SONY A1 SPECS
|Dimensions||3. Eight by 4.1 by 2.7 inches|
|Sensor Decision||50 MP|
|Sensor Sort||Stacked CMOS|
|Lens Mount||Sony E|
|Reminiscence Card Slots||2|
|Reminiscence Card Format||SDXC (UHS-II), CFexpress (Sort A)|
|Battery Sort||Sony NP-FZ100|
|Show Dimension||Three inches|
|Show Decision||1.44 million dots|
|Contact Display screen||Sure|
|EVF Decision||9. Four million dots|
|Connectivity||micro USB, Headphone (3.5mm), PC Sync, Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45), Bluetooth, HDMI, USB-C, Wi-Fi, Microphone (3.5mm)|
|Most Waterproof Depth||Zero ft|
|HDMI Output||4:2:2 16-bit|
The Sony a1 ($6,499.99, physique solely) is a real do-it-all camera, one that is equally appropriate for high-resolution panorama work, demanding sports activities and wildlife pictures, and professional video seize alike. It makes use of forward-thinking tech to fill out a formidable record of specs, together with 50MP Uncooked pictures at as much as 30fps, next-generation 8K video, and assist for ultra-fast CFexpress reminiscence to maintain up to the mark with all of it. Technical accolades apart, the Sony a1 delivers the products for professionals who depend on an interchangeable lens digital camera for work and is a splurge value taking for lovers, particularly those entrenched within the Sony system, incomes it our Editors’ Alternative award.
A Stacked Sensor Makes It Doable
The center of the a1 is its sensor, a full-frame 50MP imager. It does not have the best pixel depend and is not heads and shoulders above opponents on the excessive finish of its ISO vary. The easy reality is that some great benefits of one sensor to a different aren’t as huge right now as in years previous—you may take pleasure in similar picture high quality from the 42MP Sony a7R III, the 45MP Canon EOS R5, the 45MP Nikon Z 7 II, and the 60MP Sony a7R IV. They’re all reasonably improbable.
So what’s completely different right here? It is the sensor velocity—it reads via all of its pixels extra rapidly than others. Sony makes use of what’s known as a stacked design, one which stacks its quick DRAM reminiscence into the identical silicon. That is its second-generation full-frame digital camera to leverage the tech; Sony has greater than doubled the pixel depend from the 24MP a9 and a9 II, and the readout velocity is faster, quick sufficient for flash sync.
Sony could have been first to market with the a9; however, it’s not the one participant within the area. We have not reviewed the 24MP Canon EOS R3 ($5,999); however, we count on it to be a severe competitor. Its eye-control focus system is intriguing, to say the least. Nikon additionally has a stacked mannequin within the works, and the Z 9 is set for launch later this 12 months; however, we do not know much about it. Nikon guarantees 8K video, so we count on it using a high-resolution sensor, at the very least 45MP.
Get a Grip?
The a1 has a more petite physique than the R3 or Z 9, fashions that incorporate a vertical taking pictures grip into their chassis. Sony affords an add-on grip for the a1 as an alternative, the VG-C4EM ($399.99). However, it holds two batteries, does not include one, so it finances one other $79.99 for a second NP-FZ100.
Without the grip, the a1 is similar measurement and form as a current Sony a7 or a9 collection full-frame, at 3. Eight by 4.1 by 2.7 inches (HWD) and round 1.6 kilos and not using a lens hooked up. The grip provides a few inches of peak and brings the load to around 2.2 kilos.
Sony’s take lets you choose whether or not or not you need a large digital camera with vertical controls. It is excellent news that people like me prefer a more miniature digital camera, but much less suitable for grip followers. It provides value to an already costly digital camera and is not as streamlined as a built-in resolution. The seen line between digital camera and grip is an apt metaphor—it is simply not seamless.
The physique is constructed for severe use, indoors and out. Its chassis and prime plate are magnesium alloy, and the body is protected against mud and splashes. Sony does not go so far as placing the a1 via the IP score course of, although. We have solely seen a couple of ILCs go that far—the Leica SL2-S and Olympus E-M1X are among the many notables.
Handles Like a Sony
Grip or not, the a1 handles very similar to an a9 or a9 II, and is not too far off from current a7 fashions, excellent news in case you’re mulling an improvement to the next class of digital camera. Should you’re shifting over from a Canon 1D, Nikon D6, or comparable SLR, you may be aware Sony does not embody management buttons between the lens mount and handgrip.
