Right before the holidays, Sony decided to make a big splash with the reveal of the a9 III. This claims the title of world’s first mirrorless camera with a global shutter—and it does it in a big way. It’s a lightning-fast, full-frame camera that has the potential to revolutionize the industry. Sony also officially released the FE 300mm f/2.8 GM OSS, which is the lightest lens in its class.
Sony a9 III—a hyper-fast mirrorless with a global shutter
Sony put a global shutter into a full-frame mirrorless camera. This is potentially revolutionary tech and the lucky camera that gets to use it is the a9 III. The brand-new 24.6MP Exmor RS CMOS Sony has developed is the first time we have seen global shutter used in a mirrorless camera and in full-frame format.
Before we even get into the a9 III’s mind-blowing specs (including 120 fps continuous raw shooting and 1/80,000-second flash sync) we need to talk about global shutter technology. Most digital cameras use a “rolling” shutter to read data from the sensor when you take a photo with the electronic shutter or record video. This means the camera reads the data line by line. The usual side effects? When capturing moving subjects, they can become slightly distorted or skewed. This is most obvious with straight, vertical lines. Also, it is the reason that flashes sometimes only show on part of the frame, called the “banding effect,” under certain artificial lights.
Global shutters read all the pixel data at once, so no more banding, skewing, bending, or anything else in the image. Since many photography cameras, including mirrorless, use physical shutters, we have been able to rely on this tried-and-true tech to capture images without distortion and also sync with flash. But, that meant we were not realizing the performance benefits of electronic shutters. Global shutters are more efficient than rolling shutters and current mechanical shutters.
The a9 III is the first real-world example of a full-frame global shutter in a mirrorless camera and tells us what we can expect to see unlocked by using this technology for photography.
Ultra-fast continuous shooting at up to 120 fps in 14-bit raw
Flash sync at any shutter speed, up to the maximum of 1/80,000 second
4K up to 120p without any cropping
Distortion-free image capture with the electronic shutter
Elimination of the mechanical shutter
But this still isn’t a flagship camera. The a9 sits just below the a1 now, muddying the waters if you are looking for a camera in this price range. With all this new tech, it would seem like the a9 III is the obvious choice for most people. However, the a1 still wins when it comes to resolution, since it has a 50MP sensor.
I’m won't get into all the other details here, but the a9 III has all of Sony’s latest tech. That includes AF, image stabilization, body design, and more. It’s Sony’s best camera yet. And you know what might be a wonderful lens to pair with the a9 III?
Sony’s lightweight FE 300mm f/2.8 lens fills out super telephoto lineup
It has been a while since Sony originally revealed it was developing the FE 300mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens, but I guess the day the brand launches one of the best sports/action cameras ever made is a good time to make it official. Not only that, this lens is looking like a great competitor in the 300mm world and it is now the lightest in this class of fast super telephotos.
This is a brilliant 300mm f/2.8 lens from Sony, and it weighs about as much as a 70-200mm f/2.8. That makes it much easier to carry around all day, or operate handheld in more situations. It’ll even support either teleconverter to give you an easy-to-hold 600mm.
As for optics, there are no surprises, it is a G Master lens and has all the best Sony has to offer. There are ED elements, the Nano AR Coating II, and an 11-blade aperture diaphragm for round bokeh. AF and optical image stabilization will also help ensure tack-sharp imagery. Sony has added an array of switches and buttons so you can make adjustments at a moment’s notice.
Falling in between the 135mm f/1.8 and 400mm f/2.8, this FE 300mm f/2.8 should be a favorite for many sports and wildlife photographers.
In other news:
Sony dominated with its big news this week, so let’s look at the few other things of note.
RØDE released the NT1 Signature Series, which is an XLR-only version of its NT1 5th Generation XLR/USB microphone. It comes in a spectrum of fun colors.
Nanlite is aiming to provide the light weight and mounting of an LED mat, with the power of an LED panel, with the new PavoSlim LED Series.
And don’t forget, the Holiday Head Start has launched here at B&H, and that means there will be a constant stream of new deals to make your holiday shopping eminently more pleasant. Make sure to get your holiday shopping done early!