This morning, Sony announced the Alpha a9 II camera, an update to its flagship mirrorless a9 camera. While the camera retains the previous 24.2 megapixels, the update adds improved connectivity options for professional sports photographers and photojournalists, an updated BIONZ X processor and front-end LSI.

Improved performance

Users should see improved performance and speed with the new processor and front-end LSI, as well as more precise autofocus and improved EVF display response times. The Fast Hybrid AF system uses a 693-point phase-detect array with 93% coverage to track subjects.

New to the a9 II is the ability to select the focus frame color, and being able to move the frame while the shutter is half-pressed in AF-C mode. Another improvement while in Focus Priority mode and while shooting at f/16 is the option to focus with opened aperture just before exposure, for improved performance in low-light conditions. The a9 II also supports the latest Real-time AF Tracking mode.

The mechanical shutter’s speed has also been doubled to 10 fps, with the electronic shutter still supporting up to 20 fps.

Design and build

The a9 II takes cues from the recently-released a7R IV, including superior weather sealing. Design changes can be seen on the battery and media slot covers, lens lock button, dials, buttons, joystick and an exposure-compensation lock.

The shutter has also been enhanced, now rating at up to 500,000 exposures. In-body stabilization also sees an upgrade to 5.5 stops. While the EVF and rear LCD remain unchanged, the OLED EVF now has a 120 fps refresh rate.

Finally, both SD card slots now support UHS-II for faster write speeds. The a9 also supports the USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C connector, and 100BASE-T speed for Ethernet. Additionally, the a9 II also offers a 5 GHz wireless band for less interference and faster speeds.

Video

The a9 II now supports Real-time Eye AF during video. The Multi Interface Shoe has also been upgraded, and Interval Shooting has also been added — albeit without Picture Profiles.

Additional details

The improved BIONZ X processor gives users greater efficiency, which in turn means a bit longer battery lift. Using the current NP-FZ100 Battery Pack, users can expect 500 shots on a single charge when using the EVF, or 690 shots with the rear LCD.

Users can now separate Fn button customization into Stills and Movie settings for better control, and user settings can be saved to both the camera and SD cards.

The Sony a9 II is available for pre-orders beginning later today, and retails for $4498.