The Sony a9 is packed with so many options and features for what ever comes in front of your lens; so, please excuse me for cheating and copying and pasting from Sony the most important features. It is way too much for me to try to write about and, let’s face it, Sony can say it far better. It would take me weeks to come even close trying to describe all the features available. 

Credit: Sony

I can show you what I photographed in a very short period of time which is worth more than a thousand words.

Jim Morrison Mural | Venice Beach | Sony a9 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 | 100mm 1/320 F/8 ISO 80 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather

All I know is Sony’s Image Quality is second to none. And now, the focusing ability is bulletproof for such things as sports and nature, which is especially important for fast action such as capturing sharp action packed images from sports or fast moving birds. It’s also great for weddings and events where there is always plenty of action and ever changing light from candle light to sun light. Also, great for portraiture, static subjects, like architecture shots, and landscape photography.

Baywatch Mural | Venice Beach | Sony a9 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 | 177mm 1/800 F/11 ISO 200 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather

As I have stated before, there is something quite supernatural about the Sony sensors, whether 1” or full frame.  

Check out my action of the flying skateboarder at 20 frames per second. One is able to pull high resolution 24 mp jpeg and raw frames from a video stream and shoot 100 continuous frames. 

This camera is so quiet in Electronic Shutter mode it will be welcomed at PGA golf tournaments close to the action on the course and in courtrooms where any noise of any sort is a huge distraction. And, of course, with it’s crazy high ISO capability, it’s perfect for movie/TV sets and locations, and the music scene in front of and back stage, as well as during theater productions.

One last thing – since I have shot with Sony over the years I know the menu and I must admit it is quite simple once you are familiar with it.

As for the 4K video, I have seen some examples that blow me away. It’s like that saying “But wait there’s more!”  How can there be? How can one camera hold all this incredible technology?

Instead of rambling on please view the photos I was able to get in actually only about 90 minutes.Where to go to try it out? Of course I went to Venice Beach, where I have everything at hand for such a short test time. 

Venice Beach Mural | Sony a9 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 | 141mm 1/1250 F/11 ISO 200 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Dark Glasses | Venice Beach | Sony a9 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 | 400mm 1/250 F/11 ISO 200 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Grafitti Artist | Venice Beach | Sony a9 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 | 400mm 1/250 F/16 ISO 200 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Venice Beach | Sony a9 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 | 394mm 1/640 F/5.6 ISO 200 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Shop | Venice Beach | Sony a9 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 | 16mm 1/2500 F/8 ISO 400 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Muscle Beach| Venice Beach | Sony a9 16-35mm F/4 24mm 1/2500 F/8 ISO 400 | Credit: Ralph Elliott Starkweather

From the Sony USA website:

What only α9 can do

This mechanism-free camera can deliver a-class-above performance conventional mechanical SLRs have only sought. For example, this system realizes a totally blackout-free viewfinder while conventional systems can only try to reduce blackout time. A high-speed, vibration-free, silent Anti-Distortion shutter vastly extends the range of shooting situations while a mechanical system can only aim for lower vibration and quieter shutter release sound. α9 provides continuous tracking of moving subjects for foolproof AF/AE while traditional SLRs can only challenge such AF/AE performance improvements. Moreover, α9 allows its viewfinder to show not only images of the subject — available on conventional systems — but also the final image of a shot. Now, thanks to a new image sensor that superbly manages all these roles, you can surpass all expectation with α9.

Note: This camera is equipped with electronic and mechanical shutters. The features described in this section are primarily related to electronic shutter operation.

  • Driving force for full-electronic revolution
  • Innovative full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with integral memory

α9 liberates you from the limits of conventional SLRs that rely on mechanical systems. First2 to use high-speed stacked design, its 24.2-megapixel3 full-frame image sensor temporarily stores large-volume data in the integral memory for overall 20 times faster readout speed4. The combination of CMOS sensor and enhanced BIONZ X image-processing engine brings you true digital freedom.

[ Stacked back-illuminated structure with integral memory ]

(1) Pixel area (2) Integral memory (3) Hi-speed signal processing circuit (4) Image processing engine

  • High-speed continuous shooting at up to 20fps

Groundbreaking full-frame Exmor RS CMOS sensor and BIONZ X processor team up for 20fps continuous shooting5 with AF/AE tracking. Stunning high-speed performance and ample buffer let you capture the decisive moment.

  • lackout-free shooting6

Non-mechanical electronic shutter eliminates blackout with typical SLR mirror action. An uninterrupted view of the subject is available even during shutter release, with 60fps live-view capability and minimal display lag in continuous shooting.

(A) Blackout-free shooting (B) Shooting with blackout

  • Electronic shutter speeds up to 1/32000 sec.8

Electronic shutter speeds up to 1/32000 sec.8 far surpass mechanical shutters for a new imaging expression. You can also maintain shallow depth of field without an ND filter, even under bright conditions.

(A mode 1/20000 sec. F8.0 ISO 1000)

  • No noise distraction

An anti-distortion9 electronic shutter allows silent shooting10 without mechanical mirror and shutter noise. It’s ideal for sports and subjects that demand quiet operation, greatly expanding camera versatility

  • No unwanted vibration

During SLR shooting, mirror shock and shutter release shock cause subtle vibration. α9, however, has a vibration-free electronic shutter that can keep the camera stable, for razor-sharp images.

4D FOCUS: Stunningly wide coverage

  • 693. Remarkable number of phase-detection AF points

The phase-detection points on the surface of an image sensor — 693 AF points — covers approximately 93% of the image area. High-precision performance assures your focus on subjects.

  • New CMOS sensor for imaging excellence

High sensitivity, a back-illuminated configuration, gapless on-chip lens architecture, and other Sony innovations deliver stunning images in a wide range of photographic situations. Standard ISO range is ISO 100-51200, expandable to ISO 50-20480016 with minimum noise.

  • Beautiful 4K imaging
  • High-resolution quality of 4K movies17

Full-pixel readout with no pixel binning makes it possible to condense approximately 2.4 times18 the amount of data required for 4K (the equivalent of the amount of data required for 6K) into 3840 x 2160 4K output. This oversampling process plus full-frame pixel readout without binning results in the highest possible 4K movie image quality.

  • 5-axis image stabilization

New body-integrated 5-axis image stabilization unit offers a 5.0-stop20 shutter speed advantage. The live-view monitor image is also stabilized, so you can compose images easily even when shooting a fast-moving subject. (1) Yaw (2) Pitch (3) Roll

  • Battery stamina for professional use

A newly developed NP-FZ100 battery offers approximately twice11 the life of the previous NP-FW50. Capture up to approx. 480 still frames on one charge — and further increase the number of shots with an attached optional vertical grip (sold separately) that can hold two batteries.

Come into Samy’s and try this camera out. Or order it online .

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Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Originating from Santa Monica, California, Ralph Elliott Starkweather is a professional photographer with over 40 years experience. His photographs have featured in LIFE Magazine, Gourmet, Food and Wine, Smithsonian, Cheshire Life and many more. He's had a great number of amazing life experiences including haveing traveled to Australia with Muhammad Ali and photographed some of the Royals in Great Britain.