Sony A1 Review

March 31, 2021 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star

Introduction

The Sony Alpha 1, or Sony A1 for short, is a brand new flagship 35mm full-frame mirrorless camera which boasts all of Sony's latest cutting-edge still photography and video technologies.

The A1's amazing collection of core specs include 50 megapixel stills, 8K/30p and 4K/120p video recording, 30fps burst shooting, 759 on-sensor phase detection auto-focusing, Real-time Eye AF for birds, a blackout-free 9.44M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, weather-sealing, electronic shutter flash sync and dual memory card slots.

It sits right at the top of the Sony Alpha range, above the 61 megapixel landscape-focused A7R IV, 20fps sports-orientated A9 II and the 4K video-centric A7S III, with the cheaper A7 III all-rounder and the super-compact A7C positioned below those three models.

Other than the other Sony cameras that we've already mentioned, the Sony A1's main 35mm full-frame rivals are currently the Canon EOS R5, which can shoot 45 megapixel still images at 20fps and also record 8K video, the Nikon Z7 II and the Panasonic Lumix S1R. The new medium-format Fujifilm GFX 100S with its 100 megapixel sensor is a rather different camera in terms of its approach, but actually costs a little less than the Alpha 1 despite offering a larger sensor.

The Sony Alpha A1 is available now priced at £6500 / $6500 / €7300 for the camera body only in the UK, US and Europe respectively.

Ease of Use

Sony A1

So what makes the Sony Alpha 1 quite so special? After all, at first glance, it looks very much like any other Sony Alpha camera that's been released in the last few years.

After shooting with one for a few weeks using several different lenses in a variety of situations, we can happily report back that looks can certainly be deceptive - the Alpha 1 lives up to all of its massive potential and more, with very few weak points. If you want a single camera that truly can do it all, this is the One to buy.

It has a stacked, back-side-illuminated (BSI) Exmor RS sensor with integral DRAM memory, much like the sensor in the A7S III, but whereas that camera focuses on video and subsequently only has 12 megapixels, the A1's sensor offers a whopping 50 megapixels with an expanded ISO range of 50-102400 and an impressive 15 stops of dynamic range.

Whilst this still isn't quite as many pixels as the A7R IV, which has a massive 61 megapixel sensor, the Alpha 1 can also shoot at a mind-boggling 30fps with full AF and AE tracking using its electronic shutter, thanks to its pair of new Bionz XR processors - yes, you read that right, 50 megapixel JPEG and Raw (Lossless Compressed ) images at 30fps!

Out of all the other Alpha cameras, the A9 II comes closest to this insane continuous shooting speed with its fastest 20fps rate, but it only has a 24 megapixel sensor, so you essentially get double the resolution and 50% more shooting speed on the Alpha 1 complete with the same amazing black-out free viewfinder experience that the A9 offers.

The A7R IV is still the best choice of any Alpha camera if you really must have the most pixels, but it can only shoot bursts at 10fps and only has a standard rather than stacked CMOS sensor, which means that the A1 delivers slightly better image quality at higher ISO speeds in low-light situations.

Sony A1

If you do need even more resolution from the Alpha 1, it also offers the special Pixel Shift multi-shot shooting mode in which it takes 16 different images to produce a single, 199-megapixel image. There's also a four shot mode which provides full-colour sampling at each pixel location.

Note that both the camera and the subject need to be perfectly still for it to work properly, and it requires the images to be combined in post-processing rather than in-camera using the Sony Imaging Edge software, so it's really limited to studio still-life use rather than landscape photography.

So the Sony A1 combines the high resolution of the A7R IV with the speed of the A9 II, but it doesn't stop there, adding 8K video into the already very rich mix.

Yes, this is the first ever Alpha camera to offer 8K video recording, although it was beaten to that particular punch by last year's Canon EOS R5, which can also record in 8K.

The Sony A1 features 8K/30p 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS video recording with 8.6K oversampling with a bit-rate of up to 400Mbps. There's an advisory 30 minute time limit in 8K/30p or 4K/60p to avoid overheating, but you can go well beyond that by using the High Temperature option, unlike the EOS R5 which is rather hampered by overheating problems when trying to shoot for long periods.

In addition there's also 4K 120p 10-bit 4:2:2, Full HD at 240fp, and it can output 16-bit Raw video over HDMI to an external recorder. Brand new to just the Alpha 1, for now at least, is the same S-Cinetone colour matrix from the VENICE, FX6, and other Cinema Line cameras, making it easier to integrate into a professional workflow when using different types of camera.

Sony A1

Essentially, in the Alpha 1 you get the all of the A7S III's already impressive 4K capabilities with the not inconsiderable addition of 8K video. The A1 may not be so good in low light as the A7S III, but 8K makes it more future-proof even if you'll mostly use the 8K mode for downsampling to 4K at the moment.

The Sony A1's AF system has 759 on-sensor phase detection points that cover approximately 92% of the image area, just like the A7S III, although the A1 can only focus down to -4EV rather than the -6EV achieved by the A7S III.

The Alpha 1 checks the focus and metering 120 times a second versus the A9 II's 60 times a second, which makes it even more adept at tracking moving subjects than Sony's most sports-focused camera. So when shooting at 30fps, the camera can adjust the focus up to three times between each frame if required, a pretty amazing feat that helps ensure that your subject remains sharp, however quickly its moving.

As well as more focusing speed, Sony have further improved their renowned Real-time Eye AF system for humans and animals and also added a brand new feature, Real-time Eye AF for birds, for the first time on any Alpha camera.

In practice this worked unerringly well, contrary to earlier reports from certain popular YouTubers. In our tests it very quickly recognised and locked on to the eye of any birds that we pointed the camera at, from tiny long-tailed tits to larger ducks and swans, nailing the focus at virtually every frame that we took in a 30fps burst.

Bird photographers will gain a real edge by using the A1 in comparison to any other Alpha camera,at least until Sony rolls-out this feature to other compatible models (if they in fact do so). The only real drawback is the fact that Sony force you to choose between Human, Animal and Bird in the Face/Eye Subject menu option, although you can setup a Custom button so that it only chooses, say, Birds, as the Face/Eye Subject.

Sony A1

It's also possible to choose the colour of the focus frame to suit your needs, move the focus frame even when the shutter release or the AF-ON button are half-pressed, and use the LCD touchscreen for touch-tracking whilst looking through the viewfinder.

Looking through the A1's viewfinder is a real pleasure as it takes the A7S III's incredible 9.44M-dot OLED Quad-XGA EVF with 0.90x magnification and then doubles the refresh rate up to 240fps, which helps to ensure no black-out occurs when shooting those 30fps burst sequences.

Both the low-vibration mechanical and electronic shutter have been improved. With a 500,000 shot lifespan, the A1's mechanical shutter allows for flicker-free shooting under fluorescent/artificial lighting, as does the electronic shutter, which also achieves about 1.5x less distortion than the A9 II's shutter.

The clever anti-flicker mode automatically detects and adjusts for the presence of fluorescent or other artificial lights to prevent exposure and colour anomalies from appearing in the final image, as well as exposure and colour inconsistency between continuous shots.

All four of these cameras - the A1, A7R IV, A9 II and A7S III - share exactly the same 5-axis in-body image stabilization system, which provides up to 5.5-stops of compensation, although the A1 and A7S III do also have a special Active Mode that increases stabilization during hand-held movie shooting.

The Alpha 1's 3.0-inch LCD screen has 1.44 million dots of resolution and can be tilted up by 107 degrees and down by 41 degrees, but not out to the side like the screen on the A7S III, making it less suitable for vlogging.

Sony A1

It does inherit the the same clearer menu structure and upgraded touch control first introduced by the A7S III, though, rather than the much-criticized crippled touchscreen and more complex menu system of all the earlier Alpha models.

The Sony A1 also has the potential to shine in the studio, thanks to its class-leading Flash Sync capabilities. It provides a flash sync speed of 1/400th second using its mechanical shutter, the world's fastest, increasing to 1/500th second if you shoot in the APS-C format.

If that wasn't enough, it also offers 1/200th second sync speed using its completely silent electronic shutter - you can even use the flash when shooting at 30fps!

