to Mt. Whitney

by Brent Durand| Posted

Sony A9 Review -- Gallery Image
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G lens, f/11, 1/320s, ISO 100, 12mm
Note: This image has been edited. Please click for original.

The Sony A9 arrived on the scene this past April, offering pro shooters a blazing fast, versatile, full frame mirrorless camera. The A9 is built around an all-new, full-frame backside-illuminated 24.2MP stacked CMOS sensor, which places the photodiodes closer to the surface of the sensor. This design, combined with its uniquely integral memory, enables the lighting-quick burst shooting and very deep buffers that make this camera stand out to action shooters. The A9 is capable of shooting 20fps with no blackout and 60 autofocus and exposure calculations per second. Additionally, the backside-illuminated design allows more light to reach each pixel, which (in theory at least) produces better image quality and high-ISO performance.

I recently had a chance to shoot the A9 in some fun conditions while hiking California's iconic Mt. Whitney. Needless to say, I was excited to take the A9 on the hike with the new Sony FE 12-24 F4 G ultra-wide zoom lens. Here are a few thoughts from the field...

Build Quality, Ergonomics and Ease of Use

To me, the Sony A9 feels just like a DSLR even though it is a much smaller body. A deep grip makes it easy to hold, even with gloves, and the intuitive control layout helps you quickly change settings to match shooting conditions.

Four different custom buttons allow you to configure the camera to quickly access the settings you use the most. For example, the A9 features 5-axis image stabilization (Steady Shot), so instead of digging through the menu to turn this on and off, I simply assigned it to the C3 button. After that it's just two button presses to turn IS on and off. The Fn button, also, is really useful for accessing settings you haven't assigned to custom buttons.

This customization is really important for shooters who need to quickly access the settings they use the most, whether shooting sports, weddings or wildlife. The only control and ergonomic issues I had after initial setup stemmed from my Canon habits or from trying to find items in the Sony menu.

Sony A9 Review -- Gallery Image
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G lens, f/8, 1/1250s, ISO 80, 12mm (+1 EV in Lightroom)
Note: This image has been edited. Please click for original.
20FPS Burst with AF Tracking

I just had to try this out! As advertised, the burst is insanely fast. With a DSLR, you see the mirror blackout in between each frame, whereas with the mirrorless Sony A9 the picture doesn't black out. It doesn't even flutter. This helped to keep precise composition through the sequences. The autofocus, set to AF-C and Zone Focus Area, had no problem tracking my walking subject.

Note that burst shooting at 20fps requires a UHS-II SDXC memory card; I used a Sony 64GB card with 300 MB/s write speed. The A9 lets you shoot multiple bursts, and if you press the playback button you'll see an icon displaying the camera's status in writing to the card and clearing the buffer.

Sony A9 Review -- Gallery Image
Sony A9 20fps Burst Sequence
5-Axis Image Stabilization

Sony's 5-axis image stabilization is a great feature for those scenes without much movement and where you don't want to bump the ISO up. It proved useful in capturing the image below, where a 1/30s shutter speed might have introduced camera shake.

Sony A9 Review -- Gallery Image
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G lens, f/22, 1/30s, ISO 320, 12mm
Note: This image has been edited. Please click for original.
Image Quality and Dynamic Range

Dynamic range, color tonality and overall image quality are the main reasons many of us shoot full frame. The Sony A9 easily handled the challenges of shooting on the trail, combining the best features of sports/action photography with full frame image quality at the pixel level. In one word, the A9 is versatile. Below is a small collection of shots that show off the A9's ability to produce high quality images in a variety of shooting conditions.

For a more technical analysis of image quality be sure to read our earlier in-depth Sony A9 Field Test Part II. For more of my images shot with the A9, check out my Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G Lens Field Test.

Sony A9 Review -- Gallery Image
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G lens, f/4, 10s, ISO 6400, 18mm
Note: This image has been edited. Please click for original.

