The Sony a9 series of cameras have great specs but have been lacking in build quality and handling.
We are big fans of the Sony a9 series of cameras here at The Phoblographer. These specialty cameras have continually blown us away with their impressive specs and the results they can help produce in real-world scenarios. However, we have been less than impressed with their overall build qualities and handling. For cameras that are supposed to be for professional sports photographers, they leave a lot to be desired. Still, if the news about a new Sony a9 series camera is accurate, these issues may be a thing of the past. Join us after the break to find out more about what might be coming from Sony in early 2021.
It appears there may be a new Sony a9 series camera in the works. A recent report on Sony Alpha Rumors states a new, high-megapixel camera that could be dubbed the Sony a9s (or just the a9 III) is on the horizon. With a prospective launch time of Q1 2021, this would put the release right before the 2021 Olympic Games. Yeah, we know. It kind of makes sense.
The New Sony a9 Series Camera
Sony Alpha Rumors sources claim that this new a9 series camera could be something of a beast with reported specs including the following:
- A new 50-megapixel sensor
- 8k 30p video, which will apparently not cause overheating
- A 9 million dot electronic viewfinder, the new menu system, and the same ridiculously fast AF system we have all come to love
After the launch of the Canon EOS R5, it’s evident that Sony needs to bring out the big guns. This means they must include 8K video formats. If the speculation about the 50MP sensor is correct, that will be interesting. In previous Sony a9 series cameras, the megapixel count has been kept low. The reason for lower megapixel sensors was to maintain high burst rates and easy handling of files. After all, what professional sports photographer has time to wait for 50MP files to transfer quickly to their editor? Still, if Sony has figured how to deal with large file transfers rapidly and efficiently, we’re all about it.
The only other details given about the possible new Sony a9 series camera are about the potential price. This beastly camera could cost as much as $1,500 more than the Canon EOS R5. Ouch! That would put the camera in the same-ish ballpark as the Canon EOS 1DX III and the Nikon D6. So, around $5,500. Previous versions of the a9 sell for $3,498 and the $4,498.
A Pro Price Should Mean a Pro Body
Let’s be clear here. There have never been any complaints about the specs of Sony a9 series cameras. Sony has always put its best foot forward with these camera bodies. Still, one area Sony needs to improve upon is in the build quality of a9 series cameras. In my review of the Sony a9 II, I said:
“Overall, the Sony a9 II is a solid camera. Still compared to other Mirrorless cameras, like the EOS R, the Panasonic S1R, and the Olympus EM1X, the a9 II doesn’t feel quite as robust. Don’t get me wrong, the camera will survive the odd drop or two. However, sustained instances of being banged around during the hustle and bustle of a sporting event would concern me just a little. The build quality of the a9 II doesn’t come close to the Canon 1DX series of cameras, which it’s going up against.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
That statement rang true then, and it still does now. Sony cameras, though improved, still feel a little fragile. A new Sony a9 series camera will need to have a pro body with a built-in grip. Sony, beef the camera up. Give the new a9 the best weather sealing of any of your cameras. Design the built-in grip to be the most comfortable in its class. If you can match the purported specs up with a tough and resilient body, you’ll be on to something. If you continue to make Sony a9 series cameras that look like a7r cameras, the new a9 might not be well received.
What do you think about this possible new a9 series camera? Does Sony need to give it a pro body? Is 50MP overkill? What about that price? Let us know in the comment section below.