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Sony Alpha A9 II (9M2) Review - Performance

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Sony Alpha A9 II Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


Sony Alpha 9 II (ILCE-9M2) Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The camera produces images with excellent colour reproduction, and good levels of sharpness straight from the camera, even when shooting JPEG images. Or course, the camera also gives you different colour options called "Creative Style", and these can be customised to your own personal preferences, with options for sharpness, contrast, saturation etc. Exposure and dynamic range are both very good, with options built-in to record as much dynamic range as possible. You can customise the DRO (Dynamic Range Optimization), to expand the range captured, or use the HDR option which combines a number of shots, however, on default settings the camera gives excellent results.

We were impressed by the image quality on offer from the 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens and found the 70-200mm f/4 lens to produce good results, whilst also being quite compact and lightweight for a 70-200mm lens. The camera has built-in lens compensation, including peripheral shading (vignetting), chromatic aberration, and distortion correction.

Image Stabilization – The 5-axis image stabilisation system is built into the camera, moving the sensor as needed, and is claimed to offer up to 5 stops advantage. The system did the job very well, and will also help for video recording.

A wide variety of digital filters and colour options are offered including Creative Styles, Picture Effects (digital filters), as well as the previously mentioned D-Range optimization (DRO), and HDR.


Sony Alpha 9 II (ILCE-9M2) ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - The noise performance of the A9 Mark II is very good, with good results, and they are very usable up to and including ISO6400. The camera retains a good level of detail, even as the ISO speed increases.

Compared to the Sony Alpha A9, there is better retention of fine detail as the ISO speed increases, as well as better colour saturation. Whereas we said we weren't too impressed by ISO6400 and above on the A9, it looks like the A9 II delivers good results at ISO6400, and images taken at ISO12800 may still provide usable results.


Sony Alpha 9 II (ILCE-9M2) White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Options include Auto White Balance (AWB), Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent warm white, cool white, day white and daylight, flash, Underwater Auto, Colour temperature and three custom settings. AWB is very effective and works well for most circumstances. However, where the ambient colour is an important part of a scene, such as perhaps a sunset, then using a preset will prevent the camera from trying to compensate and reduce the colour seen. There are options for auto white balance to give a warm, or a cool/white result, and these can be used when needed, depending on what you're shooting.


Video - There are four options for the video format. XAVC S 4K supports high bit rates, up to 100mbps, and records at a UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 at 30, 25 or 24fps. XAVC S HD also supports high bit rates, and high-speed FullHD (1080p) video at 120/100 and 60/50fps, as well as the more standard 30/25/24fps. AVCHD format is suitable for HDTV. MP4 records as AVC movies, suitable for web, tablets, and smartphones. 4K UHD video is recorded to the internal memory card, and the 5-axis in-camera image stabilisation works with any lens. The camera features stereo microphones, plus both microphone and headphone sockets on the side.

In terms of handling, the position of the movie button for starting/stopping recording isn't in the most intuitive position but has been moved a little to make it easier to reach with your thumb. In-camera image stabilisation helps give a more professional look to video, even when hand-holding the camera. However, there are cheaper cameras that office CINE-4K video, as well as 4K at 60fps, so if video is your priority, then there are other options.

If you are holding the camera, then you'll most likely want to pair it with a compact lens, as the camera can feel heavy when paired with a larger lens after extended time.


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Photographs taken using the Sony Alpha 9 II (ILCE-9M2)

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