Sony’s α9 camera will receive several major enhancements to its g autofocus (AF) performance and image quality, as well as a variety of new features that Sony says are designed to improve the overall workflow for professional photographers.
In addition, new firmware updates for α7R III and α7 III will be available that update these cameras with the latest enhancements including Real-time Eye AF performance and add interval recording capacities.
“These new firmware upgrades demonstrate the strong commitment that Sony has to its photography community,” said Jun Yoon, Head of Digital Imaging, Sony ANZ. “Their voice is critical to everything we do, and being able to provide our customers with new capabilities creates endless possibilities for producing incredible content.”
Firmware Ver. 5.0 and Ver. 6.0 for α9
The new firmware version 5.0 for α9 adds Sony’s newly developed Real-time Tracking mode for object tracking. This mode utilises Sony’s latest algorithm—including Artificial Intelligence-based object recognition—and processes colour, subject distance (depth), pattern (brightness) as well as spatial information to ensure that all subjects can be captured with extreme accuracy and precision. When photographing or videographing humans or animals, face and eye position information is recognised by AI and the subject’s eye1 is monitored in real time with extremely high tracking precision. In addition, “Tracking On” helps initiate real-time tracking at any time by simply pressing the custom-assigned button2 and “Touch Tracking,” which quickly activates through the touch screen
With this new firmware version 5.0, Sony’s acclaimed α9 camera will receive advanced “Real-time Eye AF,” the latest version of Sony’s acclaimed Eye AF technology. This exciting new capability employs AI-based object recognition to detect and process eye location data in real time, resulting in improved accuracy, speed and tracking performance of Eye AF. In all autofocus modes, the camera can automatically detect the eyes of the subject and activate Eye AF with a half press of the shutter button, and the camera will seamlessly track the eyes at all times when in AF-C mode. The new firmware also enables photographers to select the preferred eye (left or right) of their subject as the focus point.
Other focusing capabilities that will be available with the new firmware include Touch Pad, Touch Tracking, an extended phase-detection AF aperture range that has been increased from F11 to F16, and Fast Hybrid AF for movie shooting that provides smooth, automated focusing for movies.
Image quality will also be enhanced with the new α9 firmware version 5.0. Specifically in the areas of colour reproduction, as the camera will more accurately account for subtle changes in light for smoother, more natural tonal gradations in elements like the sky. There is a new auto white balance algorithm that gets added as well, which produces more consistently balanced images while burst shooting. Other new functions for efficient controls and data managements include My Dial and Dual Slot media menu improvement, rating and protect functions.
In addition to the several new capabilities, the firmware also adds compatibility with Sony’s new ‘Imaging Edge Mobile’3 application – the successor to the PlayMemories Mobile™ application. The new Imaging Edge Mobile application features a ‘Transfer & Tagging add-on’4 to assist professional workflow. This allows photographers to transfer images from their camera to their smartphone simultaneously using the FTP transfer functionality5, and adds support for including IPTC metadata6 on transferred images.
The new system firmware update version 5.0 is scheduled for launch in March 2019, and version 6.0 is scheduled for Winter 2019.
Firmware Ver. 3.0 for α7R III and α7 III
Sony’s popular α7R III and α7 III full-frame cameras will both receive enhanced Real-time Eye AF performance with new firmware version 3.0. This will be available on AF-C mode with a simple half-press of the shutter button. Real-Time Eye AF for animalsi will also be available.
The cameras will also receive interval recording functionality that will allow for simple creation of time-lapse moviesvii. The new feature can be set for anywhere between 1 and 60 seconds, with a total number of shots from 1 to 9999. AE tracking sensitivity can also be adjusted to “High”, “Mid” or “Low” during interval recording, allowing for reduced changes in exposure over the shooting interval.
The new system firmware update version 3.0 is scheduled in April
New Imaging Edge software enhances mobile connectivity and expands the creative capabilities of Sony cameras
The newly introduced mobile application named Imaging Edge Mobile1 is the successor to Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile™ app and will offer instant transfer of images from camera to a connected mobile devices while shooting. Images can be transferred when utilising the new “Auto background transfer to Smartphone” functionality2 allowing users to easily share content direct from their phone to social media platforms. The mobile application also supports 4K movie transfer3 and remote control functionality.
For professional photographers, Sony will be releasing a new mobile application ‘Transfer & Tagging add-on4’ that will support instant delivery workflow by allowing users to transfer content to their mobile devices via the camera’s FTP background transfer5, without distraction from their shooting. It also enables voice input6 for text captioning to help streamline communication and overall workflow between photographers and other team members. There is also an online function that will allow you to sync Caption Glossary between multiple devices.
Sony’s new Imaging Edge mobile application and ‘Transfer & Tagging add-on’ will be available in March 2019.
Enhancements of ‘Remote’ ‘Viewer’ ‘Edit’ desktop applications
The desktop version of Sony’s Imaging Edge application will be updated as well, with workflow support of time-lapse movie7 creation, making it an ideal match for Sony’s newest interchangeable lens cameras with built-in interval recording. Other new features to maximise usability have been added as well, such as comparison display and collection functions, as well as a new and improved user interface.
The latest Version 1.4 of desktop applications ‘Remote’ ‘Viewer’ ‘Edit’ will be available later this month.
For more information on the new application updates, please visit the Imaging Edge website at https://imagingedge.sony.net.