Sony A1 review | House

On paper, the Sony A1 can do completely the whole lot. However how nicely does it measure as much as Sony’s massive claims? We’re placing this beast of a camera to the check to seek out out.

Sony A1: Key specs

System: Full-frame mirrorless

Sensor: 50.1MP

ISO vary: ISO 50 to 102400

Burst capturing: 30FPS

AF: 425-point contrast-detection AF factors

Video: 8K 30P, 4K 120P

Storage: 2x CFexpress slots

Display: 7.5cm (3.0-type) kind TFT

Dimensions: 149 x 150 x 91mm (5.9-inch x 5.9-inch x 3.6-inch)

Weight: 726g (1.6lb)

The A1 is probably the most technologically superior, progressive Sony camera so far. It is probably the greatest mirrorless cameras ever constructed, and it needs to be for a whopping $6500. Subsequently, the first marketplace for this camera is skilled sports activities, motion and wildlife photographers, the place having the ability to shoot at 30FPS is a large benefit. It is also a wonderful choice for videographers who can shoot unbelievable 8K movies. However investing in such an costly camera is a large choice, so we’ll be working by way of a few of its greatest options and the professionals & cons that will help you resolve whether or not it’s definitely worth the sizable funding.

  • Sony Alpha 1 (Black) at Amazon for $6,498 (opens in new tab)

Sony A1 camera review

Sony A1: Design

Image shows the dials on the top of the Sony A1's body

Some of the important new design options is the dials on the highest of the physique.   (Picture credit score: Kimberley Lane)

  • Helpful dials for focus and capturing modes
  • Significantly better menu system
  • Sensor cowl

The A1 has all of the design options you’d anticipate from a Sony camera — mode dial, publicity compensation, customizable buttons, and so on., so we cannot go an excessive amount of into that. Nonetheless, a number of newer options make this camera thrilling. 

Some of the important new design options is the dials on the highest of the physique. Canon has added two helpful dials on the left — one for focus and one other for capturing modes. Having these controls on the physique somewhat than within the menu system frees up the customized buttons for different controls, which we predict is a good function. Nevertheless, one minor niggle with the management dials is that to alter the setting, it is advisable push and maintain the button whilst you transfer the dial. The one button that does not have that is the publicity compensation, which is a push to lock, making it a lot simpler to make use of. 

Image shows the top left of the camera with it's new shooting and focus mode dials

Having the main target and capturing modes on the physique somewhat than within the menu system frees up the customized buttons for different controls. (Picture credit score: Kimberley Lane)

This camera additionally has an up to date menu system which is rather more intuitive than earlier fashions. The format is a thousand instances higher and simpler to navigate. 

It options the identical LCD display screen that Sony has all the time used nevertheless, we might have favored it to have been absolutely articulating somewhat than simply tilting. The digital viewfinder has over 9 million dots and 9x magnification. 

A sensor cowl additionally utterly covers the sensor when the camera will not be in use. This can be a nice function to stop mud, sand, dust, and so on., from getting onto your sensor when altering your lenses out within the discipline. Why is that this not in each camera!?

Sony A1: Efficiency

A sample image showing a stream running through trees with golden leaves — taken with the Sony A1

The Sony A1 has a really spectacular dynamic vary. See how nicely it handles the distinction between the intense sky and the darkish stones within the foreground. (Picture credit score: Kimberley Lane)

  • Quick buffer clearing
  • Spectacular dynamic vary
  • Extremely correct eye af and monitoring

The A1 is Sony’s greatest camera within the colour division, and the dynamic vary is healthier than the A9 and the A2. The buffer-clearing pace is spectacular, though this largely relies on what kind of reminiscence card you are utilizing. The buffer additionally clears whilst you shoot, so you do not have to attend to begin capturing once more, which makes life a lot simpler.

The A1 additionally provides lossless compressed RAW information, which no different Sony camera does. Lossless compressed is actually the identical picture high quality as uncompressed uncooked information, however the camera finds clever methods to eliminate a few of the info which is not of any use. The file dimension of a lossless compressed file comes out at about half the dimensions of an uncompressed uncooked file with principally no high quality loss, making it rather more environment friendly and fewer of a pressure in your storage system.

