Sony may not have the brand recognition of Canon or Nikon among old-school camera heads, but the company has been putting out impressive high-end shooters for a few years now. The Japanese giant makes some of the best compact cameras on the market (like the RX100 and RX1), and the company’s mirrorless Alpha a7S II is generally considered to be the best low-light camera under $5,000, even better than leading DSLRs.
The Alpha a9, Sony’s latest entry into its mirrorless lineup, is even more beastly than its siblings. The flagship feature is its 24.2-megapixel, 35-millimeter full-frame CMOS sensor. It’s also insanely fast: it can calculate autofocus and autoexposure 60 times per second and capture 20 frames per second in continuous shooting mode.
A mirrorless shutter keeps things silent and vibration free, and gives the a9 a shutter speed of up to 1/32000 per second. It shoots 4K or 1080p video at 120 frames per second, all the while doing so with five-axis in-body image stabilization. So even if you have shaky hand, this thing has got you covered. It also boasts an ISO sensitivity up to 204,800. That’s way more than the average person needs for vacation shots, but it’s a huge perk for filmmakers working in low light.
The compact and sleek magnesium alloy body is seal-coated for dust resistance. That body also has dual SD card slots and built-in wireless LAN, and it’s capped with an LCD viewfinder with touch focus.
This new Alpha will cost you a pretty penny—the body alone is $4,500—but for anyone who needs to capture high-speed action with precision, it looks like it will be worth it. We’ll know the full story once the camera ships at the end of May, but based on the wow-factor alone it is (forgive me) a9 out of 10.