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The Sony Alpha 1 has landed

Posted on Jan 28, 2021

By any measure, the Sony A1 looks like a sensational camera. Its resolution is 50.1 megapixels with a new full-frame, back-illuminated stacked Exmor RS sensor that works with an upgraded Bionz XR engine, which boasts eight times more processing power than the Bionz X used in the A7R IV and A9 II.

All that power is needed because the A1 can shoot at 30fps continuously for 165 JPEGs or 155 compressed Raws with AF/AE tracking. In total, the AF/AE system makes 120 calculations every second. This drops to 20fps with uncompressed or lossless compressed Raws, while these speeds are with the camera’s silent, vibration-free electronic shutter and without blackout. Rolling shutter effect can prove an issue, with electronic shutters shooting moving subjects, while flicker is a problem in artificial light. Fortunately, the A1 has the technology to deal with those potential problems.

The electronic shutter can also work with the electronic flash, making the A1 the first camera to offer this – the flash sync speed in full-frame mode is 1/200sec and 1/250sec in APS-C format. Switch to the mechanical shutter and full-frame flash sync is 1/400sec and continuous shooting is possible at 10fps.

Sony Alpha 1 key features

  • £6499
  • 50.1 megapixels
  • 30fps shooting
  • 120 AF/AE calculations every second
  • 5.5EV benefit IBIS
  • 759 phase detect AF points with 92% coverage
  • Real time human/animal/bird AF
  • 9.44M dot EVF
  • Mechanical shutter flash sync at 1/400sec or 1/500sec in APS-C format
  • Four- or 16-shot high resolution shooting
  • 8K/30p video
  • 4K/120p video
  • Two CFExpress Type A slots


The A1 is not all about speed, but image quality too. Its 50.1-megapixel sensor can deliver a 15EV dynamic range at low sensitivities and its native ISO range is 100-32,000 with low noise and high resolution at the fastest speeds. Shoot in APS-C format and you still get 21 megapixels and, with static scenes, if you want the maximum resolution the pixel shift multi-shooting mode results in 199 megapixel files.

Other headline feature include five axis image stabilisation, 4D autofocus using 759 phase detection AF points covering 92% of the image area and 425 contrast detect points, human/eye/bird detect AF, real time tracking AF and 8K/30p video recording.

The Sony A1 goes on sale in March with a body price of £6499. For more information, please visit the Sony website.

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