Introduced today, the new Sony a9 II follows a familiar body design to its predecessor but includes some design cues from the Sony a7R IV, including a larger grip and improved button design, refined (larger) joystick design and a lock button for the exposure compensation dial.
Other refinements include an upgraded Bionz x processor, improved IBIS up to 5.5-stops (from 5-stops), upgraded weatherproofing, a shutter mechanism tested in excess of 500k cycles (in line with Nikon and Canon pro-models) and an improvement in the burst rate to 10 fps when used mechanically, up from around 5 fps.
Continuous shooting with the electronic shutter remains at 20 fps, however, the dual media slots both now support UHS-II, for faster read/write speeds (when used with the UHS-II cards of course).
The new Sony a9 II features the same 24MP sensor as its predecessor, however, the upgraded Bionz X processor is said to improve AF speed and precision, albeit using the same 693-point PDAF system as the earlier a9.
Some of the most significant changes are concentrated on enhancing the workflow and connectivity of the camera, which is crucial for sports photographers and photojournalists working in pressured environments with tight deadlines. To that end, the Sony a9 II features both a built-in Gigabit Ethernet port and high-speed 5GHz (802.11ac) Wi-Fi. There’s also storage for multiple FTP settings (up to 10, that can be stored with other camera settings to SD media cards) that may be useful if the camera is to be shared among more than one photographer and when moving back and forth between multiple sites or venues (think sports arenas, like the upcoming Olympics in Japan).
The Sony a9 II will be available in November for $4500/£4,800 /5,400 Euros.
From the Press Release:
For full product details on the Alpha 9 II, please visit: https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-9m2
Sony Introduces Alpha 9 II Adding Enhanced Connectivity and Workflow for Professional Sports Photographers and Photojournalists
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[xviii] 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[xix]
§ 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[xx]
§ 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
• Oct 03, 2019 15:00 BST
Sony today announced Alpha 9 II (model ILCE-9M2). The latest model from Sony’s acclaimed line-up of α™(Alpha™) full-frame interchangeable lens cameras has been created specifically to support working professionals in the fields of sports photography and photojournalism.
The new Alpha 9 II builds on the impressive legacy of the original Alpha 9, maintaining ground breaking speed performance including blackout-free continuous shooting[i] at up to 20 frames per second[ii] with Auto Focus and Auto Exposure tracking, 60 times per second AF/AE calculations[iii] while incorporating even more functionality driven directly from the voice of professionals. Updates include significantly enhanced connectivity and file delivery, continuous shooting at up to 10 fps with mechanical shutter, evolved AF performance with newly optimised algorithms, a re-designed build to enhance durability and operability and more.
“The voice of our customers is absolutely critical to Sony – we are always listening,” said Yann Salmon Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging, Sony Europe. “The Alpha 9 II is the direct result of countless feedback sessions with agency, sports and news photographers since the launch of the original Alpha 9. We’ve added connectivity and network capabilities that drastically improve the professional workflow, while also making subtle adjustments to design, interface and processing power that complete the user experience. Complemented by our extremely versatile E-mount system – with 55 native lenses introduced at this point, including the super-telephoto 600mm and 400mm G Master™ series lenses – this new camera is a tool unlike any other for professionals either in the field or on the field.”
Raising the Bar for Built-in Connectivity in the Professional’s Workflow
The Alpha 9 II includes an in-built 1000BASE-T Ethernet terminal, enabling gigabit communication for high-speed, stable data transfer operations. Additionally, File Transfer over SSL or TLS encryption (FTPS) is supported for increased data security and PC remote (tether) shooting performance is improved, with decreased release time lag and reduced live view screen delay when using the ‘Remote Camera Tool’ desktop application[iv]. The speed of the camera’s built-in wireless LAN functionality has also been increased, adding a stable and fast 5 GHz (IEEE 802.11ac)[v] band, in addition to the 2.4 GHz provided in the Alpha 9. IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards are all supported.
Designed to improve the speed of news agencies’ workflow, the Alpha 9 II features a new Voice Memo function that allows spoken information to be attached to images in the form of voice memos that can be replayed when the images are reviewed. The voice data can also be included with images sent to an editor, giving them important information needed for effective editing. Alternatively, a field photographer can also use the ‘Transfer & Tagging add-on’ “Imaging Edge™” application[vi] to transfer voice tags with the images to their mobile device and have the voice memos automatically[vii] converted to text and added to the JPEG images in the form of IPTC metadata[viii]. All of this can be done automatically or manually, selectable by the photographer.
By combining wireless voice / image transfer and automatic voice to text conversion with the ability to auto transfer images with attached voice memos via FTP, it is possible to shoot and transfer the results to an FTP server without ever having to operate a smartphone. FTP settings within the app can also be sent to a camera via Bluetooth®, allowing for a faster workflow.
The Platinum Standard for Speed and Auto Focus Performance
The new Alpha 9 II shares the same acclaimed 35mm full-frame stacked 24.2 MP[ix] Exmor RS™ CMOS image sensor with integral memory as the original Alpha 9, giving it the same unmatched speed performance and outstanding image quality. The new model can shoot continuously and completely silently[x] at 20 fps for up to 361 JPEG images[xi] or 239 compressed RAW images[xii], with no viewfinder blackout, allowing the photographer to follow the subject and action with no interruption to the EVF during picture taking. For times when mechanical shutter is preferred or required, the new Alpha 9 II has been improved to shoot at up to 10 fps, about 2x the speed of the Alpha 9.
The camera is able to function whilst continuously calculating Auto Focus and Auto Exposure at up to 60 times per second, with newly optimised AF algorithms that provide notably enhanced AF precision and performance, ensuring that even the most erratic subject motion, often experienced in sports, is captured with high precision. Also useful for sporting events, the camera now offers an anti-flicker[xiii] shooting mode that automatically detects and adjusts for the presence of fluorescent or artificial lighting to maximise image quality.
The advanced focusing system in the new Alpha 9 II is comprised of 693 focal-plane phase-detection AF points covering approximately 93% of the image area, as well as 425 contrast AF points. This Fast Hybrid Auto Focus system achieves extremely fast and accurate performance, ensuring all fast-moving subjects are accurately captured. Additional notable focusing capabilities include Real-time Eye AF with right eye / left eye selection, Real-time Eye AF for animals[xiv] – augmented with a new algorithm, Real-Time Eye AF for movie[xv], Real-time Tracking,[xvi] selectable focus frame colour, Touch Pad focus point control while using the viewfinder and more. AF can continuously track even in continuous shooting is greater than F16[xvii], providing further accuracy for shots that require slower shutter speeds.