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Sony goes global with speedy A9 III

Posted on Nov 28, 2023

A global-shutter, full-frame stacked sensor headlines the latest Alpha release from Sony, coming January 2024

Action, sports and wildlife photographers feeling the need for speed: pay attention. Coming January 2024 from electronics giant Sony is an updated pro-grade camera body. That’s the Sony Alpha 9 III, which its maker is calling a landmark product. Also new is a premium G Master telephoto lens to go with it, namely the FE 300mm f/2.8 GM OSS. 

Headline features of the Mark III camera, which Sony says indicates it’s been listening to the wishes of professional photographers, include what’s claimed to be the world’s first global-shutter, full-frame stacked CMOS image sensor. 

This promises users the ability to shoot at up to 120fps without camera blackout, capturing moments even the naked eye couldn’t register. In fact, freed from the limitations of conventional mechanical-shutter image sensors, this speed demon has a maximum shutter speed of 1/80,000sec, or 1/16,000sec during continuous shooting.

Here, the 24.6-megapixel sensor is combined with its manufacturer’s most advanced AF system so far, utilising artificial intelligence to carry out 120 AF/AE focus calculations per second. There’s also the ability to sync flash at all shooting speeds, when using the likes of Sony’s separately available HVL-F60RM2 or HVL-F46RM flashes. In addition, when capturing stills or video under LED lighting, a Hi Frequency Flicker function can significantly reduce potential problems by allowing shutter speed to be finely adjusted to match the flicker frequency when viewing the monitor.

Unsurprisingly, a latest-generation Bionz XR processor is on board the A9 III, while we’re told the camera’s AI processing unit uses real-time recognition AF to register and track a wide variety of subjects with high precision – that’s whether shooting stills or video. Support for those shooting handheld includes five-axis in-body image stabilisation, here the equivalent of a cool eight stops. 

Pro-level feedback is also said to have influenced button layout, menu functions and grip design on this model, tweaks all made with the unifying purpose of allowing photographers and videographers to capture things never before possible. When it comes to video, this is the first model in the Alpha series to be able to record 4K/120p frame-rate video without cropping, while there is also the ability to record 4K/ 60p videos with 6K oversampling. An S-Cinetone mode, said to help human skin and subjects stand out beautifully, is also featured.

When it comes to workflow, the A9 III is said to transfer data twice as fast as the previous generation – invaluable for news gatherers and sports photographers seeking to deliver material to news desks immediately via FTP. Two media slots are provided for data capture, supporting CFexpress Type A cards as well as UHS-I and UHS-II SD cards.

Very much a professional’s tool, the Sony A9 III comes with a price tag to match at a suggested £6099. With enough standout features for us to fill several pages more, best visit the web address below for the full rundown.

And then there’s the lens. On top of its maker laying claim to the world’s lightest large-aperture telephoto at approximately 1470g, the new G Master FE 300mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens is claimed to be capable of resolving a high level of detail, delivering beautiful bokeh thanks to an 11-bladed circular aperture mechanism, as well as high-performance autofocus. 

Professionals shooting with this lens in the field – and attached to the new A9 III – will also appreciate what’s said to be exceptional mobility and comfortable operability, its manageable weight partly down to the durable magnesium alloy used in the build of its internal lens barrel. Lens construction comprises three super ED (extra-low dispersion) glass elements and one ED glass element to suppress chromatic aberration, while delivering high resolution and contrast across the frame. This, in turn, also allows for more flexible cropping and image editing by photographers and news desks. Finally, high-speed, high-precision and low-vibration AF performance comes courtesy of a combination of two latest-generation XD (extreme dynamic) linear motors and control algorithms; more so when combined with the new camera body.

Also arriving this January, the lens has a ticket price of £5799.

Originally featured in Issue 112 of Photography News.

Alpha 9 III

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