Today, let’s take a look at Sony’s latest flagship mirrorless camera Alpha 9 II. The core parameters of this camera are somewhat similar to those of the A9, but many improvements for professional sports photographers have been added. Overall, this camera represents the highest level of mirrorless cameras. Now we will enter the objective test to see what changes have been made in Alpha 9 II.
The positioning of the Sony Alpha 9 series is designed for professional user groups such as sports photographers and wildlife photographers. Therefore, the camera takes more consideration of professional users. Usage requirements. This generation of Alpha 9 II has not made significant changes in parameters, it is also a 24 million pixel full-frame sensor, 693 phase point focusing system, and 20fps continuous shooting without black screen.
This camera is designed and functional Many modifications have been made. First of all, the appearance design has increased the handle size of the fuselage, so it is easier to use a large-size lens, such as a 400mm F2.8 lens. In addition, the network transmission design of the body has been greatly improved, with the addition of a gigabit network port, and an improved FTP transmission, which is very suitable for sports photographers to use.
Sony’s body weight is advantageous. Especially with a 400mm f/2.8 lens, the overall weight is 3573g, which is a very lightweight telephoto shooting combination.
Regarding the rating of this camera, the author gives 8.8 Minute. As a sports camera, this camera is not a high-resolution and high-quality model, so it cannot be compared with the A7R series. The advantage of the camera lies in its high-sensation performance and continuous shooting with focus. It is a real sports machine.
Second, control enhancement
Compared with Alpha 9, this time the second-generation body has many improvements in handling. The first is the overall appearance of the body. The handle is enlarged and thicker. On the one hand, the height of the handle is increased, so that the little finger is more comfortable to hold.
The top turntable of the fuselage continues Alpha 9 The style of a generation, but the exposure compensation dial has added a lock button. Different from the exposure mode and the continuous shooting mode, the exposure compensation is locked by a push switch, that is, one click to unlock, one click to lock, so you can freely switch between different modes to facilitate different scene operations.
The back button material of the fuselage has been upgraded. The size of the AF-ON lock button has been increased, and the material of the focus selection lever has been modified, making it easier to use for a long time.
The LCD screen of the body is also 3.69 million pixels Dot’s high refresh rate screen supports up to 120Hz refresh rate. However, the Alpha 9 II LCD screen has not been upgraded. It is still a 1.44 million pixel LCD screen, which only supports selecting the focus point and does not support full-function touch operation. I think Sony really needs to reflect on the design of the lower screen, one is to improve the display effect of the lower LCD screen, and now the full-featured touch is really very useful.
Sony has also improved its control. For example, in the adjustment menu interface, you can use the front dial to control the switching of the large menu. Use the rear pulse wheel to control the specific paging menu switching, so that the operation is much faster than before.
In addition, Alpha 9 II is added to the body Gigabit Ethernet port is used, and MI digital hot shoe interface is also used, which makes the interface design more abundant. The battery capacity of the fuselage maintains a high endurance level, and there is no problem in shooting more than 600 shots with a single battery.
3. Core performance test
Sony Alpha 9 II’s core performance, although the parameters look similar to the previous generation, the actual performance is still improved. Mainly manifested in: the optimization of high-sensitivity image quality, the improvement of focus performance, especially the focus under low contrast, the improvement of body anti-shake performance, and the addition of eye focus under video.
First look at the sensitivity. The native sensitivity of Sony Alpha 9 II is ISO 100-51200, which can be expanded to ISO 50-204800. In fact, the first Alpha 9 has a very high sense of performance. The second-generation body seems to have the same sensor, but there are still some new optimizations and upgrades.
From the perspective of high-sensitivity performance, Sony Alpha 9 II can bring good picture quality performance below ISO 3200. If the sensitivity is increased, the picture quality performance below ISO 12800 is acceptable, which meets the sensitivity requirements of a professional sports machine.
The above picture was shot with a sensitivity of ISO 12800. In actual shooting, the Sony Alpha 9 II was in a low light environment. The purity of the photos taken with ISO 12800 is still good.
And the following group of pictures are photos taken with ISO 25600. Under such extreme high sense, Sony Alpha 9 II also has a certain degree of usability.
Good high-feeling performance, which is conducive to shooting sports events under light conditions, such as football matches, track and field matches, often at night Even if there is light, a very high shutter speed is required and a high sensitivity is required. So Alpha 9 II’s high-quality and high-sensation picture quality is conducive to the shooting of night events.
Let’s take a look at the focus and continuous shooting that everyone is more concerned about. The Alpha 9 generation adopts a focusing system with 693 phase focus points and a 20fps electronic shutter without black screen continuous shooting. The second generation body inherits the first generation. Of this feature. In the picture below, we continuously shot a group of birds flying to landing, and the continuous focus tracking performance has been fully demonstrated.
But in use, I think Alpha 9 II is The focus performance under low contrast has been improved to a certain extent, and it can also have better focus control when the light is not good or the contrast is low. For example, the following photos were taken in a low-contrast environment, and the camera’s focus tracking is still stable and reliable.
During continuous shooting, the Sony Alpha 9 II can achieve a continuous shooting speed of 20fps, and there is no black screen, this is mainly through the electronic shutter Achieved. The continuous shooting speed of the new-generation fuselage mechanical shutter has also been increased from 5fps to 10fps. The advantage of the mechanical shutter continuous shooting is that it can better synchronize with the flash.
in low light, such as the following group of photos It was shot at night. Alpha 9 II still has good focus sensitivity at night, so it can cope with more complex shooting environments.
