Sony just launched the A1, its new flagship full-frame mirrorless camera with some breakthrough features, making a sensation in the camera world. Thanks to the new 50 megapixels Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor and cutting-edge Bionz XR processor, it can provide 30 fps shooting speed, 8K 30P/4K 120P video, and more. Nevertheless, its price is much higher and can easily replace Canon’s R5.
The key feature of A1 may be its amazing speed. It can use an electronic shutter (up to 1,500 MB/s of data, Sony points out) to shoot 50.1-megapixel images at 30 fps while enabling autofocus and auto exposure.
At these speeds, you can capture up to 155 compressed RAW files before the buffer fills up. The mechanical shutter can reduce the speed to 10 fps, but considering the ultra-high resolution sensor, this is still excellent.
Besides, with the “world’s first” 240Hz OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 9.44 million dot resolution and 0.90x field of view, you can view these images on full screen. This is similar to the EVF on the A7S III, but the A1 EVF has twice the refresh rate and a larger field of view.
At the same time, the A1 has a standard ISO 100-32,000 ISO sensitivity range, which can be extended to ISO 50-102,400, so it should work well in low light conditions.
According to Sony’s latest sensor terminology, this is because of “the back-illuminated sensor structure with sealed glass with no gap on-chip lens and AR coating.”
It also has improved color reproduction and up to 15 levels of dynamic range. If the 50-megapixel resolution is insufficient, you can use Sony’s pixel shift multi-shot function to combine up to 16 photos into a 199-megapixel image.
If you prefer video, you can use the entire width of the sensor to shoot 8K 10-bit 4:2:0 video (to SD or CFexpress card) internally at 8 fps at 30 fps. Since it is super-sampled from the 8.6K image size, the 8K video should be clear.
4K recording up to 60 fps will also take up the entire width of the sensor, and if you turn on the active image stabilization function, you can also add 1.1 times the cropping effect.
If you want to shoot 4K at 120 fps with full sensor readings, it will be reduced to Super 35 mm with an oversampling of 5.8K. Autofocus can be used in all video modes.
S1 can use Sony’s latest HEVC/H.265 encoding and intra-frame encoding functions to record with 10-bit 4:2:2 color details and S-Log or mixed logarithmic gamma (HLG) mode. If this is not good enough, it will output a 16-bit RAW video to an external recorder.
The A1 also has the Sony S-Cinetone color matrix found on its Venice, FX6, and other Cinema Line cameras. One disadvantage of video shooters and video recorders is that the rear display can only be flipped up like the A7S III instead of flipping.
The rolling shutter has always been a problem with previous Alpha cameras, especially for video. However, Sony promises that the new anti-distortion shutter can reduce this effect by up to 2.8 times.
Sony also introduced an anti-flicker mode to reduce the flicker caused by artificial light when shooting with an electronic shutter.
Sony promised “unparalleled autofocus” on the A1, real-time eye tracking on photos and videos, covering humans, animals, and birds. Sony said that the tracking algorithm works faster than ever, and the accuracy is 30% higher than that of the A9 II.
A1 also provides a 5-axis body stabilization function, which can reduce shock absorption by 5.5 times. This includes an active video mode, which Sony says is very effective for handheld shooting.
All of these features are contained in a 737 g (1.63 lb) normal-sized Alpha body, but Sony promises you will be able to record 8K/30p or 4K/60p video continuously for up to 30 minutes without overheating.
Obviously, this is a Canon bow and arrow lens, because the continuous shooting time of the EOS R5 is limited by overheating.
Similar to A7S III, A1 includes dual SD UHS-II and dual CFexpress card slots, so you can instantly back up your work, and you can choose the cheaper SD UHS-II or the faster CFexpress format.
Other features include a complete HDMI port, microphone and headset ports, 10 Gbps USB 3.2, an optional multi-interface dock with digital audio, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. As for battery life, up to 530 photos can be taken on a single charge.
According to Sony, it also offers “the industry’s fastest” 802.11ac WiFi speed. Professional photographers or video shooters will be able to use this feature in conjunction with the new $2,500 Xperia Pro smartphone (above), which will double as an HDR display and 5G transmitter.
You will give everything for it. Pre-orders start tomorrow, and the price of the body alone is US$6,498, which is US$3,000 higher than the Canon EOS R5. However, A1 is now Sony’s flagship product, mainly for professional photographers and videographers, they will not pay for it for a second. It is expected to start shipping around February 25, and it will be available to consumers sometime in March.