What’s New in Sony a9 Firmware Update 5.00


There are THIRTY-FOUR changes in Sony a9 Firmware Update 5.00 which makes it hard to follow without a scorecard.

Here’s your scorecard…

Changes to Shooting Functions

Highly Accurate Automatic Detection and AF Tracking

A subject tracking function has been provided that improves the conventional Lock-on AF function. A newly developed object recognition algorithm achieves real-time high-speed processing of spatial information consisting of color, pattern (brightness level), and subject distance (depth). In addition to the conventional operation method of setting the focus area mode to Tracking, you can also start tracking at the desired time by assigning Tracking On to the Custom Key. Furthermore, setting Touch Tracking from the menu lets you select the subject to be tracked by simply touching the desired subject on the monitor. Tracking and Tracking On are available in still image shooting mode. Touch Tracking is available in still image shooting mode and movie shooting mode, but unavailable when shooting with the viewfinder.

Evolution of Eye AF function / Face/Eye AF Set.

A Face/Eye AF Set. function evolved from the conventional Face detection function has been provided. The function has been enhanced so that Eye AF (AF-C/AF-S mode support) operates even while the shutter button is pressed halfway down or the AF-ON button is pressed. In addition, you can have the camera automatically select the eye on which to focus, or you can specify the right eye or left eye beforehand. Eye AF is not available during movie shooting.

Touch Pad Function / Touch Pad Settings

A touch pad function has been provided that lets you move the focusing frame position by dragging your finger on the monitor like a touch pad. The focusing position moves in accordance with the amount of movement of your finger on the monitor. This lets you move the focusing position smoothly while looking through the viewfinder. In addition, a setting that moves the focusing position to the position where the monitor is touched is also available.

Increased Focal Plane Phase Detection AF Accuracy and Expanded Range

The AF algorithm has been further brushed-up to improve the focal plane phase detection AF accuracy during AF-C and continuous shooting. Performance has also been enhanced in environments with lower light compared to outdoors, such as indoor sports scenes. In addition, the aperture value range over which focal plane phase detection AF is available during AF-C and continuous shooting has been expanded. The maximum value has been increased from the conventional F11 to F16. This expands the AF application range to enable use such as panning during continuous shooting. This is supported when any E-mount lens that supports focal plane phase detection AF is mounted.

Increase to 425 Point Contrast AF

The number of contrast AF frame divisions has been increased from the current 25 frames to 425 frames. This enables highly accurate AF even in low-light environments or other scenes where contrast AF is advantageous. Use in combination with 693-point focal plane phase detection AF realizes high-speed, highly accurate AF in all circumstances.

Circulate Focus Point Setting

A new setting has been added that lets you circulate the focusing position to the up, down, left and right sides. This lets you efficiently set the focusing position when the subject moves frequently from one end to the other of the AF area, such as when shooting sports scenes.

Focus Area Limit

A function has been added that displays only the focus area types frequently used by the user when setting the AF area. This limited display is also reflected when Switch Focus Area is assigned to a custom button.

ISO Setting: ISO Range Limit

You can set the camera so that only frequently used ISO ranges are displayed in the ISO setting screen. This lets you change the setting more quickly in shooting mode.

Display ISO Value when Recording Movies in ISO AUTO Mode

A function has been added that lets you display the ISO value all the time when recording movies in ISO AUTO mode. This lets you record while checking the ISO value, even when recording in dark surroundings where the noise level is a concern.

Simpler White Balance

The white balance color temperature setting has been simplified. In addition, the number of setting steps has been reduced and operability has been enhanced during custom white balance operation.

AWB Lock Function / Shutter AWB Lock, AWB Lock Hold, AWB Lock Toggle

You can select whether or not to lock the auto white balance at the desired timing. This is convenient when you want to lock the auto white balance in an environment with multiple light sources such as artificial light and natural light. You can also lock the white balance in the auto white balance mode by assigning AWB Lock Hold or AWB Lock Toggle to a custom key.

