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Sony A9 enters beast mode with new real-time tracking AF

Sony A9 enters beast mode with new real-time tracking AF

The upcoming firmware updates for the Sony A9 is packed to the brim with new functionality. Its killer feature, however, looks to be the real-time tracking and eye autofocus – which has been shown off in spectacular fashion in a new video.

Sony Artisan (ambassador) Patrick Murphy-Racey shared footage of the A9's new tracking features while filming two boxers. The camera looks spectacular in its ability to track both faces and eyes in real-time action conditions.  

Each clip is shown once in real time, then again at 45% speed so you can see exactly what and when the camera is tracking.

"This was a test of how the A9 was able to use the new hybrid tracking feature by combining the use of distance, movement, Face Detection, Eye AF, color, and pattern," wrote Murphy-Racey. 

"By using all of these together the AI (artificial intelligence) residing in the camera’s programming is able to see the human body type, pattern of clothing & hair, movement, employ Eye AF and Face Detection all at the same time."

The new tracking features will come to the Sony A9 with the firmware 5.0 update in March, and they're already built into the newly announced Sony A6400 that starts shipping in February. 

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-PhotoDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show. An Olympus (Micro Four Thirds) and Canon (full frame) shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a particular fondness for vintage lenses and film cameras.