Sony has announced the latest range of its popular professional mirrorless cameras: the A9 III. It’s a $5,999 full-frame camera with a 24.6-megapixel sensor, right behind the A9 II released four years ago. But the most important thing about the A9 III is its new shutter.
The A9 III is the first full-frame camera with a global shutter. This allows each pixel to be detected at the same time, so there is no distortion in still images or video. Most mirrorless cameras like the Canon R5, Panasonic GH5 and Nikon Z9 have a rolling shutter. Blinds capture the image by exposing one row of pixels at a time, which can distort it. Below you will find a table with Lensrentals.com This illustrates this difference well.
Thanks to this new global shutter, the A9 III is capable of 4K video at 120fps without cropping, 14-bit RAW recording for 192 frames with real-time AF and flash sync at any shutter speed and a maximum shutter speed of 1/. 80,000 (1/16,000 for continuous shooting). There’s also a 1-second pre-shoot function that can actively capture up to 120 images before the shutter button is pressed, and a dedicated button function that can temporarily increase the shutter speed while the shutter button is held down. This allows photographers to increase the shutter speed without having to close the shutter button. These are great specs and very fast.
The problem with the panning shutter, however, is that it usually doesn’t work well in low light and doesn’t usually offer a wide dynamic range. Sony didn’t provide any details on low-light performance at today’s keynote, but the A9 III’s spec sheet boasts the ability to capture images up to 51,200 ISO. Speed has been prioritized over high resolution or extreme low-light performance in the A9 range, and the A9 III looks set to continue that leadership role.
Up until this point, the A9 II was Sony’s forgotten flagship. When it launched in 2019, it featured the latest and greatest technology, including a 20fps continuous shooting and a 24.2-megapixel sensor. It was an ideal camera for professional sports photography, but then Sony released the A1 in January 2021. The A1 was faster, had more megapixels, better focus speeds and a new, faster processing engine, putting the A9 II to shame.
I had forgotten about the A9 until today, but its history of being perfect for photographers who needed the fastest speed is alive again. We’ll get to test all of these brief specs when we get our hands on a review unit next month, so stay tuned. The Sony A9 III will be available next spring for $5,999.
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