High plate controls are ample, however not reasonably crowded. A nested pair set drive velocity and focus modes on the left of the recent shoe. Mode and EV dials are proper, together with versatile C1 and C2 buttons, the shutter launch, energy change, and entrance and rear command dials. Drive, Focus, Mode, and EV lock; however, do not use identical mechanisms. The EV dial’s middle publishes toggles its wave; however, you’ll want to maintain the button on Drive, Focus, and Mode to show them.
With all the things up prime, there is no room left for a data show. Sony hasn’t put one on any of its mirrorless cameras. Canon and Nikon have opted to comply with the ethos set by their gripped SLRs—the EOS R3, and Z 9 prime plates aren’t as crowded with dials, leaving room for shows.
It is desk stakes for rear controls. The a1 features a flat command dial with a central button, in addition to an eight-way controller for fast, direct management of the energetic focus level or zone. They’re joined by a couple of buttons—the anticipated Delete, Menu, and Play is all there, in addition to an AF-ON button, AEL, Report, Fn, and programmable C3 control.
Many of the a1’s controls are configurable, so it is straightforward enough to swap out a setting if you choose. For instance, I set the rear middle button to swap between Animal, Hen, and Human eye detection settings. The on-screen operate (Fn) menu can be versatile; every one of its twelve panels could be set to a particular work, and you’ll arrange discrete menus for stills and video in case you choose.
Should you’re upgrading from an a9, a9 II, or most a7 collection cameras, you may be greeted with Sony’s freshly revamped menu system, first seen on the video-focused a7S III. It is organized differently, utilizing columns as an alternative of tabs, is coloration-coded for clearer visibility, and is navigable by contact. The My Menu web page continues to be there, too—you’ll be able to populate it together with your most-used settings for simple,e fast entry.
All in all, the a1 handles in an identical method to different Sony cameras, making it a pure match for photographers who’ve been utilizing a9 and a7 collection our bodies. On the opposite facet of the fence, the Canon EOS R3 does somewhat extra to push the envelope by using its eye-controlled autofocus system. A spotlight level that tracks your eye actions is intriguing on paper; however, we have not had an opportunity to see how it performs in the actual world.
Viewfinder and LCD
The a1’s eye-level viewfinder is, without doubt, one of the greatest we have utilized in any digital camera. The OLED show seems bigger to your eye than most others—its 0.90x magnification betters opponents, together with the EOS R3 (0.76x) and high-end SLRs, just like the Nikon D6 (0.72x).
The viewfinder’s coloration copy is devoted too, and it affords loads of decisions for its measurement (9 . Four million dots). It is set for 120fps refresh by default, and the view is lifelike and clear. You’ll be able to put it to 240fps, a plus for maintaining the quickest topics, or ratchet right down to 60fps for the most apparent element. The faster refresh fee is palpable—the 240fps view is sort of hyperrealistic—however it comes with a noticeable drop in readability. The EVF exhibits a sharper preview at 120fps, although I admit my eyes could not see a distinction in readability between the 60fps and 120fps settings (they each look nice).
You’ve gotten the choice of setting it to point out a preview of your publicity, complete with any filters you’ve got selected. It is my most well-liked method to work, with real-time suggestions of advertising. For instance, a good preview of the ultimate picture is once I need to use a vivid, monochrome, or comparable Artistic Look.
Publicity preview is not nearly as good an alternative for studio photographers who depend on strobes to light up a scene. A vivid, all the time coloration view is an everyday possibility with mirrorless cameras and is included right here.
I’ve no actual complaints with the viewfinder—it is a surprise—however, as soon as once more, Canon is engaged on some one-upmanship with the EOS R3. The R3’s EVF uses an HDR show and guarantees a higher match what you see via an OVF. I have not had an opportunity to see how it compares with the a1; however, DPReview has executed a deep dive if you’re within the know-how behind Canon’s HDR viewfinder.
The a1’s rear LCD is extra last-generation than subsequent; however, it will get the job executed. The three-inch contact panel affords a run-of-the-mill 1.44-million-dot decision and feels misplaced on a high-end digital camera, mainly when sharper shows are frequent amongst affordable fashions; the $2,000 Nikon Z 6 II makes use of a 2.1-million-dot LCD.
The decreased decision is an extra difficulty for picture evaluation and handbook focus—in case you’re punching in to ensure you’ve received the focus set ultimately, a sharper display is helpful. I am a fan of the single-axis hinge for tripod and low-angle work, and the contact operation is correct and responsive. You may wrestle a bit at default settings seeing particulars on vivid days; however, an extra-bright Sunny Climate mode is offered for higher visibility outdoor.
