Well, Sony's at it again with another camera, the Sony A9. I'm still waiting for the Sony RX10 IV though myself, but the Sony A9 is very tempting and makes me want one also.
It would seem that the target audience for the Sony A9 are sport photographers - nevertheless, other genres, such as wedding photographers, can also benefit from such camera.
What makes the Sony A9 special isn't just the features it improvements that it comes with, but it's that Sony has listened to their customers and done their best to improve what they could.
Let's break down the improvements and new features:
Ergonomics and button placements have been revised and improved, although being that it's mirrorless and small, there's only so much you can do, before it starts becoming a mirrorless DSLR, in essence. Major changes is the placement of the movie button, and a joystick for faster control of our autofocus point. The screen also provides touch focus like the Sony A6500 for those who wish to use this feature. One major change in the interface is also the addition of the LAN terminal, allowing FTP transfers.
This is important as many users felt that moving the autofocus points was too slow, with the joystick, it'll be much quicker. The movement of the movie button also means you won't accidently press it anymore, and the touchscreen functionality also shows Sony's commitment to their products.
Phase detection AF points have also been increased to 693 points, covering 93% of the screen, with 25 contract dection AF points. Effectively, this means you can focus on your subject almost anywhere on the screen. Making use of this functionality, the eye AF has been given a 30% improvement - it was great before, now it's just better.
One weakness that Sony cameras had was shooting in dim/dark situations. The improved autofocus system now allows focus down to EV-3 at ISO 100, which should cover most bases.
As always, Sony does their best to push the camera to its limits, giving you 20 FPS continuous AF raw, with a buffer of about 200 photos, and JPEG witha buffer around 300. Not only that, whilst shooting at such a speed, there are also no more blackouts, meaning blackout free shooting.
Blackouts are a problem for any DSLR, and with mirrorless, it was worse because you weren't able to maintain a true vision and view of your subject whilst taking burst shots. The elimination in blackouts and improved framerate allows you to pretty much see the subject as though with your own eyes, whilst taking photos at the same time.
To power all this though isn't easy, as you'll need more space, and more power. That's exactly what Sony has done, two of the biggest requests and complaints.
Having dual memory card slots has, for the majority of photographers, been integral to a system because you never know if a card will fail, or if you'll have enough space. But what really makes the Sony A9 exciting is the extended battery life. Although the original was rated to shoot around 250 shots average, those tests are very impractical. In the real world, you can chew up the power much quicker, or even shoot into the thousands and still have juice. The new battery provides twice the juice of the original. Twice the space, twice the power.
Other than that, you have all your features from previous models, 24MP BSI CMOS sensor, 5 axis image stabilisation, 4K video, 1080P full HD slomo and quick videos, etc. You may have noted that I mentioned a 24MP sensor, yes, going down from the 42MP sensor Sony was bringing out, many users were thinking they'll go higher. In all honesty, 24MP is sufficient for most needs, and I believe that a lot of the new functionality is only possible due to the downsize in megapixels, meaning more processing power for the other features.
The Sony A9 is exciting, but like many of Sony's cameras, it would seem to be specifically targeted for certain audiences. Other than Sony themselves promoting it as a sports photography camera, the new speed and functionality upgrades can make this camera perfect for weddings, and even journalism.
Pre-orders are available now, with the release date on the 2nd of June, running at $6999, this is one camera that I think has captured the eyes of many photographers, even competitors.