Overnight, Sony has released details of its latest ‘full-frame’ mirrorless camera, the Alpha 9 II (model ILCE-9M2), which has been designed for sports photography and photojournalism.

Angled view of the new Sony Alpha 9 II with the SEL2470GM lens. (Source: Sony.)

Physically, the new camera is very similar to its predecessor and it retains the same 24-megapixel sensor and Fast Hybrid Auto Focus system. Comprising 693 focal-plane phase-detection AF points covering approximately 93% of the image area, as well as 425 contrast AF points, the new camera’s capabilities now include Real-time Eye AF with right eye / left eye selection, Real-time Eye AF for animals and Real-Time Eye AF for movies. Blackout-free continuous shooting is supported at up to 20 frames/second (fps) with AF and AE tracking and the electronic shutter.  Continuous shooting at up to 10 fps is available with the mechanical shutter. The buffer memory is expanded to accommodate up to 361 JPEGs or 239 compressed RAW images.

The dust and moisture resistance of the camera body has been upgraded with stronger sealing at all body seams as well as the battery compartment cover and media slot. The grip has also been improved for greater comfort and security and the design of the button controls is refined, increasing their diameter to provide better tactile feedback. The rear dial has a redesigned shape and new position.

Front, back and top views of the new Sony Alpha 9 II with no lens fitted. (Source: Sony.)

The dual media slots are compatible with UHS-I and UHS-II SD cards and the new camera sports a USB Type-C connector that supports fast USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer. A digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface Shoe (MI Shoe) enabling the new ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit to be connected directly for cleaner, clearer audio recordings.

Internally, some significant changes have been made. The upgraded BIONZ X image processing engine can benefit from the sensor’s fast readout speed and work with front-end LSI to enhance speed in AF/AE detection, image processing and face detection and accuracy. The camera is able to function while continuously calculating Auto Focus and Auto Exposure at up to 60 times per second. New image-processing algorithms reduce noise in the medium-to-high sensitivity range while improving subjective resolution and image quality. The built-in SteadyShot stabilisation system has been improved to provide up to 5.5 stops of shake correction and the redesigned shutter mechanism has been tested for durability in excess of 500,000 shutter cycles.

A built-in 1000BASE-T Ethernet terminal enables gigabit communication for high-speed, stable data transfer operations, providing support for File Transfer over SSL or TLS encryption (FTPS) for increased data security. Tethered PC remote shooting performance is improved, with decreased release time lag and reduced live view screen delay when using Sony’s ‘Remote Camera Tool’ desktop application. The speed of the camera’s built-in wireless LAN functionality has also been increased, adding a stable and fast 5 GHz (IEEE 802.11ac) band, in addition to the 2.4 GHz provided in the Alpha 9. IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards are all supported. The Alpha 9 II also features a new Voice Memo function that allows voice memos  to be attached to image. These can be replayed when the images are reviewed and included with images sent to an editor, giving them important information needed for effective editing. Location photographers can also use the ‘Transfer & Tagging add-on’ in Sony’s Imaging Edge software to transfer voice tags with the images to their mobile device and have the voice memos automatically converted to text and added to the JPEG images in the form of IPTC metadata. All of this can be done automatically or manually, selectable by the photographer. These facilities enable photographers to shoot and transfer the results to an FTP server without ever having to operate a smartphone. FTP settings within the app can also be sent to a camera via Bluetooth, allowing for a faster workflow.

The Alpha 9 II will ship in Europe in October 2019, priced at approximately €5,400. List pricing is expected to be in the region of US$4,500 for the body-only, with shipments starting sometime in November. The new camera will be available in Australia in November 2019 for an RRP of AU$7,499. Click here for more information and here to view a product video.