Sony have also listened closely to their existing base of pro photographers and fully weather-sealed the Alpha A1. The doors for the battery compartment and memory card slots use a double-sealed sliding mechanism, rather than being hinged, which should help to beef-up the camera's dust and water durability.

As you'd expect from a professional-level camera, there are dual memory card slots that can be used for either SD UHS-I/II compliant memory cards or, better still, for faster CFexpress Type A cards.

You'll need to use CFexpress to benefit from every different video mode that the camera has to offer, as even the fastest SD cards don't support the most demanding modes, so make sure to budget for these.

Sony A1

As with the A9 II, Sony have also reversed the orientation of the dual card slots (both supporting UHS-II), with Slot 1 now more logically at the top, and Slot 2 more logically at the bottom, a small but very welcome change that makes a lot more sense than on earlier Alpha cameras.

For the first time on a Sony Alpha camera, there's a new Lossless Compressed option for Raw files, which usefully sits between the usual Uncompressed and Compressed options in terms of file size.

In addition it's also possible to choose HEIF files rather than JPEGs, although software support for the former is still a little limited, and you can also now crop images in-camera before sharing them on social media or submitting them.

This new camera has a veritable raft of connectivity options, including a built-in 1000BASE-T Ethernet terminal, flash sync port, USB Type-C port which uses the latest, fastest 10Gbps 3.2 Gen 1 standard to either charge the camera or power it on the move, micro-B USB port for various Sony accessories, full-size HDMI port and a wi-fi connection which supports dual 2.4/5GHz, the latter with 2x2 MIMO support (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac), and FTP transfer of still and movie files that's 3.5x faster than on the A9 II.

Up to 10 sets of camera settings can be stored in a memory card, with saved settings able to be read by other cameras of the same model.

Other features that will please pro photographers include the ability to attach a 60 second long Voice Memo to an image with automatic transcription into text, enhanced remote shooting via the Remote Camera Tool 2.1 software, and you can save up to nine different FTP settings.

Sony A1

The digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface Shoe, enabling the new ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit to be connected directly to the Sony A1 for better audio recordings.

The Alpha 1 uses the now familiar NP-FZ100 battery which provides 430 shots per charge when using the EVF and 530 when using the LCD monitor. The optional VG-C4EM grip as used by the A7R IV, A7S III and A9 II doubles the battery life and adds a duplicate set of vertical controls for portrait shooting.

In terms of its control layout, the Sony A1 looks like any other recent Alpha camera, particularly the A9 II and the A7S III.

If you were hoping that the Sony A1 would radically deviate from the tried and trusted Alpha blueprint, then you'll be sorely disappointed.

Indeed, at first glance the A1's external control layout looks identical to the A9 II's, but take a much closer look and you'll notice some subtle differences.

There's been a slight reworking of the A9 II's drive mode/focus mode dials on the left-hand side of the top-panel to include the new H+ setting, which is essentially the 30fps burst mode when using the electronic shutter, and the dial itself is now thumb- rather then forefinger-operated.

Sony A1

The A1 also has a slightly taller handgrip than the A9 II which makes it easier to wrap all four fingers around, and on the front sees the inclusion of the dedicated white balance sensor that was first featured on the Sony A7S III, located beside the AF illuminator light

On the rear the one-touch movie record button is ever-so-slightly larger than the one on the A9 II, but otherwise the two cameras are nigh-on identical to each other.

The Sony A1 measures 128.9mm x 96.9mm x 80.8mm and weighs 737g with a battery and memory card inserted, just making it the heaviest of all the Alpha cameras.

It uses the same internal heat dissipating structure as the A7S III, which makes the body slightly thicker than either the A7R IV or A9 II models, but not objectionably so.

The mechanical shutter mechanism emits a lovely metallic ting when taking a still photo and the shutter release button has the perfect amount of sensitivity.

This is the most well-built Sony Alpha camera that we've ever reviewed. The front and rear and the top-plate are all made out of magnesium alloy, and all of the external controls are weather-sealed against both dust and moisture.

The memory card door has a two-part locking mechanism as first seen on the A7S III - slide the switch down then move the door to the left to open it. The four compartments on the left-hand flank of the camera all have improved rubber covers that clip into place and feel much more secure than the equivalent ones on earlier Alpha models.

Sony A1

The Alpha 1 uses the same class-leading 9.44m-dot electronic viewfinder first debuted on last year's A7S III camera. With its massive 0.9x magnification and astonishing resolution, it offers both a DSLR-beating and mirrorless-leading viewing experience, especially as its black-out free between frames even when shooting at 30fps.

There's also the ability to switch from the standard 60fps refresh rate to 120fps to help with tracking fast-moving subjects, and there's an even faster 240fps rate available too, although the magnification drops to 0.70x when that mode is activated.

Somewhat bizarrely, though, Sony have chosen to use the rather bog-standard 3-inch, 1.44M dot LCD screen that we've seen before on many other, much cheaper Alpha cameras.

It clearly lags behind its main mirrorless rivals in both resolution and versatility - while it can be tilted up and down, you can't swivel it out to the side and forwards for easier vlogging, and it can't be additionally tilted into a portrait position as on some Panasonic and Fujifilm camera. It doesn't even reorientate the on-screen icons from landscape to portrait!

Despite the small overall size of the camera, Sony have squeezed a plethora of external controls onto the surface of the Alpha 1.

There are shooting mode and exposure compensation dials on the top-right of the camera, each with a lockable button at its centre, along with the usual front and rear control dials.

Sony A1

On the top-left are focus mode and drive speed dials, the latter sitting on top of the former, again with their own dedicated buttons for toggling the lock on and off.

Moving to the rear of the Alpha 1, there's a large, textured joystick that's well-placed, above which sit the one-touch movie record button, large raised AF-On button and the AEL button, all of which are in easy reach of your right thumb.

There's also the usual array of familiar Alpha camera controls, including a circular scroll wheel with unmarked OK button at its centre, and the Function button for calling up the handy re-configurable quick menu, which is now touch-sensitive (finally!).

The main menu system is also touch-sensitive and benefits from using the same colourful, re-designed structure as on the A7S III, although if you're used to the menu system of any other Alpha camera, the A1 will take some getting used to.

There are also four customisable C buttons dotted around the camera - two on the top-plate behind the shutter-release button, and two on the rear - and there are three Custom modes on the shooting mode dial for storing and easily accessing different shooting setups for different subjects. You'll still need to remember to change the focus mode and burst shooting dials, though, each time you change custom modes.

There are a few little things that bothered us, most notably the lack of space between the handgrip and some of the larger lenses that we tried (admittedly something that's true of most Alpha cameras), and the rather small, relatively low-resolution LCD screen which seems strangely out-of-place on such a high-spec camera.

All in all, the A1 offers the most refined user interface of any Alpha camera that we've tested, from the lovely shutter mechanism to the updated menu system, the plethora of customisable controls to the large number of control dials for all the key exposure settings, capped by the amazing viewfinder.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 50 megapixel Extra Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 30Mb.

The Sony A1 produced images of outstanding quality during the review period.

The Alpha 1 has an extensive and very usable ISO range of 50-102400. When shooting JPEG, ISO 50-00 is virtually noise-free, while ISO 12800 and 25600 produce more than acceptable results, and even ISO 51200 and 102400 are OK for emergency use.

The RAW samples illustrate just how much processing the camera does by default, though, as they're much noisier at all ISO values than their JPEG counterparts.

The long exposure photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and the Bulb mode offering lots of scope for creative night photography.

The effective Dynamic Range Optimizer function extracts more detail from the shadow and highlight areas in an image, without introducing any unwanted noise or other artifacts.

The various Picture Profiles quickly produce special looks for your JPEG files that would otherwise require you to spend a lot of time in the digital darkroom, while the Creative Looks provide a quick and easy way to tweak the camera's JPEG and Raw image output.

ISO Speeds

There are 12 ISO settings available on the Sony A1. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and RAW formats.