Increased Peaking Detection Accuracy and Addition of Blue Peaking Color

The detection accuracy of the peaking function that enhances the outline of in-focus areas with the specified color has been increased. This makes it even easier to understand the focus peak during macro shooting and portrait shooting that require precise focusing. In addition, blue has been newly added to the available peaking colors (red, yellow, white). Selecting the blue peaking color, which is a colder color, for warmer colored subjects helps increase visibility when focusing on various subjects.

Addition of Initial Magnification Settings for Focus Magnifier in Movie Recording

You can set the initial magnification for focus magnifier in movie recording mode. The initial magnification can be selected from x1 or x4.

JPEG Picture Quality Setting in RAW & JPEG Recording Mode

You can select the JPEG picture quality from among Extra fine, Fine or Standard when the still image recording file format is set to RAW & JPEG.

Support for Monitor Off in Shooting Mode

Monitor Off has been added to the screen display modes that can be selected by the DISP button (Display Setting) in shooting mode. When set to Monitor Off, the monitor turns off other than when playing back images or performing MENU operations. This is convenient when shooting starry skies or other scenes in dark surroundings where the monitor brightness is a concern.

Support for Simultaneous Recording of Proxy Movies

Simultaneous recording of 4K movies and low definition proxy movies is supported. The load on the computer can be reduced and work efficiency increased when editing 4K movies by using proxy movies with a small file size for editing and previews.

Support for 1:1 Image Aspect Ratio

The 1:1 image aspect ratio is supported in addition to the conventional 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios. This enables shooting with a preset aspect ratio and composition optimized for posting to SNS, etc.

Metering Based on Faces / Face Priority in Multi Metering

The camera can measure brightness based on detected faces when Metering Mode is set to Multi.

Zebra Function Setting Method / Zebra Setting

Zebra display and zebra level can be set separately.

Support for Exposure Compensation with Half Press of Shutter Button in Still Shooting Mode

Exposure compensation can be performed by operating the exposure compensation dial while pressing the shutter button halfway down in auto focus mode.
Addition of movie recording format XAVC S HD recording settings
60p 25M and 30p 16M have been added to Record Setting.

Changes to Viewing Functions

Rating Function / Rating

You can set ratings in five levels ( – ) for recorded still images on the camera. Ratings set on the camera are carried over to applications such as PlayMemories Home and Imaging Edge (Viewer) even after the images are imported to your computer. In addition, you can also assign ratings on the playback screen by assigning the rating function to a custom key.

Protect Function / Protect

The protect function that protects recorded images against accidental erasure can now be used quickly on the playback screen by using a custom key (assigned to the C3 button in the default settings). Rating and Protect on the playback screen are useful for selection work during idle time such as at shooting sites or while travelling.

Group Display of Continuous Shooting Images / Display as Group

You can display recorded images by continuous shooting group. This makes the image index screen list easier to view during playback. You can also delete, protect or transfer images to a smartphone in continuous shooting group units.

Support for Jumping between Images during Playback / Image Jump Setting

You can set the dial and method to use for jumping between images during playback. This lets you more easily find protected images or images set with a particular rating.

Changes for Customizing the Camera

Advanced Dual Slot Functionality / Auto Switch Media

You can set the camera to automatically switch the recording destination to the other slot when the memory card in use becomes full and images can no longer be recorded to that memory card while shooting still images or recording movies. In addition, you can select from Sort(JPEG/RAW) or Sort(RAW/JPEG) as the method of recording still images separately to two memory cards.

Changing the Function of the Dial Temporarily / My Dial Settings

You can assign desired functions to the front dial, rear dial and control wheel, and register up to three combinations of settings as “My Dial”. You can quickly recall or switch registered “My Dial” settings by pressing the custom key you assigned in advance.

Assigning Functions to Custom Keys / Custom Key

You can select and assign desired functions from among up to 112 different options to custom keys. This lets you separately assign different functions for still image shooting mode, movie recording mode, and playback mode. In addition, an illustration showing the camera operation parts has been added to the custom key setting screen. This lets you check which buttons and switches to assign functions to at a glance.

Improved Usability of Function Menu Settings

Usability has been improved, such as by enabling to make function menu settings while viewing the actual function menu configuration.

