Sony has revealed its most expensive but feature-packed mirrorless camera ever, the all-new full-frame A9. Costing roughly £4500 when it hits the shelves in June, it's largely aimed at sports still photographers as the video spec seems little improved from the current A7S Mark II.
With a shutter speed of up to 1/32,000 sec, the camera uses a world first stacked 24.2MP CMOS sensor and solves the problem of viewfinder blackout for action shooters as now it doesn't black out when shooting continuously at up to 20fps.
The AF has had a much-needed boost, with a 693-point phase-detect system. The viewfinder blackout and poor AF has been the biggest issue with stills action shooters using the A7 series so far.
There is now double the battery life and twin card slots, too.
The video spec offers similar features as the current A7S Mark II with 4K (3840x2160p) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor - although the sensor is new and higher resolution. When shooting in this format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 6K of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage. Recording is also available in the popular Super 35mm size.
The camera can record also Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, which allows footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking which could be a game-changer for sports and action video shooters. Sony's official information says:
Nikon has added many of the 4K video capabilities of its prosumer D500 to the new D7500 enthusiast model, which has just been revealed. Like the D500, the cheaper D7500 uses the same 20.9 MP DX-format CMOS sensor with an ISO up to 1,640,000 and can record 4K UHD video but with a 1.5x crop - of its already-cropped DX sensor compared to full frame. At 1080p it gets three-axis image stabilisation and Active D-lighting to control dynamic range, and there is no crop factor.
The aperture can be power-adjusted, there is 4K output via HDMI, a flat picture profile that assimilates log gamma, and both a mic and headphone jack. There is zebra patterns to aid exposure in video, too. The D7500 is priced at £1299 body only. Nikon's information says:
Sony's popular A7S Mark II and A7R Mark II have had their prices cut in Europe. Official dealers are offering up £500 or 600Euros off the Sony mirrorless cameras which are often bought by filmmakers. In the UK, it means the high-resolution A7R Mark II has dropped from £2999 to £2499 and the more film-ready A7S Mark II from £2899 to £2499 at many retailers.
Both cameras has a similar price increase last summer, blamed on currency fluctuations and other global factors at the time.
The move fuels speculation that Sony is getting ready to reveal Mark III versions of the cameras.
Canon has revealed new firmware for many of its cameras including the C700, C 100 Mark I and II, XC10, XC15 and ME series.
Of most interest is the change to the C100 Mark II which allows a shutter angle priority mode. This maintains the shutter angle when frames rate are changed and is ideal for switching between normal speed and slow-motion. Sony cameras have this feature and it’s been very popular.
The C100 Mark II also now works better with the popular EF 24-105 f/4 L Mark II lens, compensating for changes in aperture as you zoom. The Mark I C100 gets the similar peripheral illumination correction for the 24-105mm lens as well as 50mm f/1.8 STM, 35mm f/1.4L and 18-135mm EF-S zoom.
The range-topping C700 gets extra recording modes when using the Codex recorder, including 4K/QFHD ProRes, 4.5K Max at 100fps, 4.5K cinescope at 120fps and 422 HQ 10 bit at 60fps.
The XC10 and XC15 hybrid cameras get increased compatibility with 130-standard CFast cards, and the ME cube cameras have lots of updates including new auto exposure modes, improved white balance and monitor support, and support for more lenses.
All the firmware updates can be downloaded from the Canon download page.
Sony’s entry-level handheld XDCAM camcorders, the FS5 and Z150, are to get firmware upgrades in July to increase their capability to record HDR. For the FS5, Hybrid Log-Gamma will be supported, in addition to S-Log3. This mode can be set-up quickly through the option of the newly added picture profile. HLG mode will also be supported in the PXW-Z150.
It’s part of a raft of changes Sony has made to expand the HDR capabilities of many of its professional products, to meet the growing requirements for HDR content across all production genres.
The new enhancements deliver HD HDR Live broadcasting and Instant HDR workflow in products ranging from live camera systems, servers, monitors and camcorders via updates to software or firmware.
High Dynamic Range adds increased realism to moving images and creates a significantly more immersive viewing experience.
Fujifilm's push into the video market continues with a special offer of 25% discount on rental of all Fujifilm cameras and lenses from Hireacamera.com. The deal includes the latest XT-2 mirrorless camera and the GFX medium format camera, which shoots up to 30p in full HD from its large sensor. There is no news of whether the new MK cinema lenses will be included when they are released for general sale, but Hireacamera.com do say new lenses will be added to the rental stock when they are available. The official information says:
Camera technology has changed virtually beyond recognition over the years, and this is really obvious in the BBC's ground-breaking Planet Earth series. From film cameras of the 1980s to infra-red and thermal cameras, this behind-the-scenes documentary highlights what the teams use now to film their amazing night time scenes. The Red Dragon and the Sony A7S are highlighted as two of the tools that have transformed low-light filmmaking.
And if you want to see more, check out this feature and video of the making of Planet Earth II by our sister magazine Definition.