JPEG RAW

ISO 50

ISO 50

ISO 50 iso50raw.jpg

ISO 100

ISO 100

ISO 100 ISO 100 Raw

ISO 200

ISO 200

ISO 200 ISO 200 Raw

ISO 400

ISO 400

ISO 400 ISO 400 Raw

ISO 800

ISO 800

ISO 800 ISO 800 Raw

ISO 1600

ISO 1600

ISO 1600 ISO 1600 Raw

ISO 3200

ISO 3200

ISO 3200 ISO 3200 Raw

ISO 6400

ISO 6400

ISO 6400 ISO 6400 Raw

ISO 12800

ISO 12800

ISO 12800 ISO 12800 Raw

ISO 25600

ISO 25600

ISO 25600 ISO 25600 Raw

ISO 51200

ISO 51200

ISO 51200 ISO 51200 Raw

ISO 102400

ISO 102400

ISO 102400 ISO 102400 Raw

File Quality

The Sony A1 has 5 different image quality settings available, with Extra Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Extra Fine (23.2Mb) Fine (11Mb)
Quality Extra Fine Quality Fine
Standard (6.8Mb) Light (4.13Mb)
Quality Standard Quality Light
RAW (52Mb)
Quality RAW

Long Exposures

The Sony A1's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's also a Bulb mode for even longer exposures, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 100.

Long Exposures

Pixel Shift Multi Shoot

In the Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, the Sony A1 shoots either 4 or 16 uncompressed RAW images whilst shifting the image sensor either one pixel or a 1/4 of a pixel at a time. You can then generate images with a higher resolution than is possible with regular shooting by combining the RAW images on a computer using the Imaging Edge (Remote/Viewer/Edit) application.

Off (8640x5760 pixels)

pixel_shift_01.jpg

On - 4 Shots (8640x5760 pixels)

pixel_shift_01b.jpg

On - 16 Shots (17280x11520 pixels)

pixel_shift_01b.jpg

Off (8640x5760 pixels)

pixel_shift_02.jpg

On - 4 Shots (8640x5760 pixels)

pixel_shift_02b.jpg

On - 16 Shots (17280x11520 pixels)

pixel_shift_02b.jpg

Dynamic Range Optimizer

D-Range Optimiser (DRO) is Sony's solution to improve shadow detail in photos taken in contrasty light. There are 5 different levels and an Auto option.

Off

DRO Off
Level 1
DRO1
Level 2
DRO2
Level 3
DRO3
Level 4
DRO4
Level 5
drange_06.jpg

Creative Looks

There are 10 Creative Look preset effects that you can use to change the look of your images. They can be applied to both JPEGs and Raw files.

ST

Creative Look ST

PT

Creative Look PT

NT

Creative Look NT

VV

Creative Look VV

VV2

Creative Look VV2

FL

Creative Look FL

IN

Creative Look IN

SH

Creative Look SH

BW

Creative Look BW

SE

Creative Look SE

Picture Profiles

The Sony A1 offers a range of 12 creative Picture Profiles, which can only be selected when JPEG is set as the image quality option.

Off

PP Off

PP1

PP1

PP2

PP2

PP3

PP3

PP4

PP4

PP5

PP5

PP6

PP6

PP7

PP7

PP8

PP8

PP9

PP9

PP10

PP10

PP11

PP11

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Sony A1 camera, which were all taken using the 50 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Sony A1 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Sony RAW (ARW) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative)."

Sample Movies & Video

This is a sample 8K movie at the quality setting of 7680x4320 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 20 second movie is 512Mb in size.

This is a sample 4K movie at the quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 50 frames per second. Please note that this 20 second movie is 128Mb in size.

Product Images

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Conclusion

The new Sony Alpha 1 really is the best all-round, do-it-all camera on the market, whether you're a sports-shooter, wildlife-lover, landscape photographer or videographer.

The ability to shoot outstanding 50 megapixel stills at up to 30fps with unerring AF tracking of any subject, along with 8K video recording that doesn't suffer from overheating, and a class-leading viewfinder and the most refined handling of any Alpha camera that we've ever tested, all add up to make the Alpha 1 the one camera that we'd love to own above all others.

All of that does comes at the rather eye-watering literal cost of £6500 / $6500 / €7300, which is even more than buying, say, an A9 and A7R IV, or an A7S III and A9 (but not all three together!). If you're only into one of the disciplines that the A1 so superbly covers, it's definitely more financially prudent to choose one of the cheaper A9, A7R IV or A7S III models, with the caveat that bird photographers will definitely benefit from the A1's excellent Bird-eye-detect AF mode.

If you're more of a multi-discipline shooter, though, the Alpha 1 starts to make a lot more sense in terms of cost - you really can now buy one camera that offers best-in-class features and performance for a variety of photographic and video subjects, whether that be high-resolution landscapes and studio portraiture, fast-moving sports and wildlife, or 8K, 4K/120p and 1080/240p video. You could always pair the A1 with one of those "cheaper" A9/A7R/A7S models if you absolutely need a backup body!

In terms of the Alpha 1's main rivals, the EOS R5 is still a very strong contender as it offers excellent performance and features at a much cheaper price, although it doesn't match the A1 in 8K video performance, resolution, burst shooting or the latter's the class-leading LCD viewfinder. The R5 does also offer a great AF system, though, plus better handling, a more effective IBIS system and a more versatile LCD screen, whilst costing a whopping £2400 / $2,600 less than the Alpha 1.

Overall, though, if money is no object and you're doubly sure that you'd benefit from most, if not all, of the cutting-edge technology and performance that it offers, then the new Sony Alpha 1 is definitely the dream camera that you've been waiting for.

5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Sony A1.

Canon EOS R5

The EOS R5 has been the hottest full-frame camera on the block ever since Canon pre-announced it back at the start of 2020, thanks to its headline grabbing twin features of a 45 megapixel sensor and 8K video recording. We've seen it a few times since then, but now we can finally bring you our final Canon R5 review, complete with full-size sample photos and videos!

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

The EOS-1D X Mark III is Canon's flagship DSLR camera for sports and wildlife photographers. With a price tag of £6499 / $6499, does it have what it takes to outpace the likes of the Nikon D6 and the Sony A9 II? Read our Canon 1D X Mark III to review to find out...

Fujifilm GFX 100

It's not every day that a 100 megapixel camera hits the market, and certainly not every day that we get to review one. So without further ado, here's our in-depth review of the brand new Fujifilm GFX 100 medium format mirrorless camera, complete with full-size sample images and videos...

​Hasselblad X1D II 50C

The Hasselblad X1D II 50c is a modern medium-format mirrorless camera with a 51 megapixel sensor, large 3.6-inch touchscreen LCD and an improved electronic viewfinder, all housed in a beautifully crafted body. Read our in-depth Hasselblad X1D II 50c review now...

Nikon D6

The Nikon D6 is the 2020 update of Nikon's flagship DSLR camera for professional sports, press and nature photographers. Is this the best DSLR that Nikon have ever made? Find out by reading our in-depth Nikon D6 review, complete with full-size sample photos and videos.

Nikon Z7 II

The Nikon Z7 II full-frame mirrorless camera is the 2020 update of the original Z7 model, principally improving the autofocusing, buffer and video and adding a second memory card slot. Are these changes enough for it to compete with its main rivals like the Sony A7R IV and the Canon EOS R5? Find out now by reading our in-depth Nikon Z7 II review, complete with full size sample photos and videos...

Sony A7R IV

Traditionally, you'd have to make a tough choice between resolution and speed when it comes to high-end cameras, but with the new flagship A7R IV mirrorless model, Sony are attempting to offer the best of both worlds. Can it really succeed as a camera that suits all kinds of photographers? Read our in-depth Sony A7R IV review to find out...

Sony A7S III

It's been 5 long years since its popular predecessor was launched, but now the new Sony A7S III full-frame mirrorless camera is finally with us! Is this the most capable hybrid 4K video camera available today? Find out now by reading our in-depth Sony Alpha 7S III review, complete with full-size photos and videos for you to download and evaluate...

