Sony A9 II Comparison Review
The Sony Alpha A9 II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was officially introduced in October 2019 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 24 megapixel.
Is the Sony A9 II a good camera? The A9 II has a Camera Elo of 3041. This very strong rating puts it among the elite group of camera grand masters. The A9 II ranks among the top 10 percent of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the A9 II ranks among the top 20 percent.
|Sony A9 II|
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses|
|24 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 51 200 (50 - 204 800)|
|Electronic viewfinder (3686k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1440k dots|
|10 shutter flaps per second|
|690 shots per battery charge|
|129 x 96 x 76 mm, 678 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The physical dimensions of the Sony A9 II relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Sony A9 II alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|2.||Sony A7S III||127 mm||97 mm||81 mm||699 g||600||Y||Jul 2020||3,499|
|3.||Sony A7C||124 mm||71 mm||60 mm||509 g||740||Y||Sep 2020||1,799|
|4.||Sony A7R IV||129 mm||96 mm||78 mm||665 g||670||Y||Jul 2019||3,499|
|5.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|6.||Sony A7R III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|7.||Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|8.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|9.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|10.||Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|11.||Sony A77||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Sony A9 II was launched in the US market at a price of $4,499. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
The Sony A9 II features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Sony A9 II among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|2.||Sony A7S III||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/120p||23.7||13.9||2520||86|
|3.||Sony A7C||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3407||95|
|4.||Sony A7R IV||Full Frame||60.2||9504||6336||4K/30p||26.0||14.8||3344||99|
|5.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|6.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|7.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|8.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|9.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|10.||Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The A9 II indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the A9 II can use is 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A9 II has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 3686k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.78x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A9 II and comparable cameras.
|1.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|2.||Sony A7S III||9440||n||3.0||1440||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|4.||Sony A7R IV||5760||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|5.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|6.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|8.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|9.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One feature that differentiates the A9 II from many other cameras is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The A9 II reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while cameras without IBIS have to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Alpha A9 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony A7S III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Sony A7R IV||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A9 II has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A9 II. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Sony A9 II||..||..||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|2.||Sony A7S III||..||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||3,499|
|3.||Sony A7C||3.5/5||..||86/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2020||1,799|
|4.||Sony A7R IV||5/5||+||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2019||3,499|
|5.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|6.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|7.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|8.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|9.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|10.||Sony A99||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|11.||Sony A77||5/5||91/100||81/100||..||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Sony A9 II FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the A9 II.
What type of imaging sensor is used in the A9 II?
The camera has a BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Sony equipped the A9 II with the BIONZ X image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the A9 II?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Sony Alpha A9 II?
Sony mentions a shutter rating of 500 000 actuations for the A9 II. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the A9 II over, say, three years, one would have to take about 500 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my Sony A9 II?
Sony embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your A9 II has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.
Is completely silent shooting possible with the Sony A9 II?
The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.
Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?
No, the Sony Alpha A9 II has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Sony A9 II?
The A9 II offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.
Does the Sony A9 II feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The A9 II's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.
Does the Sony A9 II support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?
Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-II cards, which provide for data transfer speed of up to 312 MB/s, in both of its card slots.
Which battery does the A9 II use?
The camera gets its power from the NP-FZ100 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.
Is there a vertical grip available for the A9 II?
Yes, Sony offers the VG-C4EM as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.
Where can I find the best deals for the A9 II?
Camera to camera comparisons
If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
|Camera Model||Sony A9 II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 4 499|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||847 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6 000 x 4 000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51 200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 204 800 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||93|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3434|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3686k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||500 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||Electronic Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||Intervalometer Built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||Dual UHS-II|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||NP-FZ100 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||690 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging|
129 x 96 x 76 mm
(5.1 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||678 g (23.9 oz)|
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