Sony A9 Review -- Gallery Image
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G lens, f/6.3, 1/250s, ISO 800, 24mm
Note: This image has been edited. Please click for original.

Sony A9 Review -- Gallery Image
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G lens, f/18, 1/60s, ISO 100, 12mm
Note: This image has been edited. Please click for original.

Sony A9 Review -- Gallery Image
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G lens, f/4, 10s, ISO 6400, 12mm
Note: This image has been edited. Please click for original.

Sony A9 Review -- Gallery Image
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G lens, f/11, 1/320s, ISO 320, 13mm (Minor white balance adjustment in Lightroom)
Note: This image has been edited. Please click for original.
Battery Life

I was worried about battery life on the 2-day Mt. Whitney trip, where temperatures where to drop to freezing. Sony introduced new, larger batteries for this model, and the A9 battery life blew away my expectations. I packed three batteries as well as a battery charger, and ended up using just one battery for the entire trip. Very solid. I have only myself to blame for carrying that extra weight up the hill!

Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder

No matter how many 10s of hours I log with Sony cameras, the picture I see on the electronic viewfinder has always felt "off" compared to the scene reflected off a mirror of a DSLR, but using the A9's 3686k dot electronic viewfinder was the first time I could really feel how an image would look once loaded on the computer. I used the viewfinder to shoot and to review images and while it's still not the same shooting experience, I think this makes the DSLR-to-mirrorless transition easier for those who have felt the same.

Sony A9 Review -- Gallery Image
Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G lens, f/11, 1/640s, ISO 320, 24mm
Note: This image has been edited. Please click for original.

Sony A9 Field Test Part III Summary

The Sony A9 is a sweet camera. I didn't use it for video and cannot speak about those features, media quality, or even reported overheating issues, but I can say that I'm really impressed with the body and photo features. The price not cheap, but then again, this camera is marketed to pros who would otherwise be looking towards the Canon 1D X Mk II or Nikon D5. The A9 proved insanely fast and capable in capturing the limited action I saw, while also sensitive in soft landscape light -- a versatile camera that I'd be stoked to take into the field again.


• • •



Sony A9 Review -- Overview


Sony A9 Review -- Product Image

Answering the calls of the most demanding professional photographers, Sony has started a new E-mount camera series with the full-frame Sony A9. This brand-new camera combines a new, state-of-the-art image sensor with a new autofocus system and a variety of new features and improvements to their proven and popular approach to mirrorless cameras. Let's look at the features and specifications of the Sony A9.

Sony A9 Key Features

  • Durable camera body that retains the compact form factor of previous full-frame E-mount bodies
  • Joystick and AF-On button for enhanced autofocus control
  • Higher-capacity battery
  • 3-inch touchscreen display
  • High-resolution, 120 frames per second electronic viewfinder with no blackout
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization
  • 24.2-megapixel stacked back-illuminated full-frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 to 51,200, expandable to 50-204,800
  • 20 frames per second continuous shooting
  • UHS-II support
  • 4K video with full-pixel readout

Camera body

Styling and controls: Designed for improved usability

While the Sony A9 shares similar design elements with the Sony A7 series of cameras, it has a few differences that should satisfy Sony shooters. On the top deck of the camera, one of these changes are stacked, independent Drive and Focus Mode dials. No longer will you need to scroll through menus or set a custom function for switching the focus mode. Both dials are lockable as well to prevent accidental changes to settings during shooting.

Sony A9 Review -- Product Image

The back of the camera has seen changes as well. There is now a dedicated AF-On button, perfect for photographers who enjoy using back-button autofocus techniques. Below the AF-On button and to the right of the display more on that in a bit is a new multi-selector joystick. This multi-selector provides direct, immediate control over autofocus points or for scrolling through images during playback. Astute readers will also note that the video record button has been moved next to the EVF, which puts it within natural reach of your thumb.

