Sony has released firmware v5.01 for the Sony a9. Unlike the recent v5.00 update v5.01 only “Improves the overall stability of the camera” according to Sony.
Previous to v5.01 firmware version 5.00 was released for the Sony a9. This was a major firmware release which added many new functions and also makes changes to the cameras menu system. When you install this update all of your saved camera settings will be reset.
Mark Galer’s v5.0 Update Guide
Sony Ambassador Mark Galer has released an update guide to the new version 5.0 firmware that’s worth taking a look at.
New Functions Added with v5.0
Here’s an overview of all of the new functions that have been added with the Sony a9 firmware update version 5.0.
- Highly accurate automatic detection and tracking of subjects / Tracking, Tracking On, Touch 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 application 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.
- Increased number of contrast AF frame divisions
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 focusing position setting / Circ. of Focus Point
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.
- Display only frequently used focus area types / 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.
- Limited ISO display / 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 all the time 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 setting / 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 detection accuracy of peaking function and addition of blue peaking color / Peaking Setting
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 mode / Initial Focus Mag.
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 / File Format, JPEG Quality
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
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 / Proxy Recording
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 / 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 while pressing the shutter button halfway down in still image 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.
- 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.
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 / Function Menu Set.
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 that enables 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.
- 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.
Refer to the Online Help Guide for more information on updated functions.
Previous Firmware Versions
These firmware versions have since been superseded, they are included here for reference only.
Firmware Version 4.10
Benefits and Improvements in Sony a9 Firmware Version 4.10
Solves the problem caused by a specific third-party memory card, which would not be recognised by Sony cameras
- [Note 1] When updating to this version from a lower version than “Ver. 4.00”, the FTP transfer feature and Wired LAN settings are initialised.
You will have to configure these two items again. The names of FTP server 1, FTP server 2, and FTP server 3 will be kept, but other items will be initialised. If you have set the Wired LAN Settings to Manual, each of the manually configured settings will be initialised and the Wired LAN Settings will be set to Auto.
- [Note 2] When the camera is updated from Ver. 3.00 to this version, the registered settings for Fn (function) menu may not be kept. In that event, please customise the menu to your preferred settings again. Setting: [MENU]-[Camera Settings2]-[Function Menu Set.]
Firmware Version 4.00
1. Allows you to transfer still images during record and playback operations
2. Adds the following new FTP transfer functions:
- Allows you to narrow the transfer target, such as protected images or non-transferred images, and transfer the applicable images together as a batch
- Allows you to transfer only the image being played back to press the assigned custom key
- Allows you to transfer all images automatically while recording
- Allows you to select the transfer target file formats when transferring images records in RAW+JPEG format to an FTP server
3. Updates the destination folder configuration with the following options:
- Allows you to register up to nine FTP servers
- Allows you to change the destination folder configuration flexibly on the FTP server
- Allows you to save image data in the folder that you choice
- Allows you to register [media card slot number] in the folder configuration
- Allows you to make the folder configuration the same as on your camera
4. Improves the overall stability of the camera
- When updating to this version, the FTP transfer feature and Wired LAN settings are initialized. You will have to configure the two items again.
- The names of FTP server 1, FTP server 2, and FTP server 3 will be kept, but other items will be initialized.
- If you have set Wired LAN Setting to Manual, each of the manually configured settings will be initialized and the Wired LAN Setting will reset to Auto.
- When the camera is updated from Ver. 3.00 to this version, the registered settings for Fn (function) menu may not be kept. In that event, please customize the menu to your preferred settings again: Setting: [MENU]-[Camera Settings2]-[Function Menu Set.].
- Refer to the Sony a9 Manual for more information on how to update functions.
Firmware Version 3.10
- Support of “SEL400F28GM”
- Other improvements
Adds a [Silent priority] option to the [Aperture Drive in AF] setting in the menu.
*Using the lens “SEL400F28GM”, when [Silent priority] is selected, the sound emitted by the aperture drive will be reduced. This is useful in shooting conditions where camera noise should be kept to a minimum. Note that Auto Focus may become slower when [Silent priority] is selected.
Improves the overall stability of the camera
Firmware Version 3.01
Corrects a symptom where, in some cases, the camera may not operate properly after updating the software to Ver. 3.00
- For cameras which were updated to Ver. 3.00 and then to Ver. 3.01, the registered customised settings for the Fn (function) menu may be lost.
