Sony Alpha A1 New Flagship Hybrid Camera

Right before we jump on my initial review I spent a couple of weekends in the field with the Sony Alpha A1, actually loved using the Sony Alpha series over the last few years. I have reviewed Sony A6000 before jumping into the Sony A7R II and the Sony A7 III.

So, I finally have my Sony A1 review this camera has some pretty impressive specs for the hybrid shooter and what I love most about the Sony A1 is the color science.

Sony A1 is similar to A7S III, A7R IV, and A9 II and Sony made a camera to smash them into one body.

I’ll run you through the specs I will share the results of the performance and photography. So will the A1 jump and abandon Nikon Z9, Canon R5, or Canon R6 cameras. The A1 blow the competition out including the Canon EOS R5 and the Sony A9 II.

If you have never been a Sony user or you have been using Sony A7S III and Sony A7R IV for photos and want to do video in the future you can upgrade to the A1. Sony A1 is the king of the mirrorless camera game just like Sony did before with Sony A7S III and Canon EOS R5.

Sony A1 is the most expensive full-frame mirrorless camera designed to take on and defeat the Canon R5 but it doesn’t win it in every way. Sony first had the Sony A7 then the Sony A9 and now the top high-end flagship hybrid camera Sony A1 competes directly with the Canon R1 and Canon 1DX Mark III.

For those who do photography with Canon R5, and want to know what the difference is between A1 and R5 the Sony A1 for me definitely seems like a much better camera against R5. So when we look at these two cameras side by side they’re fairly similar in size and weight.

But for those who use Sony A7S III side by side comparisons with A1, I realized that all settings on the camera are identical to each other.

Sony A1 is easy to use because you can turn the dial with the press of just one button. But if you want to use it in the field I prefer R5 so A1 wins again here with this feature.

1. Sony A1 Specifications and Features

Sony A1 takes 50.1-megapixel photos at 30 fps with pretty amazing video features like 8k video 4k video up to120fps. It’s a lot of the same video features that are available on the A7S III and even double of the Sony A9 II with zero blackouts via the stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor and an upgraded dual Bionz XR image processing engine.

2. Sony A1 Video Features

the noise on the video is actually phenomenal it’s comparable to the A7S III and the Sony FX3, it shoots 8k 30 frames per second just like Canon R5.

Sony A1 is able to shoot 4K at 120 just like the Sony A7S III and has an improved scene tone color matrix.

So the A1 captures 8K video at up to 30p and that 8K would give you a lot of extra resolution to crop in even if you were editing in a 4K project.

The 8k video of this camera is amazing frankly I prefer it over every other camera body. 4K is fine it’s just really great it handles the video just fine while using a mac m1 pro chip and it doesn’t have any issue.

If you’re shooting in low light situations then the Sony A7S III is actually a better camera for video because of its higher isos like 12 800 or higher the noise is significantly reduced compared to the Sony A1.

The good point of this is that 8K on A1 is not the same file compression as the one on the Canon R5 this one is a more compressed file than on R5.

Also, if you plugged the sodium A1 into an external monitor with an HDMI cable you can shoot up to16 bit raw as well as 8K at 30 frames 4K 120p with 10 bit external 422 recording a 42 to 10-bit external recording.

If you shoot in s log 3 you’ll be able to shoot up to 15 stops of dynamic range with the s cine tone color matrix.

There are no blackouts when you shoot with A1 it’s also capable of shooting in complete silent mode which is perfect when working in stealth conditions like shooting wildlife.

there’s an option to use the full-size HDMI port to capture 16-bit raw foot again to an external recorder offer 10 bit 422 the alpha A1 is able to shoot for much longer with better heat management.

when shooting 8K freaking this camera continued to work and didn’t make any trade-offs and it’s a seriously impressive feature.

3. Sony A1 Body

So, to be honest, I really like how this camera feels on the hand its a flagship camera, it’s so compact the body of the A1 is better than its predecessors better than anything that sony did before, and very similar to the Sony A7S III.