Sony A9 II

If you're a professional sports photographer or photojournalist, there have traditionally only been two camera series worth considering, with the latest examples being the Canon EOS 1D X II and the Nikon D5. Two years ago Sony released the Alpha A9, which was specifically designed to take on those two cameras, and now they're back, just in time for the Olympics, with the improved A9 II. Read our review to find out exactly what the new Sony Alpha A9 Mark II offers...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Sony A1 from around the web.

amateurphotographer.co.uk »

It’s one of the truisms of the modern world that technology advances at an extraordinary pace. In the world of cameras, over the past decade this development has been largely driven by Sony, at least in terms of image sensors and electronics. When the firm first set its sights on competing head-on with the established duopoly of Canon and Nikon, it determined that its only path to success would be through relentless innovation. Nobody could accuse it of not sticking to its guns.
Read the full review »

techradar.com »

The Sony A1 is a truly remarkable camera that covers almost every photographic niche thanks to its high-resolution sensor, super-fast burst shooting, lightening quick AF, professional connectivity and 8K raw video. It’s a stunning camera to use and the image quality is second-to-none, but the price tag puts it out of the reach of the most photographers.
Read the full review »

digitalcameraworld.com »

The Sony A1 is everything that Sony says it is. It’s a technological triumph, a camera that really can do everything. Previously, cameras might offer speed, resolution or video capability, but the A1 offers all three, and even beats dedicated sports and video cameras at their own game. So is this the perfect camera? Not quite. The price is, and will remain, a major obstacle, and its appeal is limited to photographers who need everything it does, not just one or two of those things.
Read the full review »

Specifications

Lens

LENS MOUNT
E-mount

Image Sensor

ASPECT RATIO
3:2
NUMBER OF PIXELS (EFFECTIVE)
Approx. 50.1 megapixels
NUMBER OF PIXELS (TOTAL)
Approx. 50.5 megapixels
SENSOR TYPE
35mm full frame (35.9 x 24.0mm), Exmor RS CMOS sensor
ANTI-DUST SYSTEM
Yes (Charge protection coating on Optical Filter and ultrasonic vibration mechanism)

Recording (still images)

RECORDING FORMAT
JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.32, MPF Baseline compliant), HEIF (MPEG-A MIAF compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 4.0 format compliant)
IMAGE SIZE (PIXELS) [3:2]
35mm full frame L: 8640 x 5760 (49.7M), M: 5616 x 3744 (21M), S: 4320 x 2880 (12.4M), APS-C M: 5616 x 3744 (21M), S: 4320 x 2880 (12.4M)
IMAGE SIZE (PIXELS) [4:3]
35mm full frame L: 7680 x 5760 (44.2M), M: 4992 x 3744 (18.6M), S: 3840 x 2880 (11M), APS-C M: 4992 x 3744 (18.6M), S: 3840 x 2880 (11M)
IMAGE SIZE (PIXELS) [16:9]
35mm full frame L: 8760 x 4864 (42M), M: 5616 x 3160 (17.7M), S: 4320 x 2432 (10.5M), APS-C M: 5616 x 3160 (17.7M), S: 4320 x 2432 (10.5M)
IMAGE SIZE (PIXELS) [1:1]
35mm full frame L: 5760 x 5760 (33M), M: 3744 x 3744 (14M), S: 2880 x 2880 (8.2M), APS-C M: 3744 x 3744 (14M), S: 2880 x 2880 (8.2M)
IMAGE QUALITY MODES
RAW (Compressed / Lossless Compressed / Uncompressed), JPEG (Extra fine / Fine / Standard / Light), HEIF (4:2:0 / 4:2:2) (Extra fine / Fine / Standard / Light)
PICTURE EFFECT
-
CREATIVE STYLE
-
PICTURE PROFILE
Yes (Off / PP1-PP11) Parameters: Black level, Gamma (Movie, Still, S-Cinetone, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 (800%), S-Log2, S-Log3, HLG, HLG1-3), Black Gamma, Knee, Color Mode, Saturation, Color Phase, Color Depth, Detail, Copy, Reset
CREATIVE LOOK
ST, PT, NT, VV, VV2, FL, IN, SH, BW, SE, Custom Look (1-6)
DYNAMIC RANGE FUNCTIONS
Off, Dynamic Range Optimizer
COLOUR SPACE
sRGB standard (with sYCC gamut), Adobe RGB standard and Rec. ITU-R BT.2100 standard (BT.2020 gamut). 1
14BIT RAW
Yes

Recording (movie)

RECORDING FORMAT
XAVC S, XAVC HS
VIDEO COMPRESSION
XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, XAVC HS: MPEG-H HEVC/H.265
AUDIO RECORDING FORMAT
LPCM 2ch(48kHz 16bit), LPCM 2ch(48kHz 24bit) 2 , LPCM 4ch(48kHz 24bit) 2 , MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2ch 3
COLOUR SPACE
Rec. ITU-R BT.2100 standard compatible (BT.2020 gamut) 4
PICTURE EFFECT
-
CREATIVE STYLE
-
PICTURE PROFILE
Yes (Off / PP1-PP11) Parameters: Black level, Gamma (Movie, Still, S-Cinetone, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 (800%), S-Log2, S-Log3, HLG, HLG1-3), Black Gamma, Knee, Color Mode, Saturation, Color Phase, Color Depth, Detail, Copy, Reset
CREATIVE LOOK
ST, PT, NT, VV, VV2, FL, IN, SH, BW, SE, Custom Look (1-6)
MOVIE RECORDING SYSTEM (XAVC HS 8K)
7680 x 4320 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 30p(400Mbps / 200 Mbps), 24p(400Mbps / 200 Mbps), 7680 x 4320 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 25p(400Mbps / 200 Mbps)
MOVIE RECORDING SYSTEM (XAVC HS 4K)
3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (200Mbps), 60p (150Mbps / 75Mbps / 45Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 50Mbps / 30Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (200Mbps), 50p (150Mbps / 75Mbps / 45Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (280Mbps), 60p (200Mbps / 100Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 50Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (280Mbps), 50p (200Mbps / 100Mbps)
MOVIE RECORDING SYSTEM (XAVC S 4K)
3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (200Mbps), 60p (150Mbps), 30p (100Mbps / 60Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 60Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (200Mbps), 50p (150Mbps), 25p (100Mbps / 60Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (280Mbps), 60p (200Mbps), 30p (140Mbps), 24p (100Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (280Mbps), 50p (200Mbps), 25p (140Mbps)
MOVIE RECORDING SYSTEM (XAVC S HD)
1920 x 1080 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (100Mbps / 60Mbps), 60p (50Mbps / 25Mbps), 30p (50Mbps / 16Mbps), 24p (50Mbps); 1920 x 1080 (4:2:0, 8bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (100Mbps / 60Mbps), 50p (50Mbps / 25Mbps), 25p (50Mbps / 16Mbps); 1920 x 1080 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (50Mbps), 30p (50Mbps), 24p (50Mbps); 1920 x 1080 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (50Mbps), 25p (50Mbps)
MOVIE RECORDING SYSTEM (XAVC S-I 4K)
3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (600Mbps), 30p (300Mbps), 24p (240Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (500Mbps), 25p (250Mbps)
MOVIE RECORDING SYSTEM (XAVC S-I HD)
1920 x 1080 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (222Mbps), 30p (111Mbps), 24p (89Mbps); 1920 x 1080 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (185Mbps), 25p (93Mbps)
SLOW & QUICK MOTION (SHOOTING FRAME RATE)
NTSC mode: 1fps,2fps,4fps,8fps,15fps,30fps,60fps,120fps, 240fps 5 6 , PAL mode: 1fps,2fps,3fps,6fps,12fps,25fps,50fps,100fps, 200fps 5 6
MOVIE FUNCTIONS
Audio Level Display, Audio Rec Level, PAL/NTSC Selector, Proxy Recording (1280 x 720 (6Mbps), 1920 x 1080(9Mbps), 1920 x 1080(16Mbps)), TC/UB, Auto Slow Shutter, Gamma Disp. Assist, RAW Output(HDMI)

Recording System

LOCATION INFORMATION LINK FROM SMARTPHONE
Yes
MEDIA
SD memory card, SDHC memory card (UHS-I/II compliant), SDXC memory card (UHS-I/II compliant), CFexpress Type A memory card
MEMORY CARD SLOT
SLOT1: Multi slot for SD (UHS-I/II compliant) memory card/CFexpress Type A card, SLOT2: Multi slot for SD (UHS-I/II compliant) memory card/CFexpress Type A card
RECORDING MODE ON 2 MEMORY CARDS
Simult. Rec, Sort, Auto Switch Media, Copy

