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Sony Alpha 9 III Hands On
Reading time: 6 minutes - November 09, 2023 - by Markus Igel

Sony's camera revolution, the Sony Alpha 9 III our first hands-on

Sony has managed to surprise us with a revolutionary new product to coincide with the 2024 Olympics. The Alpha 9 III is the successor to the legendary Alpha 9 II. We bring the facts about the new product to the table.

The new global shutter of the Sony Alpha 9 III

Let's just put it out there: this changes photography without mirrors like no other development in recent years. Canon (EOS C700) already had a first camera with a global shutter, but what does this mean for photography now? Each pixel of the sensor is read out simultaneously and no longer line by line, which has several advantages:

  • No rolling shutter effect (no distortion) because each pixel is read out simultaneously
  • High-speed sync flash up to the maximum shutter speed of 1/80,000
  • No more wear and tear on the mechanical shutter due to the elimination of the component
  • Dynamic active mode stabilization

Sony Alpha 9 III (ILCE-9M3) Housing

  • with a full-frame sensor, 24.6 megapixels and global shutter system
  • BIONZ XR image processor of the latest generation
  • Continuous shooting without blackouts at up to approx. 120 frames per second
  • four-axis multi-angle LCD monitor
  • electronic viewfinder with 9.44 million pixels
  • Function for fast continuous shooting
  • through high-speed continuous shooting with up to 120 frames per second
  • distortion-free and blackout-free images
  • Flash synchronization at all shooting speeds
  • ultra-fast shutter speed of 1/80,000 second

Body and operation of the Sony Alpha 9 III

There are no exciting changes to the camera in terms of the feel, which has also been improved, but what is really good is the new positioning of the note-taking microphone on the back, which now records less ambient noise than the Sony Alpha 1 or A9II. The new global shutter sensor means that no mechanical shutter is installed or required, but Sony has installed a protective shutter.

Another feature that has been incorporated is a new mode on the drive mode dial with a simple *, which allows the drive mode to be set quickly on the camera. Further innovations are the display mechanism of the Alpha 7RV and an electronic OLED viewfinder with 9.44 million pixels, the viewfinder is also blackout-free with its 120 Hz.

A new button for handling the A9III is the C5 button next to the bayonet. When set to High+, you can press the Boost button and increase from the preset 60 frames per second to 120bps.

This is followed by a new battery grip: VG-C5, which offers better battery life than its predecessor.

Sony 300mm f2.8 FE GMaster for sports photography

Important features for sports photographers / photojournalists

  • Pre-capture with up to 120 fps RAW
  • Automatic image evaluation of each first image of a series, practical for the optical recognition of new sets, in post-processing
  • Continuous flash is currently only possible up to 1/16,000, firmware update will follow by March 2024
  • Change to the FTP transfer: Evaluated images are prioritized and moved in the queue.
  • 4K video without crop up to 120bps, without loss of autofocus tracking and full exposure metering
  • Voice memo microphone on the back
  • IPTC enhancement. Multiple IPTC presets can be saved here and are quicker to switch and increase the workflow (20 presets)
  • Transfer & Tagging App Compatible
  • Remote Control Tool App Compatible

Is my lens still good enough?

The question now arises as to whether every lens can withstand the load of 120 bps. Here we can say: Yes, most first-generation G-Master lenses should meet the requirements. This does not apply to the 70-200 2.8 GM 1, which will most likely not be able to keep up. With third-party suppliers such as Sigma and Tamron, the question is currently how far they can withstand the frames per second.

New inner workings of the Sony Alpha 9 III

The new sensor now offers 16-bit RAW output for video, Full Pixel Readout and much more. But the inner workings have more exciting components to offer, such as two built-in BIONZ XR processors, which help to ensure the sensational frame rates with all the AI functionalities. The image stabilizer also offers a stable performance of 8 stops with a 5-axis sensor stabilizer.

So the camera offers 120bps with tracking autofocus with AI support and a maximum shutter speed of 1/80,000, what more could you want? We will certainly be able to see the camera on the pitches of the Olympic stadiums. Oh yes... Flash! This works great, currently only in single drive, but up to an exposure time of 1/80,000, if you play a lot with the subject and pay complete attention to the data, then this offers unimagined possibilities. The global shutter saves the ND filter and offers the possibility of using 1/4 of the flash power otherwise required.

But there is more!

The Alpha 1 and Sony Alpha 7s III are getting a firmware update! The Alpha 1 gets Breathing Compensation and Relay Playback and the Sony Alpha 7s III also gets Breathing Compensation and DCI 4K at 24p. Both cameras will also receive support for IPTC and C2PA formats.

Sony Battery grip VG-C5EM

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Sony A9 iii with global shutter

Conclusion

What a board Sony has presented to us at the end of the year! There are innovations and there are innovations! We are very excited to see what this new technology will produce outside of Olympia. We sincerely hope that this technology will also find its way into other Alpha cameras in the next few years, because it is precisely when this technology finds its way into many other devices that everyone will really try out and experience the benefits.

Whoever says: well, you can flash up to 1/80,000, but do I have to? Of course not, but there are many advantages. The Alpha 9III is a perfect workhorse for sports photographers who need to prepare images for the press. We also like the fact that Sony has released a major update for the 7SIII and Alpha 1 models!

The major small adjustments to the A9 III, such as the Speedboost button and the improved drive dial, are functions / handling features that simply make everyday life easier for a professional and ensure maximum performance in moments where it counts.

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