Chepstow Photography enthusiast
- Speed and accuracy of focus.
Ergonomics and feel of the camera.
- Reviewer left no comment
Published on: 17 July 2021
The groundbreaking Alpha 1 Camera marks a brand new era in professional imaging. A world’s first 50.1MP full-frame stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor that captures high-resolution images at 30fps. Sony’s most technologically advanced, innovative camera, combines ultra-speed with high-resolution at a level that we have never seen before.
The brand new 50.1MP image sensor achieves up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second and also produces 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 video with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary detail. Not to mention 4K 120p 10-bit 4:2:2 capabilities.
The Sony Alpha 1 allows users to capture moments that historically may have been missed and allows users to capture fast-moving objects that move in unpredictable ways. The 50.1MP image sensor and large buffer memory make it possible to achieve a high-speed readout. Shoot up to 155 full-frame compressed RAW images or 165 full-frame JPEG images at up to 30fps with the EVF maintaining full AF and AE tracking performance.
A calculation speed of up to 120 AF/AE per second, the A1 maintains focus with unparalleled accuracy for fast-moving objects. The A1 can automatically adjust exposure even with sudden changes in brightness with an AE response latency as low as just 0.033 seconds.
Featuring 759 phase-detection points in a high-density focal-plane phase-detection AF system that covers 92% of the image area, ensures accuracy and reliable focusing in situations where focusing might otherwise prove difficult or even impossible.
Upgraded real-time Eye AF improves detection performance by 30% over previous systems, thanks to the BIONZ XR processing engine. Accurate and reliable detection is experienced even when the subjects face may be turned away from the camera. Real-time Eye AF has also been included for birds, as well as animals and humans - a first in an Alpha series camera. Sony’s optimised algorithms also ensure that tracking is maintained even when a bird or animal makes a sudden movement or if the framing suddenly changes.
Even with such a high pixel count, the Alpha 1 can offer incredibly high sensitivity with extremely low noise, plus 15+ stops of dynamic range. Achieve smooth and natural gradations from shadows to highlights throughout a wide ISO sensitivity range of 100-32,000, expandable to 50-102,400 when shooting stills.
Shoot 16 full-resolution images in one pixel or half-pixel increments to capture a total of 196.2 million pixels of data which are then formed into a 199 million pixel (17,280 x 11,520 pixels) image, using Sony’s Imaging Edge desktop application. This mode is perfect for capturing architecture, fine art or any other still photography that requires an incredibly high and detailed output.
Rolling shutter is now reduced to just 1.5 times thanks to the new image sensor and also offers silent, anti-flicker continuous shooting with an electronic shutter - for the first time in the world. The electronic shutter operates silently, without any mechanical noise and is vibration-free.
The A1’s flash sync is now capable of 1/200 sec. A dual driven shutter system for 1/400 flash sync is also possible with the mechanical shutter. Making it even easier to capture dynamic action.
A magnesium alloy chassis, long battery life with the Z-battery, an improved dust removal feature plus a shutter close function on power-off (to protect the image sensor) ensures this incredible feat of engineering is reliable and easy to use in almost any environment.
Sony has supported the ever-increasing workflow of a pro-level shooter with two media slots that both support UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards as well as the new CFexpress Type A cards for much higher overall capacity and vastly faster read/write speeds.
A durable and reliable HDMI Type-A connector and USB PD (power delivery) support allows higher power to be supplied from external sources, meaning that users can shoot for longer periods of time without having worn down the internal battery.
8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVS HS recording with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary resolution. Sony is already well-known for it’s colour reproduction, gradation performance and autofocus technology and this pedigree allows users to reach their full creative potential.
Record up to 5x slow-motion video with 4K at 120p. This feature can be used with efficient Long GOP inter-frame compression or high-quality Intra (All-I) intra-frame compression.
The A1 has a unique heat-dissipating structure that keeps the image sensor and image processor temperature within a normal operating range. This allows the A1 to record 8K/30p video, continuously, for up to 30 minutes.
Experience a 5.5-step shutter speed advantage thanks to a high-precision unit and gyro sensor. Combine this with optimised image stabilisation algorithms and users can maximise the quality derived from the A1’s 50.1MP image sensor.
Record 16-bit RAW externally via HDMI for maximum post-production flexibility. The A1 has also had a new digital audio interface added to the Multi-Interface (MI) Show for crystal clear audio recordings from compatible Sony external microphones. Users can make the most of 4K output with 5.8K oversampled full pixel readout, without pixel binning.
Photo and video journalists can now experience the technology they’ve been needing in order to deliver stills or movies as quickly as possible thanks to features like the built-in wireless LAN that allows communication on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands with dual antennas to ensure reliable data transfer.
A USB Type-C connector supports high-speed PC Remote (tethered) data transfer for smoother handling of large files. FTPS (File Transfer over SSL/TLS) is also supported allowing encryption for increased peace of mind and data security.
The Alpha 1 is also compatible with a variety of apps and tools. From mobile apps such as the Imaging Edge Mobile (and Desktop), professionals can efficiently transfer RAW files and lossless compression files and remotely control Touch Tracking and Touch Focus which is convenient for AF operation.
As of 15 April 2021, Sony has released a firmware update for the a1, version 1.01. The contents of the updates are as follows:
1. Fixes an issue where a Picture Profile may be applied even though the Picture Profile feature is set to Off.
2. Improves the operational stability of the camera when using Imaging Edge Desktop (Remote) or Imaging Edge Mobile.
With such a huge helping of professional-level technology all packed into one manageable body, the a1 is quite clearly aimed at those working in the professional photography and videography arena. Serious content creators can make use of this highly spec'd machine too, making use of the camera's 4K at 120p video capabilities.
Make sure you give our real-world review a read. You can read the blog here >
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