Noise Reduction

NOISE REDUCTION
Long exposure NR: On/Off, available at shutter speeds longer than 1 sec.,High ISO NR: Normal / Low / Off

White Balance

WHITE BALANCE MODES
Auto / Daylight / Shade / Cloudy / Incandescent / Fluorescent / Flash / Underwater / Color Temperature (2500 to 9900K) & color filter / Custom
SHUTTER AWB LOCK
Yes (Shut. Halfway Down / Cont. Shooting / Off)

Focus

FOCUS TYPE
Fast Hybrid AF (phase-detection AF / contrast-detection AF)
FOCUS SENSOR
Exmor RS CMOS sensor
FOCUS POINT
35mm full frame: 759 points (phase-detection AF), APS-C mode with FF lens: 759 points (phase-detection AF), with APS-C lens: 575 points (phase-detection AF) / 425 points (contrast-detection AF)
FOCUS SENSITIVITY RANGE
EV-4 to EV20 (ISO100 equivalent with F2.0 lens attached)
FOCUS MODE
AF-S (Single-shot AF), AF-C ( Continuous AF), DMF (Direct Manual Focus), Manual Focus
FOCUS AREA
Wide / Zone / Center / Flexible Spot / Expanded Flexible Spot / Tracking
EYE AF
Still images: Human (Right/Left Eye Select) / Animal (Right/Left Eye Select) / Bird, Movie: Human (Right/Left Eye Select)
OTHER FEATURES
Predictive control, Focus lock, AF Track Sens. (Still), AF Subj. Shift Sensitivity (Movie), AF Transition Speed (Movie), Switch V/H AF Area, AF Area Regist., Circ. of Focus Point
AF ILLUMINATOR
Yes (with Built-in LED type)
AF ILLUMINATOR RANGE
Approx. 0.3m - approx. 3.0m (with FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens attached)
FOCUS TYPE WITH LA-EA3 (SOLD SEPARATELY)
Phase-detection

Exposure

METERING TYPE
1200-zone evaluative metering
METERING SENSOR
Exmor RS CMOS sensor
METERING SENSITIVITY
EV-3 to EV20 (at ISO100 equivalent with F2.0 lens attached)
METERING MODE
Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot, Spot Standard/Large, Entire Screen Avg., Highlight
EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
+/- 5.0EV (1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps selectable) (with exposure compensation dial: +/- 3EV (1/3 EV steps))
EXPOSURE BRACKETING
Bracket: Cont., Bracket: Single, 3/5/9 frames selectable. (Ambient light, Flash light)
AE LOCK
Locked when shutter button is pressed halfway. Available with AE lock button. (On/Off/Auto)
EXPOSURE MODES
AUTO(iAuto), Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter-speed priority (S), Manual (M), Movie (Programmed AE (P) / Aperture priority (A) / Shutter-speed priority (S) / Manual (M) / Flexible Exp. Mode), Slow & Quick Motion (Programmed AE (P) / Aperture priority (A) / Shutter-speed priority (S) / Manual (M) / Flexible Exp. Mode)
ISO SENSITIVITY (RECOMMENDED EXPOSURE INDEX)
Still images: ISO 100-32000 (ISO numbers up from ISO 50 to ISO 102400 can be set as expanded ISO range.), AUTO (ISO 100-12800, selectable lower limit and upper limit), Movies: ISO 100-32000 equivalent, AUTO (ISO 100-12800, selectable lower limit and upper limit)
ANTI-FLICKER SHOOT.
Yes
SCENE SELECTION
-

Viewfinder

VIEWFINDER TYPE
1.6 cm (0.64 type) electronic viewfinder (color)
NUMBER OF DOTS
9 437 184 dots
FIELD COVERAGE
100%
MAGNIFICATION
Approx. 0.90 x (with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m-₁)
DIOPTRE ADJUSTMENT
-4.0 to +3.0m-₁
EYE POINT
Approx. 25mm from the eyepiece lens, 21mm from the eyepiece frame at -1m-₁ (CIPA standard)
DISPLAY FUNCTION
Histogram, Real-time image-adjustment display, Digital level gauge, Grid line, Focus check, Peaking MF, Zebra, Movie marker, Emph disp dur REC
FINDER FRAME RATE SELECTION
STD 60fps / HI 120fps / HI+ 240fps 7

LCD Screen

MONITOR TYPE
7.5cm (3.0-type) type TFT
NUMBER OF DOTS
1,440,000 dots
TOUCH PANEL
Yes
BRIGHTNESS CONTROL
Manual (5 steps between -2 and +2), Sunny Weather mode
ADJUSTABLE ANGLE
Up by Approx. 107 degrees, Down by Approx. 41 degrees
FOCUS MAGNIFIER
Yes, Focus Magnifier (35mm full frame: 4.2x / 8.5x, APS-C: 2.7x / 5.5x)

Other Features

PLAYMEMORIES CAMERA APPS™
-
CLEAR IMAGE ZOOM
Still images:Approx. 2x,Movies:Approx. 1.5x (4K), Approx. 2x (HD)
DIGITAL ZOOM
Smart zoom (Still images):35mm full frame: M:Approx. 1.5x, S:Approx. 2x, APS-C: S:Approx. 2x, Digital zoom (Still images):35mm full frame: L:Approx. 4x, M:Approx.6.1x, S:Approx. 8x,APS-C: M:approx. 4x, S: approx. 5.2x, Digital zoom (Movie):35mm full frame: Approx. 4x, APS-C: Approx. 4x
FACE DETECTION
Face/Eye Priority in AF, Face Priority in Multi Metering, Regist. Faces Priority
SELF-PORTRAIT SELF-TIMER
-
OTHERS
Interval Recording, ISO AUTO Min. SS, Bright Monitoring, Copyright Info, Set File Name, Save/Import Settings, Help guide, Video Light Mode, Zoom Ring Rotate

Shutter

TYPE
Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
SHUTTER TYPE
Mechanical shutter/Electronic shutter
SHUTTER SPEED
Still images, Single shot Mechanical Shutter:1/8000 to 30 sec, Bulb; AUTO: 1/32000 to 30 sec, Bulb; Electronic Shutter: 1/32000 to 30 sec; Still images, Continous shooting Mechanical; Shutter:1/8000 to 30 sec; AUTO: 1/32000 to 1/2 sec; Electronic Shutter: 1/32000 to 1/2 sec; Movies: 1/8000 to 1/4(1/3 steps), up to 1/60 in AUTO mode (up to 1/30 in Auto slow shutter mode)
FLASH SYNC. SPEED
(Mechanical shutter), (Flash Sync. Priority) is (ON) or (AUTO):1/400 sec (35mm full frame), 1/500 sec (APS-C), (Flash Sync. Priority) is (OFF):1/320 sec (35mm full frame), 1/400 sec (APS-C), (Electrical shutter), 1/200 sec (35mm full frame), 1/250 sec (APS-C)
ELECTRONIC FRONT CURTAIN SHUTTER
Yes
SILENT SHOOTING
Yes (ON/OFF)

Image Stabilization

TYPE
Image Sensor-Shift mechanism with 5-axis compensation (Compensation depends on lens specifications)
COMPENSATION EFFECT
5.5 stops (based on CIPA standard. Pitch/yaw shake only. With Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens mounted. Long exposure NR off.)

Flash Control

TYPE
-
GUIDE NO.
-
FLASH COVERAGE
-
CONTROL
Pre-flash TTL
FLASH COMPENSATION
+/- 3.0 EV (switchable between 1/3 and 1/2 EV steps)
FLASH MODES
Flash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync., Rear Sync., Red-eye reduction (on/off selectable), Wireless 8 , Hi-speed sync. 8
RECYCLING TIME
-
EXTERNAL FLASH COMPATIBILITY
Sony α System Flash compatible with Multi Interface Shoe, attach the shoe adaptor for flash compatible with Auto-lock accessory shoe
FE LEVEL LOCK
Yes
WIRELESS CONTROL
Yes (Light signal: Available with Fill-flash, Slow Sync., Hi-speed sync. / Radio signal: Available with Fill-flash, Rear Sync., Slow Sync., Hi-speed sync.)