Nevertheless, to shoot on the 30FPS the camera states it may do, it is advisable be utilizing compressed uncooked as lossless compressed can solely hit 20FPS (t is although that’s nonetheless excellent!). It is also price noting that 30FPS is not all the time achievable with each lens, together with some native Sony lenses. Many lenses can solely obtain round 15-20FPS, which is greater than sufficient for a lot of photographers.

As anticipated, this camera’s eye autofocus and reside monitoring are almost flawless. It is an extremely responsive camera with no points monitoring its topic. It even has a fowl mode along with the human and animal eye AF modes. 

Sony A1: Performance

Image shows a woman wearing waterproofs taking photos with the Sony A1.

The climate sealing takes the stress out of capturing in inclement climate. (Picture credit score: Kimberley Lane)

  • 8K video capturing
  • Mechanical and digital shutter
  • Can change to APS-C crop

An enormous promoting level of this camera is its 8K video capabilities. This camera needs to be on the prime of your wishlist should you’re a photographer who additionally closely shoots video. It does have its limitations, although.

One of many extra important points this camera faces when capturing 8K video is overheating. It performs nicely in a temperature-controlled local weather, however the video capturing time dramatically reduces below direct daylight, even when the overheating stage warning is about to excessive. It averages round 90 minutes of capturing time earlier than it shuts down as a result of overheating. That is superb for a lot of of what customers would wish it for, however it could not be ideally suited in case you are capturing lengthy podcasts or concert events. It does have a quick restoration time although — it solely wants about 5 minutes earlier than you can begin capturing once more and you need to be good for one more hour. One other factor price noting is that 8K eats up the battery life about 30 % quicker than 4K. 

The Sony A1 additionally helps the s-cinetone recording profile borrowed from its cinema camera lineup. The s-cinetone profile delivers a good looking dynamic vary and appears good proper out of the camera.

Image shows autumnal trees laden with golden leaves

An unedited shot proper out of the camera. You possibly can actually get a really feel of the wealthy colours and spectacular dynamic vary. (Picture credit score: Kimberley Lane)

One other newer function of this camera is the flexibility to decide on whether or not you wish to use a mechanical or digital shutter. Switching to an digital shutter means you’ll be able to entry the upper body charges this camera is able to with barely any distinction in picture high quality. It additionally means you’ll be able to eradicate shutter shake, which is helpful should you’re capturing at slower speeds and not using a tripod. The A1 also can change to APS-C crop mode with photos of over 20MP. 

Ought to I purchase the Sony A1?

Except you make a residing as a photographer, the A1 will seemingly be far too costly. It is an absolute powerhouse for video and images, capable of shoot huge 50.1MP stills pictures utilizing lossless compressed RAW information at 20FPS max burst speeds and as much as 30FPS utilizing compressed RAW information. It excels as a hybrid camera although because of its 8K 30P video capturing decision and s-cinetone recording profile. Nevertheless, its worth will make it inaccessible for a lot of photographers, which is a disgrace for all those who do not personal it. That mentioned, should you can afford it, you will not remorse it.

If the Sony A1 is not for you

The Sony A1 is usually in comparison with the Sony A7S III (opens in new tab). Though the A7S III solely has a 12MP sensor, it is nonetheless receiving rave buyer reviews. It is $3000 lower than the A1, so it is an ideal different should you’re not in search of such a powerhouse. 

The one actual direct competitor to the Sony A1, we predict, is the Canon EOS R5. The efficiency of the Sony is on par with the R5, however because of the larger sensor, the A1 ‘wins’ when it comes to picture high quality. The Sony has 5 and a half stops of shake discount as an alternative of Canon’s eight stops, however the Sony A1 can shoot extra frames per second. The R5 is an unbelievable comparable camera for nearly half the worth, take a look at our hands-on Canon R5 review to see what we considered it.

One other nice different could be the Sony A7R IV (opens in new tab). For those who aren’t too fussed about having the ability to shoot as much as 30FPS and are extra inquisitive about increased picture high quality, the A7R IV could be an ideal choice with its whopping 61MP sensor. The A7R IV can be rather more inexpensive than the A1. You possibly can learn our full Sony A7R IV review right here.

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