Cameras

Sony a1

Sony a1

Alpha Flagship is the first of its kind.

The Sony a1 is a flagship camera in the best meaning of the word; it is the one camera that can do it all.

Built without compromise, this full-frame mirrorless camera provides high-resolution stills shooting, excellent 8K video recording, speed, and sensitivity, as well as connection, to meet the needs of the most demanding professional workflows on the market.

stacked sensor with Exmor RS technology and a BIONZ XR processor

50.1MP Full-Frame BSI CMOS Sensor with BIONZ XR Image Processor

In addition to a new 50.1MP Exmor RS full-frame sensor with integrated memory that retains excellent picture quality, expandable sensitivity up to ISO 102400, and a 15-stop dynamic range, the sensor also includes quick 30 fps shooting, phase-detection autofocus, and a 15-stop dynamic range.

In addition, the sensor allows for the recording of lossless compressed raw data for flexible editing during post-production while preserving a relatively small file size.

Additionally, the 50.1MP resolution not only benefits still photographers but also provides full-frame 8.6K oversampling for 8K video recording, which is a significant improvement over previous models.

Improved picture processing capabilities across the camera system, thanks to a revamped BIONZ XR engine, including up to 8x quicker processing, significantly decreased rolling shutter, and more fluent interface and file management handling rates.

Shooting at up to 30 frames per second and an updated shutter

If you are using an electronic shutter, the sensor’s efficient design and processing allow for high-speed shooting at full 50.1MP resolution with complete AF and AE capabilities at speeds of up to 30 frames per second.

Even when using the mechanical shutter, the frame rate remains high at 10 frames per second. Additionally, the camera’s enormous buffer memory allows it to capture up to 155 compressed raw frames or 165 JPEGs in a single burst at 30 frames per second.

Its blackout-free viewfinder experience, which makes use of the camera’s 240 fps refresh rate for fluent eye-level viewing, is well suited for fast-paced continuous shooting.

The updated electronic shutter provides silent, vibration-free performance, as well as anti-flicker shooting for working under fluorescent, LED, or other flicker-prone types of artificial light, even when shooting at 30 frames per second with 120 frames per second AF speeds, according to the manufacturer.

Because of the faster readout rates, electronic shutter flash sync is now achievable at speeds of up to 1/200 second. In addition, when employing the upgraded mechanical shutter, even quicker flash sync rates are possible, with full-frame sync speeds of 1/400 sec and an APS-C crop of 1/500 sec being possible respectively.

Video in 8K 30p and 4K 120p resolutions

Support for 8K 30p and 4K 120p resolutions

It is possible to record UHD 8K 30p XAVC HS 10-bit 4:2:0 video using the full width of the sensor, resulting in excellent clarity and realism thanks to the high-resolution sensor and quick processing capabilities of the camera.

Low bit-rate proxy files with HD resolution can be recorded quicker for playback when this high-resolution recording mode is being used to make it easier to handle the high-resolution recording mode.

Additionally, 8K video at 400 Mb/s can be written to a UHS-II SD card with a V90 rating, or 200 Mb/s to a V60 card, and 8K video may be transmitted over HDMI in an 8-bit 4:2:0 format with a V90 rating.

The a1 is capable of recording at frame rates of up to 120p at resolutions of up to UHD 4K; when recording at 60p, the camera provides full pixel readout, while when recording at 120p, a 10 percent cut is used.

Through the use of a 5.8K capture area and a Super 35 cut, it is also feasible to record oversampled 4K footage. For even greater tonal reproduction and post-production flexibility, internal 10-bit 4:2:2 sampling is also available in all recording modes.

If recording externally via the full-size HDMI A port, the 4.3K capture can also be output as 16-bit raw data for even greater tonal reproduction and post-production flexibility.

Flexibility in the recording process

This camera employs a pair of codecs to accommodate different workflows: XAVC High-Definition (HS), which employs HEVC/H.265 encoding to retain more detail at lower bitrates, and XAVC S-I, which is an intraframe codec that provides consistently high performance and quality at bitrates of up to 600 Mb/s.

With high-speed, 120 fps recording, it is possible to create 4x and 5x slow-motion movies, with the frame rate playback set to either 30p or 24p. If you go down to Full HD resolution, an effective 240p frame rate is also available for even more motion control.