Drive

DRIVE MODES
Single Shooting, Continuous shooting (Hi+/Hi/Mid/Lo selectable), Self-timer, Self-timer (Cont.), Bracket: Single, Bracket: Cont., White Balance bracket, DRO bracket
CONTINUOUS DRIVE SPEED (APPROX. MAX.)
AUTO/Electronic Shutter: Continuous shooting: Hi+: 30 fps, Hi: 20 fps, Mid: 15fps, Lo: 5 fps, 9 10 11 12 Mechanical Shutter: Continuous shooting: Hi+: 10 fps, Hi: 8 fps, Mid: 6fps, Lo: 3 fps
NO. OF RECORDABLE FRAMES (APPROX.)
JPEG Extra fine L: 182 frames, JPEG Fine L: 400 frames, JPEG Standard L: 400 frames, RAW: 238 frames, RAW & JPG: 192 frames, RAW (Lossless Compression): 96 frames, RAW (Lossless Compression) & JPG: 83 frames, RAW (Uncompressed): 82 frames, RAW (Uncompressed) & JPG: 78 frames
SELF-TIMER
10 sec. delay / 5 sec. delay / 2 sec. delay / Continuous self-time / Bracketing self-timer
PIXEL SHIFT MULTI SHOOTING
Yes (4 shots / 16 shots) 1

Playback

PHOTO CAPTURE
Yes
MODES
Single (with or without shooting information Y RGB histogram & highlight / shadow warning),Index view,Enlarged display mode (L: 21.6x, M: 14.0x, S: 10.8x),Auto Review,Image orientation,Folder selection (Date / Still / Movie),Protect,Rating,Display as Group

Interface

PC INTERFACE
Mass-storage / MTP
MULTI / MICRO USB TERMINAL
Yes (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps (USB 3.2) compatible)
BLUETOOTH
Yes (Bluetooth Standard Ver. 5.0 (2.4GHz band))
WIRELESS LAN (BUILT-IN)
Yes (Wi-Fi Compatible, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz band/5GHz band)) 13 14
MULTI INTERFACE SHOE
Yes (with Digital Audio Interface) 15
MIC TERMINAL
Yes (3.5 mm Stereo minijack)
SYNC TERMINAL
Yes
HEADPHONE TERMINAL
Yes (3.5 mm Stereo minijack)
VERTICAL GRIP CONNECTOR
Yes
LAN TERMINAL
Yes (1000BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 10BASE-T)
FUNCTIONS
FTP Transfer Func.(Wired LAN, USB Tethering, Wi-Fi)., View on Smartphone,Remote control via Smartphone, NFC One-touch remote,PC Remote, BRAVIA Sync (Control for HDMI), PhotoTV HD

Audio

MICROPHONE
Built-in, stereo
SPEAKER
Built-in, monaural

Print

COMPATIBLE STANDARDS
Exif Print, Print Image Matching III

Custom function

TYPE
Custom key settings,Programmable Setting (Body 3 sets /memory card 4 sets),My Dial Settings,My Menu,Reg Cust Shoot Set

Lens Compensation

SETTING
Peripheral Shading, Chromatic Aberration, Distortion

Power

SUPPLIED BATTERY
One rechargeable battery pack NP-FZ100
BATTERY LIFE (STILL IMAGES)
Approx. 430 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 530 shots (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard)
BATTERY LIFE (MOVIE, ACTUAL RECORDING)
Approx. 90 min. (Viewfinder) / Approx. 95 min. (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard)
BATTERY LIFE (MOVIE, CONTINUOUS RECORDING)
Approx. 145 min. (Viewfinder) / Approx. 150 min. (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard)
INTERNAL BATTERY CHARGE
Yes (Available with USB Type-C Terminal. USB Power Delivery compatible)
POWER CONSUMPTION WITH VIEWFINDER
Still images: approx. 4.6W (with FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens attached), Movies: approx. 6.8W (with FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens attached)
POWER CONSUMPTION WITH LCD SCREEN
Still images: approx. 3.7W (with FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens attached), Movies: approx. 6.6W (with FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens attached)
USB POWER SUPPLY
Yes (Available with USB Type-C Terminal. USB Power Delivery compatible)

Others

OPERATING TEMPERATURE
32 - 104 degrees F / 0 - 40 degrees C

Size & Weight

WEIGHT (WITH BATTERY AND MEMORY CARD INCLUDED)
Approx. 737 g, approx. 1 lb 10.0 oz
DIMENSIONS (W X H X D)
Approx. 128.9mm x 96.9mm x 80.8mm, Approx. 128.9mm x 96.9mm x 69.7mm (FROM GRIP TO MONITOR), Approx. 5 1/8 x 3 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches, Approx. 5 1/8 x 3 7/8 x 2 3/4 inches (FROM GRIP TO MONITOR)

News

The new flagship Sony Alpha 1 full-frame interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera can shoot 50 megapixel images at 30fps.

It has a brand new 50.1-megapixel stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor and an upgraded BIONZ XR imaging processing engine with eight times more processing power.

It features 15-stops of dynamic range, 120 times p/sec AF/AE calculations (double the speed of the Alpha 9 II), and completely blackout free shooting.

The Sony A1 has a 9.44 million dot OLED viewfinder with a refresh rate of 240fps, 0.9x magnification and an eye-point of 25mm, 5.5-stops of 5-axis IBIS, and anti-flicker shooting with both mechanical and electronic shutter.

The camera features 759 phase detection points in a high-density focal plane phase-detection AF system covering approximately 92% of the image area and provides Real-time Eye AF for birds for the very first time.

It offers 8K/30p 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS video recording with 8.6K oversampling, in addition to 4K 120p 10-bit 4:2:2 and FullHD at 240fps movie shooting capabilities, and can output 16-bit Raw video over HDMI.

There is a 30 minute time limit in the 8K/30p and 4K/60p video modes.

Flash sync is improved, with the Alpha A1 supporting up to 1/200 sec with the electronic shutter or 1/400 sec with the mechanical shutter.

The improved Pixel Shift Multi Shooting combines 16 different images into one 199 megapixel photo.

The Alpha 1 has two memory card slots that both support UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards as well as new CFexpress Type A cards.

The Sony Alpha 1 will be available in Europe in March 2021 priced at £6,500 / $6,500 / 7,300Euros.

Key Features

  • 50.1 megapixel Ехmоr RЅ СМОЅ full-frame sensor
  • Up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second
  • 9.44 million-dot OLED Quad-XGA EVF wіth 240fрѕ refresh rate
  • Blackout-free continuous shooting аt uр tо 30fрѕ
  • Silent, vibration-free shutter
  • 15 ѕtорѕ оf dуnаmіс fоr ѕtіllѕ & 15+ ѕtорѕ fоr vіdео
  • 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS video
  • 4K 120p 10-bit 4:2:2 video
  • 5-axis optical in-body image stabilisation
  • S-Cinetone colour matrix

Sample Videos

You can watch the Sony Alpha 1 launch video here:

Sony Alpha 1 8K Sample Footage:

Pro Photographer First Impressions of the Alpha 1:

Sony Alpha 1 Wedding Photography:

Sony Alpha 1 Wildlife Photography:

Hunters of Light:

Sony Alpha 1 Introduction:

Sample Photos

You can view a small selection of reduced resolution sample photos here:

https://www.sony.net/Products/...