Sony A1

The Sony A1 provides a very comfortable ergonomic grip and body that is really an all-in-one tool like its other predecessor sony has just done a marvelous job in fitting all those features into such a compact body.

Sony A1

From the side, it has two cf express card slots like the A7S III they are not only fast they are also tiny cf express type a cards and there is no recording limit on them just like Sony A7S Iii.

on the front of on the side of the camera, you can wrap your hand around and get a really good grip on it on top of that, all of the buttons and dials just fall so nicely into place.

Sony A1 2

It feels fine in the hands it feels like Sony’s design and the ergonomics are so much better than the original A9 and so much better than the A7 III. I think that the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 feel fantastic in the hands their rubber is great.

Sony A1 CF Card

So, when I compared A1 with Sony A7S III in h bodyes the size and the weight is almost identical, the cf express slots even the viewfinder is similar.

the Sony A1 has a lot of buttons and a lot of race dials in comparison with R5 the Canon R5 relies a lot more on the menu and the digital mode dial and the A1 doesn’t have a top screen A1 wins with this feature.

On the left-hand side, it has the microphone port and next up there is the headphone jack, and down is the full HDMI output which you can record up to 16 bit raw on an external monitor.

Sony A1 Body 2
Sony A1 Body 1

There is a classic USB C that you can transfer fast directly to your phone for both steals and movies. It’s familiar with an Ethernet port that allows you to transfer movies and steels to up to one gigabyte per second.

You can find a PC sync port that allows you to sync between the flash and shutter and then there is a micro USB for a classic cable release.

4. Sony Alpha A1 Autofocus

the Alpha A1 features a similar autofocus system like A7S III with a few improvements. It features a hybrid system with 759 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection points which cover approximately 92 percent of the imaging area.

A1 has a more updated autofocus system so you’re going to be able to track those things with zero blackouts and get practically every image in focus in frame so those specs alone make this camera arguably the best camera ever made.

the autofocus systems of the A1 feature the amazing animal or birds-eye autofocus the camera automatically identifies and then tracks the bird’s eye or the bird’s head.

the Sony A1 autofocus system is fantastic the tracking is easy it sticks on like glue the video up with the color science has been really improved.

the A7S III has really fast autofocus the best autofocus in the market I have experienced but the A1 has really extremely fast capturing autofocus.

It’s crazy fast and like previous cameras, maybe better than the A7S III and the FX6 because for me it feels much more responsive and offers eye autofocus for both humans and animals.

But Sony has continued to expand the eye autofocus in the Alpha A1 to include real-time eye autofocus for birds. If you use Sony A9 or A9 II and thinking of upgrading from the A9 II or from the A9 to the A1 you’re gonna have a better focusing system.

5. Sony A1 EVF

so the A1 has a 9.44 million dot OLED EVF so when you’re looking through the EVF and reviewing your images or composing shots it is remarkable this feature was seen on the A7S III and was gorgeous looking through the EVF if you already use R5 in comparison with Canon R5 has a 5 million pixel resolution.

6. Dynamic Range

When it comes to dynamic range it’s only stated that you can capture 15 plus stops in video mode and 15 instills mode. The dynamic range on the A1 is a bit better than the A7R IV.

The R5 can get you 12 stops of dynamic range when recording while the A1 can get you up to 15 on the photo side. The R5 has 45 megapixels compared to 50 on the A1 and can shoot a burst photo speed of 20fps by doing 30 frames per second.

the video has really great dynamic range on the A1 and if you have a ninja5 you can actually get pro-res raw out of this camera and you’re even gonna get a ton more range as well.

7. Sony A1 Sensor

Sony Alpha A1 features a 50.1 megapixel full-frame stacked Exmoor rs CMOS sensor with new updated bionz XR processors which have 8 times the processing power of the previous bionz xr and a much faster image stabilized sensor that claims 5.5 stops of improvement over the A9 II.

And for good with this combination, you can capture stills with a massive resolution of 8640 by 5760 at burst rates of up to 30 fps with no blackout.

So, those two things combined mean much faster signal processing from the sensor to the processor. But those performances we have already seen before on the previous models like the A9 or the A9 II.