Sony’s eye focus has always been very sensitive. Alpha 9 II’s eye focus is not only sensitive to tracking, but also has a good response speed and recognition speed for scenes with obstacles. For example, we have done two sets of tests, namely the eye focus test under normal conditions, and the recognition speed detection after obstacles.
Under normal conditions, the recognition of eye focus And the success rate naturally goes without saying. The following group of GIFs demonstrates the speed of the focus response of a person’s eyes suddenly appearing behind an obstacle. The basic response speed is 3 frames, and the response speed is quite good.
Now let’s take a look at this set of tests , What is the shooting success rate of the first frame just after focusing successfully. Judging from the actual photos taken, the Sony Alpha 9 II has a fairly good focus accuracy when dealing with objects that appear quickly.
Sony Alpha 9 II has 60 focus detections per second, which means that the focus driving power of the camera is not only continuous shooting The focus is fast enough, and the focus in the video is also sufficient. The eye focus performance of Alpha 9 II has also been improved, mainly due to the addition of eye focus during video shooting. Sony’s current models that support eye focus under video include: Alpha 6600, Alpha 7R IV and Alpha 9 II.
Let’s take a look at the video screenshot below. The picture taken by the author is 4K 30p, 3 frames are randomly intercepted, and each frame intercepts the picture area of 640*300.
From the actual focus accuracy, this The camera’s video tracking success rate is very high, and the focus tracking is stable, and the video focusing performance is very good.
Regarding the anti-shake performance of the fuselage, this time the five-axis anti-shake of the fuselage has been slightly upgraded. Official data shows that the anti-shake effect has been improved by 0.5 stops. In actual shooting with 24-70mm f/2.8, shooting in 1/10s at the 70mm end still remains stable.
The video performance of the camera has maintained the characteristics of the first generation, and it also has 4K 30p video shooting capabilities, which can provide good photos while shooting The level of video shooting. But the core role of Sony Alpha 9 II is not video shooting after all, so we won’t elaborate on it here.
4. Software upgrade
This time Sony Alpha 9 II is mainly aimed at sports photographers and has upgraded a series of practical functions. Let’s talk about the key functions.
Alpha 9 II has added a voice memo function for photos. You can add a 60-second voice memo to the photo and record it through the camera’s built-in microphone. This feature is very helpful, because when a large number of photos are taken, it is difficult for the rear staff to distinguish the specific content of the photos in front. At this time, voice memos are a good way to screen photos later.
Alpha 9 II’s network transmission system has been greatly upgraded. The first is the body hardware. The camera supports a gigabit network port, and has added a 5GHz WiFi protocol, which makes the network hardware more abundant.
In addition, the camera software has also been upgraded a lot . The camera can set up 9 FTP addresses, and transfer photos quickly via wired network or WiFi. The way to set Ftp is very simple, you can use the mobile APP “Transfer Taggingadd-on” to quickly set the FTP address.
As shown in the picture above, we use Transfer Taggingadd- on, you can directly set the FTP address and import the camera with one click. When in use, APP can automatically write FTP settings into the camera via Bluetooth, thereby reducing the time for the camera to input line by line. After setting up FTP, the camera can quickly transfer photos via FTP.
The camera can also be fast through the mobile phone APP “ImagingEdgeMobile” To transfer photos, this software can not only realize fast photo transfer, but also can use the mobile phone to control the camera to shoot remotely.
Using this software to operate the camera remotely is the biggest advantage It is low latency, that is, the adjustment is very consistent and rapid, and the real-time preview image is very clear, which is not available in other mobile APP remote operations. The picture below is a screenshot of the mobile APP, you can see that the preview clarity is very good.
In actual transmission, the efficiency of image transmission will be It directly affects our shooting work. We tested the full-size JPG transmission of 20 photos. It only takes about 27 seconds to complete the transmission of 20 photos. This efficiency is quite fast.
In sports competitions, there are some machines that take a long time Set up on the shooting stage and cannot be moved randomly. At this time, we need the camera to have remote control capabilities. The Sony Alpha 9 II can realize remote control shooting through the Remote Camera Tool software on the computer.
As shown above, this remote control software is very powerful , And the control is simple, just open the camera’s computer remote shooting settings, and then use the USB cable to connect the camera to the computer. When controlling, we can completely adjust all camera parameters, including focus point selection, simulated manual focus, exposure parameters, camera settings, etc., all can be adjusted through the computer, which is very convenient for remotely setting up the camera for shooting.
5. Summary and samples
Sony Alpha 9 II is a very powerful sports flagship camera. The shooting performance of this camera represents the highest level of mirrorless cameras.
Sony Alpha 9 II’s high-sense performance is impressive Impressed, there are good image quality below ISO 12800, which can provide better shooting performance in low light.
The camera’s focusing performance is excellent. Whether it is recognition ability or focusing accuracy, it is the highest level among mirrorless cameras. The low-light focusing performance of Alpha 9 II is impressive. Generally, when the light is not good, the focus will be significantly reduced. However, the recognition of Alpha 9 II is still good in low-contrast environments.
The software performance improvement of the camera is very important. These functions are basically not used by ordinary consumers, but they are very important for professional photographers. They can greatly improve the efficiency of shooting sports events. Therefore, this camera can be said to be tailor-made for the Olympic Games next year.
Finally, let’s take a look at the real photos of this camera.
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