Press Release

  • New 50.1-megapixel (approx., effective) full-frame stacked Exmor RS™ CMOS image sensor in combination with an upgraded BIONZ XR™ imaging processing engine with eight times more processing power[i]
  • Blackout- free continuous shooting at up to 30 frames per second[ii]
  • Fast sensor readout enables up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second[iii], double the speed of the Alpha 9 II, even during 30fps continuous shooting
  • Bright and large 0.64-type 9.44 million-dot (approx.) OLED Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder with the world’s first[iv] refresh rate of 240 fps
  • Silent, vibration-free electronic shutter
  • World’s first[v] anti-flicker shooting with both mechanical and electronic shutter
  • Electronic shutter flash sync[vi] up to 1/200 sec. for the first time in the Alpha™ series
  • World’s fastestv mechanical shutter flash sync up to 1/400 sec.
  • 8K 30p[vii] 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS video recording with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary detail and resolution, in addition to 4K 120p[viii] 10-bit 4:2:2 movie shooting capabilities
  • Wide dynamic range of 15 stops for stills[ix] and 15+ stops for video[x]
  • Improved Real-time Eye AF (autofocus) for humans and animals, and new Real-time Eye AF for birds[xi], as well as Real-time Tracking that automatically maintains accurate focus
  • 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization for a 5.5-step[xii] shutter speed advantage
  • S-Cinetone color matrix as seen in FX9 and FX6 to deliver expressive cinematic look
  • Professional workflow support with the industry’s fastest[xiii] built-in Wi-Fi, SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, 1000BASE-T Ethernet and more

Sony, a global leader in imaging sensor technology and digital imaging, has announced the arrival of the groundbreaking new full-frame mirrorless Alpha 1 camera – asserting their commitment to leading the industry with a stunning combination of innovative new features.

The most technologically advanced, innovative camera that Sony has ever released, the Alpha 1 combines high-resolution and high-speed performance at a level that has never been accomplished in the world of digital cameras. With a brand new 50.1-megapixel full-frame stacked Exmor RS™ image sensor, up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second, 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 video and much more, the Alpha 1 will allow creators to capture what they’ve never been able to before.

"We are always listening to our customers, challenging the industry to bring new innovation to the market that goes far beyond their expectations.” said Yann Salmon Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging, Sony Europe. “Alpha 1 breaks through all existing boundaries, setting a new bar for what creators can accomplish with a single camera. What excites us the most – more than the extensive product features – is Alpha 1's ability to capture that which has never been captured before. This camera unlocks a new world of creative possibilities, making the previously impossible now possible.”

The newly developed image sensor is built with integral memory and paired with an upgraded BIONZ XR imaging processing engine, making it capable of shooting 50.1-megapixel images continuously at an astounding 30fps with up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second. The Alpha 1’s shooting capabilities are further enhanced by a 9.44 million dot OLED Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder, with a refresh rate of up to 240 fps[xiv], ensuring no black out. Additionally, for the first time in an Alpha series camera, 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 video is available. The Alpha 1 is also capable of 4K 120p / 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 recording and includes S-Cinetone colour. The Alpha 1 is also packed with features that support field professionals with faster workflow, including 3.5 times faster wireless FTP transfer speed[xv] and more.

Unprecedented Resolution and Speed

Continuous Shooting at Up to 30 Frames Per Second

The Alpha 1 captures moments that would otherwise be lost thanks to its high-speed performance, providing any photographer the speed they require to capture fast-moving objects. High speed readout from the 50.1-megapixel image sensor and a large buffer memory make it possible to shoot up to 155 full-frame compressed RAW images[xvi] or 165 full-frame JPEG images[xvii]at up to 30 frames per second with the electronic shutter while maintaining full AF and AE tracking performance[xviii].

At an astonishing calculation speed of up to 120AF/AE per second, the Alpha 1 can maintain focus with high accuracy even for fast moving subjects. It can automatically adjust exposure, even with sudden changes in brightness, with an AE response latency as low as 0.033 secondsii.

Advanced Electronic Viewfinder with the World’s Firstiv Refresh Rate of 240 fps

Complimenting the camera’s ability to capture images at an unprecedented speed, the Alpha 1 viewfinder features the world’s firstiv240 fps refresh ratexiv, for a super-smooth display. The viewfinder does not black out when an exposure is made to offer an uninterrupted view and allow for seamless framing and tracking, even during continuous shooting. The 9.44 million-dot (approx.), 0.64 type Quad-XGA high-definition OLED display and refined optics deliver the highest resolution in its classiv. It also offers 0.90x[xix] viewfinder magnification, a 41° diagonal FOV, and a 25mm-high eyepoint for clear, low distortion viewing from corner to corner.

Advanced Autofocus

Sony continues to push the boundaries of autofocus technology with the introduction of the Alpha 1, which can easily track complex, fast-moving subjects with high precision. The camera features 759 phase detection points in a high-density focal plane phase-detection AF system cover approximately 92% of the image area – ensuring accuracy and unfailing focus in environments where focusing might otherwise be difficult.

Sony’s advanced Real-time Eye AF improves detection performance by 30% over the previous systemi, thanks to the powerful image processing engine, BIONZ XR. It ensures accurate, reliable detection, even when the subject’s face looks away. In addition to improved Real-time Eye AF for humans and animals, the Alpha 1 employs high-level subject recognition technology to provide Real-time Eye AF for birdsxi, a first in an Alpha series camera. Optimised algorithms ensure that tracking is maintained even if a sitting bird suddenly takes flight, or the framing suddenly changes[xx].

The Alpha 1 also features AI-based Real-time Tracking that automatically maintains accurate focus. A subject recognition algorithm uses colour, pattern (brightness), and subject distance (depth) data to process spatial information in real time at high speed.

Silent, Vibration-free Electronic Shutter

High-speed readout from the new image sensor has made it possible to reduce rolling shutter by up to 1.5 times when shooting stills, compared to the Alpha 9 II. It also offers silent anti-flicker continuous shooting with an electronic shutter for the first timev in the world. The electronic shutter[xxi] operates silently, without mechanical noise, and is vibration-free. Stress-free continuous shooting is now possible even when shooting in challenging lighting situations with florescent or other flicker-prone types of artificial lighting. And for the first time in an Alpha camera, electronic shutter flash sync up to 1/200 sec[xxii] is possible. The advantages of the electronic shutter advantages can now come to life even when using flash for broadly expanded shooting versatility.

Dual Driven Shutter System for 1/400 Flash Sync

The Alpha 1 boasts the world’s fastest flash sync speedv of 1/400 sec. with mechanical shutter, making it even easier to capture dynamic action. In addition to a carbon fibre shutter curtain, the Alpha 1 features the newly developed dual driven shutter system utilising spring and electromagnetic drive actuator, offering high durability and lightness at the same time.

High Resolution Shooting Enhancements

Even with this sensor’s high pixel count, the Alpha 1 offers high sensitivity with low noise, plus 15+ stops of dynamic range for video and 15 stops for stills, for smooth, natural gradations from shadows to highlights thanks to its cutting-edge processing system, throughout a wide ISO sensitivity range of 100-32,000 (expandable to 50-102,400, when shooting stills).

Additionally, the new camera features an evolved Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode that composites up to 16 full-resolution images. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in one pixel or half-pixel increments to capture 16 separate pixel-shifted images containing a total of 796.2 million pixels of data, which are then composited into a 199 million pixel (17,280 x 11,520 pixels) image using Sony’s Imaging Edge™ desktop application. With a flash sync of up to 1/200 sec. in this mode, it is ideal for photographing architecture, art or any other still life subject with a level of detail and colour accuracy that is simply stunning.

Professional Video Quality

8K High-Resolution Movie Shooting

For the first time in an Alpha camera, the Alpha 1 offers 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS recording with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary resolution. Combined with Sony’s acclaimed autofocus technology, gradation and colour reproduction performance, the Alpha 1 will help the user realise their creative vision with the finest detail. It’s 8K footagecan also be used for flexible 4K editing during post-production.

Supporting Various Video Formats for Professionals

The Alpha 1 offers in-camera 4K recording at up to 120 frames per secondviii which allows the user to shoot up to 5X slow-motion video[xxiii]. In addition to supporting 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, this feature can be used with efficient Long GOP inter-frame compression or high-quality Intra (All-I) intra-frame compression.

The Alpha 1 features S-Cinetone, the same colour matrix that produces the highly regarded FX9 and FX6 colour and skin tones. It delivers natural mid-tones, plus soft colours and gorgeous highlights to meet a growing need for more expressive depth.The S-Log3 gamma curve makes it possible to achieve 15+ stops of dynamic range, while the S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.Cine colour gamut settings make it easy to match Alpha 1 footage with video shot on VENICE cinema camera, FX9 and other professional cinema cameras.

Heat-dissipating Structure

A unique heat dissipating structure keeps image sensor and image processing engine temperatures within their normal operating range, preventing overheating while maintaining compact body dimensions. This makes it possible to record 8K/30p video continuously for approximately 30 minutes[xxiv].

