NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- B&H Photo would like to share the announcement of the Sony Alpha a9 II, an important update to its flagship mirrorless camera that adds improved connectivity options that should appeal to professional sports photographers and photojournalists. Using a fast 24.2MP full-frame Exmor RS stacked full-frame CMOS sensor and an updated BIONZ X processor with front-end LSI enables a multitude of functions for faster and more effective operation.
A new BIONZ X and front-end LSI should result in faster, more precise autofocus and improved EVF display response times. This means more accurate tracking when subjects are moving fast or erratically—a solid change for professional sports photographers. The Fast Hybrid AF system uses a 693-point phase-detect array with 93% coverage to track subjects and should perform extremely well in all conditions.
Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Camera
Users can now select the focus frame color and will be able to move the frame while the shutter is half-pressed in AF-C mode. Another improvement to usability comes in the form of AF tracking when shooting at f/16 while in Focus Priority mode and the option to focus with opened aperture just before exposure for improved performance in low-light conditions. The a9 II also supports the latest Real-time AF Tracking mode that helps maintain focus on fast-moving subjects and will include Real-time Eye AF for humans and animals.
Another speed-focused tweak comes to continuous shooting. The a9 II still maxes out at an incredible 20 fps with the electronic shutter and still boasts no blackout but the mechanical shutter's speed has been doubled to 10 fps and benefits from anti-flicker detection to ensure clean, bright exposures in less-than-ideal environments.
For many, the most important changes have come to the design and connectivity. The overall build is similar to that of the announced Sony a7R IV, including superior weather sealing. This is visible on the redesigned battery and media slot covers and in the redesigned lens-lock button and the use of additional cushioning around the mount. Dials, buttons, and the joystick have all been improved for added comfort and reliability and a lock has been added to the exposure compensation dial. The shutter itself has been enhanced, and is now rated to 500,000 exposures, with the in-body stabilization system getting a bump to 5.5 stops. As for the EVF and rear LCD, these remain unchanged at 3.68m-dot for the OLED EVF, though now with a 120 fps refresh rate, and a 3.0" 1.44m-dot tilting touchscreen.
Numerous changes have been made to connectivity to improve workflow. First, both SD card slots now support UHS-II for faster write speeds at all times. The a9 II also gains the USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C connector, as well, for hassle-free connection to your computer. For advanced networking, the Ethernet port gets a boost to a 1000BASE-T speed for exceptionally fast image transfer and remote operation. Additionally, wireless now offers a 5 GHz band in addition to the standard 2.4 GHz option for less interference and faster speeds.
To make the most of these faster speeds, the accompanying apps have been updated to match. For wired LAN, the Remote Camera Tool app has minimized release time lag and live view delays in addition to support for remote SD card formatting, FTP server switching, and changes to the still image storage destination. Imaging Edge Remote for desktop supports the Alpha a9 II for PC Remote shooting via the Wi-Fi connection or tethered by the wired USB Type-C port. Improved data transfer control now makes it possible to transfer files from an SD card over Wi-Fi using the Imaging Edge Mobile app even when the camera is powered off. And, the Transfer & Tagging add-on app can send FTP setting parameters from your mobile device to the camera, offers automatic data upload to an FTP server with attached metadata, and can perform automatic voice-to-text conversion.
Automatic voice-to-text conversion leads us to another new function: Voice Memos. This function should help photographers who need to send images as quick as possible to editors back in the office using the a9 II's new FTP capabilities. Snap a photo and then quickly record up to 60 seconds to go along with the photo, ideally describing the situation for editors to grab and caption the image for publication. These .wav audio files can be attached to files and played when the images are review. Using the Transfer & Tagging add-on on a smartphone, you can automatically or manual convert this audio into text to be embedded in the image's metadata.
The a9 II's video spec is familiar to anyone who used the a9, with UHD 4K recording at up to 30 fps. It benefits from full-sensor readout for sharper images and it can now support Real-time Eye AF during video. A nice addition comes from an upgraded Multi Interface Shoe as it supports digital audio transmission from compatible devices, such as the ECM-B1M Microphone and XLR-K3M XLR Adapter. Interval Shooting was added, too, though Picture Profiles have been left out as the a9 II is focused more on high-end photography applications where speed is critical.
An improved processor gives users improved efficiency, allowing a bit longer battery life of up to 500 shots when using the EVF or 590 shots with the LCD when using the current NP-FZ100 Battery Pack. Users can add to the battery life by using the VG-C4EM Battery Grip or NPA-MQZ1K Multi Battery Adapter.
For menu changes, users can now separate Fn button customization into Stills and Movie settings for more personalized control schemes. Also, you can save your user settings to both the camera and SD cards. This makes it easy to create custom configurations for different settings and work with multiple cameras, especially if some are rentals for a specific job.
Overall, the a9 II is a very important release for Sony, especially with the upcoming sporting events happening in Tokyo next year. The improvements are substantial and critical for professional photographers who need the ultimate in speed for both their cameras and their workflow. New networking functions and remote control will make the a9 II a viable option for dedicated shooters.
Read and Learn All about the Sony Alpha a9II Mirrorless Camera
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