Sony Alpha 1 Announced: 50MP, 30fps, Bird AF, 8K 30p video, and more [UPDATED]
posted Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 9:15 AM EST
UPDATE 4:00pm: Our in-depth Sony A1 Preview is now published.
At 10 a.m. EST, Sony will live stream what promises to be an exciting announcement. We don't know what's being announced, but Sony promises 'The one never seen.' Is it a new camera, a new lens, both? We're excited to find out!
You can watch Sony's announcement with us right here on this page by viewing the embedded video below. Our live updates and reactions will be continually added beneath the video player.
Readers, what do you hope Sony announces today? Let us know in the comments and be sure to stay tuned until 10 a.m. EST for the big reveal.
10:02: Sony is sharing a slideshow of a wide variety of images and videos. Portraits, actions, low light. A strong initial focus on stills and video in the preamble. Creativity, limitless potential, innovation.
Sony is showing off its best cameras, the A9 II, the A7R IV, the A7S III and a cinema camera. Sony is really setting the stage for something big here.
10:05: Introducing the Sony Alpha 1 - 50MP, 30FPS!
10:06: 50MP! 8K! Sony Alpha 1. Resolution, performance and speed are the huge focus here.
10:06: Condensing Sony's most advance technologies in a single camera body. Fastest 50MP camera to date. The camera is powered by a newly developed Exmor RS stacked image sensor and new Bionz XR processors. The sensor is full-frame, stacked and backside-illuminated.
10:07: Promises 15-stop dynamic range. Even with the high-resolution sensor, the native range is 100-32,000 and can be expanded further. There is no compromise to image quality when shooting at 30fps. The AF/AE refreshes at 120fps and Sony is promising advanced autofocus performance with improved subject tracking performance.
10:08: The Alpha 1 viewfinder doesn't blackout at all. There's no blackout even at 30fps. The viewfinder has been upgraded, 0.9x magnification, 9.44M dots. OLED. 'Highest resolution OLED EVF and highest magnification' in its class. The EVF refreshes at 240fps.
The electronic shutter allows for silent shooting and there's no vibration. Sony also lists 'Pan shot,' I wonder what this will be. The new image sensor has higher readout, which results in about 1.5x less distortion when using the electronic shutter when compared to the A9 II. The camera has anti-flicker shooting, which is important for indoor sports photography. The electronic shutter can also be used with flash photography.
10:11: There is now 1/400s flash sync. Advancements here are rare, this could be a big deal. When using the APS-C crop, the flash sync is even faster at 1/500s.
10:12: Autofocus performance has also been 'dramatically improved.' 92% AF coverage with 759 AF points. It has more density in AF points than the A9 series. The camera, unsurprisingly, includes Real-time Eye AF. However, now it's being added for photographing birds, in addition to the existing human and some non-human animal Eye AF support. It'll be interesting to see how this compares to the excellent Bird AF in recent Olympus cameras.
The Alpha 1 has Real-Time Eye AF at 30fps and autofocus tracking has been improved. You can now even use tracking at f/22, which could be useful for some panning situations and when using slow shutter speeds.
10:15: 8K/30p shooting! Oversampling with 8.6K promises 'overwhelming' resolution. 4K/120p! 10 bit 4:2:2 All-I video recording. When recording 4K in Super 35, recording is available in 5.8K with oversampling for 'excellent details.' You can use Real-Time Eye AF even when recording in 8K resolution.
S-Cinetone. This is a popular recording mode in Sony cinema cameras and is now available in the Alpha 1. Sony is promising 15-stop dynamic range.
10:16: 5-axis in-body image stabilization promises up to 5.5 stops of shake compensation. Optical Image Stabilization is available when recording video. It'll be interesting to see how IS impacts available crops, if at all.
16-bit RAW output is available via a full-size HDMI port. The camera includes the Sony Digital Audio Interface as well.
10:17: Z battery with vertical grip. Improved dust and moisture resistant design. Magnesium alloy. Dual CFexpress Type A and UHS-II SD cards. There's a new UI!
10:18: Has a pair of built-in antennae. Wi-Fi 11ac. There's a SuperSpeed USB port (USB 3.2) and a 1000BASE-T LAN port. The Alpha 1 offers FTP data transfer over wired LAN, wireless LAN and USB tethering to smart devices.
There are new Light JPEG formats and in-camera cropping for new workflow options for fast-paced professional situations. Tethered shooting is possible wirelessly. There's a new Lossless Compressed RAW format and the Alpha 1 supports 10-bit HEIF formats.
Sony is highlighting workflow applications as well. It's a 'network connected camera.'
Pricing and Availability
The Sony Alpha 1 will be available in March 2021 for approximately $6,500 USD and $8,500 CAD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony's authorized dealers throughout North America.
10:27: That's a wrap! Huge announcement today from Sony. The Alpha 1 looks to push the boundaries in many ways. Stay tuned to Imaging Resource today for more coverage of the Sony A1, including more details and specs.