This morning, Sony announced the Alpha 1, a 50.1-megapixel full-frame, mirrorless camera. The new camera delivers high-speed shooting at up to 30fps, 8K 30p video and more.
The Alpha 1 offers several groundbreaking features for both still and video professionals. Featuring a stacked Exmor RS image sensor, up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second, 10-bit 4:2:0 video and more, the Alpha 1 will allow creators to capture what they’ve never been able to before.
“We are always listening to our customers, challenging the industry to bring new innovation to the market that goes far beyond their expectations.” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president for Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “Alpha 1 breaks through all existing boundaries, setting a new bar for what creators can accomplish with a single camera. What excites us the most – more than the extensive product feature – is Alpha 1’s ability to capture that which has never been captured before. This camera unlocks a new world of creative possibilities, making the previously impossible now possible.”
The newly developed image sensor is built with integral memory and paired with an upgraded BIONZ XR imaging processing engine. This allows the Alpha 1 to shoot 50.1-megapixel images continuously at up to 30fps.
The camera features a. 9.44 million dot OLED Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder, with a refresh rate of up to 240fps, ensuring no black out. For the first time in a Sony Alpha camera, 8K 40p 10-bit 4:2:0 video is also available. The camera is also capable of shooting at 4K 120 p / 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, and includes S-Cinetone color.
It offers anti-flicker shooting with both mechanical and electronic shutter use. When connecting a flash, the electronic shutter supports up to 1/200s, while the mechanical supports up to 1/400s flash sync.
Featuring 15 stops of dynamic range for stills and 15+ stops for video, the Alpha 1 also includes features important to photographers in the field, including 3.5 times faster wireless FTP transfer speed and more.
Finally, the camera features two media slots for both UHS-I and UHS-II SD cards, as well as new CFexpress Type A cards for higher capacity and faster read/write speeds.
The Sony Alpha 1 features 759 phase detection points in a high-density focal plane phase-detection AF system cover approximately 92% of the image area – ensuring accuracy and unfailing focus in environments where focusing might otherwise be difficult.
Sony’s advanced Real-time Eye AF also improves detection performance by 30% over the previous system.
In addition to improved Real-time Eye AF for humans and animals, the Alpha 1 employs high-level subject recognition technology to provide Real-time Eye AF for birds, a first in a Sony Alpha camera. Optimized algorithms ensure that tracking is maintained even if a sitting bird suddenly takes flight, or the framing suddenly changes.
The Alpha 1 also features AI-based Real-time Tracking that automatically maintains accurate focus. A subject recognition algorithm uses color, pattern (brightness), and subject distance (depth) data to process spatial information in real time at high speed.
Even with this sensor’s high pixel count, the Alpha 1 offers high sensitivity with low noise, plus 15+ stops of dynamic range for video and 15 stops for stills, for smooth, natural gradations from shadows to highlights thanks to its cutting-edge processing system, throughout a wide ISO sensitivity range of 100-32,000 (expandable to 50-102,400, when shooting stills).
The new camera features an evolved Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode that composites up to 16 full-resolution images. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in one pixel or half-pixel increments to capture 16 separate pixel-shifted images containing a total of 796.2 million pixels of data, which are then composited into a 199 million pixel (17,280 x 11,520 pixels) image using Sony’s Imaging Edge™ desktop application.
Professional video quality
For the first time in an Alpha camera, the Alpha 1 offers 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS recording with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary resolution. Combined with Sony’s acclaimed autofocus technology, gradation and color reproduction performance, the Alpha 1 will help the user realize their creative vision with the finest detail. It’s 8K footage can also be used for flexible 4K editing during post-production.
The Alpha 1 offers in-camera 4K recording at up to 120 frames per second which allows the user to shoot up to 5X slow-motion video. In addition to supporting 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, this feature can be used with efficient Long GOP inter-frame compression or high-quality Intra (All-I) intra-frame compression.
The Alpha 1 features S-Cinetone, the same color matrix that produces the highly regarded FX9 and FX6 color and skin tones. It delivers natural mid-tones, plus soft colors and gorgeous highlights to meet a growing need for more expressive depth. The S-Log3 gamma curve makes it possible to achieve 15+ stops of dynamic range, while the S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.Cine color gamut settings make it easy to match Alpha 1 footage with video shot on VENICE cinema camera, FX9 and other professional cinema cameras.
A unique heat dissipating structure keeps image sensor and image processing engine temperatures within their normal operating range, preventing overheating while maintaining compact body dimensions. This makes it possible to record 8K/30p video continuously for approximately 30 minutes.
The Alpha 1 is able to achieve up to a 5.5-step shutter speed advantage, maximizing the quality of the high-resolution images derived from the camera’s 50.1-megapixel sensor. The Alpha 1 also features an Active Mode that offers outstanding stabilization for handheld movie shooting. When using Sony’s desktop applications Catalyst Browse or Catalyst Prepare for post-production, an accurate image stabilization function is available which utilizes metadata generated by camera’s built-in gyro.
Other features that the Alpha 1 offers include; 16-bit RAW output to an external recorder via HDMI for maximum post-production flexibility, a digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface (MI) Shoe for clearer audio recordings from a compatible Sony external microphone, 5.8K oversampled full pixel readout without pixel binning for high-resolution 4K movies in Super 35mm mode and more.
Connectivity to 5G devices and more
The Alpha 1 has been designed and configured to support photo and video journalists and sports shooters who need to deliver stills or movies as quickly as possible with advanced connectivity options. It offers several features for fast, reliable file transfers. Industry’s fastestxiii built-in wireless LAN allows communication on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands with dual antennas to ensure reliable communications. 5 GHz includes 2×2 MIMO support (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac) offering 3.5 times faster wireless FTP transfer speed than the Alpha 9 II — a notable advantage for news and sports shooters who need to deliver with reliable speed.
There is also a provided USB Type-C® connector to support fast data transfer when connected to a 5G mmWave compatible device such as Sony’s Xperia PRO and makes high-speed PC Remote (tethered) data transfer available for smooth handling of large image files. The Alpha 1 also has a built-in 1000BASE-T LAN connector for high-speed, stable data transfers, including remote shooting. FTPS (File Transfer over SSL/TLS) is supported, allowing SSL or TLS encryption for increased data security.
In addition to compressed and uncompressed RAW, the Alpha 1 includes efficient lossless compression with no quality degradation, Lossless Compressed RAW. There is also a new “Light” JPEG/HEIF image quality setting that results in smaller files than the “Standard” setting, allowing faster deliver for news and sports photographers who depend on speed. Along with a versatile range of RAW and JPEG formats, the Alpha 1 includes the HEIF (High Efficiency Image File) format for smooth 10-bit gradations that provide more realistic reproduction of skies and portrait subjects where subtle, natural gradation is essential. Images shot on the Alpha 1 can be trimmed in-camera to a desired aspect ratio, size, or position for versatile usage.
The Alpha 1 is also compatible with a variety of apps, add-ons and tools from Imaging Edge Mobile and Imaging Edge Desktop.
Pricing and availability
The Alpha 1 camera will be available in March 2021 for approximately $6498. Preorders will be available soon through B&H.