Home Tech Sony Electronics Releases the Alpha 9 III; The World’s First Full-Frame Image Sensor Camera with a Global Shutter System

Sony Electronics Releases the Alpha 9 III; The World’s First Full-Frame Image Sensor Camera with a Global Shutter System

by Vergas Mabunda
15 minutes read

Sony Electronics Releases the Alpha 9 III; The World’s First Full-Frame Image Sensor Camera with a Global Shutter System[i] 

Next Generation Alpha 9 III captures all decisive moments with up to 120 frames per second high-speed shooting, distortion-free and blackout-free images, flash sync at all shooting speeds and much, much more

 

(SOUTH AFRICA, 27 NOVEMBER 2023) – Sony has introduced the groundbreaking new Alpha 9 III camera equipped with the world’s first1 full-frame global shutter image sensor.

The impressive new global shutter full-frame image sensor enables the camera to shoot at burst speeds at up to 120 fps with no distortion or camera blackout.  By combining this innovative sensor with Sony’s most advanced AF system to date – boasting AI autofocus with up to 120 times AF/AE focus calculations per second – as well as the ability to sync flash at all shooting speeds, the Alpha 9 III opens up a new world of possibilities for professional photographers to capture that decisive moment.

Features of the Alpha 9 III

A new dimension of still image performance created by the world’s first1 global shutter image sensor

The new Alpha 9 III is equipped with a newly developed world’s first1 global shutter full frame stacked CMOS image sensor with approximately 24.6 effective megapixels[ii] and built-in memory, combined with the latest image processing engine BIONZ XR®. It achieves blackout-free Continuous Shooting Speed with AF/AE tracking[iii] of up to approximately 120 frames per second4. The new Alpha 9 III is equipped with high-density focal plane phase detection AF. A Designated AI processing unit uses Real-time Recognition AF (autofocus) to recognise a wide variety of subjects with high precision. By combining high-speed performance of up to 120 frames per second with highly accurate subject recognition performance, it is possible to easily photograph decisive scenes and moments that cannot be captured with the naked eye4.  The AI processing unit in the Alpha 9 III supports movies as well as stills with accurate subject form and movement recognition, providing a significant improvement in human eye recognition performance with Real-time Recognition AF and Real-time Tracking automatically recognising, tracking, and focusing on the eyes of a specified subject[iv]. The Alpha 9 III is equipped with 8.0 stops[v] of optical 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, allowing for high-quality image rendering.

Shutter speed is freed from the limitations of conventional mechanical shutter image sensors and achieves a maximum shutter speed of 1/80000 second (1/16000 second during continuous shooting)[vi], making it possible to capture at high speed without any distortion. When a compatible Sony flash[vii] is attached, such as the HVL-F60RM2 and HVL-F46RM (sold separately), it is possible to synchronise the flash and take pictures at all shutter speeds up to 1/80000 second8. Previously, if the user released the shutter at a speed faster than the flash’s synchronisation speed, the amount of light would drop sharply, but with the full-speed flash synchronisation function, it’s now possible to photograph scenes that could not be easily captured with conventional technology. Also, when shooting stills or movies under LED lighting, the Hi Frequency Flicker function can significantly reduce high-frequency flicker problems by allowing the shutter speed to be finely adjusted to match the flicker frequency while viewing the monitor.

The Alpha 9 III features selectable release lag modes which allows the user to prioritise release lag or viewfinder/monitor display[viii]. The newly installed Pre-Capture function allows the user to go back up to 1 second and record the moment before pressing the shutter, a Continuous Shooting Speed Boost[ix] change during shooting, and enhanced burst stamina ensures that important moments are reliably captured due to a large buffer memory and increased overall system speed allow up to approximately 390 Fine JPEG images[x] to be captured in one continuous 30 fps[xi] burst.

Customisable focus areas have been expanded to include from XS to XL instead of the previous S, M, and L sizes. The Preset Focus/Zoom function allows preset focus and zoom settings to be memorised in the camera for quick recall when needed[xii]. In addition to the existing custom white balance frame size, the user can now select other sizes as needed which allows for fine white balance adjustment after an image has been composed. The Alpha 9 III has upgraded features such as the latest AF algorithms to achieve high AF precision down to light levels as low as EV-5 in AF-S mode (ISO 100 equivalent, F2.0 lens), AF tracking for continuous shooting at F22[xiii] and a composite RAW shooting function that gives the ability to combine multiple consecutive images into a high-quality composite.

