Please note: All images on this page and clips used in the video are courtesy of Sony. Please visit the Sony A9 III page for more information. Below are my personal thoughts on this incredible camera.
The term Game-Changer gets used a lot these days, but the Sony A9 III is exactly that!
Every now and again, a camera comes out that changes everything for me. Too many cameras are upgraded the "meh" specs but the Sony A9 III is different. Not only has this got my interest piqued, it is enough for me to consider changing systems entirely.
There's only one thing stopping me right now which I will come to later.
Main Specs (click links to jump to section)
- 124.6mp, 35mm full frame stacked CMOS Sensor with global shutter
- 21/80,000th sec shutter speed WITH flash sync
- 3ISO 250-25600 (Expandable to 125-51,200)
- 4Battery life 400-530 shots (will take vertical battery grip)
- 5120fps with insane AF/AE tracking
- 65-axis Image Stabilisation with up to 8.0-step stabilisation (then add lens stabilisation)
- 8Composite RAW shooting captures multiple images (4, 8, 16, or 32)
- 9Continuous Shooting Speed Boost for faster, shorter bursts
- 10AI Real-time recognition AF
- 11759 phase-detection AF points covering 95.6% of the image area
- 12Customisable focus area
- 13Lens compensation for “breathing” during rack focussing
- 14Flash sync at ALL shutter speeds
- 15Crop-free 4K 120p
- 164K 4:2:2: 10bit 59.94p (600mbps)
- 17RAW output via HDMI
- 18Two CFexpress Type A media slots PLUS UHS-1 and UHS-II SD cards
- 19Multi-angle rear screen
- 20Screen reader
- 21Voice memo mic
- 22Weight with battery and memory card 702g (1lb 8.8oz)
24.6mp Stacked CMOS Sensor (with Global Shutter)
The A9 III has a 24.6mp, 35mm full frame stacked CMOS Sensor, flicker free, distortion-free Global Shutter. This is huge.
The A9 III is the first full frame camera to have a global shutter but what does that mean and why is it so revolutionary? Look at the image below...
Rolling Shutter vs Global Shutter
A traditional rolling shutter will record images or video in a downwards linear fashion. This means that each pixel line is recorded one after the other, albeit very quickly. However, this isn't quick enough to prevent distortion when moving the camera quickly whilst shooting.
For example, a panning photo or video of a fast moving car. What happens is that you move the camera faster than the rolling shutter can record each line, vertical objects can appear as though they are tilting.
A Global shutter on the other hand, records every line and every pixel instantaneously as in the image above. This eliminates rolling shutter and produces distortion and flicker free photos and video.
This is huge for video creators like myself as it can be a huge issue and not easily rectified in post production as easy as it is with photos.
1/80,000th sec shutter speed WITH flash sync
Whaaaat? That is an insane shutter and would require a LOT of light, especially if using a small-ish aperture. Luckily, the Sony A9 III's flash sync can now fire at ALL shutter speeds including 1/80,000th sec!
120fps with insane AF/AE tracking
I'll let Sony explain this...
Let the camera keep track - the high-speed readout of the new image sensor enables the α9 III to make up to 120 AF/AE tracking calculations per second, twice that of its predecessor. AF tracks complex subject motions and predicts sudden movements with greater precision than ever before, while AE easily responds to sudden brightness variations. The α9 III continues to track even during continuous shooting, also contributing to greater precision. (1) AF/AE calculations (2) 120 frames/sec
So imagine this. You now have a camera capable of shooting 1/8000th sec at 120fps WITH intelligent and reliable AF. I fully expect to see EVERY photographer at the next Olympics using the Sony A9 III.
Couple this with the new "pre-capture" feature and you'll never miss a shot!
I have this feature on the Panasonic GH5 and S1H for video and love it. It basically means that the camera is continuously recording 1 second's worth of footage to the buffer until you hit the shutter button.
The A9 III will do this for photography at up to 120fps!
All you do is half press the shutter to activate...
...and then when you fully press the shutter button, your camera will start shooting at 120fps for real. However, you will have also captured 1 second (120 frames/photos) prior to hitting the shutter fully.
So imagine you are waiting for a Kingfisher bird to leave its nest. Ordinarily, by the time you hit the shutter, the bird would be well out of shot, they are that fast. And you are not : )
With this feature, as long as you hit the shutter button within one second of the action happening (lightning, wildlife, fireworks etc), you will have an additional 120 photos to scrub through for that perfect shot
5-axis Image Stabilisation with up to 8.0-steps
The need for gimbles and other stabilisation devices are rapidly diminishing. When you couple the in-body 5-axis stabilisation of the A9 III with an IS lens, you have 8 steps of incredibly powerful stabilisation built right into your hands. Goodbye gimbal!
Composite RAW shooting
This superb new feature will help enormously with low light photography as one example. What the Sony A9 III does is to capture 4, 8, 16, or 32 images almost simultaneously. these can then be merged, using Sony's Image Editing Desktop software, to create full resolution images with little to no noise.
This will also help with reducing camera shale images or those with jaggies and false colours. Genius.
Lens compensation for “breathing”
One of the biggest issues for filmmakers when "rack focussing" is focus breathing. Rack-focussing is when your camera stays still but the focus, using a wide aperture for shallow depth of field, changes from foreground to background.
Breathing occurs when either subject in the shot appears to enlarge or shrink as the focus changes. The Sony A9 III compensated for this as it happens which is a huge bonus because "breath-free" lenses cost a fortune.
Sony A9 III Dual Card Slots
It's nice to have the choice and with the Sony A9 III, you have choices. You can choose between CFexpress Type A and SD memory cards depending on what you are shooting and how much data is being transferred.
Multi-Angle rear screen
The biggest attraction for me when moving to mirrorless with the Panasonic GH4 was the rear screen. Being able to move the screen to any angle was a huge draw for me when filming in tight spots.
The Sony A9 III now has a multi-angle rear screen that outshines even the Panny screens.
Screen reader function
Not sure if I would need this as I am short-sighted and can see well close up. However, if you are long-sighted, have trouble reading close and have forgotten your glasses, this could be a God-send.
Once set, the camera will read each menu item as you scroll through them.
Now this I would use (even if Sony did spell dedicated incorrectly in the image above ; )
This can only be used for stills sadly but it could be incredibly handy. Simply leave a "note to self" on any images you take that will help with editing or organising once back in the office. Pretty cool.
Enter your text here...
Sony A9 III Summary
There is just so much to this camera, I am going to have to leave it here. This camera is exceptionally enticing and one that is now firmly on my radar.
I have been waiting for the Panasonic S1H Mark II or Canon R1 to show their faces but this is here now and could well be the start of another jump ship.
I am interested in the Panny S1H II when it arrives, for its Phase Detect AF plus the fact it may well shoot 8k. As a video camera, my S1H is incredible (except for the AF).
The only issue with the Sony A9 III for me, for video, is the possibility of overheating. The Panasonic S1H has a fan built in that is silent. I have filmed with it, non-stop, for 34 hours with no issues.
I am wondering if, with all its bells and whistle, the A9 III will overheat. Bring on the reviews please...
Head over to Sony
Form more info and detailed features and specs, please head to the Sony A9 III page for a closer inspection (after watching their video below : ).