Sony A9 Review -- Product Image

The Sony A9 includes numerous ease-of-use changes as well, some of which may not be immediately apparent but will help make the camera more user-friendly. There is a new My Menu feature. This dedicated menu allows users to store and customize up to 30 menu items for quick recall. You can also designate certain settings, such as shutter speed, aperture, AF area and more, to be recalled when holding function buttons. Regarding focus settings in particular, you can register frequently used focus area settings for future use and can use separate or identical focus areas and points for horizontal or vertical-orientation shooting. Customizability matters for many users and in total, there are 11 buttons on the A9 which can be customized and reassigned to control up to 72 different functions.

Sony A9 Review -- Product Image
Durable and pro-oriented body is rugged and offers new workflow features

Designed to meet the exacting standards of professionals, the Sony A9 includes numerous reliability and usability improvements over the A7 series of cameras. The magnesium alloy body has dust and moisture resistance around most of its controls and buttons, allowing the camera to be used in demanding situations, although note that it is not guaranteed to be 100 percent dust and moisture proof despite its seals and tongue-and-groove joints. The A9 will be able to be used longer as well, as the new NP-FZ100 battery provides twice the life of the previous NP-FW50 battery, offering approximately 480 still frames on a single charge when using the electronic viewfinder, and 650 shots with the LCD monitor. There will also be an optional vertical battery grip available which can double battery life. There will also be a NPA-MQZ1K Multi Battery Adaptor Kit which can hold up to four batteries and act as external power source.

Sony A9 Review -- Product Image

Looking at the side of the camera, we find dual media slots. The Sony A9 uses SD cards but one of its slots can also use a Memory Stick Duo card. Unlike previous Sony cameras, the Sony A9 now features UHS-II card support. It will be interesting to see how the buffer clearing performance improves with the UHS-II support compared to prior Sony cameras. Note that the second memory card slot only supports up to UHS-I.

There have also been changes to the E-mount itself. Sony has increased the rigidity of the mount and added a pair of screws (bringing the total to six) so that the mount will remain durable and strong when supporting heavy telephoto lenses.

Workflow is critical for photographers on strict deadlines, so Sony has included wired LAN support for FTP file transfer. Further workflow improvements include new PC remote storage options, faster startup, copyright information embedding, a flash sync terminal, the ability to have the camera automatically shut off at certain temperatures and the ability to edit the first three characters of file names.

Sony A9 Review -- Product Image

The Sony A9 also includes wireless via Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth functionality. In addition to being able to remotely control the camera and transfer images wirelessly with PlayMemories Mobile on your smartphone, the camera can also embed location data from your phone into captured images.

Image stabilization

With a newly-developed 5-axis optical image stabilization unit built into the body, the Sony A9 is stated to offer up to five stops of vibration reduction. And since stabilization is applied to the live view image, it helps keep your shots properly composed even when shooting in low light or using a long, heavy lens.

Display: First tilting touchscreen display in a flagship Sony camera

The Sony A9 includes a 3-inch type 1,440K-dot touchscreen LCD. This is the first pro-oriented Sony camera to include a touchscreen display and allows functionality such as Touch AF. The monitor tilts as well, a maximum of 107° upward and a maximum of 41° downward. The display includes WhiteMagic technology (white pixels in addition to red, green and blue) designed to help the display be viewable even when used in bright lighting conditions.

Sony A9 Review -- Product Image
Viewfinder and shutter: No blackout and vibration-free, silent shooting

The Sony A9 is all about speed. Being able to capture images quickly doesn't mean much to sports shooters in particular if you don't have a good viewfinder experience. We have seen Sony give attention to viewfinder speed and performance in many of its recent cameras, but the A9 aims to take it to the next level with zero viewfinder blackout, even when shooting at 20 frames per second, and a direct viewfinder image of the subject during tracking and capture.

Looking at the viewfinder itself, it is a 0.5-inch OLED viewfinder with 3,686K dots and it operates with a 120fps refresh rate (60fps live-view refresh rate). The Tru-Finder EVF features 0.78x magnification and 100% coverage. The viewfinder also has Zeiss T* coating to reduce reflections.