Selection of Memory Card Slot for Memory Recall (MR) Function to Quickly Recall Camera Settings / Select Media

You can select the memory card from which settings are recalled by the Memory recall (MR) function from slot 1 or slot 2. This lets you register different settings to multiple memory cards.

Front Dial/Rear Dial with Changeable Direction of Rotation / Av/Tv Rotate

You can change the direction of rotation for the front dial and rear dial from the menu in accordance with your preference.

Changes to Network Functions

Support for Imaging Edge Mobile

The system software supports Imaging Edge Mobile, which is the successor application to PlayMemories Mobile. This enables remote control of the camera using a smartphone, and automatic transfer of images to the smartphone while recording. Note that PlayMemories Mobile must be updated to Imaging Edge Mobile.

Support for Wired LAN Remote Control

You can remotely control the camera with a high degree of freedom suited to professional sites via the PC app “Remote Camera Tool”. You can also remotely control an Ethernet connected camera or multiple cameras from this application. In addition, remote control is possible even during FTP transfer, which achieves even higher shooting efficiency.

Support for Smartphone Always Connected / Ctrl w/Smartphone

You can set whether or not to always connect the camera to a smartphone. When this function is set to On, once you connect the camera to a smartphone, it will remain connected to the smartphone at all times.

Deleted Functions

Changes to Movie Recording Format and Recording Settings

60p 25M and 30p 16M have been added to the Record Setting of XAVC S HD. The following specifications have been changed accordingly.
– The recording format MP4 has been deleted. Accordingly, Folder View (MP4), which displays only MP4 movies in playback mode, has also been deleted.
– 60p 28M(PS), 24p 17M(FH) and 24p 24M(FX) have been deleted from the Record Setting of AVCHD movies. To continue recording AVCHD movies, use 60i 24M(FX) or 60i 17M(FH).

Simultaneous Video Recording Function / Dual Video REC

A function has been added that simultaneously records low definition proxy movies when recording XAVC S movies. Accordingly, Dual Video REC, which simultaneously records MP4 movies when recording XAVC S movies or AVCHD movies, has been deleted.

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10 thoughts on “What’s New in Sony a9 Firmware Update 5.00”

  1. Thanks a lot for the clear info. I used my a9 last night the first time for a paid job since the upgrade and I was blown away by how much better the AF performed. I am a concert photographer and not that the AF was bad before but now even in very dim/changing lighting situations the camera felt a lot more confident acquiring focus.
    I was also surprised by the fact I used the new Tracking (in flexible spot) most of the time. I can see myself using this mode 90% of the time now, it is such a bliss! All in all I feel I almost have a new camera 🙂

  2. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the a7 iii !

    Sony continues to innovate at an incredible speed

  3. Frustrating that Sony are not maintaining the firmware on the a6500. This is still currently their flagship APS-C camera, but we get neither firmware updates nor new lens developments.

    1. First off, I believe that at least one new APS-C E-mount lens is slated for 2019 (and possibly more) and of course every FE lens is also compatible with a6500.

      As for the latest a9 firmware, it’s processor and sensor dependent which is why several of the features like Real Time Tracking & Real-Time Eye AF made their way into a6400 thanks to its upgraded processor and other changes to its design. Sony made it extremely clear that a6400 is the a6300 update – not a6500. That rather clearly signals what may be next.

  4. Anyone else having issues with the Function Menu Set in the Menu after 5.00 update? No longer allowing me to customize. Just takes me to function display as if I had pressed Fn.

    1. In Firmware 5.00 when you select Menu > Camera Settings 2 > Custom Operation 1 > Function Menu Set. you will see the current Fn Settings. You can click on any of the settings to bring up options for that position in the Fn Menu which makes it much easier to remember what it set in each position.

  5. I used a single sheet layout of the previous menu options to record my selections prior to upgrading. It was very helpful in documenting before making the update. Is there a similar menu layout that incorporates the 5.0 settings?

  6. I just updated to version 5 and can no longer see how to assign the focus magnifier to one of the custom keys. I was previously using version 1.1 where it was possible.

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