Here’s What’s New in Sony a9 Firmware 5.00

Sony a9 Gains Powerful New Autofocus Capabilities and More Through Software Version 5.00 Update

Sony’s industry-leading a9 camera has received a significant software update that brings AI-driven autofocus capabilities to its award-winning autofocus (AF) system, improves image quality, and introduces a range of customer-requested workflow improvements.

Autofocus Advances

Firmware version 5.00 for the Sony a9 adds Sony’s newly-developed, AI-driven Real-time Tracking mode for precise and robust subject tracking. Real-time Tracking uses Sony’s latest AF algorithm—which includes Artificial Intelligence-based object recognition—to detect and follow subjects with unprecedented accuracy.

Real-time Tracking AF works in conjunction with Real-time Eye AF, also added with Firmware version 5.00. The latest iteration of Sony’s best-in-class Eye AF technology, Real-time Eye AF also uses AI-based object recognition, resulting in an unprecedented level of speed and performance for locking on and holding focus on a subject’s eyes. Additionally, with Real-time Eye AF, users can now activate eye detection via a half-press of the shutter release, and can enjoy focus tracking accuracy even if a subject’s eyes are temporarily obscured during shooting.

Also added with firmware 5.00 is Fast Hybrid AF for video, which now provides smoother, more accurate focus during video shooting, even if/when objects move in front of the subject.

Image Quality

Firmware version 5.00 offers notably improved image processing, which maximizes the capabilities of the full-frame sensor. The camera now more accurately reproduces subtle changes in light for smoother, more natural tonal gradations and improved auto white balance results.

Improved Usability And Workflow

With Firmware version 5.00, the Sony a9 adds several customer-requested features:

New My Dial menu
Revised Custom Key menu
Improved touchpad capability,
Enhanced dual-card functionality
Enhanced tagging
Imaging Edge

Sony is also announcing the release of Imaging Edge™ mobile applications, plus updates to the ‘Remote,’ ‘Viewer’ and ‘Edit’ desktop applications that brings exciting new features to all Sony imaging customers.

For professional photographers, Sony is also releasing a new mobile application ‘Transfer & Tagging add-on’ that supports instant delivery workflow by allowing users to transfer content to their mobile devices via the camera’s FTP background transfer functionality. It also enables voice input for text captioning to streamline overall workflow between photographers and other team members.

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25 thoughts on “Here’s What’s New in Sony a9 Firmware 5.00”

  1. Looks great Brian, can’t wait to use it on my polo photography clients. One question, in the video your using a remote flash that seems to recharge many times a second, what was it and how did it do that?

    1. I will answer for Brian. He is using a profoto flash. (I can tell by the Profoto wireless trigger in his hotshoe). Brian is a Profoto ambassador. The latest Godox/Flashpoint Pro strobes also recycle fast enough for burst shooting. Cheers

  2. Edgar Allan Icawalo Jr

    I understand Brian, its sad to hear. Atleast they could make something just to improved its AF system.

      1. Edgar Allan Icawalo Jr

        It seems like sony don’t have any plans on making a significant updates to the A7rii. At least they can make an update to improved the AF system.

        1. As I explained above, I’m not certain that is possible. I highlighted the processor improvements in Mark III cameras many times on this website. It’s hardware – not firmware.

  3. Every video I’ve watched related to this new firmware has blown me away. I sold my A9 to buy an A7III because I didn’t need the speed. But this real time tracking looks like a pretty compelling reason to re-visit this decision. And much respect to Sony for adding so much functionality into a firmware release, much appreciated!

    1. I’m fairly certain any other company would have only made this update available in a Mark II version of the camera. This update really shows what a9 hardware is capable of.

  4. A truly jaw dropping update. In fact it’s a quantum leap forward. The only thing that continues to pain me is not having the ability to change the focus square to another color. I’m always looking for it because many times it blends into the background. If it was a green color it would stand out. Seems like a simple firmware fix and numerous Sony forum threads all over the web have been filled with people asking for it.

    1. That was the number one thing Patrick Murphy-Racey and I mentioned to Sony software engineers and product planners when we tested the Beta software in January. I had hoped that change would have made it into the release software. It’s still number one on my list.

      1. Which has nothing to do with whether you can see the focus square. I couldn’t believe it was gray when I first got the camera. I still can’t get over how effin’ dumb it is but I mostly got around it by shooting WIDE and, I presume, going forward will use Tracking Wide or other Tracking mode (the old Lock On modes I found useless.) The most exciting thing for me is no longer having to use eye-AF as a separate AF mode and having to switch modes when it fails. Eye-AF now will works along with any other AF mode in eye, face, then object priority. Which is how it logically always should have worked but now Sony figured out how to do it. I disagree with Brian about the updates though. Sony is traditionally awful as far as firmware feature updates but now Sony has to compete with Canon and Nikon which to me explains this release. I switched to Sony but my money is on Canon eventually claiming most of the pro mirrorless market and the prosumer as well. Time will tell…

        1. I absolutely agree that Sony needs to change the color of the focus square and both Patrick Murphy-Racey and I made that point extremely clear to engineers and product planners.

          As for Updates, I haven’t owned Canon camera in over a decade but I never remember them adding one single feature in a firmware update – just fixing bugs and updating compatibility of new lenses.

  5. I was really happy about the 1:1 ratio but Capture One 12 and DxO Photolab both “see” the RAW images as 3:2 even when they were shooted at 1:1 – only the JPG preview is stored as a squared image, the RAW is still a 6000×4000 image…
    I think the camera should produce a proper RAW, with the same ratio you choose at time of shooting.
    Am I asking too much?

    1. It works in Lightroom Classic CC. Capture One might need an update.

      RAWs show up cropped in Lightroom, however if you wish to reposition the crop, open the crop tool and all the pixels are there

      1. thank you for your prompt reply!
        I don’t use Lightroom and don’t like the idea to be forced to learn how to use it – so I will open a ticket with Phase One.
        Life would be much easier if the 5.0 update was developed to save RAW files with the proper ratio, also saving space on our hard drives in this case, hopefully they will implement it in the next update… does not make sense to save 24mp files when the image is taken thinking and framing in 1:1, don’t you agree?

        1. No. I don’t agree.

          The entire point of shooting RAW is non-destructive workflow. I want a cropped preview but the ability to utilize the full RAW image if I – or my client – wants to do so.

          16:9 Aspect ratio has always worked this way too. No pixels are thrown away. The images simply appear cropped to the selected ratio upon import into image processing software but no pixels are harmed in the process

  6. The A9 focus is amazing. A real wake-up call to Canon, Nikon.
    I upgraded my A9 just before heading down to Washington D.C. at the end of March. My mistake was in not making sure that I had recorded all my customizations – since they get wiped.
    Wide tracking, Continuous AF – lock right onto a bird’s eye/face. I would take a photo with a statue in the photo. I would lock the green box on somewhere else in the scene. Then a gray box would immediately pick up the statue’s eye in the scene.
    Then Sony guilds the lily by adding: storage card roll-over; storing your settings to SD card, etc.
    I might have to upgrade my A7r II to an A7r III, I been hoping I could wait for the A7r IV.

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