The Alpha 9 II has been refined from the original Alpha 9 for Pro Sports shooters. This short 2-minute movie (below) lists the improvements over the original Alpha 9. Many professional reviewers and amateurs (who are waiting for an entirely different camera) will undoubtedly comment on what it does not have – but the Pro Sports shooters will appreciate the refinements to a camera which already had the best AF tracking, fastest frame rate and biggest buffer of any Pro Sports camera on the market (Nikon D5 and Canon 1DX MKII). The 9 is still the only interchangeable lens camera that features a stacked backlit illuminated sensor (BIS) that allows for silent and blackout-free shooting.
On a personal note I was happy to see that Sony announced this camera without feeling the need to invite the same old professional camera reviewers (who are not professional sports shooters) to the launch to pass judgement on a camera that they will NOT use professionally. The following movie shows what a few pro Sports shooters feel about some of the new features. Although this is a Sony ‘infomercial’ at least the information is backed up by examples of what this camera is capable of achieving in the hands of Pro Sports shooters. Seriously – how many opinion pieces (dressed up as camera reviews) with click-bait titles do we need that have not been backed up and reinforced by photographs that have been captured using the product in question.
Perhaps the feature that surprised many amateur photographers, who follow sites such as Sonyalpharumors, was that Sony chose not to increase the resolution of the sensor. Some bird photographers, who were looking for the extra resolution (so that they could crop aggressively using shorter focal length lenses), are the ones who may be most disappointed with the specs of the Alpha 9 II. For Pro Sports shooters, however, they will be happy that their camera of choice just got better. Many amateur photographers on a budget and who shoot fast action will be pleased that the price of a 2nd hand Alpha 9 just got cheaper 🙂 It is worth noting that Alpha 9 cameras shoot predominantly using the electric shutter (not the mechanical shutter) so a high shutter count should not worry someone in the market for a 2nd hand A9.
Refined Build and Operability
- Upgraded BIONZ X™ image processing engine gains maximum benefit from the sensor’s fast readout speed. Processor works with front-end LSI to enhance speed in AF/AE detection, image processing, face detection and accuracy, and more
- Upgraded dust and moisture resistant design to meet the needs of professionals in even the most challenging outdoor conditions. Stronger sealing provided at all body seams as well as the battery compartment cover and media slot
- Latest image-processing algorithm reduces noise in the medium-to-high sensitivity range while improving subjective resolution and image quality
- 5-axis optical in-body image stabilisation system that provides a shutter speed advantage of 5.5 steps
- Improved grip configuration for even greater comfort and sure hold. Compatible with Sony VG-C4EM Vertical Grip
- Improved button design and feel. Increased diameter and feedback of the ‘AF-ON’ button; a refined multi-selector joystick design; an exposure compensation dial lock button and a redesigned shape and new position for the rear dial
- Redesigned shutter mechanism to suppress even the slightest movement that can cause image blur. Tested for durability in excess of 500,000 shutter cycles
- USB Type-C™ connector that supports fast USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer
- Dual media slots that are both compatible with UHS-I and UHS-II SD cards, allowing higher overall capacity and faster read/write speeds
- Digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface Shoe™ (MI Shoe) enabling the new ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit to be connected directly to the MI Shoe for cleaner, clearer audio recordings