Sony’s ‘Shutter Speed Fine-Tuning’ Feature Totally Eliminates LED Flicker

Last week’s Sony a9 II firmware update came with a couple of really useful features. Not only does it let you close the camera’s shutter when changing lenses, but the new ‘shutter speed fine-tuning’ feature is able to completely eliminate flicker from troublesome light sources.

As you can see in the demo video above, the new feature allows you to dial in shutter speeds like 1/843.2 or 1/1024.6 within a special “[Var. Shutter Set.] screen” before you start shooting. This “Hi frequency flicker” function allows you to reduce or entirely eliminate flickering from “artificial light sources (e.g. digital signage, electronic signboards, LED lights, etc.)” that appears when shooting with the electronic shutter.

This was a problem that plagued the Sony a9 series in particular. The mirrorless camera can shoot up to 20fps with its electronic shutter, but the sports fields and arenas where this feature is most useful are chock full of the “digital signage” and “electronic signboards” that Sony references above, making a feature like this critical to producing usable files at top speed.

Otherwise you’ll have to switch to mechanical shutter, where both the Canon 1D X Mark II and Nikon D5 (to say nothing of the newer models) are faster than the Sony.

To see the feature in action, check out the video up top or update your Sony a9 II to the latest firmware at this link. It’s a bit niche, but it’s the kind of feature we hope to see in Canon’s EOS R5 and the rumored EOS R6, both of which are expected to shoot a maximum of 20fps using the electronic shutter.