Sony presented a new professional camera with a 35mm full-format sensor. The Sony Alpha A1 has a resolution of 50 Mpx and takes up to 30 photos per second without a blackout-free viewfinder.
It offers a dynamic range of 15 f-stops (15+ for video) and ISO values from ISO 100 to 3200, which can be increased to ISO 102,400. If the resolution is not sufficient, the multishot function “Pixel Shift” this mode shifts the sensor while making 16 consecutive exposures to acquire approximately 199MP of information for greater color accuracy and detail than possible with a single exposure.
The viewfinder has a resolution of 9.44 million pixels and a refresh rate of up to 240 Hertz. The distance is determined 120 times per second using autofocus. An anti-distortion function enables recordings with the electronic shutter without the previously usual distorted image of moving parts of the subject. The electronic shutter can also be used with flash and with synchronization times of 1/400s in KB and 1/500s in APS-C format. With the mechanical lock, synchronization times of up to 1/400s are possible.
The camera has integrated image stabilization (5-axis IBIS), which allows shutter speeds to be 5.5 times longer, and uses two combination dual slots for SD and the small “CFexpress Type A” memory cards (such as Alpha 7S III). Video recordings are possible in a maximum of 8K @ 30p. 4K recordings can be up to 120fps (slow motion).
Sony Alpha A1 Highlights at a Glance:
- New 50.1 megapixel full format stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor in combination with an improved Bionz XR image processing engine with eight times more computing power
- Blackout-free series recordings (no viewfinder darkening) with up to 30 frames per second
- Fast sensor readout enables up to 120 AF / AE calculations per second, twice as fast as with the Alpha 9 II, even with continuous shots at 30 frames per second
- Bright and large electronic OLED quad XGA viewfinder with approx. 9.44 million points and the world’s first refresh rate of 240 frames per second
- Noiseless and vibration-free electronic shutter
- The world’s first anti-flicker recording with both a mechanical and an electronic shutter
- Flash synchronization with electronic shutter up to 1/200 seconds for the first time in the Alpha series
- World’s fastest flash synchronization with mechanical shutter up to 1/400 sec.
- 8K 30p 10-bit 4: 2: 0 XAVC HS video recording with 8.6K oversampling for exceptional details and resolution, in addition to the 4K 120p 10-bit 4: 2: 2 film recording capability.
- Wide dynamic range of 15 stops for photos and 15+ stops for video
- Improved Real-Time Eye AF (autofocus) for humans and animals and new Real-Time Eye AF for birds and Real-Time Tracking that automatically maintains the exact focus
- 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization with up to 5.5 shutter speed levels
- S-Kineton color matrix as with FX9 and FX6 for an expressive cinema look
- Professional workflow support with the industry’s fastest built-in Wi-Fi, SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, 1000BASE-T Ethernet and more.
In addition to the high recording speed, for the first time, the Alpha A1’s viewfinder offers a refresh rate of 240 fps xiv for a clear and flicker-free viewfinder display. The viewfinder does not darken when taking continuous shots and offers an uninterrupted view as well as seamless framing and tracking. The high-resolution OLED display with around 9.44 million pixels and 0.64 times Quad-XGA resolution is the highest monitor quality on the market to date. It also offers a viewfinder magnification of 0.90 times, a diagonal field of view of 41°, and a 25 mm high eyepoint for a clear, low-distortion view of the entire image format.
Sony paid close attention to autofocus technology when developing the Alpha A1 so that the new flagship can track complex, fast-moving subjects with great precision. The camera has 759 phase-detection points in a high-density phase-detection AF system on the sensor, covering approximately 92% of the image area – for accuracy and impeccable sharpness in environments where it might otherwise be difficult to focus.
Sony’s advanced real-time autofocus improves detection performance by 30% compared to the previous system thanks to the powerful Bionz XR image processing engine. The engine ensures accurate, reliable detection, even when the subject’s face is not facing directly into the camera. In addition to the improved real-time eye AF for humans and animals, the Alpha A1 with its highly developed subject recognition technology offers real-time eye AF for birds for the first time in a camera of the Alpha series. Optimized algorithms ensure that tracking is maintained even if a sitting bird spontaneously takes flight or the image section suddenly changes.
The Alpha A1 also has AI-based real-time tracking that automatically maintains the exact focus. A subject recognition algorithm uses color, pattern (brightness), and subject distance (depth) data to process spatial information in real-time and at high speed.
Thanks to the high readout speed of the new image sensor, it was possible to reduce the rolling shutter when recording still images by up to 1.5 times compared to the Alpha 9 II. Also, for the first time in the world, it offers flicker-free series recordings with an electronic shutter. This works without any mechanical noise and vibration-free. Problem-free series recordings are possible even under difficult light situations with fluorescent tubes or other types of artificial light that are prone to flicker. And for the first time in an alpha camera, the flash synchronization with electronic shutter is up to 1/200s.
The Alpha A1 has the world’s fastest flash sync time of 1/400 of a second with a mechanical shutter, which makes capturing dynamic action even easier. In addition to the carbon fiber curtain, the A1 has a newly developed dual locking system with a spring and electromagnetic drive, which is extremely durable and lightweight.
Despite the sensor’s high number of pixels, the A1 offers low noise even at high ISO sensitivity and a dynamic range of more than 15 f-stops for videos and 15 f-stops for photos. Soft, natural gradations from shadows to highlights are possible over a wide ISO sensitivity range from 100 to 32,000 (expandable to ISO 50 to 102,400 for photos).
Besides, the new camera has a further developed pixel-shift multi-exposure mode, which combines up to 16 images in full resolution. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in one or half-pixel increments to capture 16 separate pixel-shifted images totaling 796.2 million pixels, which are then converted into a 199 million pixel image using Sony’s Imaging Edge desktop application (17’280 x 11’520 pixels). With a flash synchronization of up to 1/200 seconds in this mode, it is ideal for photographing architecture, art or other still lifes with a high degree of detail and color accuracy.
The Sony Alpha A1 offers an in-camera 4K recording with up to 120 frames per second, which enables the user to shoot up to 5 times slow-motion videos. In addition to supporting 10-bit 4: 2: 2 recordings, this function can be used with efficient long GOP inter-frame compression or high-quality intra (all I) intraframe compression.
The Alpha A1 features S-Cinetone, the same color matrix that creates the highly regarded FX9 and FX6 hues and skin tones. It delivers natural mid-tones as well as soft colors and magnificent highlights to meet the growing need for more depth of expression. The S-Log3 gamma curve enables a dynamic range of more than 15 f-stops, while the S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3. Cine color space settings make it easy to adapt Alpha A1 material to video recordings with the Venice cinema camera, FX9 and other professional cinema cameras enable.
A novel heat-dissipating structure of the housing keeps the temperature of the image sensor and the image processing engine within the normal operating range, thus preventing the camera from overheating. This enables 8K / 30p videos to be recorded continuously for about 30 minutes.
Price and availability
The new mirrorless full-frame camera is now available to pre-order on Bhphotovideo.com for $6,498.
Recently, Sony has introduced the FE 35mm f1.4 GM wide angle lens that offers photographers and videographers a wide range of expressive options with first-class image quality and excellent bokeh in an extremely compact and lightweight design.