Sony’s Alpha series of flagship cameras has received its first refresh of 2021 called the Alpha 1. The new Alpha 1 combines the best of Sony’s other mirrorless cameras but takes it up to the best photo and video quality the company has to offer.
Sony A1 features a 50.1MP full-frame stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor that also brings a new and improved BIONZ XR image processor. The camera offers more than 15 presets of dynamic range for videos and an ISO range of 100-32,000 (up to 50-102,400 for stills). It can also create 199MP images using Sony’s improved Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode.
Not only that, but the new image processor also lets you create full-resolution RAW images at 30FPS with a buffer large enough to fit 155 RAWs and 165 JPEGs.
Sony has updated the electronic viewfinder to keep up with all the camera’s upgrades. The 0.64-inch Quad-XGA OLED display has a 240Hz refresh rate, which is a first for any camera in the world. It offers a 0.9x viewfinder magnification and a 41 degrees viewing angle. The main display, on the other hand, is a 3-inch LCD with touchscreen support and a tilting design as seen in the image above.
Autofocus has seen an upgrade as well and the camera now has 759 phase-detection points with real-time eye autofocus for humans as well as animals. For the first time, the autofocus system has support for birds as well and the new algorithm can maintain focus even if the bird suddenly takes flight.
For videos, the Sony A1 is capable of recording 8K at 30FPS. It actually uses the full width of the 50MP sensor to capture 8.6K videos which are then downscaled to 8K. It can do 60FPS and 120FPS at 4K, though there is no downscaling in this case. However, if you record 5.8K, it is downsampled to 4K in Super 35 mode.
A sample of 8K video recording is shown in the video below.
Heating has started to become an issue as cameras are getting smaller and capturing higher resolution stills and videos. Sony says that the A1 can record 8K videos for 30 minutes thanks to its new heat dissipation system also seen on the A7S III. Several other improvements are on board as well such as upgraded color science as well as improved stability for videos.
For connectivity, you get Gigabit Ethernet, a USB C port, WiFi, dual card slots, and an optional battery grip that allows you to double the battery capacity.
The Sony Alpha 1 will go for sale in March this year for $6500.