Paired with the viewfinder is a hybrid shutter mechanism. The mechanical shutter has been refined and offers lower vibration than previous mechanical shutters. Further, the shutter is rated for 500,000 cycles. The silent, zero-vibration electronic shutter offers shutter speeds up to 1/32,000s and is said to offer minimal distortion. The mechanical shutter tops out at 1/8,000s, but both can shoot with shutter speeds as slow as 30 seconds. The mechanical shutter also offers a bulb setting. Further, flash sync speed is 1/250s.

Sony A9 Shooting Features

Image sensor: 24.2-megapixel sensor is the first-ever stacked full-frame CMOS image sensor

The Sony A9 is the first full-frame camera to utilize a Sony Exmor RS back-illuminated image sensor with a stacked structure. This stacked design is engineered to offer faster readout. In fact, Sony states that the new sensor is 20 times faster than their previous front-illuminated CMOS image sensor found in the A7 II. The pixel layer of the image sensor sits on top of a separate pixel layer – which has a high-speed signal processing circuit and integral memory – which both sit above the Bionz X image processing engine, which itself includes a new front-end LSI to reduce noise while improving image detail over a wider ISO range.

Sony A9 Review -- Product Image

The 24.2-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS sensor can capture uncompressed or compressed 14-bit RAW images across a wide ISO range of 50 to 204,800, although the native ISO range is 100 to 51,200. Sony is claiming 14-stop dynamic range from the new sensor. Further, the sensor includes a charge protection coating on its optical filter and an image sensor shift mechanism to help keep dust off the sensor.

Exposure: Improvements to metering and Auto ISO

With a 1200-zone evaluative metering sensor, the Exmor RS CMOS sensor-based metering system of the Sony A9 has a working range of -3 EV to 20 EV. The metering modes include Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot (standard and large options are available), Entire Screen Average and Highlight. Exposure compensation is available for +/-5 EV in 1/3 and 1/2 EV steps. Users can also set a standard exposure value of +/-1 EV in 1/6 stop increments which can be set independently for each metering mode.

Regarding spot metering, the A9 can link either a standard or large spot metering area to flexible or expanded spot focus areas. The highlight metering mode helps prevent blown highlights by detecting the brightest area in the frame and the average mode is designed to provide consistent exposure even when changing composition.

The Sony A9 offers more customization to Auto ISO. You can set the shutter speed above which the ISO changes when the camera is set to P or A shooting modes. You can specify a low ISO Auto limit for minimizing motion blur when shooting a moving subject as well.

Sony A9 Review -- Product Image
Autofocus: 693 phase-detection autofocus points over 93% of the image area

The Sony A9 uses Sony's latest hybrid 4D Focus autofocus system. This autofocus system includes 693 phase-detection points which cover 93% of the image area. In addition to these 693 PDAF points, there are also 25 contrast-detection autofocus points. The end result is a hybrid autofocus system which Sony claims is 25% faster than the autofocus system in the Sony A7R II.

Autofocus isn't solely about speed, however, as accuracy, low-light performance and modes matter too. The Sony A9 includes enhanced Eye AF, providing approximately 30 percent better eye accuracy compared to the Sony A7 II. Face detection has seen improvement. Low light autofocus is rated down to -3 EV, which while not rated for as low light as some professional DSLR cameras, is still very low. The A9 offers an expand flexible spot mode, designed for moving subjects, which can automatically shift focus to one of eight adjacent autofocus points when tracking a subject.

For users with A-mount lenses, it is worth pointing out that the A9 is designed to work well with adapted A-mount lenses as well. Granted, continuous autofocus tops out at 10 frames per second with A-mount lenses mounted, but that should still prove plenty fast for many users.

Sony A9 Review -- Product Image

Photographers looking for extra reach and using the A9 in APS-C mode (either with a full-frame lens or an APS-C lens) will still be able to utilize many autofocus points. When shooting with a full-frame lens in the APS-C format (10 megapixels), the A9 can use 299 phase-detection autofocus points. When using an APS-C lens, the number drops to 221 PDAF points and 25 contrast-detect AF points.

