Speed freak: Sony's new A9 is a full frame mirrorless camera that's ridiculously fast

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Sony has announced its most advanced full-frame camera for professional photographers yet.

The new A9 is designed to pose a formidable challenge to Canon and Nikon, with a full-frame stacked CMOS sensor (24.2 megapixels), incredible continuous shooting capabilities, and 693 autofocus points. The A9 shoots 4K video, features 5-axis in-body stabilization, dual SD card slots, and it’s even got an ethernet port.

What Sony hopes will entice sports photographers and other pros with fast-moving subjects on the A9 is it's blackout-free continuous shooting at up to 20 frames-per-second for up to 241 consecutive RAWs (or 362 JPEGs). By comparison, the Canon 1DX MkII offers just 14fps.

The camera’s maximum shutter speed is 1/32,000sec, and Sony says the camera is capable of “calculating AF/AE at up to 60 times per second — regardless of shutter release and frame capture.” The 693 phase-detect AF points cover near 93 percent of the frame. There’s also a focus joystick on the back to help you better pinpoint your subject.

Sony claims the A9’s 35mm full-frame stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor is “the world’s first of its kind” and allows data speed processing twice as fast as the company’s prior full-frame cameras.

The A9 also houses Sony’s sharpest electronic viewfinder ever. It’s a Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder with approximately 3,686k dots.

From Sony:

This all adds up to a luminance that is 2x higher than the XGA OLED Tru-Finder from the α7R II, creating a viewfinder image with a brightness level that is nearly identical to the actual scene being framed, ensuring the most natural shooting experience. The frame rate of the Tru-Finder is even customizable, with options to set it for 60fps or 120fps to best match the action.

One of the criticism's of Sony's A7 series has been the battery life. Seeking to address this, the A9 battery provides an estimated 2.2x the capacity of previous Sony full-frame cameras - critical for sports users. The company also claims that the camera can operate silently and free of any vibrations up to its maximum shutter speed (if you use the electronic shutter).

Sony is also positioning the A9 as a serious performer in 4K video. “Full pixel readout with no pixel binning makes it possible to condense the equivalent of the amount of data required for 6K into 3840 x 2160 4K output. This oversampling process plus full-frame pixel readout without binning results in the highest possible 4K movie image quality.”

Pre-orders for the A9 should be available now and it's going to retail for $US4500 ($6000) in the US. No word on Australian pricing yet.

Have a look at the launch video here:



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