San Diego, CA—Along with the FE 300mm f/2.8 G Master OSS lens, Sony Electronics introduced its next-generation mirrorless ILC. Moreover, the Sony Alpha 9 III camera boasts the world’s first full-frame global shutter image sensor (as of November 2023).
The newly developed global shutter image sensor exposes and reads all pixels simultaneously. Conversely, a conventional rolling shutter sensor records images sequentially from the top row of pixels to the bottom. In addition, the global shutter full-frame sensor enables the camera to shoot at burst speeds up to 120 frames per second (fps) with no rolling shutter distortion or blackout.
Furthermore, the sensor combines with Sony’s most advanced AF (autofocus) system. The system features AI (artificial intelligence) AF with up to 120x AF/AE focus calculations per second. It also gives the Alpha 9 III the added ability to sync flash at all shooting speeds.
“The Alpha 9 III full-frame camera is a landmark achievement for the industry,” said Yang Cheng, vice president, Imaging Solutions, Sony Electronics. “Designed with the needs and demands of professional photographers in mind, every single update to this camera—from the sensor to even the size to the button layouts and menu functions—was made to address specific input and feedback from our community.
“We have listened and are thrilled to bring the new capabilities of the Alpha 9 III to market. Capabilities which allow photographers to capture things they’ve never been able to capture before,” Cheng continued. “For professionals everywhere, they can achieve even more dynamic expressions when the Alpha 9 III is combined with our rich lineup of lenses, in particular with the new 300mm f/2.8 G Master OSS—the world’s lightest large-aperture telephoto lens.”
Sony Alpha 9 III Key Features
The Alpha 9 III employs the first global shutter, full-frame stacked CMOS image sensor with 24.6 megapixels and built-in memory. Combined with Sony’s latest image processing engine, the Bionz XR, the ILC achieves a blackout-free 120-fps continuous shooting speed with AF/AE tracking. The Alpha 9 III also uses high-density focal plane phase-detection AF. A designated AI processing unit features real-time recognition AF to distinguish a variety of subjects. All this tech means the camera can photograph scenes and moments that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Further, the camera’s AI processing unit supports movies as well as still photography with subject form and movement recognition. In addition, real-time recognition AF and real-time tracking provide a significant improvement in human eye recognition. Thus, the camera can recognize, track and focus on the eyes of a specified subject. Plus, the system provides 8.0 stops of optical 5-axis in-body image stabilization.
Moreover, the shutter—freed from the limitations of conventional mechanical shutter image sensors—is said to reach a shutter speed of 1/80,000 second (1/16,000 second during continuous shooting). What’s more, when an optional Sony flash is attached, it’s possible to synchronize the flash and take pictures at all shutter speeds up to 1/80,000 second. Previously, if you released the shutter at a speed faster than the flash’s synchronization speed, the amount of light would drop sharply. However, with the new full-speed flash synchronization function, you can photograph scenes not easily captured with conventional technology.
Additionally, when shooting stills or movies under LED lighting, the ILC’s hi-frequency flicker function reduces high-frequency flicker problems. It enables you to finely adjust the shutter speed to match the flicker frequency while viewing the monitor.
Other New Benefits
The Alpha 9 III also features selectable release lag modes that let you prioritize release lag or viewfinder/monitor display. Plus, the new pre-capture function permits the camera to continuously record up to one second before the shutter is released. When selected, a continuous shooting speed boost function lets you change to a faster, preset speed set any time during shooting. And enhanced burst stamina ensures important moments are captured due to a large buffer memory and increased overall system speed. Specs state the ILC can capture approximately 390 Fine JPEG images in a continuous 30-fps burst.
Sony also expanded customizable focus areas to include from XS to XL in addition to the previous S, M and L sizes. The preset focus/zoom function enables the camera to “memorize” preset focus and zoom settings for quick recall. In addition to the existing custom white balance frame size, you can also now select other sizes for fine white balance adjustment.
Additionally, the Alpha 9 III has other upgraded features, such as the latest AF algorithms to achieve AF precision down to light levels as low as -5 EV in AF-S mode (ISO 100 equivalent, f/2.0 lens); AF tracking for continuous shooting at f/22; and a composite RAW shooting function that combines multiple consecutive images into a composite.
Further, the Alpha 9 III offers a 4-axis, multi-angle LCD monitor with intuitive touch control and the latest touch menu. Complementing the monitor is a 9.44M-dot, Quad XGA OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.90x magnification.
Furthermore, the global shutter image sensor provides distortion-free image expression for videos as well as still images. For example, you can shoot images of nearby scenery from a fast-moving vehicle or of fast-moving subjects.
This is also the first Alpha camera able to record 4K 120p high-frame-rate video without cropping. Thus, you shoot at the angle of view intended. It is also possible to shoot 4K 60p videos with 6K oversampling.
The Alpha 9 III additionally employs Sony’s S-Cinetone, to create a cinematic look without post-processing. S-Cinetone was created for the Venice high-end cinema camera to make skin tones and subjects stand out. Moreover, the new ILC has the latest video performance features. They include rich gradation performance and S-Log3. And when in log shooting mode, it can reflect and display your favorite imported LUT.
Sony listened to feedback from professional photographers to give them the operability and reliability they need. The shape of the ILC’s grip was improved ergonomically so you can hold it in the palm of your hand to avoid straining—even when using a telephoto lens.
In addition, new features include a playback image filter that lets you select numerous images using high-speed continuous shooting. Plus, to support pro workflows, the function menu is usable even during image playback.
Furthermore, you can assign the playback function menu in advance, so you can perform protection, smartphone transfer, file transfer protocol, etc. during playback. You also can select images narrowed down with a playback filter and play them from the function menu, for quick delivery of specific images.
The camera also has a dedicated microphone for voice memos. You can transfer the recorded audio data via FTP along with the images. The camera also enables you to set up to 20 presets from the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC).
What’s more, the Alpha 9 III transfers data twice as fast as the Alpha 9 II. And 5GHz communication offers maximum speed and stability for news and sports shooters who need to deliver immediately via FTP, as well as for studio environments. In addition, you can record stills and movies to memory media in numerous ways. There are two media slots that support CFexpress Type A cards as well as UHS-I and UHS-II SD cards.
The camera is also compatible with the professional Transfer & Tagging mobile app, which speeds up the image delivery workflow. Plus, it supports the Remote Camera Tool app, which allows remote shooting of PCs using wired LAN.
The Alpha 9 III will also support functional enhancements—FTP operability, relay playback and C2PA-format support—through a software update.
VG-C5 Grip Accessory
Sony introduced the VG-C5 vertical grip (sold separately, SRP $399) with the Alpha 9 III. It provides the same operability as when shooting horizontally.
The grip and shutter button area share the same design as the main body. This allows image capture without feeling uncomfortable. It is available for preorder.
The Alpha 9 III mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera is available for preorder. It has a suggested retail price of $5,999.99.