Performance: Capture up to 241 full-resolution RAW images at 20 frames per second

Speed. That is clearly the primary focus for Sony with the A9 and its specifications certainly look promising. The camera can capture up to 241 full-resolution compressed RAW images (or 362 max-quality JPEG images) at a blazing fast 20 frames per second. Not only that, but the camera is doing this with full AF/AE tracking and without viewfinder blackout. The A9 calculates AF and AE up to 60 times per second, allowing what Sony says is improved tracking of subject movement and changes in lighting conditions.

If you want to shoot RAW+JPEG or uncompressed RAW, Sony’s published specifications claim 222 RAW+JPEG frames, 128 uncompressed RAW frames and 118 uncompressed RAW+JPEG image buffer depths. As always, we will need to test the camera in our lab to determine its real-world performance and its buffer clearing speeds, but the A9's improved readout speeds and UHS-II support look poised to offer solid performance gains over prior Sony cameras.

Sony A9 Review -- Product Image

Sony A9 Video: 4K UHD video at 100Mbps

The Sony A9 records 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 resolution) video with full pixel readout and no pixel pinning. This allows the camera to condense up to 2.4 times the necessary data for 4K video into a 4K output. The camera offers clean HDMI output for both 4K and Full HD video to external recorders or monitors and the camera can simultaneously record internally and externally.

4K video can be recorded with a bit-rate up to 100Mbps and frame rate as fast as 30 frames per second in the X AVC 4K file format. Full HD video can be recorded at up to 120fps using the XAVC S HD recording format with a 100Mbps bit-rate. Regarding frame rate, the A9 records video from 1 frame per second up to 120fps in Full HD quality, allowing recording of 60x quick motion to 5x slow motion video. Slow and Quick motion effects can be previewed in camera, eschewing the need for post production.

Autofocus performance is said to be improved for video recording thanks to the new hybrid 4D Focus system. There is now a wider AF area that covers the same amount of the frame as still images and focus tracking is said to be better as well.

Sony A9 Pricing and Availability

The Sony A9 will be available starting May 25th with a price tag of about US$4,500 (CAD$6,000).

Alongside the camera, Sony introduced a variety of accessories for the Sony A9. In addition to the new NP-FZ100 battery and vertical grip and multi-battery adaptor kit mentioned earlier, Sony is releasing a GP-X1EM Grip Extension, FDA-EP18 Eyepiece Cup with locking mechanism and a shatterproof PCK-LG1 glass screen protector for the new touchscreen display.

Sony A9 Review -- Product Image

Our take on the Sony A9: Sony puts Canon and Nikon's flagship DSLRs in its crosshairs

It's clear that Sony is aiming to bring photographers over from the venerable flagship DSLR cameras from Canon and Nikon. The A9 is not a replacement for the Sony A7 series of cameras, but is rather a new line designed to offer demanding professionals shooting speeds matching or exceeding its DSLR competition while providing state-of-the-art autofocus performance in a smaller camera body.

We need to evaluate the Sony A9 in real-world shooting situations to see how it compares to cameras such as the Canon 1DX Mark II and Nikon D5, but the Sony A9 is clearly trying to make its mark in that camera class, both in terms of its feature set and its price tag. It will be very interesting to see how it stacks up, but what we have seen so far is promising.



Sony A9 Live Stream

Tweet your questions for the panel discussion and you could win a Sony A9!

by | Posted 05/22/2017

Update: Livestream has ended, but video below can be re-watched.

Want to know more about the Sony A9? Courtesy of our affiliates at B&H Photo Video, you can get your questions answered and have the opportunity to win a Sony A9 of your very own by tweeting your questions for a live panel discussion.

Tweet your questions using the hashtag to enter the sweepstakes and learn more about the Sony A9 at the same time! The live stream starts at 7:30pm Eastern time on Tuesday, May 23rd 2017, so you'll want to get your questions in before then...