 

Advanced video performance without distortion 

The global shutter image sensor provides distortion-free image expression for videos as well as still images. For example, the user can shoot images of nearby scenery from a fast-moving vehicle such as a car or fast-moving subjects with ease. This camera is the first in the Alpha™ series to be able to record 4K 120p high-frame-rate video without cropping, allowing the user to shoot at the angle of view intended. It is also possible to shoot high-resolution 4K 60p videos with 6K oversampling.

The Alpha 9 III has the image creation process S-Cinetone™, created through the development of the VENICE digital cinema camera for video production, making human skin and subjects stand out beautifully, creating natural highlights. The Alpha 9 III is equipped with the latest video performance including rich gradation performance and S-Log3, and when in Log shooting mode, it can reflect and display the user’s favorite imported LUT. Alpha 9 III is compatible with the mobile app “Monitor & Control” for video creators.

 

Operability and reliability for professionals 

Sony has listened to the voices of professional photographers and created operability and reliability that supports professional image makers. The shape of the grip is improved and ergonomically designed so that it can be easily held in the palm of the user’s hand to avoid straining the user even when wearing a telephoto lens or using it for long periods of time.

The VG-C5 vertical grip (sold separately), provides the same operability and versatility as when shooting horizontally; the user can comfortably support long shooting sessions. The grip and shutter button area share the same design as the main body, allowing image capture without feeling uncomfortable, with the same operability as the camera. The Alpha 9 III is equipped with a 4-axis multi-angle LCD monitor that can be operated by touch, allowing for intuitive operation using the latest touch menu. The electronic viewfinder uses a 9.44 million-dot Quad XGA OLED and achieves high visibility with the same brightness as the α7R V and a magnification of approximately 0.90x. Also, a custom button is placed on the front of the camera, and the continuous shooting speed can be changed by operating the custom button assigned with Continuous Shooting Speed Boost with the finger holding the grip, allowing for highly immediate operations. It supports professional photographers when shooting in all environments.

High-speed workflow and scalability to support immediate delivery 

New features for the Alpha 9 III include a playback image filter that allows the user to efficiently select a large number of images using high-speed continuous shooting, and a function menu that can be used even during image playback, strongly supporting professional workflows from shooting to delivery.

A function menu can now be used during playback so the user can efficiently select a huge number of images using high-speed continuous shooting. The “Playback Function Menu” can be assigned in advance, so the user can perform protection, smartphone transfer, FTP transfer, etc. during image playback. The user can select images narrowed down with a playback filter and play them from the function menu, allowing for quick delivery of specific images. The camera is equipped with a dedicated microphone for voice memos on the back, and the built-in microphone located near the mouth allows clear recording of audio even in noisy environments. The recorded audio data can be transferred via FTP along with the images. The camera allows the user to set up to 20 presets from the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), an international consultative body in which news organisations from various countries participate.

The Alpha 9 III can transfer data up to twice as fast as the Alpha 9 II. 5 GHz communication offers maximum speed and stability for news and sports shooters who need to deliver immediately via FTP, as well as for studio environments. The Alpha 9 III allows stills and movies to be recorded to memory media in numerous ways including the two media slots that support CFexpress Type A cards as well as UHS-I and UHS-II SD cards.

It is compatible with the professional mobile application “Transfer & Tagging” which speeds up the image delivery workflow, and the application “Remote Camera Tool” which allows remote shooting of PCs using wired LAN.

In addition, the Alpha 9 III is scheduled to support functional enhancements such as FTP operability, relay playback, and C2PA[xiv]  format support[xv] through a camera software update[xvi].

Sony will continue to expand functions such as breathing correction, relay playback, and C2PA format support for the Alpha 1 and Alpha 7S III in the future17 to meet the needs of professionals along with the Alpha 9 III.

 

Availability

The Alpha 9 III camera will be available in South Africa from March 2024, at a retail price of R132,999 onwards.

The VG-C5 vertical grip will be available in South Africa from March 2024.

