Sony a9 Brief Review



  • Other Features : Electronic viewfinder with no blackouts
  • Weight : 1 lb. 7.7 oz. (673g)
  • Battery : Li-ion rated at 480 shots
  • Weather Sealing : Yes
  • Screen : 2.95" LCD
  • GPS : No
  • Wi-Fi : W-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Flash : None (compatible with external flash systems)
  • Video : 4K (3840x2160 ) at 30 fps
  • RAW : Yes
  • Image Stabilization : 5-axis sensor shift stabilization
  • Autofocus System : Hybrid phase and contrast detection
  • Autofocus Points : 693 points phase detection, 25 points contrast detection
  • Burst Speed : Up to 20 fps
  • Shutter Speed : Mechanical: 30 sec to 1/8000, Electronic shutter up to 1/32000
  • ISO : 100-51200 (50 to 204800 expanded)
  • Processor : BIONZ X
  • Sensor : 24.2 megapixel full frame stacked sensor
  • Release Date: 2017-05-25
  • Final Grade: 97 4.85 Star Rating: Recommended

Sony ups their game with the 20 fps a9 mirrorless camera
Shooting at 20 fps, the Sony a9 brings big speed to full frame cameras.
By Digital Admin, Last updated on: 7/23/2017

The Sony a7 was a landmark camera, bringing a full frame sensor to the mirrorless arena for the first time, though a slow burst speed kept it from joining the ranks of sports, wildlife and action cameras. That's changing with the Sony a9, a full frame mirrorless camera boasting a 20 fps burst speed and 693 autofocus points.

The a9 brings Sony's stacked sensor of the RX100 V to full frame for the first time. The stacked design isn't to enhance image quality, but to enhance speed by dedicating an entire layer of the sensor to memory and another to processing. Paired with the BIONZ X processor, that brings the a9's speed to an incredible 20 fps burst. To achieve that speed though, the sensor doesn't have quite the resolution as the a7R II's 42.2 megapixels, however, dropping back down to 24.2 in order to spit out files at such a fast rate. Sony has paired that fast speed with a 693 point autofocus system designed to draw in action photographers.

On the outside, the a9 carries over much of the design of the a7 with a few notable exceptions. The body is fairly compact considering the full frame sensor inside, but Sony has managed to fit two SD card slots inside, as well as a battery with twice the life of the a7 series. The 480 shots on one charge isn't close to a DSLR, but brings up one of the a7's weaknesses to something much easier to work with. The electronic viewfinder has also been enhanced -- during those 20 fps bursts, the screen doesn't black out while an image is being taken, allowing you to follow the action.

The Sony a9 is a technological feat and a landmark camera that boasts several firsts. While the camera costs $4,500, that's still less than Nikon and Canon's fastest shooters, the D5 and EOS-1DX Mark II. The camera is designed for capturing action and motion and a camera that should be on the shortlist for sports, wildlife and even event photographers. When it comes to resolution though, the a9 doesn't have the same level as the a7R II, which might still be the better choice for subjects that don't require much speed, such as product photography. While there's a few negatives like the still low but improved battery life, the a9 marks a big step forward for camera technology. Like with any interchangeable lens system, consider Sony's compatible lens options before you buy -- while the selection is certainly growing, the lens options are often less diverse than DSLR brands.

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Sony Reviews

Sony has been at the forefront of the market for consumer electronics for the past 30 years by offering innovative imaging products in response to changes in the market. Sony has made cameras that are ideal for casual users, hobbyists, and professional photographers through their dedication to implementing the most current technology with a sleek and minimal style, resulting in an end result of the highest quality.

Sony was the first to put a full-frame sensor inside of a mirrorless camera, the A7 and A7R, and a little later, the A7S. While the first-of-its-kind cameras aren't without flaws, Sony executed their ideas fairly well and made some pretty solid cameras to start the new line.

Speaking of first-of-its kind, Sony also designed a “camera-without-a-camera,” the QX10 and QX100. These cameras have a sensor and lens, but no operating system—instead, consumers use their smartphone via wi-fi or NFC to operate the camera. While the cameras certainly have flaws (mainly in the slow response due to operating through wi-fi), we still have to applaud Sony for the way they've responded to the rise in smartphone photography (plus the cameras have actually sold remarkably well).

Sony has also been highly successful with the RX compact camera line that began with the RX100, a compact camera with a 1” sensor, excellent image quality and full manual modes. The camera has since seen some solid updates, and remains a good option. Sony also added the RX10, a camera with a 1” sensor but instead of focusing on compact size, adds a much bigger zoom.

While their focus is on more advanced models, it’s usually a pretty safe bet to pick up a Sony compact, even a budget priced one, and still get a lot of bang for your buck. We're also big fans of Sony's designs, making their cameras easy to use and adjust, like the HX400 that has an automatic sensor on the electronic viewfinder as well as a control ring around the lens.

We here at Digital Camera HQ offer unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations to guide you to the right camera. We're not an actual store; we're just here to help you find the perfect camera at the best price possible by using our camera grades. Let us know if you have any problems or questions, we're happy to help.