Sony A9 Field Test Part I

High-speed sports shooting straight from NYC

by William Brawley |

Sony A9 field test photo(Formerly titled "Sony A9 Gallery Supplement")
IR publisher Dave Etchells and I had an opportunity to shoot with the all-new Sony A9 following the big press conference announcing the camera in New York City last week. We've now be given the green light to publish full-resolution, real-world images (both RAWs and JPEGs) from this new flagship Alpha camera. Better still, we're told these are final image quality, so this is it! To get our initial take on the camera with some important shooting notes, read on below, but if you simply want to cut to the chase, jump on over to our Sony A9 Gallery Page for a full bevy of sample images.

Given the A9's reported pro-level chops when it comes to autofocus, particularly continuous AF, as well as its super-quick 20 frames per second burst shooting capabilities, it was no surprise that Sony organized a variety of high-speed sporting events for us to photograph. The morning session consisted of both ice hockey and figure skating, while the afternoon shooting took place in a massive track and field training facility hosting a variety of Olympic-style sports, such as running (50m dash, baton relay, etc), pole vaulting and triple jump, as well as cheerleading, table tennis and taekwondo.

Sony A9 Field Test Part II

The A9 body is the best full frame mirrorless design from Sony yet

by Jaron Schneider |

Sony A9 field test photoIntroduction: A bigger, better, higher-performance Sony mirrorless camera
I have shot with every full frame Sony mirrorless that they have released, and it's been a fun ride watching them iterate and improve on their design over the last few short years. Originally, their ILC camera design was supposed to be as small and compact as possible, and it felt like Sony was willing to make more sacrifices to the camera's performance and comfort level in order to achieve this. With the A9, it appears that Sony has finally been willing to strike some kind of a middle ground. With a body that's slightly larger than the A7R II (which was slightly larger than the A7R), the A9 boasts a minor size boost and in exchange a more comfortable grip, larger battery and better heat sinking than its predecessors.

The A9 keeps much of what Sony users will find familiar while doing a little to make their camera more comfortable for those with larger hands. I used the camera exclusively without the optional battery grip and found it to be quite comfortable to hold. I, however, do not have the largest hands. In contrast, two of my friends who do have larger hands found it to still be smaller than they would have liked, with both their pinkie finger and ring finger not fitting into the given grip space and being forced to press up against the bottom of the battery compartment, which is not very comfortable. This can easily be solved by using the battery grip, but that's not the most elegant "solution" to the problem to them.

Sony A9 Overheating Test

Try as we might, we could not make the Sony A9 overheat

by Jaron Schneider |

Sony A9 overheating?When the Sony A9 first became available to the public, just about immediately a video surfaced online complaining about it overheating in what should have been a relatively unchallenging environment. In that video, the photographer said that within 20 minutes of shooting in 81 degree Fahrenheit weather, the camera warned him that the internal temperature was getting too high, and that it was soon to overheat. When I saw this video, I was shocked. I and other members of the Imaging Resource staff had already shot extensively with the A9 and found it to work outstandingly in all cases. I personally shot with it outside in Santa Barbara in the sun for a full day with no problems, so it seemed odd that this one person was struggling with the camera overheating. We decided that we had to test for ourselves if we could get the camera to overheat.

Before I go over the test, I want to make it clear that I did install the new firmware that Sony released for the A9 before I conducted the test. The firmware likely tells the A9 where to set the threshhold for warning users about a possible overheat, not preventing overheating altogether (that seems impossible for just a firmware update). So the firmware update should not have changed the camera's propensity to overheat, only how long it would go before warning you that it was about to.

Sony A9 Technical Info

A look at the tech inside Sony's mirrorless powerhouse

by Mike Tomkins |

Although the Sony A9 looks quite similar to the A7-series at first glance, it sports a newly-designed body featuring magnesium alloy panels at front, top and rear, as well as a magnesium alloy internal frame supporting this external structure. The lens mount is also now said to be more rigid, with six screws instead of four to give it sufficient strength for use with heavy telephoto lenses.