Sony A1 stacked sensor can also be shot in a 1.5 crop mode at around 21 megapixels. In comparison with the Canon R5 features a 45-megapixel sensor that has about 17 megapixels in the 1.6 crop mode and both of these cameras also offer ibis in-body image stabilization.

Maybe you think this camera is expensive because of features that offer integrated memory on the sensor which gives faster processing of the signal and sends it over to the processor itself.

We also get a lot of really improved services on this camera like zero blackouts it can shoot up to 30 frames per second continuously with the electric shutter.

8. Battery Life

The battery life is amazing it’s definitely usable and you can get a few thousand shots on each battery. The great thing is that you can attach a battery grip to this and you can make it a pro camera you’re getting so much power compared to a Canon R3 and Nikon Z9.

9. Image Quality

when it came to the photos I notice that there was a lot of noise and grain in the images it’s according to me what I found in my testing.

You’re going to have a lot more noise and grain simply because there are just a lot more megapixels in the camera. I think there’s a lot of noise when it comes to cameras that just have more megapixels.

the image quality you’re just getting compared to any other Sony camera looks really good even when shooting at 4k you get the color science and the dynamic range.

Sony A1 Image Quality 1

The color science on this one is just on the level and sony has definitely improved the colors on the Sony A1.

And the quality of this camera beats every other sony video camera even compared to the A9 or A9 II it’s just like five levels above.

So, if you want a camera that can shoot sports and wildlife you can also film video at the same time.

the Alpha A1 has a pixel shift multi-shooting mode that combines 16 exposures into a 199 megapixel image which you can process on a computer in addition to supporting the standard HEIF format.

When you’re doing bird photography the ability to crop in and still maintain a high-quality image. The still image quality is really impressive.

Sony A1 Image Quality 2

You’ve got so much detail and dynamic range to play with nature, with the A1 burst rate you can capture a lot of photos very quickly.

10. Rolling Shutter

the Sony A1 provides the world’s first flicker-free electronic and mechanical shutter. It’s got a flash sync with an electronic shutter being able to shoot up to 1400th of a second as opposed to its traditional 1250th of a second when syncing to flashlights and speed lights have been improved over the A9 II by 1.5 times

If you want to use a mechanical shutter the A1 has a very high mechanical shutter that goes up to 1400 of a shutter making this the fastest mechanical shutter in terms of flash sync.

the shutter is quiet and great when shooting portraits of occasions and wild animals when using flash the sync speed of the mechanical shutter is 1400th of a second, when shooting with the digital shutter the sync speed is 1200th.

the A1 can take up to 30fps with the electronic shutter, which is one of the fastest electronic shutters I have seen with better functionality. can capture up to 155 pressed raw files or 165 jpegs with the digital shutter. So, when shooting uncompressed raw files with the mechanical shutter can catch approximately around 60 -70 pictures in each burst.

the A7R IV is still fantastic and better than any mirrorless camera but the A1 definitely destroys when it comes to rolling shutter.

11. Sony A1 Tracking Detection

the camera features human face and eye tracking and animal and bird tracking when shooting video real-time AF does not work when shooting animals and birds but does with humans.

A1 has real-time face and eye detection that performs extremely well in varying conditions but it’s not up to the level of the Canon R5.

Sony A1 Specs

  • CF express type a card
  • video at 24 and 30fps
  • 4k video up to 120fps
  •  shoots 30 photos a second
  • sony e-mount lens system
  • 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 video / 4K 120p 10-bit 4:2:2 recording
  • 3-inch TFT touch panel with adjustable angles
  • autofocus 759 phase-detection AF points
  • built in ND filters
  • Recording Unlimited
  • Image Stabilization 5-Axis


  • SLR 2s log 3 is fantastic
  • 8k internally
  • S-Cinetone Profile
  • the color grading is really good
  • the color science is really nice
  • fingerprints on the sensor
  • dust/moisture-resistant sealing
  • shooting with silent shutter
  • internal image stabilization
  • CMOS Sensor with Integral Memory


  • NO Built-In Flash
  • NO GPS
  • no built-in ND filter system
  • noise and grain in the images
  • doesn’t have a flip out screen

12. Sony A1 Viewfinder

looking at your images in the viewfinder they look so lovely crisp and bright. Looking at the photos with this thing it’s a lot more enjoyable however the viewfinder on this just looks amazing.

