Sony Electronics today introduced the Alpha 9 III camera with the world’s first full-frame global shutter image sensor in a mirrorless hybrid. This is a big deal especially if you shoot fast-moving subjects. Sports photographers will finally get distortion-free images, and videographers won’t have to deal with the dreaded jello issues when panning. It’s a big win for all!
While technically it isn’t the world’s first full-frame global shutter image sensor, it is the first one to actually be available in a camera. Canon announced its LI5030SA 35mm full-size 19-megapixel sensor equipped with a global shutter that exposes all pixels simultaneously earlier in the year, however, that is yet to find its way into any camera that you can buy.
The LI5030SA has a pixel pitch of 6.4μm, and Canon claims that this sensor is able to achieve high dynamic range and low noise. The physical size of the sensor is 5688 x 3336 and it is capable of capturing up to 57.99fps in 12-bit, or 60fps in 5688 x 3240.
- 24.6MP Full-Frame Global Shutter Sensor
- Up to 120 fps Cont. Shooting with AF/AE
- Pre-Capture Function; Speed Boost Button
- Flash Sync at up to 1/80,000 Sec.
- 4K 120p 10-bit Video; S-Log3 & S-Cinetone
- 759-Point Phase-Detect AF with Tracking
- 8-Stop 5-Axis In-Body Image Stabilization
- 9.44m-Dot EVF with 240 fps Refresh Rate
- 3.2″ 2.1m-Dot 4-Axis Touchscreen LCD
- Dual CFexpress Type A/SD Card Slots
The newly developed global shutter image sensor exposes and reads all pixels simultaneously, unlike a rolling shutter sensor that records images sequentially from the top row of pixels to the bottom. The global shutter full-frame image sensor enables the camera to shoot at burst speeds of up to 120 frames per second with no rolling shutter distortion or camera blackout. This sensor is combined with Sony’s latest AF (autofocus) system, which uses AI to make up to 120 AF/AE focus calculations per second, with the added ability to sync flash at all shooting speeds. Speaking of flash sync you can use it up to the camera’s highest shutter speed which is an insane 1/80,000 Sec (1/16,000 second during continuous shooting).
This allows flash to be used for extra subject illumination when shooting outdoors in bright daylight with a high shutter speed, reducing the need for large lighting setups. This is great news for photographers who do flash photography.
You can use a compatible flash unit from Sony (such as the HVL-F60RM2 or HVL-F46RM) to be able to synchronize at all shutter speeds, eliminating the steep, nonlinear drop-off in illumination that occurs with high-speed sync (HSS) and ensuring even illumination across the image.
Advanced Performance Without Distortion
The global shutter image sensor is claimed to provide distortion-free image expression for videos as well as still images. Having a global shutter allows a user to shoot images of a fast-moving vehicle, such as a car or fast-moving subjects, without any distortion or line bending that can be an issue with cameras that use a rolling shutter CMOS sensor. A global shutter will somewhat limit its dynamic range and low-light capabilities, but it should still be sufficient for most users in both of those areas.
This Alpha 9 III is the first in the Alpha series to be able to record 4K 120p high-frame-rate video without cropping. It is also possible to shoot 4K 60p videos with 6K oversampling.
The Alpha 9 III also incorporates S-Cinetone, which is a Rec.709 picture profile that was originally created through the development of the VENICE cinema camera and it is an option you can use if you prefer to bake in a look to your recording instead of shooting Log.
Speaking of Log, the Alpha 9 III can record in S-Log3, and it has the ability for the user to load up their own LUT (via a CFexpress Type A card.
The Alpha 9 III is also compatible with the upcoming Monitor & Control app that will be available in December.
The Alpha 9 III tips the scales at 1.4 lb / 617 g (Body Only) and it has physical dimensions of 5.4 x 3.8 x 3.3″ / 136.1 x 96.9 x 82.9 mm.
Just like a lot of Sony Alpha cameras, the Alpha 9 III can record in XAVC S or AVCHD. You can record up to 120p in UHD in 4:2:2 10-bit at a maximum bitrate of 600 Mb/s. What is nice is that you can capture UHD 120p without any sensor crop.
XAVC HS/XAVC S/XAVC S-I 4:2:2/4:2:0 8/10-Bit
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94/100/120 fps (30 to 600 Mb/s)
1920 x 1080 at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94/100/120 fps (16 to 222 Mb/s)
Raw 16-Bit via HDMI
4672 x 2628 at 23.98/29.97/59.94 fps
4:2:2 8-Bit via HDMI
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98/25/29.97 fps
1920 x 1080 at 23.98/50/59.94 fps
1920 x 1080i at 50/59.94 fps
Audio Level Display, Audio Rec Level, PAL/NTSC Selector, Proxy Recording (1280 x 720…