The Sony A9 body is said to be comprehensively sealed for dust and moisture resistance, although the company doesn't specify how many seals are included in total.

Inside its weather-sealed body, the Sony A9 sports the world's first stacked 35mm full-frame CMOS image sensor. The Exmor RS-branded sensor combines a high-sensitivity backside-illuminated design with on-chip memory, allowing for a claimed 20x improvement in readout speed. It also features gapless microlenses.

The sensor has a 3:2 aspect ratio and an effective resolution of 24.2 megapixels from a 28.3-megapixel total resolution. Dimensions of the chip are 35.6 x 23.8mm.

Sony A9 Image Quality Comparison

See how the Sony A9's IQ compares to other high-performance cameras

by Zig Weidelich |

Sony A9 image quality Below are crops taken from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Sony A9's image quality to other current sports-orientated flagship cameras: the Canon 1DX Mark II, Nikon D5, Olympus E-M1 Mark II and Sony A99 Mark II. We've also included its closest sibling in terms of resolution, the 24-megapixel Sony A7 Mark II, to better see how image quality has changed since its release. Note that these shots were taken with the Sony A9's mechanical shutter using the self-timer for best image quality (as we do for all cameras that offer a choice of shutter modes). We will be examining the effect of the electronic shutter on image quality in our full test results once we have finished testing the Sony A9 in the lab.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page...

Sony A9 Hands-On Preview

A true mirrorless monster

by William Brawley |

Sony A9 tech section illustration After the press conference of Sony's surprise unveiling of their latest flagship Alpha camera, the Sony A9, I was able to get some brief hands-on time with the new camera. With various units set up around a few indoor sporting demonstrations, I was able to get a sense of just how fast and nimble this new full-frame mirrorless camera really is. Unfortunately, these demo cameras had taped-up card slots, so no sharing of any photos taken with the camera today. (But stay tuned!)

The Sony A9 is all about speed and performance
First and foremost, this camera is all about speed and performance. Thanks to its stacked sensor design, the A9 can shoot at up to 20 frames per second for over 200 frames in RAW or RAW+JPEG mode. The stacked sensor design, first seen in the 1-inch-type RX100 IV, sees the A9 now brings that tech up to full-frame. The on-board memory and signal processing handles the massive data load extremely quickly, giving you that nimble high-speed burst capability. In my brief experience with the camera thus far, let me tell you that it is indeed fast. Very fast. In a sports-shooting scenario, you can fire off bursts of shots in quick succession, or mash the shutter button for tons of frames to make sure you nail the precise moment.


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A9 vs A7S II

$1898.00 (137% less)

36.4 MP (34% more)

Also has viewfinder

32% smaller

A9 vs A7R

$1199.00 (275% less)

25.56 MP

Also has viewfinder

40% larger

A9 vs sd Quattro H

$15999.00 (72% more)

24 MP

Also has viewfinder

64% smaller

A9 vs M Edition 60

$898.00 (401% less)

24.3 MP

Also has viewfinder

32% smaller

A9 vs A7

$6595.00 (32% more)

24 MP

Also has viewfinder

64% smaller

A9 vs M (Typ 240)

$2080.67 (116% less)

12.2 MP (98% less)

Also has viewfinder

32% smaller

A9 vs A7S

$5450.00 (17% more)

18 MP (34% less)

Also has viewfinder

86% smaller

A9 vs M-E (Typ 220)

$8995.00 (50% more)

51.3 MP (53% more)

Also has viewfinder

27% larger

A9 vs X1D

$1709.00 (163% less)

24.3 MP

Also has viewfinder

28% smaller

A9 vs X-T2

$7950.00 (43% more)

18 MP (34% less)

Also has viewfinder

86% smaller

A9 vs M Monochrom

$6499.32 (31% more)

51.4 MP (53% more)

Also has viewfinder

40% larger

A9 vs GFX

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