Sony is a brand we see in almost every facet of our lives. It’s in our kitchens, our living rooms, bedrooms, bath and beyond. But its legacy in photography really stands out for its consistent innovation. We’ve noted in the past how this innovation has sometimes gone too far, forcing new formats on users that were never wanted, but Sony’s drive to push the envelope really must be celebrated more.
In an era of light refreshes and firmware updates to ageing cameras, the Sony A9 III launch is the latest testament to Sony’s enduring commitment to breaking new ground. The introduction of the A9 III is not just another routine product launch; it represents a significant stride in the evolution of the mirrorless camera market, particularly with its global shutter technology.
The global shutter is a transformative feature that addresses a common bane of electronic shutters: the rolling shutter effect. By reading the entire sensor instantaneously, the A9 III eliminates the distortion that can plague images of fast-moving subjects. This is a critical enhancement for those genres of photography where motion and speed are inherent, such as sports, wildlife and photojournalism, and it will be interesting to see how many A9 III badges we see in the Summer Olympics next year in Paris.
The A9 III’s ability to reach an unprecedented shutter speed of 1/80000th of a second also opens up new possibilities for photographers. This speed, combined with the absence of distortion and flicker, is not just an improvement; it’s a reinvention of what can be achieved in-camera. What’s more, the A9 III’s flash sync at any shutter speed allows photographers to explore creative lighting scenarios that were previously challenging, if not impossible, to achieve.
Sony’s pursuit of innovation is a recurring theme in its history. The company has been at the forefront of many significant advancements that have pushed the photography industry forward. Sony’s first foray into the mirrorless market disrupted the status quo and provided a glimpse into the future of camera technology. Following that, the introduction of the original A9 showcased the potential of high-speed, full-frame mirrorless cameras, setting a new standard for speed and performance.
Another landmark was the development of its Eye AF technology, which revolutionised the way cameras focus, allowing for unparalleled accuracy in capturing the human eye, even in motion. This feature soon became an industry staple, with competitors striving to incorporate similar technologies into their offerings. Eye AF is now expected by consumers in any new camera.
The narrative of Sony’s innovation is not just about individual features; it’s about a relentless drive to offer creative tools that redefine the photographic experience. With the A9 III, Sony is challenging the market once again, demonstrating that the best mirrorless cameras can be a powerhouse of technology, not just a lightweight alternative to DSLRs.
It’s clear that Sony’s innovations often set the pace for the camera industry. The question that follows each breakthrough is how competitors will respond. The introduction of the A9 III’s global shutter raises the bar significantly. Other manufacturers must now play catch-up to Sony’s engineering marvel. This competitive environment benefits the end-users, as it spurs technological advancements across the board.
Sony’s philosophy has seemingly been one of continual progress, where the boundaries of today are the starting points of tomorrow. As the A9 III hits the shelves, it not only embodies the pinnacle of current technology but also serves as a challenge to the industry. It urges other manufacturers to innovate, not just incrementally improve through firmware updates.
The camera industry thrives on such advancements. When one manufacturer moves ahead, it compels others to follow suit, ensuring that the industry, as a whole, progresses. As it stands, Sony has thrown down the gauntlet with the A9 III, and the photography community eagerly awaits to see how the market will evolve in response.
In our view, the Sony A9 III is not merely a product; it’s an example of progress, exemplifying Sony’s legacy of innovation, and a sign that the market for traditional interchangeable lens cameras hasn’t gone stale. It reflects a clear message to the industry: to move forward is the only way.
- See our guide to the best Sony cameras you can buy today