Energy and Connectivity
The a1 is an ultimately linked digital camera, with Bluetooth, NFC, and dual-band Wi-Fi, in addition to Gigabit Ethernet for wired communication. The digital camera works with the Sony Imaging Edge Cell app to connect with Android and iOS gadgets and helps the Switch & Tagging add-on app for FTP switch with the voice memo and IPTC metadata assist.
Each micro USB 2. Zero and USB-C ports are included for charging and information switch. They’re positioned on the left facet panel, together with a full-size HDMI port, a PC Sync socket, and three.5mm microphone and headphone connections. The recent shoe helps digital mics from Sony, in addition to an XLR adapter for studio-grade audio tools.
The twin reminiscence card slots are on the right panel, protected by a locking door. Every of the a1’s card slots helps UHS-II SDXC playing cards and CFexpress Sort A. You’ve gotten entry to the entire video options when utilizing the CFexpress playing card; however, you lose access to a few of of the highest-quality settings if you depend on SD playing cards.
The Sony NP-FZ100 battery offers energy. It is CIPA rated for 530 pictures with the LCD or 430 pictures utilizing the EVF—you may get considerably extra if you make the most of steady drive; however, it’s a valuable benchmark to match with different cameras. Video recording is battery intensive, too. A charged battery manages around 80 minutes of 8K video or about an hour of S&Q slow movement at 4K120.
Seemingly countless battery life is commonplace for professional SLR; however, mirrorless cameras use extra energy for various causes. The EVF is a continuing energy draw, and one should not cost the processing energy required for high-speed seize and autofocus. Nonetheless, the a1 lags behind different Sonys that use the identical battery—the a7R IV will get 670 pictures with its LCD and 530 with the EVF.
The Pleasure of Blackout-Free Images
Even on the mid-entry $2,000 value level, right now’s mirrorless cameras are unilaterally fast, with many monitoring motions around 10fps—more significant than sufficient for a lot of disciplines. The a1’s stacked sensor helps larger seize charges, as much as 30fps at the entire 50MP decision in HEIF, JPG, or Uncooked. It does so with no interruption within the viewfinder—a vivid line flashes on the edges throughout publicity.
It is the sensor that makes the velocity and the seamless view attainable. Mirrorless cameras with commonplace sensors additionally supply silent seize; however, they present a stuttering view within the EVF. With the a1, the viewfinder consistently exhibits an easy view of the world and goes darkish by no means. It is extra, just like utilizing a rangefinder or TLR, then an SLR, and is an actual profit for capturing pictures of topics in movement.
The shutter readout velocity is fast sufficient to freeze topics in movement. I did not have entry to an oscilloscope to measure the readout velocity; however, DPreview clocked it at 1/260-second, quicker than the a9 and a9 II, measured by picture blogger Jim Kasson 1/150-second, and far speedier than cameras without stacked sensors. A typical full-frame 24MP digital camera can learn its sensor in 1/30-second—ok portraits, however more likely to induce distortion when photographing motion.
The faster scan velocity lets the a1 sync with flashes at 1/200-second with the digital shutter and 1/400-second with its mechanical shutter. Third-party strobes are supported—I checked it with the Flashpoint Xplor 300 Pro TTL R2 off-camera; however, the Godox V1 mounted to the recent shoe, and each labored without situation.
There are some instruments included to assist make the digital shutter usable in different environments. A menu possibility permits you to set oddball shutter settings—speeds like 1/316.3-second as an alternative to the usual 1/320-second—to keep away from ugly banding results when working at stadiums and different venues with digital signage. There’s additionally a flicker discount possibility, accessible in burst taking pictures, to cut back publicity wobble when working beneath artificial lights, a plus for photographing indoor sports activities and nighttime video games.
The a1 helps 30fps steady drive with most Sony lenses; however, it is proscribed to 15fps with third-party glass from Rokinon, Sigma, Tamron, and others. Working at 30fps, indicated by Hello+ on the drive dial, is absolute overkill for a lot of, so Hello (20fps), Medium (15fps), and Low (5fps) choices can be found properly. The slower speeds supply a bit higher picture high quality, too—at 30fps, the digital camera saves Uncooked information in a lossy compressed format; however, alternative to indifferent, you could have the choice of lossless compression or uncompressed seize at 20fps and decrease.
