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Sony A9 vs A900

The Sony Alpha A9 and the Sony Alpha A900 are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2017 and September 2008. The A9 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A900 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The A9 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the A900 provides 24.4 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Sony A9 versus Sony A900
Sony A9 Sony A900
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Sony E mount lenses Sony A mount lenses
24 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800) ISO 200-3,200 (100 - 6,400)
Electronic viewfinder (3686k dots) Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 1440k dots 3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
20 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
650 shots per battery charge880 shots per battery charge
127 x 96 x 63 mm, 673 g 156 x 117 x 82 mm, 895 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A9 and the Sony Alpha A900? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A9 and the Sony A900 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Sony A9 vs Sony A900
Compare A9 versus A900 top
Comparison A9 or A900 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A900 is considerably larger (50 percent) than the Sony A9. Moreover, the A900 is markedly heavier (33 percent) than the A9. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the A9 gets 650 shots out of its NP-FZ100 battery, while the A900 can take 880 images on a single charge of its NP-FM500H power pack. The power pack in the A9 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony A9 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499i
 
Sony A900 6.1 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 31.6 oz 880 Y Sep 2008 2,999i
 
Nikon Z6 5.3 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 23.8 oz 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999 i
 
Olympus E-M1 II 5.3 in 3.6 in 2.6 in 20.2 oz 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i
 
Panasonic GH5 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i
 
Sony A9 II 5.1 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 23.9 oz 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 i
 
Sony A7 III 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i
 
Sony A7R III 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199i
 
Sony A99 II 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i
 
Sony A7R II 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.0 oz 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199i
 
Sony A7S II 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.1 oz 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999i
 
Sony A7 II 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999i
 
Sony A99 5.8 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 28.6 oz 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Sony A850 6.1 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 31.6 oz 880 Y Aug 2009 1,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A900 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the A9, which puts it into a different market segment. 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

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A900 is 2 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A9 and Sony A900 sensor measures

With 24.4MP, the A900 offers a higher resolution than the A9 (24MP), but the A900 nevertheless has the same individual pixel size (pixel pitch of 5.94μm) as the A9 due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A9 is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 7 months) than the A900, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The A9 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Sony Alpha A9 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A900 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.

A9 versus A900 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under review, the A9 provides substantially higher image quality than the A900, with an overall score that is 13 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.2 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Sony A9 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
 
Sony A900 Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none23.712.3143179
 
Nikon Z6 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995
 
Olympus E-M1 II Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280
 
Panasonic GH5 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.0343493
 
Sony A7 III Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096
 
Sony A7R III Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100
 
Sony A99 II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792
 
Sony A7R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498
 
Sony A7S II Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385
 
Sony A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
 
Sony A99 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.0155589
 
Sony A850 Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none23.812.2141579

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The A9 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the A900 does not. The highest resolution format that the A9 can use is 4K/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A9 has an electronic viewfinder (3686k dots), while the A900 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the A9 has a higher magnification than the one of the A900 (0.78x vs 0.74x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A9 and Sony A900 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Sony A93686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
 
Sony A900optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Nikon Z63690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Olympus E-M1 II2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0 n Y
 
Panasonic GH53680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Sony A9 II3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A7 III2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A7R III3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A99 II2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Sony A7R II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Sony A7S II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Sony A7 II2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Sony A992359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 6.0 n Y
 
Sony A850optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The A9 has a touchscreen, while the A900 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A9 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The A9 writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the A900 uses Compact Flash or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

Connectivity comparison

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 and Sony Alpha A900 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Sony A9YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
 
Sony A900Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon Z6YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
 
Olympus E-M1 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--
 
Panasonic GH5YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
 
Sony A9 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A7R IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A99 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
 
Sony A7R IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7S IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A99YstereomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Sony A850Y----mini2.0---

It is notable that the A9 offers wifi support, while the A900 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the A9 and the A900 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A900 was replaced by the Sony A99, while the A9 was followed by the Sony A9 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A9 and the Sony A900? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Sony Alpha A9:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.74x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 922k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (127x96mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 222g or 25 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 7 months of technical progress since the A900 launch.


Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A900:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (880 versus 650) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A9 is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

A9 20:05 A900

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A9 and the Sony A900 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the A9 and the A900 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony A9+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499i
 
Sony A900+ ++ +4.5/54/55/5 Sep 2008 2,999i
 
Nikon Z6....4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999 i
 
Olympus E-M1 II+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i
 
Panasonic GH5+ +85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i
 
Sony A9 II....5/5..5/5 Oct 2019 4,499 i
 
Sony A7 III+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
 
Sony A7R III+ +90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199i
 
Sony A99 II..85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i
 
Sony A7R II+ +90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199i
 
Sony A7S II+..4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999i
 
Sony A7 II+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999i
 
Sony A99..84/1004.5/5o4.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Sony A850..75/100..4/54.5/5 Aug 2009 1,999i
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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Sony A9:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A900:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

~

    Specifications: Sony A9 vs Sony A900

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Sony A9 Sony A900
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Sony A mount lenses
    Launch Date April 2017 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 4,499 USD 2,999
    Sensor Specs Sony A9 Sony A900
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.6 x 23.8 mm 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 847.28 mm2 861.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 42.8 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6048 x 4032 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.94 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.83 MP/cm2 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 51,200 ISO 200 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 204,800 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 92 79
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.9 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.3 12.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 3517 1431
    Screen Specs Sony A9 Sony A900
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.78x 0.74x
    Viewfinder Resolution 3686k dots
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1440k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Sony A9 Sony A900
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 20 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/32000sno E-Shutter
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards CF or MS cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Sony A9 Sony A900
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Headphone Socket Headphone port no Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in no NFC
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in no Bluetooth
    Body Specs Sony A9 Sony A900
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FZ100 NP-FM500H
    Battery Life (CIPA)650 shots per charge880 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging no USB charging
    Body Dimensions 127 x 96 x 63 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
    156 x 117 x 82 mm
    (6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 673 g (23.7 oz) 895 g (31.6 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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