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Sony A9 Mark II – Same But Better


Sony announced earlier today the updated second generation of its flagship professional sports camera the A9. The new version was announced to address a number of issues with the design and operation of the original camera and present an answer to any future Canon and Nikon pro bodies that will be announced soon. just before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next year.

The original A9 was already a fantastic sports camera with an industry-leading AF system (which only recently received more updates), 20 frames per second shooting and a no blackout EVF plus many other advanced features. For the most part, all of these stays about the same including the same 24MP sensor (unlike some rumors claiming a new 36MP sensor is on the way), but there are a number of new features that are more incremental with the new camera.

The New Sony A9 II – ready for the 2020 Olympics

So what did change with the new updated A9 II version? Here are some of the main changes:

  • New and updated processor with more power and speed (should enable faster/better sensor readout speed; enhanced speed in AF/AE detection, image processing, face detection and accuracy).
  • Improved dust and moisture resistant design including stronger sealing as well as the battery compartment cover and media slot.
  • Updated image-processing algorithm reduces noise in the medium-to-high sensitivity range while improving subjective resolution and image quality.
  • The built-in 5-axis in-body image stabilization system now go up to of 5.5 stops.
  • Improved grip configuration for better comfort (as well as compatibility with Sony VG-C4EM Vertical Grip).
  • Improved button design and feel (larger more prominent buttons like the AF-ON and a few others).
  • Redesigned shutter mechanism (with durability in excess of 500,000 shutter cycles).
  • USB Type-C connector with USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer (up to 20Gbps or 2.5GB/s).
  • Dual media slots with UHS-II SD card support (instead of only one on the A9).
  • Digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s hot-shoe (for the new Sony digital mics like the A7R IV).
  • Gigabit Ethernet – for a secure fast physical data transfer of images to a computer.
  • 5GHz (802.11ac) Wi-Fi – on top of the 2.4GHz for faster wireless data transfer
  • Voice memos – allowing users to record short memos that will be linked to an image or video (for example stating when an important moment happened in a video like a touchdown/goal etc.).

We have to say that both the A9 II and the A7R IV that was announced just a few months back and is now reaching stores feel more like a 3.5 generation rather than a full-on 4’th generation cameras from Sony. For the most part, we are still waiting for the big video features (10bit, 4K 60p and above, new codec) as well as some more basic usability changes like new monitors and a deep change to the company’s menu system as well as much closer and simpler smartphone integration. At least for some of those, we will probably have to wait for 2020 at the earliest.

Official Sony video with sports photographer Jean Fruth

Sony official video on some of the new features of the A9 II

Dan & Sally Watson on the new A9II

Tony Northrop on the A9 II

The new A9 II will be available November for $4500. The original a9 will continue to be sold for the time being at a reduced cost.

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