Sony’s new full-frame mirrorless camera is a DSLR killer

by Haadi Bakar
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Sony has been pretty agressive with its full-frame mirrorless cameras for the last few years, and the company’s Alpha series have proven to be a serious contender to DSLRs.

Yesterday, Sony announced the new Alpha 9 high-end full frame mirrorless camera, and company claims it’s the fastest full-frame camera without a mechanical shutter.

The new a9 boasts the world’s first stacked full-frame 24.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor, which promises super fast and ultra silent shooting. The camera’s maximum shutter speed is at 1/32,000 seconds.

It also does “blackout-free” continuous shooting at up to 20fps bursts of 241 consecutive RAW files or 362 JPEGs, and that’s unheard of in the professional DSLR realm.

Its electronic shutter is also said to be vibration-free.

All these impressive specs make the A9 the ideal camera for sports photographers, who for so long have been relying on high-end DLSRs such as the Canon 1D Mark IV and the Nikon D5. Sony’s hoping that the a9 would get more pro photographers to switch.

The new a9 boasts the world’s first stacked full-frame 24.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor, which promises super fast and ultra silent shooting. Image courtesy of Sony.

Besides the insanely fast imaging chip, the a9 also has 5-axis in-body stabilisation, Quad-VGA OLED viewfinder, dual SD card slots, and 4K video shooting capabilities. And for convenience sake, it’s got an ethernet port for quicker file transfers.

The a9’s sensor also allows for up to 693 phase-detection autofocus points, covering about 93 per cent of the image area, as well as improved subject tracking and Eye AF Speeds from Sony’s previous a7 full-frame mirrorless cameras.

The entire camera body itself is still significantly smaller than a typical semi-pro dSLR, a hallmark of Sony’s mirrorless full-frame cameras.

With the launch of the a9 this year, we are reaching a tipping point whereby dSLRs are superseded by mirrorless cameras for the first time. But whether pro photographers are generally making the switch to mirrorless systems is still up for debate, considering that dSLRs still have a high selection of lenses at their advantage.

For sports photographers, having access to a wide range of telephoto lens is crucial, and this is probably the a9’s only draw, at least for now.

Alongside the a9, Sony also debuted a new 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 OSS G Master super telephoto zoom lens for its E-mount (mirrorless) cameras. It’s the longest E-mount lens Sony has ever crafted, aimed at sports and wildlife photographers.

The a9 will start shipping in May with a price tag of US$4,500 (around B$6,300). The 100-400mm super telephoto zoom lens will be available in July.

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