Sony has announced the arrival of its new full-frame mirrorless Alpha 1 camera – the most technologically advanced, innovative camera that Sony has ever released, combining high-resolution and high-speed performance. With a brand new 50.1-megapixel full-frame stacked Exmor RS image sensor, up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second, 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 video and much more, the Alpha 1 will allow creators to capture what they’ve never been able to before.
"We have been working hard to drive innovation by always listening to the needs and demands of creators. With the launch of the Alpha 1, we have pushed beyond what was ever possible or even imaginable before,” said Jun Yoon, Head of Digital Imaging, Sony Australia & New Zealand. “Alpha 1 breaks through all existing boundaries, by introducing world-first technologies, as well as bringing together the very best of our current line-up into one single camera body. What excites us the most is Alpha 1's ability to capture what has never been captured before. This one camera truly unlocks a new world of creative possibilities for creators around the world.”
The newly developed image sensor is built with integral memory and paired with an upgraded BIONZ XR imaging processing engine, making it capable of shooting 50.1-megapixel images continuously at 30fps rate with up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second. This allows the Alpha 1 to maintain focus with high accuracy even for fast-moving subjects. It can automatically adjust exposure, even with sudden changes in brightness, with an AE response latency as low as 0.033 seconds.
Additionally, for the first time in an Alpha series camera, 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 video is available. The Alpha 1 is also capable of 4K 120p / 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 recording and includes S-Cinetone colour. The Alpha 1 is also packed with features that support field professionals with faster workflow, including 3.5 times faster wireless FTP transfer speed and more.
High-speed readout from the 50.1-megapixel image sensor and a large buffer memory make it possible to shoot up to 155 full-frame compressed RAW images or 165 full-frame JPEG images at up to 30 frames per second with the electronic shutter while maintaining full AF and AE tracking performance.
Complimenting the camera’s ability to capture images at an unprecedented speed, the Alpha 1 9.44 million dot OLED Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder features a 240 fps refresh rate, for a super-smooth display. The viewfinder does not blackout when an exposure is made to offer an uninterrupted view and allow for seamless framing and tracking, even during continuous shooting.
Sony continues to push the boundaries of autofocus technology with the introduction of the Alpha 1, which can easily track complex, fast-moving subjects with high precision. The camera 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 improves detection performance by 30% over the previous system, thanks to the powerful image processing engine, BIONZ XR. It ensures accurate, reliable detection, even when the subject’s face looks away. 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 an Alpha series camera. Optimised 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 colour, pattern (brightness), and subject distance (depth) data to process spatial information in real-time at high speed.
The electronic shutter operates silently, without mechanical noise, and is vibration-free. Stress-free continuous shooting is now possible even when shooting in challenging lighting situations with fluorescent or other flicker-prone types of artificial lighting.
The Alpha 1 boasts the world’s fastest flash sync speed of 1/400 sec. with a mechanical shutter, making it even easier to capture dynamic action. In addition to a carbon fibre shutter curtain, the Alpha 1 features the newly developed dual driven shutter system utilising spring and electromagnetic drive actuator, offering high durability and lightness at the same time.
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).
Additionally, 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. With a flash sync of up to 1/200 sec. in this mode, it is ideal for photographing architecture, art or any other still life subject with a level of detail and colour accuracy that is simply stunning.
The Alpha 1 offers 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS recording with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary resolution. 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 colour matrix that produces the highly regarded FX9 and FX6 colour and skin tones. It delivers natural mid-tones, plus soft colours 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 colour 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.
A high-precision stabilisation unit and gyro sensors, plus optimised image stabilisation algorithms, achieve up to a 5.5-step shutter speed advantage, maximising 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 stabilisation for handheld movie shooting. When using Sony’s desktop applications Catalyst Browse or Catalyst Prepare for post-production, an accurate image stabilisation function is available which utilises 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.
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. This includes built-in wireless LAN with support for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (2x2 MIMO support 802.11a/b/g/n/ac) bands with dual antennas to ensure reliable communications.
There is also a provided USB Type-C connector to support 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.
The Alpha 1 has two media slots that both support UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards, as well as new CFexpress Type A cards for higher overall capacity and faster read/write speeds. It also features a durable magnesium alloy chassis, long battery life with the Z-battery which can be extended using the optional VG-C4EM Vertical Grip (sold separately), an improved dust removal feature, shutter close function on power-off to protect image sensor, plus dust and moisture resistance that maximises reliability in challenging environments. It includes a durable, reliable HDMI Type-A connector, and USB PD (Power Delivery) support, allowing higher power to be supplied from an external source so that users can record for extended periods with minimal internal battery usage.
The Alpha 1 full-frame interchangeable lens camera will be available in New Zealand late February 2021 with a RRP $11,199.95.