Sony Announces a9 II with Voice Memo, Two UHS-II SD Slots, Improved Dust & Moisture Resistance

Published: October 3, 2019


Sony a9 II ($4,498 Pre-Order B&H Photo | Amazon | Adorama) features voice memo, two UHS-II SD card slots, improved dust & moisture resistance, improved control button ergonomics, a7R IV grip design, USB-C connection, new low-vibration 10 FPS mechanical shutter and enhanced camera connectivity requested by the camera’s target audience – professional sports photographers & photojournalists.

Before we get into what’s new, let’s start off with what remains the same. Sony a9 II features a9’s state-of-the-art 24mp stacked sensor, continuous 20 FPS Blackout-free shooting, continuous AF/AE calculations at 60 times per second, completely silent vibration-free electronic shutter, 693 phase-detection AF points covering 93% of the sensor and 425 Contrast AF points.

New Features on a9 II

Sony a9 received an unprecedented number of improvements via firmware updates – including 34 new features in firmware 5.00 alone – but there were quite a few hardware updates found in newer cameras that simply can’t be downloaded.

Voice Memo

New Voice Memo recording function allows you to record up to 60 second voice memo and attach to images via a .wav file that can be replayed when images are reviewed. Attached voice memos can be transferred via FTP along with corresponding image data. You can also use Tagging & Transfer add-on app (v 1.1 or later) on a mobile device to automatically or manually convert voice memos to text.

Dual UHS-II SD Card Slots

Sony a7R IV dual UHS-II SD card slots

Like a7R IV, Card Slot 2 is upgraded to UHS-II so now both card slots are now UHS-II compatible. As before you can set recording for redundancy simultaneously record to both cards, Sort stills & video or Raw and Jpeg to different cards or simply choose to record to one card slot at a time and automatically rollover recording to the next card slot.

Menu > Setup 5 > Record Media Settings > Auto Switch Media > On

Please Note: Unlike a9, Card Slot 1 is now the top card slot

Improved Dust & Moisture Resistance

Weather-sealing is improved with a new battery door cover, additional cushioning around the lens mount, double-sliding media slot cover & port covers designed to keep water out.

New Low-Vibration 10 FPS Mechanical Shutter

Sony a9 gets the new low-vibration shutter (rated at over 500,000 actuations) with fast-response cordless motor introduced for a7R IV effectively increasing the mechanical frame rate from 5 FPS to 10 FPS while also offering quieter mechanical operation with better vibration dampening.

Mechanical Shutter is also compatible with Anti-flicker shooting which automatically detects flicker and adjust shutter timing to eliminate exposure and color variations when shooting under flickering lights.

Improved Grip & Control Button Ergonomics

Sony a9 II gets the new deeper grip from a7R IV and features more prominent control buttons with improved ergonomics including lock/release buttons on the EV Compensation Dial and Drive Mode Dial.

Upgraded BIONZ X Processor

Upgraded BIONZ X Image-Processing engine and front-end LSI work in conjunction with the fast stacked-sensor to achieve maximum speed and performance for improved autofocus speed and precision, face detection and EVF response. New performance-tuned AF algorithms achieve even more reliable tracking of fast and unpredictable moving subjects.

USB 3.2 Type-C Connection

USB-C Connection supports fast 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer speeds for high-speed PC Remote tethering and data transfer.

Upgraded High-Speed 1000BASE-T and 5GHZ FTP Background Transfer

1000BASE-T connection allows gigabit communication for high-speed stable data transfer including remote shooting. 5 GHz wireless LAN support allows lower interference for high-speed data transfer.

Background FTP Transfer allows you to continue to shoot while images are transferred to the server using a wired or wireless connection. File Transfer speed is improved to support 1000BASE-T and 5GHZ.

You can also select to transfer only protected or rated image files by pressing an assigned Custom Key, transfer all files as you shoot, specify Raw or Jpeg formats and more.

Up to nine FTP server settings can be saved for quick recall.