In such a case, please customise the menu again to your preference by going to:
[MENU]-[Camera Settings2]-[Function Menu Set]
The Ver. 3.01 software also includes the following updates from Ver. 3.00
Introduces support for the new lens “SEL400F28GM”
- Optimisation of optical image stabilisation performance, and support for the new image stabilisation mode of the Lens (Mode 3).
Addition of [Function Ring(Lens)] to the menu
- *For SEL400F28GM, [APS-C S35/Full Frame Sel.] setting can be assigned to the Function Ring, in addition to [Power Focus].
- Addition of [Aperture Drive in AF] to the menu
- *With the SEL400F28GM, focus will not be locked even during continuous shooting at F-values greater than F11, under the following conditions: AF-C, electronic shutter, [Aperture Drive in AF] menu set to [Focus Priority]. Note that continuous shooting speed might be slow when F number is over F11.
Added function for professionals engaged in sports/news media:
- Adds a [Write Serial Number] option (On/Off) to the menu, enabling or disabling the inclusion of the camera’s serial number in the Exif data
Improvements in auto focus performance and functionality
- Improves tracking performance of moving subjects in AF-C mode
- Improves auto focus speed in low light conditions
- Adds [AF Track Sens] as a selectable option for custom key settings
- Adds support for all focus areas when using the LA-EA3 mount adaptor (Options added to [Focus Area]: “Zone”, “Expand Flexible Spot” and “Lock-on AF”)
Improvements in flash control performance and functionality
- Reduces the release time lag when shooting with a flash
- Adds support for [Slow Sync.] and [Rear Sync.] when using a flash wirelessly
- Adds support for white balance automatic correction, when using the colour filter of an external flash (HVL-F60RM)
- Stabilises the release time lag when shooting in AF-C mode
- Improves the overall stability of the camera
Firmware Version 3.00
The distribution of firmware version 3.0 for the a9 was suspended after reports of the a9 not working correctly in some cases. If the update has already been installed new icons may appear on the Function menu, these new icons will not work. To resolve this, please initialize the camera, or reset the Function menu.”
Version 3.00 provided the following benefits and improvements:
Added functions for professionals engaged in sports/news media:
- Adds the Write Serial Number option (On/Off) to the menu for selecting your preference in writing the serial number to the Exif data
Improvements in auto focus performance and functionality:
- Improves tracking performance of moving subjects in AF-C mode
- Improves auto focus speed in low light
- Adds AF Track Sens as a selectable option for custom key settings
- Adds support for all focus areas when using LA-EA3 mount adaptor (Focus Area options added: Zone, Expand Flexible Spot, and Lock-on AF)
Improvements in flash control performance and functionality:
- Reduced release time lag when shooting with flash
- Adds support for Slow Sync and Rear Sync when using flash wirelessly
- Adds support for white balance automatic correction when using color filter of external flash (HVL-F60RM)
- Stabilized release time lag when shooting in AF-C mode
- Improves overall stability of the camera
Firmware Version 2.00
Version 2.00 provided the following benefits and improvements:
Enhancements for Continuous AF performance:
- Enhanced performance of continuous auto focus on moving subjects
- Enhanced stability of the AF-C when zooming
Added functions for professionals engaged in sports/news media:
- Adds the function to assign Protecting images to custom Key
- Adds the function to transfer (FTP) protected files at once Note: Only for images protected using version 2.00 or higher.
- Displays wired LAN MAC address
- Inputs IPTC metadata to files Note: IPTC information must be created beforehand using the IPTC Metadata Preset software.
- Inputs camera serial number to metadata
- Improves operational stability
- Improves accuracy of the overheating warning function
Firmware Version 1.10
Version 1.10 added the following:
- Supports “Eye AF” function for A-mount lenses via the LA-EA3 mount adapter (This function is only for A-mount lenses which can adapt to 8 or 10 fps (maximum) tracking AF-C shooting.
- Fixes an issue where RAW files may disappear when SDXC or microSDXC memory cards are used in certain smartphones (Raw data recorded by the ILCE-9 with firmware Ver. 1.00 or 1.01 could disappear. Please backup your raw data files, even if you’re updating the system software to Ver. 1.10.)
- Improves the image quality and overall stability of the camera.
- Adds TTL & HSS support for Profoto Air Remote TTL-S for Sony with Profoto B1, B1X, B2 & D2 flashes at shutter speeds up to 1/8000th of a second.
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