Sony has always come up with quality products. And in the world of mirrorless cameras, the A-series by the manufacturer are exceptional. It is the benchmark of high-end mirrorless cameras. Sony A9 II is one of this series’s latest additions: a modern, fully-equipped professional camera. For professional sports and action photography, it is a game-changer.
You must spend a couple of thousand dollars to get your hands on this camera. Isn’t it worth it? Does this camera possess everything you’re looking for in your next mirrorless camera? Here is a detailed insight for you to answer all the questions
Sony A9 II Review
Catering to the demands of photographers and benefitting photographic capabilities, Sony has updated the typical design of the A Series via A9 II. It features a more ergonomic body shape, refined weather sealing, and advanced connectivity.
Multiple types of heavy lenses can be mounted on the lens mount, and the grip rigidity has also been enhanced for flexible and smooth hand-holding.
Its 3.69m-dot OLED EVF gives a bright, clear, and blackout-free viewing experience. A9 II’s physical dimensions are 5.1 x 3.1 inches, weighing around 700 grams. The magnesium alloy chassis ensures stability and reliability while remaining lightweight in the camera body.
Sony A9 II is equipped with a Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF. The outermost screen of the viewfinder is coated with fluorine for cleaning purposes. Its 3.69m-dot resolution and 0.78x-magnification produce vibrant colors. The refresh rate of 120 fps is enabled through a High-Quality setting for the smooth shooting of moving objects.
In addition to a high magnification viewfinder, it offers a large display of a 3.0” 1.44-dot rear LCD equipped with a touch panel, enabling the shooter to focus control and intuitive operation. If you are working from a slightly high or low angle, you can tilt the screen upwards and downwards according to your need.
Sony A9II has extensive weather sealing, including enhanced covering around the battery terminal cover and chassis joints to reduce dust and moisture. You will always enjoy smooth working regardless of your shooting circumstances or problematic weather conditions.
Sony’s Alpha9 II has a 24.2 megapixel full-frame Exmor RS BSI stacked sensor and an upgraded BIONZ X processor. It is fast and quick, allowing the shooting of up to 20 frames per second with a silent electronic shutter.
It also supports a mechanical shutter that helps up to 10 fps with a sensitivity range expanded at ISO 204800. It will enable comprehensive blackout-free monitoring due to the use of an electronic shutter. An electronic viewfinder allows a more accurate composition of moving subjects.
A fully developed 693-point phase-detection autofocus system is also incorporated into the sensor’s design. The results of the autofocus system are simply exceptional.
All thanks to this upgraded sensor, A9 II allows fast and precise subject tracking and offers a Real-time Eye AF, ensuring the critical focus of moving subjects. BIONZ X allows excellent videography in addition to stills, besides supporting Ultra HD 4K video recording up to 30 fps and Quick and Slow Motion recording features.
This camera will meet your expectations whether you’re aiming for professional-level stills or videos. Usually, manufacturers are either focused on perfecting the still performance of the camera or video performance, but with this mirrorless camera, both results are awe-inspiring.
Sony’s A9II offers a dynamic range of colors, textures, and details in its image output. The illumination modes allow the shooter to see the effect of different lighting conditions. Its 24MP upgraded sensor also enhanced the image results compared to the predecessors.
It is fractionally soft at the pixel level primarily due to a powerful anti-aliasing filter. Sony A9II’s predecessor had no option of an AA filter. However, it was a good combination with the device’s other features.
It may affect the sharpness of the picture a tiny bit, but that is either not very noticeable or can be corrected in the post-production stage.
For sports photography, a good JPEG engine is a prerequisite. The color gradient of the Sony A9II is exceptional. Preferring rich and warm greens, blues, and red enhances the viewing experience. Its grain looks a little less “digital” at higher ISO levels.
It’s both RAW and JPEG images that make no compromise on quality. Most of the footage detail is retained in the latter format, too, unlike the general understanding that it is impossible to maintain the image detail in JPEG format as you can in RAW.
You can work on a range of pleasing, rich, and vibrant colors with an outstanding balance between noise control and retention with the JPEG format of A9 II.
Video Performance of Sony A9 II
As aforementioned, much like the image quality, the video performance of A9II is excellent. Using the entire sensor width, Video captures at 4K/24p. However, with a 1.2x crop and a less rolling shutter, the video tops out at 4K/30p.
Tracking the subject during video making can be difficult, but A9II is a pro for subject tracking. Even if you are doing the action or shooting with sports photography footage, it will not let go or lose focus on the subject once it gets a hold of it. You will be able to fully concentrate on the subject, resulting in a more enhanced and beautiful composition.
Sony A9 II’s performance in dim light is also outstanding. It has an electronic shutter without blackout that enables the lens to see and focus the subject clearly while shooting. The shutter speed is 1/3200 s, allowing you to shoot with a larger aperture even in clear weather or bright lighting, such as in stadiums.
The detailed capture of the Sony A9 II is also outstanding.
The camera also comes with various video modes with high-radius sharpening. Its 1080p captures sharp and fine details, and the subject also appears even. It offers the highest 4K movie image quality among its predecessors.
Its compact size and in-built stabilization make its video handling easy. Its dandy grip, combined with an in-built stabilization system and solid and compact dimensions, aids run-and-gun filmmaking. The tilting screen is primarily designed for vloggers, providing them with the necessary flexibility for shooting.
