April 19, 2017

Sony Debuts Alpha 9 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera and New Telephoto Lens

Sony a9
Sony has introduced the Alpha 9, a new 4K mirrorless camera, and a FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM lens. 

The Sony Alpha 9 (a9) is a new digital 35mm full-frame camera from Sony, boasting a 24.2MP CMOS sensor. The mirrorless camera offers 4K (3840 x 2160p) video recording across its full sensor.

Approximately 25% faster performance when compared with the α7R II.

The camera uses full pixel readout without any pixel binning to snag 6K of information. This means that Sony is oversampling to produce its 4K footage to provide more detail and depth to the image. You can also record in the popular Super 35mm size, and, as you might expect, the a9 can record full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps. 

The 24.2 MP full-frame CMOS sensor is back-illuminated, allowing it to capture maximum light. Its ISO range is 100 – 51200, expandable to 50 – 204800, while its enhanced BIONZ X processor plays a large part in image quality to minimize noise in the higher sensitivity range. What's more impressive, the a9 now supports uncompressed 14-bit RAW, so we can now get the most out of its wide dynamic range. 

The a9 also boasts 693 AF points, covering 93% of the frame to maximize focusing capabilities. According to Sony, the Fast Hybrid AF system achieves approximately 25% faster performance when compared with the α7R II.

Sony has doubled its battery life.

On the stills side, the a9 offers blackout-free continuous shooting up to 20 fps for 362 JPEG or 241 RAW images. It has a 1/32,000 maximum shutter speed and it's capable of 60 AF/AE tracking calculations per second.

A new Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder adds 3,686k dots for accurate true-to-life detail reproduction and features a double-sided aspherical element, allowing it to achieve 0.78x magnification and superb sharpness. The EVF is also coated with ZEISS T coating to reduce reflections and a fluorine coating helps repel dirt. The frame rate of the Tru-Finder can be customized with options for 60 fps or 120 fps. 

With all this added power, the a9 has a 5-axis in-body image stabilization and dual UHS-II SD card slots where data can be recorded simultaneously. Sony has even doubled its battery life with the Z battery, which has 2.2x more capacity than the A7R II.

The a9 will be available next month for $4,500.

Tech Specs

  • Full-frame stacked CMOS sensor, 24.2 MP resolution
  • Blackout-Free Continuous Shooting at up to 20fps for up to 241 RAW / 362 JPEG images
  • Silent, Vibration-free shooting at speeds up to 1/32,000 sec
  • 693 point focal plane phase detection AF points with 60 AF/AE tracking calculations per second
  • Extensive professional features including Ethernet port for file transfer, Dual SD card slots and extended battery life
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization with a 5.0 step shutter speed advantage
FE 100-400

FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM lens

Sony's furthest reaching E-mount lens is now the FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 OSS G Master super telephoto zoom. The full-frame lens shares all the characteristics of Sony's flagship G Master series, offering fast and precise AF capabilities in a lightweight, portable design. Featuring built-in optical image stabilization, it offers a minimum focusing range of just 3.22 feet (0.98 meters) with a maximum aperture range of f/4.5-5.6.  

It touts 22 lens elements configured in 16 different groups, including one Super ED and two ED glass elements to ward off chromatic aberration and reduce color fringing. Sony’s Nano AR coating reduces unwanted reflections while a nine-bladed circular aperture design produces a soft, beautiful bokeh.

Compatible with APS-C models, the lens provides a 150-600mm equivalent focal length range and has physical controls for focus hold buttons and an AF/MF switch, while Optical SteadyShot image stabilization helps minimize shake. A new optimized AF algorithm ensures quick find and focus and a double linear motor and a Direct Drive SSM actuator ensure precise, quiet operation.

Weighing 49.3oz (1,395g) it pairs nicely with the Sony a9. The lens is set to ship in July for about $2,500.

Tech Specs

  • f/4.5-5.6
  • APS-C compatible 
  • Nano AR coating
  • Weighs only 49.3oz 
  • 3.22' minimum focusing range 

No Film School's complete coverage of NAB 2017 is brought to you by My RØDE Reel, Vimeo 360, and Blackmagic Design.

Your Comment

12 Comments

I wish they put in 10bit! Hopefully it'll be in the A7sIII :)

April 19, 2017 at 10:35PM, Edited April 19, 10:35PM

1
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Mida Chu
independent filmmaker
55

Or the A9s

April 20, 2017 at 12:19AM, Edited April 20, 12:19AM

3
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Or maybe output that bitrate through its clean hdmi to an external recorder?

April 20, 2017 at 1:03AM

3
You voted '+1'.
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Cristian Balteanu
Amateur Filmmaker
91

The bitrate has no influence over the bit depth and if it, like other Sony cameras, only outputs 8-bit over HDMI then there's not much you can do

April 20, 2017 at 12:35PM, Edited April 20, 12:35PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
744

Probably would be better to hope they change the Flash out to SDI output.

April 20, 2017 at 3:56PM

5
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Kyle Dockum
Videographer and Editor
622

There's not even a picture profile so not even s-log. I think this camera was made strickly for sports photographer or wild life, to compete with Nikon and Canon flag ship cameras. Which does its job very well, its a damn good camera. I saw the rolling shutter sample also on it but it's still there, better but still there.

It's funny how they made this camera for sports but Sony doesn't have any super zoom for thei e-mount yet, except for the newly announced 100-400. Just thought it was funny.

April 20, 2017 at 3:49PM

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Keith Kim
Photographer
1357

Does the new sensor fix the SONY rolling shutter problem? This is my biggest question.

April 20, 2017 at 8:56AM

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Sam Hakes
Videographer
20

Lots of features strangely missing on the video end that are becoming standard on cameras less than half its cost. No picture profiles (no S-log), no flip out screen, no full-size hdmi, no 10 bit out, no 10 bit internal, according to Tony Northrup's initial impression: poor video AF. I know this is essentially a stills camera for sports but for a 4500 Sony hybrid camera the movie side of things seems intentionally kneecapped.

April 20, 2017 at 12:29PM

19
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J Robbins
260

Would be nice if you guys dug a little deeper than the press release!

April 20, 2017 at 1:16PM

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Daniel Lichtenberg
Creative Director
86

Cool, so for $2,000 more I can get the battery I should've gotten with the A7RII and not much else.

April 20, 2017 at 2:15PM, Edited April 20, 2:15PM

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Well... This is a camera built for taking stills. Not terribly surprised considering the A7 was for stills too.

Though whenever they decide to make the A9s, it looks like they have a nice expansion on the side for SDI out and possibly other types of communication which would help a lot later on.

If they can gear the hardware to film and not focus on taking video and pictures at the same time we might see a camera doing 10-bit or even 12-bit... if they really want to push it. Cause 20 FPS at 14-bit for twelve seconds might change a lot depending on the codec or pass through.

Certainly is interesting, hopefully, we see the film version soon.

April 20, 2017 at 3:52PM, Edited April 20, 3:52PM

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Kyle Dockum
Videographer and Editor
622

Remember that the A7 was also more a hybrid stills camera than a video camera, where the A7s and A7s II was made with video in focus.

So I'm thinking, if this is what they offer for the A9, I'm pretty excited to see what the A9s will bring. If that means log and 10bit... I just might finally invest in a camera again, and this time not even look at Canon :) They really dropped the ball with the 5D4

April 21, 2017 at 3:24AM, Edited April 21, 3:24AM

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Torben Greve
Cinematographer
767