Its lack of a maximum recording time allows users to create clips of any length they want, and its physical design includes a better heat-dissipating structure that allows for longer possible recording times; longer than 30 minutes for 8K 30p or 4K 60p videos, or longer than 30 minutes for recordings done at 10-bit 4:2:0.

Color Control with a Modern Twist

In addition to matching the FX9 and FX6 cameras, S-Cinetone can be used to deliver distinct colors and healthy-looking skin tone rendering that is based on technology from the professional Cinema Line cameras, such as the VENICE. S-Cinetone can be used to deliver distinct colors and healthy-looking skin tone rendering. With this color profile, you’ll get natural mid-tones, soft hues, and highlights that are exceptionally well-controlled.

You may alter the gamma, black level, knee, color level, and many other aspects of the image with the fully adjustable color and gamma settings.

The S-Log2 Gamma Curve used on high-end Sony Cinema cameras, which squeezes up to 1300 percent more dynamic range into the video signal than typical REC709, can also be used to boost post-production versatility.

The HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) color space is also supported, as is the BT.2020 color space, allowing for the recording of images with a wide color gamut.

In addition to S-Log2, S-Log3 is also supported, allowing for the production of images with a 15+-stop dynamic range and improved grading control in the shadow to mid-tone regions of the image.

A system with Hybrid AF with Quick Response Time

A Fast Hybrid AF system with 759 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection regions, which covers 92 percent of the picture area, allows for rapid and precise focusing in a variety of lighting circumstances with sensitivity down to -6 EV and is capable of shooting in low light.

All recording modes, including video and stills, may make use of this focusing technology, which is beneficial for both video and stills applications.

As a result of the quicker sensor readout and better processing, up to 120 autofocus and autoexposure calculations may be completed per second for faster, more responsive tracking as well as more accurate results.

Real-time tracking for AI-based tracking on moving subjects or touch tracking for manual selection of the subject allows you to lock onto targets fast and efficiently.

Using real-time Eye AF, which is ideal for both humans and animals, you can achieve essential sharpness while photographing people.

It is possible to use the dedicated Real-time Eye AF Bird Mode to monitor a specific bird by selecting it and the camera will automatically identify and follow the bird’s eye, regardless of whether the bird is in flight or motionless. This approach is effective even when a seated bird takes to the air.

The seven-step AF transition speed and five-step AF subject shift sensitivity adjustments allow you to fine-tune how rapidly focus switches from point to point and how smoothly focusing shifts occur, which will help you get the best performance out of the focusing system overall.

Designing the Human Body and Connectivity

Tilting Touchscreen LCD with Tru-Finder Electronic Viewing Device

Incredibly bright, clear, and detailed eye-level viewing is provided by an outstanding QXGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF with a high 9.44 million dot resolution and 0.9x magnification for remarkable brightness, clarity, and detail.

A dedicated 240 frames per second High Quality+ option is available for smooth motion rendering, and the physical design of the EVF offers an extended 25mm eye point, a 41° field of vision, and a fluorine coating on the outermost viewfinder element to aid in cleaning.

A 3.0″ 1.44m-dot tilting screen is advantageous while working from high and low angles. This LCD screen also functions as a touchscreen, allowing for more intuitive shooting control and navigating through the menu system.

The new menu layout is more intuitive, and it compliments the fact that there are various processes and settings possibilities for recording movies and taking still photographs. The menu system also works in combination with the back LCD’s touchscreen design, which is a convenient feature.

Design that is both versatile and long-lasting

Dual memory card slots are capable of accepting either CFexpress Type A or SD-type memory cards in any of the two slots. The dual slot architecture provides for more flexible file storing and processing, and it may be customized to segregate file types or to record overflow data as necessary, among other things. Aside from that, both of the card slots are capable of supporting UHS-II memory cards, which enable quicker data transmission speeds.

When shooting with the viewfinder, the camera can take approximately 430 shots/90 minutes of recording per charge, and when shooting with the rear LCD, the camera can take approximately 530 shots/95 minutes of recording per charge. The NP-FZ100 rechargeable lithium-ion battery is compatible with the camera.

During handheld photography and videography, the 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization technology adjusts for five distinct types of camera motion. The system is effective up to 5.5 stops and compensates for five different types of camera shake.

Also available for video is an Active IS mode, which employs even more accurate stabilization technologies to provide even smoother footage right out of the camera, compared to the standard IS mode.

The chassis is made of magnesium alloy, which provides stiffness, durability, and stability while staying lightweight. It has also been enhanced to help support heavier lenses, and the grip hardness has been increased to allow for more comfortable hand-holding when shooting with a tripod.

