The Alpha 1 Is Sony’s New $10,499 Mirrorless Monster

The Alpha 1 Is Sony’s New $10,499 Mirrorless Monster

Not content just to launch a new 5G phone aimed at photo and video pros, today Sony is launching its latest flagship mirrorless camera in the new Alpha 1.

Starting at $10,499 in Australia, the new Alpha 1 has supplanted the Alpha 9 ii as Sony’s new top-of-the-line camera, and with specs including a new 50.1-MP sensor, a new Bionz XR image processor, 8K video recording, and up to 30 fps continuous shooting, it seems Sony is looking to crush mirrorless competitors like Canon’s EOS R5.

With its new stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor, Sony claims the A1 can shoot completely silent at up to 30 fps without any viewfinder blackout, while still reducing the effect of rolling shutter by 1.5x compared to the A9 ii. On top of that, the A1 is capable of doing up to 120 autofocus and auto-exposure calculations every second even while shooting 30 fps, which is twice as fast as the A9 ii. When shooting at max speed, Sony says that A1’s memory buffer holds up to 155 full-frame RAW photos or 165 full-frame JPEG images, which translates to around 5 to 5.5 seconds of max speed shooting.

Sadly, it seem like the A1's rear display can only tilt up and down, but not swivel out to the sides.  (Image: Sony)
Sadly, it seem like the A1’s rear display can only tilt up and down, but not swivel out to the sides. (Image: Sony)

Inside, the A1 also comes with a new 9.44 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder with a super-fast 240 fps refresh rate (which helps eliminate any blackout between photos), which Sony claims is the highest-res EVF in its class.

As for autofocus, the A1 supports 759 phase-detection AF points covering 92% of the sensor, with a number of improvements to Sony’s real-time Eye Autofocus feature that includes newly added support for using Eye AF on birds.

And in case 50.1-MP isn’t enough, the A1 even comes with a new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode that takes 16 full-res photos and transforms them into a single 199-MP composite image when processed with Sony’s Imaging Edge PC app.

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On the video side of things, the A1 support 8K video at 30 fps with 10-but 4:2:0 colour, or 4K video at up to 120 fps, along with the S-Cinematone colour matrix from Sony’s FX-9 and FX-6 video cams.

And as you’d expect on a camera this expensive, the A1 features dual card slots compatible with up SD cards (UHS-II SDXC) and CFexpress Type A cards for maximum storage speeds. Finally, Sony says the A1 also comes with a revised menu system (most likely borrowed from the A7s iii) that works with the camera’s 3-inch rear touchscreen.

While the A1 is almost certainly overkill for all but the most sophisticated and tech savvy pros, it’s got almost everything you could really ask for in a super high-end mirrorless camera.

The new Alpha 1 will be available for $10,499 (body only) from authorised retailers sometime in late February in Australia.

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