Sony unveils the Alpha 1 hybrid, a € 7,300 powerhouse






Rumors evoked a 'revolutionary' case: Sony proves it. Unveiled this Tuesday, January 26, Alpha 1 is already turning heads. This new hybrid camera embeds an explosive technical sheet, proving once again that Sony reigns supreme in the kingdom of mirrorless.

It’s the hobbyhorse of camera builders, and the fight promises to be fierce. While Canon has proven its worth in the hybrid business, Sony is always one step ahead. And what a length! The Japanese manufacturer yesterday unveiled the Alpha 1, a new mirrorless camera with stunning features. Its strong points: 50.1 million pixels, 8K recording and burst at 30 ip / s. Let's see in detail what this new box has in the belly.






Alpha 1, the 'unique': image quality, precision and burst at the heart of the system

The Alpha 1 is equipped with a 50.1 Mp full-frame Exmor RS CMOS sensor combined with a BIONZ XR processor that Sony describes as 'eight times more powerful' than the previous version, the BIONZ X. Enough to guarantee responsiveness optimum and cutting-edge image quality.

Responsiveness, the case really needs it. It is indeed capable of capturing up to 30 images per second in a burst, with autofocus and without blackout between shots. A world first that can be described as a small feat, which sports and wildlife photographers will be able to abuse. Add to that an autofocus of 759 detection points covering 92% of the surface of the sensor, including eye detection compatible with humans, animals and birds, and finally focus calculations 30% more efficient than what offers the a9 II. In short, the Alpha 1’s autofocus should respond in any situation, even when shooting at 30 fps. We knew Sony on the first step of the podium in terms of development, and the manufacturer is once again hitting the mark.





 On the ISO side, the Alpha 1 offers a range from ISO 100 to 32,000 (ISO 50 to 102,400 in extended range). Sony is also incorporating an interesting new feature in its product: the electronic and mechanical flicker-free shutter. A major asset in artificial light conditions, which therefore guarantees an absence of flickering.

Five-axis stabilization is now common in high-end hybrids, providing a 5.5-step improvement in shutter speed. An added advantage for obtaining razor-sharp images, even under camera shake.

Note that Sony presents here a clear progress in the use of flash. This is not an area that manufacturers are used to stopping at when it comes to improving camera bodies, so it's a particularly interesting thing to watch.

While most cameras limit the flash sync speed to 1/250 second or less, the Alpha 1 achieves a sync speed of 1/400 second via mechanical shutter. In electronics, and therefore via silent shutter, the speed rises to 1/200 s, which means that it is possible to obtain the same flash synchronization speed offered by the Canon EOS R5 / R6 and Nikon Z7 II via mechanical shutter. One more proof that Sony is keen to crush its competitors by all means.



read also: Sony: a new box announced tomorrow? The rumors are rife



Sony and video, a story that lasts




On the video side, the Alpha 1 puts a strain on the EOS R5, the first hybrid camera to offer 8K recording. The A1 is therefore capable of recording in 8K at 30 fps as well as in 4K at 120 fps, all in 10 bits. It is easy to imagine that Sony has carefully observed Canon's misstep regarding the overheating of its R5 noted on its release and the noise that followed. The manufacturer has therefore included in its case a heat dissipation structure in order to guarantee a continuous capture of 30 minutes at 8K / 30 fps. The small and elegant form-factor specific to Sony's hybrid range is however retained, for a total weight of 737 grams.

Indispensable in video, a mode dedicated to handheld shooting offers significant stability, made possible by the combination of five-axis stabilization and the capabilities of the processor in terms of real-time compensation. A slight crop is to be expected, of course, but the result remains convincing.

Sony has injected its new hybrid with the S-Cinetone matrix: it strives to reproduce the colors and tints produced by Cinema cameras. The idea being, according to Sony, 'to meet a growing need for expressive depth', soft colors, highlights and midtones are adjusted to result in a smooth color adjustment.







Alpha 1 pricing and availability

The camera has two CFexpress Type A memory card slots and comes with all the features one would expect from a high-end box: Wi-Fi connectivity, USB Type C connector, 16-bit RAW HDMI output, and even more. An OLED viewfinder of approximately 9.44 million dots will succeed in seducing the last skeptics as to the visual feedback of hybrids, often disappointing in the past.

Touchscreen, rugged aluminum chassis and waterproofing, the construction of the Alpha 1 leaves no doubt about the premium quality of the product. However, we regret that the screen is content to be orientable and does not rotate like a flip screen, a rigidity that seems out of place on a product that is aimed at both professional photographers and videographers. Its E-type ring ensures the Alpha 1 is compatible with the entire range of lenses for hybrid cameras from the manufacturer, the catalog of which is more than extensive.

This beautiful box is already available for pre-order for distribution scheduled for next March. Priced at € 7,300 ($ 6,500), the Alpha 1 is unequivocally aimed at image professionals.


Sources : Fstoppers, Petapixel, Sony

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