There’s fast, and then there’s fast, and then there’s Sony A9 III fast – which is literally faster than a bullet firing out of a gun.
I've been using this incredible new camera this week, and there are a ridiculous amount of cool things to say about it (you can hear me say them in my Sony A9 III review). However, the coolest thing is something that pro photographer Diego Gonzalez Souto showed me: the camera can stop bullets in midair, just like Neo in the Matrix.
You hear a spec like 1/80,000 sec shutter speed and it just doesn’t mean anything. It's so incomprehensible that it simply has no context. Even 120fps burst shooting loses all sense when most people have never shot about 20. Now, however, we have context that our brains can understand.
Souto was showing off some of the shots he's taken of athletes and sportspeople using the A9 III, and two of them jumped right out to me – photographs of marksmen firing bullets, captured in super slow-motion.
I've been to press events where other manufacturers have let us use their best professional cameras to photograph subjects like archers firing arrows, but can these other cameras literally stop a bullet – with the full-frame, frame-by-frame discharge of gases, the pellet disintegrating, and the buckshot dispersing?
It's this sort of thing that the ridiculous shutter speed and global readout of the Sony A9 III make possible. Is it something that anyone is going to need to photograph LeBron James sitting at his locker during a media scrum? No. How about him driving to the basket for a breakaway dunk? Probably not.
However, when you see cases like this, you realize not just how powerful the camera is, but the potential for capturing not just the moment but the moments between the moments.
The A9 III is a very, very special camera. And my hat is off to Sony for achieving some incredible new feats of engineering – and also to Diego, for showing us what's possible with them.