Sony A1 Reviews – First Impresions
Sony has announced the innovative Alpha 1 camera, promising many new features, fast performance, improved image quality, 8K video and a work-oriented workflow.
The Sony A1 is equipped with a new integrated 50 megapixel image sensor, paired with the Bionz XR image processor introduced in the Sony A7S III. This combination and other advances in technology make Sony the most advanced Alpha 1 camera to date. The company also claims to be the most innovative, and it’s hard to disagree. Let’s take a deep dive and learn more about all the impressive technology packaged in the new Alpha 1.
Key Features and Specifications of Sony A1
New 50.1 megapixel full-frame Exmor RS CMOS image sensor
Domestic ISO range from 100-32,000, expandable to 50-102,400
Sony promises color, tone and gradation improvements with the new sensor and processing engine
Dynamic range with 15 stops
Edited Bionz XR image processor
Continuous continuous shooting at up to 30 frames per second
Up to 120 AF / AE calculations per second
Hybrid AF system with 759 PDAF points and 425 CDAF points
The AF system provides 92% coverage of the image area
Bright, large 0.64 OLED EVF with 9.44 million dots and 240fps refresh rate
Improved silent electronic shutter, no vibration
New carbon fiber mechanical shutter
Vibration shooting with both shutters
Electronic flash synchronization from 1 / 200s, mechanical flash synchronization from 1 / 400s (up to 1 / 500s on APS-C)
Video 8K / 30p
Video 4K / 120p
The industry’s fastest integrated Wi-Fi
Includes integrated 1000BASE-T Ethernet
Sony A1 design
The Sony A1 has the familiar Sony style, but there are some intriguing aspects of the body to discuss. Sony is building on its advances with other Alpha cameras, including many suggestions from the recent Sony A7S III. The A1 uses the same new menu system found on the A7S III while adding menu options to respond to new features. The main menu and function menus are responsive to touch, which is a big improvement over the A9 II.
Likewise, the A1 incorporates the same 0.64-type electron image found in the A7S III, albeit with twice the refresh rate. The 9.44M point EVF has a refresh rate of 240fps, plus with uninterrupted shooting, the A1 promises to be a very soft camera when shooting. You can also choose from 60fps and 120fps refresh rates for EVF. The EVF has 0.9x magnification and a 41 degree FOV. The A1 EVF is the highest, largest and fastest EVF resolution in its class.
In terms of durability, the A1 is built using a magnesium alloy chassis that is both lightweight and rigid. The lens mount has six screws, which Sony states increase strength and rigidity. The body has resistance to dust and moisture in all layers of the body and the battery cover. The dual media slot, which supports UHS-II SD cards and the new CFexpress Type A cards, has a dual sliding cover. The A1 also includes a lens lock button and mounting pad.
The shutter has also seen improvement. The A1 has a new mechanical shutter unit, which allows shooting speeds of up to 10fps. The carbon fiber shutter has an advanced engine, brake and shock absorber. Sony promises the grille is ‘good for more than 500,000 cycles’.
When you look at the front of the camera, you can see a white IR balance sensor. This promises improved white balance accuracy, especially under fluorescent, LED or other artificial light sources. We know the lens mount is tightened, but the shutter closes even when the camera is turned off, protecting the sensor from dust and changing lenses. There is also a standard anti-dust system on the A1.
Image sensor, image processor and shooting features: Sony A1 has a new sensor and newly found speed
At the heart of the Sony A1 is the new image pipeline. The most significant change compared to previous Alpha cameras is the new 50.1 megapixel Exmor RS image sensor. The image sensor uses a rugged design just like the 24MP Exmor RS sensors on the A9 models. The stacked design includes individual pixel and circuit layers and new A / D conversion for faster processing. The backlit image sensor and its integrated memory promise faster reading. The read speed is up to 1.5x faster than the reading speed of the A9 II. Improved read speed performance, along with the new architecture in the Bionz XR image processing engine, is directly responsible for many of the A1’s advanced features. After the BIONZ X, the new BIONZ XR processing engine technically consists of two separate components (though Sony did not expand how many cores are included or if it is a complete dual-processor adjustment), and the BIONZ XR is said to offer 8 times more more processing power than the previous BIONZ X engine.