Sony Alpha 1 Image Gallery
April 19th, 2021
What do you get when you combine the massive resolution of the Sony a7RIV (almost!), the blazing speed of the Sony a9II (and more!), and all the video capabilities of the Sony a7SIII? The answer is the Sony Alpha 1, aka the Sony A1, or, more technically, the Sony ILCE-1. The Alpha 1 is definitely the “Alpha” in the Sony Alpha lineup, as it packs a whole new 50MP sensor but manages to also produce a Sony highest 30FPS burst rate along with video capabilities up to 8K. It’s also the Alpha in terms of price, carrying a hefty nearly $6500 USD price tag, meaning that you could buy the Sony a7RIV and the a7SIII for the same price, or, for a thousand more, the a7RIV and the a9II. Ouch! Put simply, the Alpha 1 is more camera than what most people need or can afford. I’m a frugal person in many ways, and yet, the longer I thought about it, I became increasingly compelled to sell my a7RIII and a9 bodies and purchase the A1. I’ll detail why in this review.
When I reviewed the massive Fujifilm GFX-100 and showed it to family and friends, they were easily convinced that it was a consequential, expensive camera. It has an intimidating presence that shouts that only a professional photographer could be worthy to wield such a weapon. That’s not the case with the Alpha 1. When I showed it to my 18 year old son (it had arrived while I was out of town and I had tasked him with making sure that an expensive delivery was properly taken care of), his response was, “Doesn’t that look just like your other cameras?” And, for the most part, that’s true. It has the familiar body that is similar to the a9II or a7RIV, and it’s still a very compact camera. Cameras this expensive used to come in the “pro” body style with the integrated vertical grip, and they shouted “professional camera”. The A1 doesn’t intimidate from the outside; it’s a Clark Kent wrapper around a Superman inside.
- 50.1-MP 35 mm full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with integral memory
- Advanced BIONZ XR engine boosts speed by up to 8x
- 30fps continuous shooting with AF/AE tracking
- Movie-making with 8K 30p and 4K 120p
- Wide AF coverage with 759-point phase-detection and 425-point contrast-detection AF points
- Battery life (stills) – Approx. 430 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 530 shots (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard)
- Image Quality Modes – RAW (Compressed / Lossless Compressed / Uncompressed), JPEG (Extra fine / Fine / Standard / Light), HEIF (4:2:0 / 4:2:2) (Extra fine / Fine / Standard / Light)
- Viewfinder – 9.44 million dots
- LCD 1.44 million dots
- Human face and eye AF, animal body and eye AF, and a new Birding AF mode
- Flash Sync. Speed – (Mechanical Shutter), (Flash Sync. Priority) is (ON) or (AUTO):1/400 s (35 mm full-frame), 1/500 s (APS-C), (Flash Sync. Priority) is (OFF):1/320 s (35 mm full-frame), 1/400 s (APS-C), (Electrical shutter), 1/200 s (35 mm full-frame), 1/250 s (APS-C)
- Image Sensor-Shift mechanism with 5-axis compensation
- Continuous Drive Speeds – AUTO/Electronic Shutter: Continuous shooting: Hi+: 30fps, Hi: 20fps, Mid: 15fps, Lo: 5fps | Mechanical Shutter: Continuous shooting: Hi+: 10fps, Hi: 8fps, Mid: 6fps, Lo: 3fps
Standout features are the new 50MP sensor while also boosting continuous shooting up to 30FPS (50% increase over the A9II’s 20FPS) along with the 8K30 and 4K120 video capabilities. But I had two cameras that could shoot 20FPS (which has always proven enough for me) and a camera that could shoot 8K30 and 4K120 (Canon EOS R5). It was the some of the less-headline grabbing features that began to sway me. Things like an amazingly high resolution 9.44 million dot viewfinder, lossless compressed RAW option, anti-flicker technology and great flash sync specs even while using the electronic shutter, eliminating rolling shutter, no 29:59 record limits, more touch capabilities on the LCD, the ability to protect the sensor with the shutter mechanism when powered down, and more that we’ll detail in the main review. I’ve found that Sony’s last four major camera releases (a7RIV, a9II, a7C, and a7SIII) all had unique features that I found desirable when reviewing them, but each camera’s strengths were offset by certain weaknesses that made me hesitate to pull the trigger on an upgrade. The A1, while incredibly expensive, manages to put all the strengths of Sony cameras in one location, making me feel as if I could sell off other cameras and get one Sony camera that had all the Sony goodies.
So what should have gotten upgraded and didn’t? There isn’t much, but the big standout to me is the LCD screen, which is the same size (3″), resolution (1.44 million dot), and with the same limited tilt capabilities as previous models. The Canon EOS R5 has, by comparison a larger (3.2″), higher resolution (2.1 million dot), more responsive and fully articulating LCD that allows for front monitoring. If I were to nitpick, I would point out that the Canon EOS R5 also has more phase detect focus points (1053 vs 759), better coverage (100 vs 93%, and greater sensitivity to its AF system (down to -6 vs -4 EV). The R5/R6 are still ahead in tracking the eyes of birds, too. But there are, of course, areas where the Alpha 1 easily surpasses the EOS R5, too, with one of the most noticeable being the overheating issues that the Canon cameras suffer with.
You can see my findings in either the video reviews or by reading my text review, or just enjoy the photos below.
Thanks to Camera Canada for working hard to source a Sony Alpha 1 for me. I’ve purchased both my Canon EOS R5 and Alpha 1 from them, and they’ve provided top notch customer service. If you are in Canada, be sure to check them out!
Photos of the Sony A1
Photos Taken with the Sony A1
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Keywords: Sony Alpha 1, Sony A1, Sony Alpha 1 Review, Sony A1 Review, ILCE-1, Sony, Alpha 1, A1, Review, Hands On, Dustin Abbott, Real World, Comparison, Sharpness, Sensor Performance, ISO, Dynamic Range, Autofocus, Image Quality, Sample Images, Video, Photography, Canon EOS R5, Sony a7RIV, Sony a9II, Sony a7SIII
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