Sony Announces Speedy A9 II Mirrorless Camera with Upgraded Professional Features

Sony's speed demon is back for round two and this time it's added some significant professional features. Sony just unveiled the Sony A9 II, which is the follow-up to the A9 from 2017, and is designed to capture fast action sports thanks to its ability to shoot nearly silent 20 frames per second (fps) bursts with a vibration-free and blackout-free electronic shutter.

If you've ever shot with the Sony A9 – which we named one of our favorite cameras of 2017 – this quiet and fast continuous shooting experience can be odd, almost like you're capturing nothing at all except when you go back to review the dozens of photos you just shot.

While the Sony A9 II uses the same 24.2MP full frame sensor as its predecessor, it adds the ability to shoot 10 fps continuous bursts with a mechanical shutter as well. This faster mechanical shutter (the A9's mechanical shutter could shoot at 5fps) is designed to help prevent flickering fluorescent lights – such as stadium or arena lighting – from ruining action shots.

According to Sony, the A9 II automatically detects flicker and adjusts the shutter's timing to eliminate exposure and color variations, even when shooting 10fps bursts with autofocus and autoexposure tracking. The A9 II's anti-flicker shooting feature also works when using a flash, Sony said.

The Sony A9 II also has an upgraded Bionz X processor to deliver faster and more precise autofocus, face detection, and better EVF (electronic viewfinder) response. Sports photographers should also like the Sony A9 II's upgraded AF algorithms, which are designed to deliver more reliable tracking of fast, erratically moving subjects (such as soccer or hockey players) that can be tough to follow.

As with its predecessor, the Sony A9 II offers in-camera, 5-axis image stabilization, which uses gyro sensors to provide "a 5.5-step shutter speed advantage" for full-frame images. Image stabilization is also available for movies; the A9 II shoots full frame 4K video.

Like the previous model, the Sony A9 II's autofocus can make up to 60 AF/AE calculations per second. It also has 693-point focal plane phase-detection AF covering nearly the entire frame of the image to help lock in on a target. There's also Sony's vaunted (and effective, according to our testing) real-time tracking Eye AF feature which not only locks in on humans but can also track and lock in on animal's eyes. This should make a lot of wildlife photographers sit up and take notice of the A9 II.

Sports photographers, wildlife photographers and photojournalists who shoot in inclement weather will also appreciate that the Sony A9 II features an upgraded dust and moisture resistant design, similar to the previously announced Sony A7R IV. Sony, however, stopped short of saying the new A9 II is waterproof, calling it just moisture resistant. The Sony A9 II has also inherited the bigger, more ergonomic grip of the A7R IV and the larger, easier-to-adjust buttons and knobs.

Other connectivity upgrades to the Sony A9 II are aimed at working professional photographers who might be on assignment covering a big game or an important press conference and need to transfer images to an editor immediately. The A9 II adds a 1000BASE-T LAN terminal for high speed transfer of images with an FTP function.

Like its predecessor, the Sony A9 II has a 5GHz WiFi connection but it adds a voice memo feature, so the photographer can post audio notes directly to the image file. There's also a Transfer & Tagging add-on application that supports quick transfer of images from the camera to a smart phone. Meanwhile, a camera-setting backup function has expanded to back up FTP settings and Memory Recall settings.

Like the Sony A7R IV, the Sony A9 II adds a USB-C terminal and features dual memory card slots for UHS-II SD cards. There's also a MI shoe with a Digital Audio Interface.

The Sony A9 II goes on sale in November 2019 for $4500 USD and $5999 CAD. You can pre-order it from Adorama here. Read more details about the new Sony A9 II here.