Sony officially released firmware 5.0 for the Sony a9, which supercharges the autofocus system on their flagship full-frame camera with the addition of Real-Time Tracking and advanced Real-time Eye AF among other features and user-requested workflow improvements. Back in January this year during the a6400 launch, Sony preliminary released details of firmware 5.0, and now users can actually download the firmware update.

Firmware update 5.0 for the Sony α9 adds Sony’s newly-developed, AI-driven Real-time Tracking mode designed to give photographers precise and robust subject tracking. Real-time Tracking uses Sony’s latest AF algorithm—which includes Artificial Intelligence-based object recognition—to detect and follow subjects with insane accuracy.

The Sony a9 AF system was already “killing it” and the latest functionality added in firmware 5.0, makes the a9 an even more powerful beast for those photographers demanding the latest and greatest in AF performance and image quality from a full-frame mirrorless camera, a market segment in which Sony are currently dominating.

Real-time Tracking AF works together with advanced Real-time Eye AF, another big feature in firmware 5.0. The latest version of Sony’s Real-time Eye AF also uses AI-based object recognition, resulting in an unprecedented level of speed and performance for locking on and holding focus on a subject’s eyes.

Additionally, with Real-time Eye AF, photographers can now activate eye detection via a half-press of the shutter release, and can enjoy focus tracking accuracy even if a subject’s eyes are temporarily obscured during shooting.

For video shooters, the Sony a9 also gets Fast Hybrid AF for video, in firmware v5.0, which now provides smoother, more accurate focus during video shooting, even if/when objects move in front of the subject.

Also, a new AF Area Circulation setting allows the AF points to be moved quickly between upper, lower, left and right sides, which is perfect for sports and other shooting situations where the subject frequently moves from one side of the frame to another.

Sony a9 Real-time Tracking in Firmware 5.0:

With Firmware version 5.0, the Sony α9 also gets several customer-requested features:

– Proxy recording for 4K video
– Simultaneous recording of 4K movies and low definition (720o) proxy files
– More XAVC S HD video recording options:
– 60p 25M and 30p 16M have been added to Record Setting.
– New My Dial menu
– Revised Custom Key menu
– Improved touchpad capability
– 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.
– Enhanced dual-card functionality
– Enhanced tagging

Sony have confirmed they will follow-up firmware update 5.0 with firmware version 6.0 later in the Summer, which will add Real-time Animal AF, which will allow the Sony a9 to be set to perform subject recognition and eye tracking on animals, as well as an interval timer, configurable via a new Interval menu.

For more details and to download firmware 5.0 head over to Sony’s website here.