The Sony has promised to bring major Firmware Updates to Alpha A7 III, A7R III, and A9 in Australia and other countries alongside an announcement of Alpha A6400.
These updates will add a plethora of features for A9 such as improved tracking in both stills and videos and extending Eye AF to animals as well – it’s something Sony has already teased back in September 2018 at Photokina.
The A7 III and A7R III, on the other hand, will also gain improved Eye-AF and animal Eye-AF and time-lapse capabilities.
According to Sony, A9 firmware will arrive in 2 different waves – version 5.0 will be available somewhere in March whereas version 6.0 is most likely to be somewhere in summer. For A7 III and A7R III, Firmware version 3.0 will arrive in April 2019.
Sony A9 Improvements
The most important aspect of Sony A9 updates in Australia center on autofocus and usability improvements. Interestingly, Sony didn’t mention if it will add Log Capability to A9’s video – which is a shame, what do you say? It could have given fast readout and minimal rolling shutter.
Firmware version 5.0 is going to bring the latest “Real-Time” Tracking Mode which uses Sony’s new subject recognition algorithm.
This feature adds consideration of eye detection as well as pattern recognition to the color. Although distance and face detection was previously being used.
The Real-Time Tracking Mode lets users specify a subject and it’ll prioritize their eyes. It’ll switch the face detection in case it loses the eye and treat them as a generic subject – for instance, turn their head away from a camera lens.
This is most likely to be used in video mode – whether prior iterations of face detection could jump to another face if you planned subject turned away.
The A9, A7 III and A7R III in Australia are going to be loaded with Real-Time Eye-AF mode which will enable users to focus on the eye without even pressing a second button. Moreover, it’ll let you specify in advance which eye you want the lens to focus on (left, right or closest).
Sony has expanded Eye AF feature which is now capable enough to recognize animal’s eyes. According to Sony, it’ll help both photographers and wildlife shooters to capture images of their own pets. Knowing that a camera sensor will keep focusing on eyes which mean a photographer can easily concentrate on composition instead of a focus.
Sony in its report further says this model and the subject recognition aspect of full-time tracking are based on “AI”. It’s taking to mean that they are based on machine learning (getting trained an algorithm to recognize a subject by showing it a plethora of images). The company branded the capability “Speed X AI”.
Unfortunately, we will have to wait a little more for firmware version 6.0 for animal eye AF mode, particularly for A9. Not only Animal Eye AF Mode but for AF improvements as well. The two A9 firmware updates promise approx. 20 updates or a little more. These upcoming updates include an additional screen for enabling users to see which buttons are mapped to offer which function.Press Release