Extreme weather sealing, including improved sealing around the battery cover, terminal cover, and chassis joints, has been implemented to keep dust and moisture out and to ensure dependable operation even in the most adverse weather situations.

The Ports and the Interfaces

Full-size When dealing with external recorders, the HDMI A port provides a more dependable connection than the HDMI B connector.

There is now an additional USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, in addition to a micro-USB port, to allow for speedier and more reliable tethering capabilities. While connected, the camera may be charged or powered by the host power source thanks to the USB Type-C connection.

Wired flash sync with strobe packs or wireless radio remotes is accomplished using a PC sync interface.

The use of a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as an external microphone connector allows for better control over audio recording.

With the optional ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or the XLR-K3M Extender Kit, the Multi Interface Shoe provides better, clear audio recording sound by providing a digital audio signal to the camera, rather than an analog signal, which is then recorded on the camera’s internal microphone.

The Ethernet port provides a wired LAN connection at a speed of 1000BASE-T, which is ideal for sending data using FTP.

Connectivity

Thanks to built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, the a1 can rapidly transfer images to mobile devices for direct sharing online, and compatibility for both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands allows for wireless tethered shooting capabilities. Aside from that, the 5 GHz band provides 2×2 MIMO for faster communication rates, and twin antennas maintain a stable connection.

The use of a Bluetooth connection enables the capture of location data.

LAN sharing and remote operation are made easier with up to 1000BASE-T speeds available through the Ethernet connector.

As a result of the improvements, the Remote Camera Tool 2.1 software now offers decreased release time lag and live view delays, as well as remote SD card formatting, FTP server switching, and changes to the still picture storage destination while operating over a wired LAN connection.

Meanwhile, you may continue to shoot while your network transfers are taking place through wired or wireless connections.

Imaging Edge Remote for desktop allows PC Remote shooting through a Wi-Fi connection or tethered via a wired USB Type-C connector, depending on the camera model and configuration.

A new data transfer control makes it feasible to transmit files from an SD card via Wi-Fi using the Imaging Edge Mobile app, even while the camera is not switched on. This is made possible by an updated data transfer control.

Transfer & Tagging is an add-on tool that allows you to transmit FTP configuration parameters from your mobile device to the camera, upload data to an FTP server with attached metadata, and do automated voice-to-text translation all from your mobile device.

Multi-Shooting with Pixel Shift

Because of this unique compositing technique, you may get an even higher resolution than the 50.1MP sensor is capable of producing.

Using the sensor-shift image stabilization, this mode adjusts the sensor while taking 16 successive exposures to capture roughly 199MP of information, which provides higher color accuracy and detail than is feasible with a single exposure, as well as greater overall image quality.

Using the Sony Imaging software package, these files may then be blended together during the post-production process.

Sony a1 Specs

MSRP$6500 (body only)
Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Max resolution8640 x 5760
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels50 megapixels
Sensor photodetectors51 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeStacked CMOS
ProcessorDual Bionz XR
ISOAuto, 100-32000 (expands to 50-102400)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)102400
White balance presets7
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
CIPA image stabilization rating5.5 stop(s)
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsExtra fine, fine, standard, light
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Number of focus points759
Lens mountSony E
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,440,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.9×
Viewfinder resolution9,437,184
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/32000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesNo
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes
Continuous drive30.0 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedHighlight-weightedAverageSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
FormatXAVC S, XAVC HS, XAVC S-I, H.264, H.265
Modes7680 x 4320 @ 30p / 400 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM7680 x 4320 @ 25p / 400 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM7680 x 4320 @ 24p / 400 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 120p / 280 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 100p / 280 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 200 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 50p / 200 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 140 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage typesDual SD/CFexpress Type A slots (UHS-II supported)
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 GBit/sec)
USB chargingYes
HDMIYes (Standard)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11ac (Dual Band)
Remote controlYes (via Bluetooth or tethered PC)
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionNP-FZ100 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)530
Weight (inc. batteries)737 g (1.62 lb / 26.00 oz)
Dimensions129 x 97 x 81 mm (5.08 x 3.82 x 3.19″)
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

Sony a1 Price

Corey
About Author

Corey

Freelance journalist Corey has been writing about digital photography since 2006, first as a deputy editor and then as the editor of a variety of photographic journals. Featuring expert product reviews and in-depth features

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