It is worthwhile to put money into quick CFexpress reminiscence playing cards if you plan to use high-speed drive choices. With SDXC playing cards, the buffer fills up extra rapidly—about 80 Uncooked or 175 JPGs versus 200 Uncooked and 100 JPG for CFe. The exact; however, their indifferent time is extra of an; however ache level—there’s an 18-second wait when utilizing a 299MBps Sony Robust SDXC card; however, it’s lower to an inexpensive 6 seconds with a 700MBps CFexpress card. As quick as the a1 is, it is nonetheless a Sony digital camera, meaning you’ll be able to change gears and change to video recording until the buffer has cleared to reminiscence.
The a1’s autofocus system works very lot the identical to different current-generation Sony fashions, with the addition of eye detection for birds—the a9 II and a7R IV supply animal eye detection; however, it’s restricted to cats, canine, primates, and comparable creatures (it additionally works for squirrels and deer in my expertise).
Hen eye detection labored fairly properly with my native fauna. It had no drawback choosing out egrets and herons towards uncluttered backgrounds. For birds in timber, it is worthwhile to slender the world of curiosity for the primary target system—the expanded versatile spot is my favorite for locating topics in branches. So long as you place it on the fowl, the a1’s focus is sensible sufficient to leap over and deal with the attention. It isn’t reasonably as adept because the Canon EOS R5—its topic recognition is somewhat more robust basically and does not make you choose between animals, people, and birds.
Autofocus protection may be pervasive, withal,l however the far right and left edges of the sensor are coated by part detection. It makes for very efficient monitoring. Sony’s Actual Time Monitoring focus is tenacious—as soon as you’ve got received it set, the main target field strikes proper alongside together with your topic. You’ll be able to select the digital camera to search for focus throughout your complete body or set a tighter space of curiosity. The a1 helps a movable zone (protecting a few quarters of the body), three sizes of spot, and an expanded location.
Room to Crop
The a1’s full-frame sensor is all-new, and whereas it isn’t somewhat as pixel-rich because of the a7R IV, there’s nonetheless loads of room to print large and crop in tight with its 50MP decision. For working professionals who have to file JPGs in real-time, 21MP and 12MP choices are additionally accessible. There is no lowered decision Uncooked possibility; however, you’ll be able to seize 50MP Uncooked with lower-resolution JPGs (or HEIFs) concurrently.
In-body stabilization is included. It provides one profit past lowering handshake-induced blur and smoothing out video footage. Sony leverages it for Pixel Shift Decision, a tripod-needed mode that captures several photos in succession, shifting the sensor barely between every, for both 50MP photos with improved coloration sampling or 200MP pictures with higher coloration and extra pixels. You may have to spend a while utilizing Sony’s desktop software program to place Uncooked photos collectively into one thing you’ll be able to course of and print, and be ready to cope with considerable information—the digital camera takes four pictures to get higher coloration at 50MP, and 16imagess for 200MP output.
The a1 helps a couple of completely different file codecs. Uncooked output is offered in uncompressed, lossless compressed, or compressed high quality. It will possibly additionally document ready-to-share 8-bit JPG or 10-bit HEIF photos, although not concurrently. The HEIF format is not supported adequately within the picture world; however, it retains extra information and is saved in an HDR coloration area.
The digital camera covers a large ISO vary, beginning at ISO 100 and ranging as much as ISO 25600 in its commonplace mode, and ISO 102400 within the prolonged vary. ISO 50 is a lowland possibility. The sensor does a beautiful job controlling noise via all over ISO 12800—the JPG output exhibits minor or no noise and strong elements. The productions at ISO 25600 and 51200 are smudgier; however,r colors stay true. You may be aware of my coloration shifts at ISO 102400 and blurry outcomes; take into account is an emergency setting solely.
Should you’re working in Uncooked format,t you may take pleasure in extra flexibility to edit pictures and to use noise discount as you see match. We use Lightroom Classic as our processor for digital camera evaluations within the PCMag Labs—its default noise processing does an excellent job of quashing coloration noise and leaves some very pure trying grain at larger ISOs. It is an adequate sample from ISO 800 via 12800; however, t will get tough at ISO 25600 and 51200. As with JPGs, the ISO 102400 leaves lots to be desired. Uncooked photos maintain up properly to edits. The information affords room to regulate publicity, pull in highlights, open shadows, and tone coloration to style.
Sony does not get as deep within the weeds with movie appears and in-camera artwork filters. Should you be working in JPG or HEIF, you’ll be able to set the digital camera to be a straightforward, black-and-white, vivid, portrait, and comparable Artistic Seems to be. Should you’re thinking about in-camera movie grain and filters in a high-end digital camera, the Fujifilm GFX medium format system is a more excellent match; however, its bigger sensor measurement makes it higher suited to seize nonetheless than high-speed motion and video.
