Sony announced Monday that it has released a firmware update for the Alpha 9 (a9) full-format mirrorless interchangeable lens camera bringing new AI-driven autofocus capabilities, improved image quality and workflow improvements.

The company said firmware version 5.0 for the Sony a9  ($3,998 UPP) flagship full-format mirrorless interchangeable lens camera adds Sony’s newly-developed, AI-driven Real-time Tracking mode for precise and robust subject tracking. This uses Sony’s latest AF algorithm—which with Artificial Intelligence-based object recognition—to detect and follow subjects with what Sony calls “unprecedented accuracy.”

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Real-time Tracking AF works in conjunction with Real-time Eye AF, which is also part of the new firmware update. The new iteration of Sony’s best-in-class Eye AF technology, also uses AI-based object recognition, resulting in high-speed performance to lock on and hold focus on a subject’s eye.

Real-time Eye AF can be enabled via a half-press of the shutter release, and will continue to work even if a subject’s eyes are momentarily obscured during shooting.

Also added with firmware 5.0 is Fast Hybrid AF for video, which now provides smoother, more accurate focus during video shooting, even if/when objects move in front of the subject.

Sony said the new version also improves image processing, maximizing the capabilities of the full-frame sensor.

“The camera now more accurately reproduces subtle changes in light for smoother, more natural tonal gradations and improved auto white balance results,” Sony said.

Workflow improvements were made, Sony said, at the request of Sony a9 owners, to bring a new dial menu, revised custom key menu, improved touchpad capability, enhanced dual-card functionality and enhanced image tagging.

Sony also announced the release of Imaging Edge mobile applications, plus updates to the “Remote,” “Viewer” and “Edit” desktop applications that brings new features to Sony imaging customers.

For professional photographers, Sony is also releasing a new mobile application “Transfer & Tagging add-on” that supports instant delivery workflow by allowing users to transfer content to their mobile devices via the camera’s FTP background transfer functionality.

This utilizes voice input for text captioning to streamline overall workflow between photographers and other team members, Sony said.

The Sony a9 is Sony’s top-performing camera, offering a 24.2 megapixel full-format sensor, BIONZ X image processing, E-mount lens compatibility, 20 fps burst shooting and a built-in 5-axis sensor-shift stabilization system with offers shake compensation equivalent to using a 5-stop faster shutter speed.

The AF system has 693 AF points for precise image sharpness even with fast-moving subjects.

Further information on the update is available here.


By Greg Tarr


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