Sony has quietly announced the flagship mirrorless camera a9 II, and despite all rumors isn’t a revolutionary camera but still has several new improvements for the working professional, along with a refined design largely borrowed from the a7R IV.
In fact, the sports-oriented a9 II uses the same 24.2-megapixel Exmor RS stacked sensor from the first a9, boasts the same 20fps black-out free shooting with the electronic shutter, and can perform the same 60 calculations per second with its blazing fast AF system.
Changes to the core specs have been largely incremental: a redesigned grip and buttons, the addition of dual UHS-II SD card slots, improved dust and moisture resistance, 10fps continuous with the mechanical shutter, and slightly improved IBIS that offers 5.5-stops of 5-axis stabilization. There’s also a new anti-flicker system when using the mechanical shutter, making it much more usable under artificial light, and also a new vertical grip that can hold two Z-type batteries.
To be fair, Sony pretty much hit the nail on the head with the original a9. All it needed was some pro lenses to go with it, which Sony has been steadily supplying. In a notoriously conservative part of the market, the Sony a9 is already one of the best cameras for professionals in sports and action photography.
But Sony listened to the photojournalists and sports photographers, this company really do.
The connectivity has been upgraded too, with a speed improvement from 100MB/s to 1GB/s Ethernet and 2.4/5GHz wireless LAN support, together with a USB 3.2 Gen. 1 port. Remote shooting gets a boost, with the ability to format a memory card remotely, for example, via Remote Camera Tool 2.1 software. It’s also possible to attach voice memos to images, to give instructions to the picture desk back at base, for example.
Sony also says it’s worked on the speed of the a9 Mark II, with improvements to the BIONZ X image processor speed that improves viewfinder image latency, amongst other things.
To the casual observer it might not sound like a big upgrade, but as said before the professional press and sports photographers have a very different and specific set of requirements, often revolving around things the rest of us don’t need or even think about.
Sony claims the a9 Mark II has no fewer than 43 improvements over the original model.
Overall, the a9 II is a very important release for Sony, especially with the upcoming sporting events that will take place in Tokyo next year.
The a9 II is available to pre-order today for $4,500 body-only and is scheduled to start shipping in November.
More info on Sony’s website.