Supporting Hand-held Shooting

A high-precision stabilisation unit and gyro sensors, plus optimised image stabilisation algorithms, achieve up to a 5.5-step shutter speed advantage, maximising the quality of the high-resolution images derived from the camera’s 50.1-megapixel sensor. The Alpha 1 also features an Active Mode[xxv] that offers outstanding stabilisation for handheld movie shooting. When using Sony’s desktop applications Catalyst Browse or Catalyst Prepare[xxvi] for post-production, an accurate image stabilisation function is available which utilises metadata generated by the camera's built-in gyro.

Other features that the Alpha 1 offers include; 16-bit RAW output[xxvii] to an external recorder[xxviii] via HDMI for maximum post-production flexibility, a digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface (MI) Shoe for clearer audio recordings from a compatible Sony external microphone, 5.8K oversampled full pixel readout without pixel binning for high-resolution 4K movies in Super 35mm mode and more.

Enhanced Workflow with Network Technologies including Connectivity to 5G Compatible Devices

The Alpha 1 has been designed and configured to support photo and video journalists and sports shooters who need to deliver stills or movies as quickly as possible with advanced connectivity options. It offers several features for fast, reliable file transfers. The industry’s fastestxiiibuilt-in wireless LAN allows communication on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz[xxix]bands with dual antennas to ensure reliable communications. 5 GHz includes 2x2 MIMO support (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac) offering 3.5 times faster wireless FTP transfer speed than the Alpha 9 II - a notable advantage for news and sports shooters who need to deliver with reliable speed. There is also a provided USB Type-C® connector to support high-speed PC Remote (tethered) data transfer available for smooth handling of large image files. The Alpha 1 also has a built-in 1000BASE-T LAN connector for high-speed, stable data transfers, including remote shooting. FTPS (File Transfer over SSL/TLS) is supported, allowing SSL or TLS encryption for increased data security.

In addition to compressed and uncompressed RAW, the Alpha 1 includes efficient lossless compression with no quality degradation, Lossless Compressed RAW. There is also a new “Light” JPEG/HEIF image quality setting that results in smaller files than the “Standard” setting, allowing faster deliver for news and sports photographers who depend on speed. Along with a versatile range of RAW and JPEG formats, the Alpha 1 includes the HEIF (High Efficiency Image File) format for smooth 10-bit gradations that provide more realistic reproduction of skies and portrait subjects where subtle, natural gradation is essential. Images shot on the Alpha 1 can be trimmed in-camera to a desired aspect ratio, size, or position for versatile usage.

The Alpha 1 is also compatible with a variety of apps, add-ons and tools. With Imaging Edge Mobile and Imaging Edge Desktop[xxx], professionals can easily transfer RAW files and files that use lossless compression and remotely control Touch Tracking and Touch Focus for convenient AF operation. The Transfer & Tagging add-on (Ver. 1.3 or later) can automatically covert voice memos attached to image files to text captions or transfer the files to an FTP server from a mobile device. Desktop applications Catalyst Browse/Catalyst Preparexxvi allow professionals to browse and manage video clips shot by Sony’s camera. In addition, the Remote Camera Tool[xxxi] can remotely change camera settings and shoot from a computer connected via LAN cable and feature a number of refinements for the Alpha 1: faster transfer, touch response, dual slot and HEIF support, and more.

Reliable and Easy Operability

Professional users need more than just refined features and performance. They also need the reliability and durability demanded of any professional tool. The Alpha 1 has two media slots that both support UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards, as well as new CFexpress Type A cards for higher overall capacity and faster read/write speeds. It also features a durable magnesium alloy chassis, long battery life with the Z-battery which can be extended using the optional VG-C4EM Vertical Grip (sold separately),an improved dust removal feature, shutter close function on power-off to protect image sensor, plus dust and moisture resistance[xxxii] that maximises reliability in challenging environments. It includes a durable, reliable HDMI Type-A connector, and USB PD (Power Delivery) support, allowing higher power to be supplied from an external source so that users can record for extended periods with minimal internal battery usage.

A revised menu structure provides easier navigation, and touch-responsive menu operation offers fast, more intuitive control with Touch Focus and Touch Tracking on its 3.0 type 1.44 million-dot (approx.) LCD monitor.For easy customisation, a subset of the camera’s shooting settings now changes according to the selected shooting mode, making it easier than ever to use different aperture, shutter speed and other settings for shooting stills and movies.

Pricing and Availability

The Alpha 1 Full-frame Interchangeable-Lens Camera will be available in Europe in March 2021 for approximately £6,500.

Exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new camera and Sony's other imaging products can be found at www.alphauniverse.co.uk, a site created to educate and inspire all fans and customers of Sony α - Alpha brand cameras.

Whаt'ѕ іn thе bох?

  • Ѕоnу А1 Dіgіtаl Саmеrа Воdу
  • Ѕоnу Rесhаrgеаblе Lіthіum-Іоn Ваttеrу
  • Ѕоnу Ваttеrу Сhаrgеr
  • АС Аdарtеr
  • Роwеr Соrd
  • Саblе Рrоtесtоr
  • Ѕоnу Воdу Сар
  • Ѕоnу Мultі-Іntеrfасе Ѕhое Сар
  • Ѕоnу Еуеріесе Сuр
  • Місrо-UЅВ Саblе
  • Ѕhоuldеr Ѕtrар

[i] Compared to the BIONZ X imaging processing engine.

[ii] “Hi+” continuous shooting mode. In focus modes other than AF-C, effective at 1/125 sec. or higher shutter speed. In AF-C mode, effective at 1/250 sec. or higher shutter speed, and the maximum continuous frame rate will depend on the shooting mode and lens used. 20 fps max. when shooting Uncompressed or Lossless compressed RAW.

[iii] At shutter speeds of 1/125 sec. or higher. The number of AF calculations will depend on the lens used.

[iv] As of January 2021, Sony survey. Among full-frame mirrorless cameras.

[v] As of January 2021, Sony survey. Among full-frame interchangeable-lens digital still cameras.

[vi] Up to 1/200 sec. Synchronization via the sync terminal is not available for electronic shutter.

[vii] [APS-C S35 Shooting] is fixed [Off] when shooting 4K 120p and 8K movies.

[viii] 10% image crop.

[ix] Sony internal tests.

[x]When recording with S-Log3. Sony internal tests.

[xi] Still images only.

[xii] CIPA standards. Pitch/yaw shake only. Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens. Long exposure NR off.

[xiii] As of January 2021, Sony survey. Among interchangeable-lens digital still cameras.

[xiv]Field of view is fixed at 33° and resolution is UXGA when selecting frame rate at 240 fps.

[xv] 3.5 times faster when compared against the Alpha 9 II.

[xvi]“Hi+” continuous shooting mode, compressed RAW, CFexpress Type A memory card. Sony tests.

[xvii]“Hi+” continuous shooting mode, CFexpress Type A memory card. Sony tests.

[xviii]At 20 frames per second, users can shoot up to 238 full-frame compressed RAW images or 400 full-frame JPEG images.

[xix] 50mm lens, infinity, -1m-1 diopter.

[xx]Accurate focus may not be achieved with certain subjects in certain situations.

[xxi]Shutter speed slower than 0.5 sec. cannot be set while continuous shooting. Tracking performance and max. aperture differs by settings and lenses.

[xxii] Up to 1/200 sec. Synchronization via the sync terminal is not available for electronic shutter.

[xxiii]Post-production editing and S&Q mode recording required. Data must be recorded to a CFexpress Type A memory card when the frame rate is 120 (100) fps or higher.

[xxiv]Sony internal tests with [Auto Power OFF Temp.] set to [High].

[xxv] Active Mode is not available for 8K recording.

[xxvi]Catalyst Browse™ version 2020.1 or later, Catalyst Prepare version 2020.1 or later are required.

[xxvii]8K is not applicable.

[xxviii] Compatible recorders to be announced.

[xxix] 5 GHz communication may be restricted in some countries and regions.

[xxx] The Imaging Edge (Remote/Viewer/Edit) desktop application Ver. 3.1 or later is required for compositing.

[xxxi] Remote Camera Tool version 2.3 or later is required.

[xxxii] Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and water resistant.

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