The electronic viewfinder on the Alpha A1 has been updated it has the world’s first OLED viewfinder so it now has a refresh rate of 240fps refresh rate.

Sony A1 LCD

If autofocus is really important for you this system is really quick very reliable and it also does focus on obviously animals.

Sony A1 LCD 2

the Sony A1 doesn’t have a flip out rotatable display they made a tilt LCD design rather than the flip out design like on the Sony A7S III which would have been nice for video work. But A1 has a new menu system designed for photographers than videographers but this camera is incredible for photo and video.

Sony A1 1

I see R5 is the clear winner only on the screen and the price because the Sony A1 is significantly more expensive than the R5. So is it worth still using old cameras like the Sony A7 III or Sony A7S III and maybe you want to jump and get the A1 because it does pretty much everything. I hope this could help you make buying decision.

13. Sony A1 Menu

You can basically customize whatever you want there are a lot of buttons that are customizable you can even customize the wheel on the back so you have a lot of options.

the button layout is one of the things that is lovely about the sony bodies you can reach multiple of buttons using one hand.

If we take a look at the menu system you can change your stock stand stuff like movie settings raw footage even color and tones you can change your picture profiles number nine.

Sony Alpha A1 LCD

You can go into the wi-fi settings to connect to your phone for ease of access as well as to transfer data you can customize your buttons.

Sony A1 LCD 1 1

the menu system on A1 is upgraded it’s much improved from previous models it’s the all-touch interface. it’s fully customizable also the touch is good. It’s definitely a lot easier because they brought over the new menu system that was in the A7S III.

14. Sony A1 release date

On January 26, 2021, Sony announced their new flagship model the Sony Alpha A1 replacing their current A9 III features a whole host of upgrades most notably it will deliver a whopping file size of 50 megapixels.

15. Sony A1 Weight

the Sony A1 weighs in at 1.6 pounds or 737 grams and A1 weighs 26 ounces with batteries that’s one of the things that sony has always done incredibly well.

16. Sony Alpha A1 Price

So the A1 has the high resolution of the A7R IV, the speed of the A9 II the video performance of the A7S III. it means that Sony made a whole package in one camera. There’s really nothing wrong with buying this camera except the price is higher than anything else for a full-frame mirrorless camera.

the A1 is very expensive but opposite that it’s an absolutely amazing bit of kit and it’s got so much in it the technology and everything inside. It’s still worth getting because with the A1 you basically have Sony A9, Sony A7R III, Sony A7R IV, and Sony A7S III in one camera which is basically just video and you can take stills and it’s 12 megapixels.

Sony A1 Sensor 1

A lot of the photographers were outraged at this price they expect to be an A7 III successor or the Sony A7 IV, unfortunately, it’s not going to be $2000. So, consider what $6500 can buy you in today’s market Sony A7 III, A9 II, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K, Canon R5, Nikon Z7 II, Sony A7R IV, and Panasonic GH5.

So, before investing in the A1 you can take Ursa Mini Pro G2, Red Komodo, or even Sony FX6. You’re going to have a camera that’s capable of shooting at maximum resolution without overheating after 30 minutes, or you can go with the Sony A7R IV with 62 megapixel sensor that is better in terms of dynamic range and resolution.

If you need a pleasant quality video then the A7S III may be the better choice because it’s cheaper you can buy two for the price of A1 and you can shoot 4k 120.

Whether or not the A1 is the real deal at $6500 even more expensive than Canon R5, more than A7 III, and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K. Because the price on the R5 is coming in around $2600 less than the A1. But A1 is still permanently sold out the answer is yes it’s worth paying this price.

Honestly, for me, Sony A7R IV is actually better I mean that’s my thoughts because it’s really amazing camera. If you think it’s worth it for you it’s ok this price I have put links below you can check the latest price and exclusive prime offers from the link given below.

