Hands-On First Look at the New 24.2MP, 20FPS-Shooting Sony A9 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera

Sony got in the game this morning by unveiling the super speedy Sony A9 full frame mirrorless camera, which is designed for sports and action photography. The A9 features what Sony is calling the “world’s first” full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with 24.2MP of resolution, and it has the ability to shoot “blackout-free” bursts of images at up to 20 frames per second (fps) for up to 241 Raw or 362 JPEG images.

Now that’s fast!

We got a chance to briefly put the new Sony A9 (model ILCE-9) to the test following a press conference in New York City this morning to announce the new camera. We paired the A9 with the just announced Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS Super Telephoto Zoom ($2,500 USD) and photographed a gymnast Sony had hired as she did running flips, cartwheels, and handstands.

In our brief trial with the Sony A9, the camera appeared to track and lock in focus as it fired off nearly silent 20fps bursts of images of the tumbling gymnast. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep any of these test shots to inspect on our computer but we look forward to doing a full review of the A9 in the near future.

Here’s a quick rundown of all the key specs for the new Sony A9, which will go on sale on May 25, 2017 for $4,499 USD, a price tag that has turned a few heads since it puts it in the upper echelon professional camera category, competing with such heavy hitters as the Canon 1DX Mark II and Nikon D5.

Sony A9 Highlights

• World’s first full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with 24.2MP of resolution

• Blackout-free continuous shooting at up to 20fps for up to 241 RAW/362 JPEG images

• Nearly silent, vibration-free shooting at speeds up to 1/32,000 second

• 693 point focal plane phase detection autofocus (AF) points with 60 AF/AE tracking calculation per second

• Full-frame 4K (3840x2160p) video capture

• Full HD shoot at 120fps at up to 100 Mbps, which allows footage to be slowed to 4x or 5x slow motion video with AF tracking

• 5-Axis in-body image stabilization with a purported 5-step shutter speed advantage

• Ethernet port for file transfer

• Dual SD card slots (accepts SF-G series UHS-II SD cards)

• Joystick on rear

• Redesigned menu system

• New battery with 2.2x the capacity of previous models

• Quad-VGA OLED EVF with 120fps

• $4,449, body only

• On sale May 25th (pre-orders beginning April 21st).

Whether the fast, quiet and relatively compact Sony A9 can attract serious sports photographers remains to be seen. Look at the sideline of any major sporting event, and you’ll see that most professional sports photographers use more traditional, mirror-based DSLRs from Canon or Nikon. The speedy A9, however, proves that Sony has definitely brought its “A game” to the competition, so stay tuned. The sidelines could look very different in the not-so-distant future.

Learn more about the Sony A9 here.