Sony deployed the company’s latest autofocus system in Sony A9II, which is effective in professional and day-to-day photography.
The autofocus system offers a 93% coverage of the sensor with 693 autofocus points. The shooter can keep track of its subjects by supporting an array of AF areas on the target. But most high-end cameras do this automatically.
The camera itself recognizes and tracks the subject around the frame without having you worry about concentrating and detecting the capture at the right moment.
However, another powerful yet simple and easy way to focus on the subject is utilizing the Tracking: Flexible Spot M focus area. By keeping the camera in AF-C and enabling the face/eye priority, you can place the subject of your desire over the AF area, and A9II will track it down with a green box.
The camera will automatically move to the face/eye detector (as it is kept on) if the subject is human.
You can also change the autofocus settings according to your need. For example
- In a more challenging niche of sports photography, you can adjust the camera’s AF Tracking Sensitivity.
- For animal photography, you can enable ‘animal priority’ from the menu so the camera can easily focus on animal eyes during photography.
- For portraits and documentaries, keep the ‘people priority’ mode, so the camera does not get tripped up by foreign elements.
Sony A9 II has a solid ISO implementation system. It allows you to specify minimum and maximum ISO values and a minimum shutter speed threshold which can be set to auto. The default shutter speed is one/ focal length, but you can make it faster or slower depending on your needs.
Auto ISO can also be used manually for both stills and videos. You can set your desired shutter speed and aperture. After that, the camera controls what you view as your scenes target brightness with the help of ISO.
The Fast Hybrid AF system
Sony A9II has a fast hybrid AF system with 693 face detection points. In addition, it has 425 contrast-detection areas for quick and precise focus in a range of lighting conditions with sensitivity down to minus 3 EV.
It also enables high-density tracking AF technology, which tracks moving subjects. Its updated algorithm manages to focus unpredictably fast-moving objects. This feature is beneficial in sports, action, and animal photography.
Power and Connectivity Features
The camera has built-in Wi-Fi, allowing sharing of images directly to mobile phones. It is supported by 2.4 and 5.0 GHz bands enabling wireless tethered shooting support.
Field Communication (NFC) is also available, which allows a one-touch connection between the camera and other compatible mobile devices. The linked device could display a live-view image on the screen.
It is also supported by Bluetooth, which allows data transfer and sharing.
Sony A9 II also has a fast and new USB Type-C port connection, allowing you to easily transport uncompressed RAW images without affecting the workflow. Dual UHS-II SD memory cards allow smooth file storage.
This camera also has the option of recording voice memos too. Voice Memos allow recording up to 60-second sound clips with every photo.
Battery and Storage
The Sony A9 II is powered by the battery FP-Z100, rated to about 690 shots while using the rear LCD and 500 photos using the EVF. But it depends on your usage. It gets double CIPA figures during the general shooting and more when the shooting bursts.
A9 II can be charged using its micro USB 2.0 or type-c connectors.
Users can remotely control A9 II with the help of a remote camera tool desktop application. This can come in handy when you have limited access to your camera as a photographer, for example, shooting from the roof of a stadium, during action photography, etc.
Sony A9 II Specifications:
- Dimensions: 1×3.1 inches
- Weight:678 g
- Image sensor: CMOS, Effective Megapixels 24.2, Sensor format 35mm, 847.28mm
- Image resolution: 6000×4000, 3936×2624, 3006×2000, 6000×3376, 3936×2216, 3008×1688, 5328×4000, 3488×2624, 2656×2000, 4000×4000, 2624×2624, 2000×2000
- Image file format: JPEG (EXIF 2.31), RAW (14-BIT ARW2.3 compressed or uncompressed), RAW+JPEG, Continuous mode frames per second 20.0
- Video resolution: 3840×2160, 1920×1080
- Movie file format: XAVC S/AVCHT 2.0/MP4;
- Autofocus Type: Fast Hybrid AF: comprehensive 693 points phase detection, 425 points contrast detection
- Built-in flash: no
- Flash modes: flash off, auto flash, fill-flash, slow sink, rear sink, hi-speed, wireless; red-eye detection: on/ off
- Connectivity: Built-in wifi: yes, NFC: yes, Bluetooth: yes, Built-in GPS: no, Microphone jack: yes, Headphone jack: yes, External connections: USB 2.0 high speed, Remote control: yes
- Software: Free downloads of Sony imaging edge remote, viewer, and edit
- Impressive autofocus for all types of photography
- Excellent 24 MP sensor
- Noise balance: through JPEG
- Great battery life
- Voice memo capability
- 20 fps blackout-free
- Bursts with e-shutter
- Good 4k video capability
- Manages both RAW and JPEG images
- Advanced ergonomics
- Faster data transfer through wifi and FTP settings
- Basic video features and performance
- No touch interface
- Complex menu system
- No in-camera RAW processing
Just like the predecessors from the A-series, Sony A9 II brings some fresh and advanced features making it an appealing option for professionals, especially for action photography enthusiasts.
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Sony A9 II is impressively compact and fast. It has better connectivity options and a refined design. It caters to all the demands of professional photographers, including sophisticated operation and network connectivity for support in the field. It is a go-anywhere camera, easy to handle, and reliable.
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