I still think the price point of $3500 for A7S III is really better because it still does everything and more of that for that price. So if your budget I low maybe Sony A7S III will be a perfect choice, but Sony released their new camera Sony FX3 which is around $4000 a very interesting camera especially if you are a filmmaker.

Wrapping Up

Sony has done an amazing job of just user experience by farA1 is one of the easiest cameras to use the A1 is the successor to the A9 line series this is Sony’s new flagship camea. This is the best of the best A1 is a camera for everything whether it’s sports, portraits, landscapes, wildlife, or astrophotography.

So, at 8k at 30fps 4k at 120fps, and 1080p at 240fps with 16-bit raw output and the beautiful s-cine tone color science accurate skin tones. it’s great for wedding shooters, sports, wildlife as well as travel photography and videography. Also, in active stabilization works great during handheld shooting of stills and video.


  • handles noise really well
  • Real-time AF tracking
  • Real-time Eye-AF
  • high ISO works well beyond 20 000
  • shots with 4K 120p look nice
  • 4K 60p in S35 mode look nice
  • 10 bit 422 color looks amazing
  • Clear subject confirmation in Bright scenes
  • Effective Heat Dissipation For Extended Recording
  • 30 fps No Blackout in Photo Mode
  • Autofocus Detect eyes on Distant faces and tracks fast action from far to near
  • Intuitive Vertical shooting with Vertical UI
  • unlimited record times
  • EVF with 240fps refresh rate for high-speed shooting


  • hard stop at ISO 32 000 for video
  • doesn’t have a top screen
  • doesn’t have Dual ISO


There are so many new cameras out there these days A7S III, A7R IV, Nikon Z9, and now A1. the A7R IV is definitely going to be plenty for most people for shooting images but there are many cases where the A1 is going to be more beneficial for others.

If you are looking for a camera with a good resolution you can go with A7R IV if you don’t need fast continual shooting then you also don’t need the A1 you can go with the A7R IV. The A7S III produces an average of 4k video compared to A7R IV and A1 but it still produces a pretty fantastic 4k video just at 30p.

it’s also less than half the price of the A1 so why would you choose the A1 over the A7R IV. If speed and performance is what you need then A1 is a perfect camera for you if you need the best photo and video capabilities.

If you don’t need the additional resolution or the video features the A9 II is still a fantastic camera even though it is getting a little old and it’s about $4500 less than A1 and it’s still a great option. So, if 24megapixels is enough for you then Sony A9 might be a better choice and its price is about $4000.

Our Pick
Sony A1


Release Date26 January 2021
Body typeSLR Style Mirrorless
Sensor typeFull Frame BSI CMOS
Sensor size35.9 x 24mm
Sensor resolution8640 x 5760
Sensor pixels50
ProcessorDual Bionz XR
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISOAuto 100-32000
Expanded 50-102400
Image stabilization5 axis 5.5 stops
Focus type Fast Hybrid
Focus points 759
Manual focusYes
Lens mount Sony E
Focal length multiplier1x
Screen typeArticulated LCD tilting
Screen resolution1,440,000 dots
Screen size 3.0″
Viewfinder typeElectronic Oled
Viewfinder resolution9,437,184 
Coverage 100%
Shutter typeElectronic controlled vertical traverse focal plane
Shutter speedMin 30
Max 1/8000
Electronic 1/32000
Continuous drive30.0 fps
Sync speed1/400
External flashYes
WB Bracketing Yes
AE Bracketing +/- 5 3,5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps
Exposure compensation+/- 5 at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps
Video resolution8K ultra HD 30
4K 60
Full HD 120
Log GammaS log2, S Log3
Video formatXAVC S XAVC HS, XAVC S-1 H.264, H.265
Storage typeSD/CF express UHS IIType A dual slots
ConnectivityUSB 3.2 GEN2 10 GBit/sec
Build in NFCYes
Build in Bluetooth Yes
Wireless transmitter802.11b/g/n/ac 5 GHz
Battery life CIPA530 shots
Dimensions129 x 97 x 81mm

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