8K30 and 4K120 Video
The a1 strikes properly past the 4K decision provided by the corporate’s cinema cameras, together with full-frame fashions that take the identical lenses, just like the a7S III and FX3. The a1 pushes the decision to 8K with a body fee of 30fps and helps as much as 4K60 recording with sound and 4K120 in its silent S&Q off-speed recording mode.
There is a litany of codec, bit fee, and different choices. At its highest high quality, the a1 data XAVC HS footage at 10-bit 4:2:Zero at 8K and improves coloration sampling to 4:2:2 at 4K when recording internally. Uncooked seize is not accessible internally; however, the Atomos Ninja Phelps 12-bit ProRes Uncooked at 4.3K30 with the a1.
A pair of flat, ready-for-grading image profiles are included, S-Log2 and S-Log3. The digital camera additionally helps HDR recording within the HLG area and has an S-Cinetone look from Sony’s cinema cameras. The S-Cinetone footage is supposed to ship extra filmic colors and tones without the necessity for coloration grading.
The standard of video is excellent, and Sony has managed to sidestep overheating points right here, one thing that is plagued the 8K-capable Canon EOS R5. I recorded almost two hours of 8K footage repeatedly, pausing solely to swap batteries and reformat reminiscence, with no situation. The sensor will get hotter when recording slow movement, and however, nonetheless, it managed 50 minutes of steady 4K120 seize earlier than overheating.
It is powerful to search out an excessive amount of fault with the a1 as a digital video camera—it does lots, does it properly, and you do not have to babysit the digital camera to maintain it from overheating. Help for CFe reminiscence can be a boon—the buffer clears extra rapidly, so hybrid creators will not have to attend as lengthy for pictures to jot down to reminiscence earlier than switching gears.
I’ll say I want Sony had go somewhat additional in separating video settings from these for stills seize. You have to take some care to alter shutter speeds when switching between stills and video mode, and it’s important to disable your video Image Profile if you wish to use a for-stills Artistic Look (or vice versa).
One Digital camera to Rule Them All
Sony isn’t any stranger to creating high-end cameras; however, the a1 is lower than what it was delivered earlier. It is a true do-it-all flagship, one that’s able to motion pictures at 30fps, high-resolution landscapes, and future-proof 8K video. It is a costly proposition, even compared with extra specialized cameras like the landscape-friendly a7R IV, the video-first a7S III, and the high-speed a9 II. However,r, if you want all three options, and do not fancy the concepts of shopping for three digital cameras on our bodies, look to the Sony a1.
Should you go characteristic for characteristic, the a1 is peerless. Its autofocus intelligence and high-speed seize are properly past what gripped SLRs—the Canon 1D X household and Nikon D6mainlyy—can. Within the mirrorless world, the Canon EOS R3 is “solely” a 24MP digital camera with 6K; however, it makes use of the identical kind of high-speed stacked sensor. However, we have not but examined it. However, we count on Canon’s $6,000 competitor to shop more brilliant that’s much about it, topic recognition, and are intrigued by its eye-controlled autofocus system. We hope to evaluate it quickly to see the way it compares with the a1 in real-world use.
Nikon has promised to convey its stacked sensor flagship, the Z 9, to market this 12 months; however, we do not know much about it. Nikon is taking part in its playing cards near the vest—we all know the Z 9 will assist 8K and might infer a high-resolution sensor, possibly within the 45MP neighborhood, from that nugget. Pricing is an unknown too; however, we count on it to be valued, about as a lot because the a1, give or take $500. Nikon has a more significant hill to climb when it comes to Z lens growth—it is lagged behind Canon in constructing its younger system. Sony retains a big lead in choice, just because it has been making full-frame E cameras for a much more extended period—the primary a7 was launched in 2013.
Some could lament its lack of a built-in grip, and we’ll admit that Sony hasn’t executed as a lot as Canon to maneuver the needle on a design idea; however, it’s simply as straightforward to reward the a1’s snug controls, acquainted to photographers stepping up from a7 and a9. And whereas its EVF is just an even more significant, sharper model of what is come earlier than, it is of improbable high quality. The rear show is not nearly as good—we count on higher, particularly for the value—however it’s not a good purpose to dissuade potential consumers.
We’ll have extra to say concerning the a1’s competitors when we put these cameras via the paces. In the meantime, the a1 is iller. We love what the stacked sensor does to maintain you within the second—there’s one thing to be stated about capturing a scene with no interruption within the viewfinder. There’s loads of velocity and backbone, too, in addition to an entire video toolkit. The a1 is the real deal and our Editors’ Alternative.
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