Save/Load FTP Settings

It’s now possible to save FTP settings and reload them onto any a9 II body. Up to 10 sets of FTP settings can be saved to SD card separately from normal shooting settings. Imaging Edge Mobile app can be used to save up to 20 sets of settings.

5.5 Stop 5-Axis Image Stabilization

Sony a9 II also gets the latest improvements in 5-Axis IBIS for improved image stabilization over the previous model.

Sony a9 II 5-axis IBIS

New & Improved Menu Settings

Sony a9 II gets a menu update that includes separate Fn Button settings for stills & video and the ability to Save & Load camera settings via SD card.

Focus Point Color Selection

As with a9 firmware update 6.00, you can choose to display Flexible Point in either white or red. White Focus Frame color is an excellent choice when shooting colorful subjects. Red Focus Frame color is an excellent choice when shooting a predominantly white scene.

It’s now possible to move the focus point selection while the shutter button is half-pressed in AF-C mode.

Aperture Drive Focus Priority Mode

When used with compatible lenses, AF can track even with F-stops greater than F16 using Focus Priority Mode which now allows aperture to be opened just before exposure making it possible to focus precisely using studio strobes at a small aperture.

Remote Camera Tool 2.1

The Remote Camera Tool app has been updated to support improved wired LAN functionality
• Release time lag and live view delays are minimized
• Allows remote SD card formatting, FTP server switching and changes to still image storage destination

Imaging Edge Remote

Imaging Edge Remote desktop app (v2.0 or later) can be used for PC Remote tethered shooting via wireless LAN or wired USB connection.

Selectable Storage Size in Jpeg and Raw + Jpeg Mode

It’s possible to select either original size or small 2mp Jpeg images to transfer to PC.

Improved Data Transfer Control

It’s now possible to transfer files from the SD card in the camera via Wi-Fi even when the camera power is OFF. Still images & movies can be transferred via the Imaging Edge Mobile app from a paired mobile device.

Tagging & Transfer Add-on 1.1

This Imaging Edge Mobile add-on can speed up workflow by allowing FTP background transfer to a mobile device.

Updates Include:
• Sending FTP setting parameters from mobile devices to camera
• Automatic voice-to-text conversion and embedding
• Automatic data upload from mobile to FTP server attached with specific IPTC metadata.

Longer Life from Same High-Capacity Z-Battery

Thanks to it’s new more efficient image processor, Sony a9 II squeezes even more shots out of the same high-capacity Sony NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries.

4:3 & 1:1 Aspect Ratios

Sony a9 II supports 3:2, 4:3, 1:1, 16:9 Aspect Ratios. While a9 FW 5.00 added 1:1 aspect ratio, a9 II finally adds both 4:3 & 1:1!

High Resolution fullframe 4K Movie Shooting

Sony a9 II oversamples 6K capture with full readout and no pixel binning

Real-Time Eye AF for Movies

Great news for video shooters! Real-Time Eye AF is now supported for Movie recording.

Improved Real Time Tracking for Movies

Sony a9 II offers improved Real Time Tracking for Movies

MI Shoe with Digital Audio Interface

Like the a7R IV, Sony a9 II can take advantage of the latest digital audio accessories thanks to the new MI Shoe Digital Audio Interface.

55 Native E-mount Lenses and Growing

With 55 native Sony E-mount lenses up to 600mm, and many more third-party options, Sony’s E-mount lens line-up continues to grow.

New a9 II Sony Accessories

Sony a9 II uses many of the same new accessories introduced for a7R IV:

Sony VG-C4EM Vertical Grip

Sony VG-C4EM Vertical Grip ($398) is designed for Sony a9 II & a7R IV mirrorless cameras. It offers both double battery capacity and a more comfortable grip when shooting in the vertical orientation. The grip accepts either one or two NP-FZ100 batteries to increase the effective battery life for longer shooting sessions, and the batteries can be charged in the grip while attached to the camera via the body’s USB port. The grip’s design maintains the same layout as the camera body itself, and includes a secondary shutter button and Multi Selector for intuitive use. The VG-C4EM grip is built from magnesium alloy and is dust- and moisture-resistant to match the weather sealing of the camera itself.

