What the Sony a9 III Sounds Like When Shooting at 120 Frames per Second

Sony a9 III

The Sony a9 III is not officially launching until next spring, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more exciting information to discuss.

Beyond PetaPixel’s in-depth hands-on time with a pre-production a9 III, other photographers, have also gotten to spend time with Sony’s groundbreaking new camera, including Alex Phan, who has shared a video of the a9 III’s “shutter sound” when shooting at its maximum speed of 120 frames per second.

As seen on Sony Alpha Rumors, the a9 III’s artificial shutter sound is exceptionally quick at 120 fps, helping illustrate just how fast the camera is working.

Thanks to its global shutter sensor system, which enables the a9 III to read out all its pixels when shooting simultaneously and discards the need for a mechanical shutter entirely, what precisely is the sound the a9 III makes when shooting? It’s completely artificial and, frankly, sort of weird.

The “shutter sound” is synthetic and crafted to provide auditory feedback to the user about what the camera is doing behind the scenes. It is like the camera version of simulated engine noise in an electric or soundproof car. The a9 III’s audio allows the photographer to feel more connected to their actions and understand what the camera is silently achieving.

The a9 III is not the first flagship mirrorless camera to sport simulated shutter sounds. Many cameras deliver a fake shutter sound in their electronic shutter modes, and cameras like the Nikon Z8 and Z9, which also lack mechanical shutters, include faked shutter sounds.

Of course, the a9 III’s fake shutter sound, enabled by default, can be turned off, something photographers cannot do with a mechanical shutter. Theoretically, photographers could also make the a9 III’s “shutter” sound like anything they wanted if Sony allowed people to tweak the audio files. Nikon has allowed photographers to tweak shutter sounds, for example.

As cameras rely less and less on mechanical shutters, photographers may lament the loss of the classic “thwap” of the shutter, hopefully artificial shutter sounds will help soften the blow. It remains to be seen how South Korea will handle the age of silent cameras, as the country requires smartphones to have a simulated shutter sound.