The latest firmware update for the Sony α9 camera provides a wealth of improvements to autofocusing, image quality and usability.

Firmware Ver. 5.00 for the α9 (shown above) provides an extensive range of enhancements to key shooting functions, image quality and the overall operability of the camera. Improvements have been made to automatic detection and tracking of subjects by adding a subject tracking function to  the conventional Lock-on AF function. A new  object recognition algorithm achieves real-time high-speed processing of colour, pattern (brightness level) and subject distance (depth). AF Tracking can also be assigned Tracking On to the  Custom Key. Touch Tracking is available in still image shooting mode and movie shooting mode, but unavailable when shooting with the viewfinder.

Face detection now includes Eye AF (AF-C/AF-S mode support) for shooting stills. Users can have the camera automatically select the eye on which to focus. A new touch pad function lets you move the focusing frame position by dragging your finger on the monitor while looking through the viewfinder. Fast Hybrid Af has been added for video shooting.

The new AF algorithm improves focal plane phase detection AF accuracy during AF-C and continuous shooting, particularly in low-light environments, such as indoor sports scenes. The aperture range for phase detection AF in AF-C and continuous shooting modes has been expanded from f/11 to f/16. This is supported when any E-mount lens that supports focal plane phase detection AF is mounted. The number of contrast AF frame divisions increases from 25 to 425 frames, improving performance in  low-light levels and where contrast AF is advantageous.

A number of changes have been made to the menu settings, including ISO and white balance adjustments as well as improvements to the detection accuracy of the focus peaking function, expansion of JPEG picture quality settings for RAW+JPEG shooting and support for a Monitor Off shooting mode. Simultaneous recording of 4K movies and low definition proxy movies is supported and XAVC S HD recording settings are increased to include 60p 25M and 30p 16M. Dual slot recording functionality is expanded to include Sort(JPEG/RAW) or Sort(RAW/JPEG) as the method of recording still images separately to two memory cards. A new “My Dial” setting enables users to assign desired functions to the front dial, rear dial and control wheel, and register up to three combinations of settings. Up to 112 different options are available for assigning to custom keys.

Click here for full details of the new firmware and links to download for Windows and Mac operating systems.