Order Sony VG-C4EM Vertical Grip from B&H Photo | Amazon

Sony ECM-B1M Digital Shotgun Microphone

Sony ECM-B1M Digital Shotgun Microphone ($348) is an ultra-compact camera-mount digital shotgun microphone designed for mobile video creators working with Sony cameras equipped with the Multi Interface Shoe. Released alongside the a7R IV, which benefits from its built-in Digital Audio Interface, the ECM-B1M is able to produce its best quality by delivering a digital audio stream directly to the camera through the Multi Interface Shoe. Other Sony cameras with the standard Multi Interface Shoe can still make use of the microphone as there is a selectable digital/analog output.

Order Sony ECM-B1M Digital Shotgun Microphone from B&H Photo | Amazon

Sony XLR-K3M Digital XLR Adaptor Kit with Microphone

Sony XLR-K3M ($598) is a dual-channel digital XLR audio adapter that allows you to connect microphones and other audio sources to cameras equipped with a Multi Interface Shoe. Released alongside the a7R IV, which benefits from its built-in digital audio interface, the adapter is able to produce its best quality by delivering a digital audio stream directly to the camera through the Multi Interface Shoe. Other Sony cameras with the standard MI Shoe can still make use of the microphone as there is a selectable digital/analog output. XLR-K3M features two XLR-1/4″ combo mic/line inputs with 48V phantom power, and a 3.5mm stereo input with plug-in power, all with individual level controls.

Order Sony XLR-K3M Digital XLR Adaptor Kit with Microphone from B&H Photo | Amazon

Pre-Order Sony a9 II from B&H Photo | Adorama

Order Sony a9 II from B&H Photo | Amazon | Sony

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8 thoughts on “Sony Announces a9 II with Voice Memo, Two UHS-II SD Slots, Improved Dust & Moisture Resistance”

  1. Scott A. Berger, M.D.

    Can’t believe they didn’t increase the mP count…not much different than the new A7R4, other than less megapixels. Ridiculous!! Still no GPS. Still a dysfunctional camera app that has no ability to focus the camera. Still no XQD slots, which will render the camera useless while it buffers!! Still no touch screen functionality like all the rest of the camera manufacturers have had for years now. Sony STRIKE THREE!!!

  2. I agree on the MP, had hoped for at least 36MP for this one.

    GPS: Pair it with your smartphone and it will get the GPS data for every image. I do that with my a7R IV with my iPhone, works like a charm.

    Agree on the focus and fire from an external device (app), can’t imagine why they took it away, was so nice on the a7R II.

    The touchscreen I don’t if they made any improvements, and the menu-system as well, waiting for dpreview to tell us more.

    Movie options I really don’t care for, but still don’t know what it can do, waiting for dpreview here too.

  3. Rumors = Guesses.

    Guess right and you’re “in the know”. Guess wrong and people blame the manufacturer not the rumor.

    They simply done guessed wrong on this one.

    Disappointment with this update may also be due to all the improvements included in fw 5.00 and 6.00 updates. Had those been held for a9 II, people would be flipping out over it. I hope that does not change what Sony chooses to release as firmware updates in the future.

    1. Well, for me I’m not disappointed, more of surprised. Doesn’t matter as this is not a camera for me.

  4. how do I do the voice memos ?? and can I attach the digital mike and record sound (birds) and attach to the photo ??

    1. You can record shooting conditions or image descriptions with your voice, and attach the audio files to images as voice memos.

      Voice memos can be transferred to a computer together with images, and played back on the computer.

      1. MENU → (Playback) → [Voice Memo]
      The image selection screen will appear.

      2. Select a still image to which you want to attach a voice memo.

      3. While holding down the center of the control wheel, record your voice.
      A voice memo file (.WAV) with the same file name as the still image will be saved in the folder where the corresponding still image is saved.

      Recording continues while the center of the control wheel is pressed. The recording stops when the button is released.

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