For detailed product information, please visit: https://www.sony.com/za/electronics/interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-9m3

Product videos of the Alpha 9 III can be viewed here:

Unveil Video: https://youtu.be/85XZEAQVBuw

Product Feature Video: https://youtu.be/3gCKcq4THNQ

Alpha Special Event Archive Video:  https://youtube.com/live/nw8dSFwPJdI

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About Sony Middle East and Africa

Sony Middle East and Africa FZE is a 100% subsidiary of Sony Corporation and is the regional headquarters for the Middle East and Africa regions. The company is engaged in the business of Sony Consumer Electronics, Mobile Electronics (Car Audio), broadcasting and professional products and Computer Entertainment (PlayStation) products in more than 40 countries in the region.

Apart from stock operations in the Jebel Ali Free Zone Establishment in Dubai, Sony Middle East and Africa leads execution of various logistics, sales, marketing, advertising and customer services activities through its business partners. 353 accredited third-party service centers reinforce Sony’s presence in key markets in the region.

About Sony Corporation

Sony Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Group Corporation and is responsible for the Entertainment, Technology & Services (ET&S) business. With the vision to “continue to deliver Kando and Anshin(*) to people and society across the world through the pursuit of technology and new challenges,” Sony Corporation supports the Sony Group with technology to create the entertainment of the future together with creators. For more information, visit: http://www.sony.net/

* Both Japanese words, Kando means emotion and Anshin has various meanings such as peace of mind, reassurance, reliability, and trust.

 

[i] Compared to interchangeable-lens digital cameras. As of the November 2023 product announcement. Sony survey.

[ii] Approximate, effective.

[iii] Sony test conditions. Maximum continuous frame rate may be lower in some shooting conditions. Continuous shooting speed may vary depending on the lens used in AF-C focus modes. Visit Sony’s support web page for lens compatibility information. https://www.sony.net/dics/ilce9m3cnlns/ A software update for the lens itself is also required. The software is scheduled to be released after December 2023.

[iv] When subject recognition is ON during AF shooting. Face, eye, etc. recognition status can be monitored when subject recognition frame display is ON.

[v] CIPA standards. Pitch/yaw shake only. FE 50mm F1.2 GM lens. Long exposure NR off.

[vi] Maximum shutter speed is 1/16000 second when F1.8 or larger aperture is used. 1/80000 second speed not available when shooting movies, when using the Var. Shutter function, or when no lens is mounted.

[vii] A software update is required. The software update will be released simultaneously with the Alpha 9 III. Some variation in brightness and colour may occur between shots when using shutter speeds higher than 1/10000 second. Light level may not reach the manual light output level setting at some shutter speeds, resulting in insufficient light level. Refer to the support page at https://www.sony.net/dics/ilce9m3fl/ for details.

[viii] With the default [Auto/Off] setting no blackout occurs when shooting is started, and release time is controlled for optimum display latency. The [Fast Release/On] setting provides the shortest possible release time lag with blackout occurring on only the first image in a continuous burst. The [Stable Release/On] setting minimises variations in release lag with blackout occurring on only the first image in a continuous burst, making it easier to release the shutter at the intended moment.

[ix] Continuous shooting may be interrupted when Continuous Shooting Speed Boost is used to switch from a low shooting speed to a shooting speed higher than 60 fps, or when switching from a high shooting speed to a shooting speed lower than 30 fps.

[x] With Sony CEA-G160T CFexpress Type A memory cards (sold separately). Sony test conditions.

[xi] Sony test conditions. Maximum continuous frame rate may be lower in some shooting conditions. Continuous shooting speed may vary depending on the lens used in AF-C focus modes. Visit Sony’s support web page for lens compatibility information.

[xii] Preset focus works with compatible lenses such as the FE 300mm F2.8 GM OSS. Preset Focus/Zoom settings cannot be recalled while the shutter button is half-pressed. Only focus can be preset for prime lenses. If a zoom lens without power zoom is attached, the focus position/zoom positions can only be registered and recalled via remote operation using the computer software Remote Camera Tool. For details, refer to the following website. https://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/app/remotecameratool/l/index.php. Preset Focus/Zoom can only be recalled when the lens that was mounted when the settings were registered is used. Not all lenses are compatible.

[xiii] When [Aperture Drive in AF] is set to [Focus Priority], the aperture size can be smaller than F22. Results may vary depending on shooting conditions and the lens used.

[xiv] A standards organisation that develops open standards and technical specifications for the origin and authenticity of digital content.

[xv] Will be available in select countries and regions.

[xvi] Software update available by Q2 2024 (calendar year).

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