(P)review Sony Alpha 1

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The Sony Alpha 1 is the new top model among Sony’s full-frame system cameras. It offers an unprecedented combination of resolution and speed: 50 megapixels at a series speed of 30 frames per second, while retaining autofocus. Moreover, it can film in the ultra-high 8K resolution at 30 fps.

Click on the camera for specifications, prices and test results.

 The Sony Alpha 1 is the further evolution of the Alpha 9.

TEST RESULTS Sony Alpha 1:



  • 50MP
  • 8K and 30fps
  • N/A

The Sony Alpha 1 offers an unprecedented combination of resolution and speed: 30 shots per second in full resolution.

The Sony Alpha 1 is actually the further evolution of the Alpha 9, Sony’s groundbreaking full-frame mirrorless camera from 2017. It offered a then-unprecedented series speed of 20 shots per second at the full resolution of 24 megapixels. Four years later, Sony has not only doubled the resolution from 24 to 50 megapixels, but also increased the sequence speed by 50%.

The heart of the Alpha 1 is a full-frame image sensor developed by Sony with integrated memory. The output from the sensor is processed by a dual BIONZ XR image processor. This provides the computing power needed to process the images, both for photo and video. The fast readout of the 50-megapixel image sensor and a large buffer memory make it possible to capture up to 155 compressed RAW images or 165 JPEG images at the astonishing speed of 30 images per second with the electronic shutter, while maintaining full autofocus performance.

 The Alpha 1 has an electronic viewfinder and a tilting screen.

Alpha 1 GOES UP TO 199 megapixelS

Despite the higher resolution, the Alpha 1 offers 15+ stops of dynamic range for video and 15 stops for photos, according to Sony. The ISO sensitivity range is from 100 to 32,000 (expandable to 50-102400 when taking pictures). If 50 megapixels isn’t enough, Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode merges 16 full-resolution images into a 199-megapixel image (17,280 x 11,520 pixels) via Sony’s Imaging Edge desktop app: ideal for architecture photography, art or still life. The Pixel Shift Multi Shooting is based on the built-in image stabilization; which offers a profit of 5.5 stops when shooting and filming by hand.

Like the Canon R5, the Alpha 1 can film in 8K resolution. The camera uses the full width of the sensor to capture 8.6K footage and reduces this to 8K. In the XAVC HS format, 8K recording can be made in up to 10-bit 4:2:0 color depth. The camera has a similar heat-dissipating design to the a7S III, allowing it to record 8K for up to 30 minutes. The Alpha 1 also films in 4K 120p/60p 10-bit 4:2:2 and can output 4K video in 16-bit RAW format via HDMI. It contains the S-Cinetone color matrix from the professional FX9 and FX6 camcorders.

 The Alpha 1 uses a new Exmor RS image sensor.

Sony Alpha 1 WITH BETTER autofocus

Thanks to a calculation speed of up to 120 focus calculations per second, the Alpha 1 can also focus on fast moving subjects with high accuracy. The sensor contains 759 phase detection points that cover approximately 92% of the image area.

Sony’s Real-time Eye AF provides accurate, reliable face detection even when the subject’s face is looking away. In addition to eye autofocus for humans and animals, the Alpha 1 is the first Sony camera to now also have eye autofocus for birds. The AF algorithms also continue to track the bird if it suddenly takes off.

The image in the new OLED Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder has 9.4 million pixels and is refreshed 240 times per second, so there is no blackout between shots.

There’s also good news for flash enthusiasts: the flash sync speed is 1/400 second with the mechanical shutter, making it easier to capture dynamic action with flash lighting. When using the electronic shutter, the flash sync speed is 1/200 s.

Sony Alpha 1 IN PRACTICE

Externally, the Alpha 1 can be compared with other recent Alpha cameras, except for a few details. It has two media slots that support both UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC / SDHC cards, as well as new CFexpress Type A cards. The camera has a sturdy magnesium alloy body, uses the Sony Z battery which can be supplemented by the optional VG-C4EM vertical grip. USB PD (Power Delivery) support allows the camera to use power from an external source such as a power bank.

The Sony Alpha 1 will be available in March 2021 for a suggested retail price of € 7300. As soon as we receive a test copy, we will publish a full review.

 Sony Alpha 1
sensor50 Mp
video8K 30 fps
ISOISO 50 to 102.400
max. series speed30 fps
storage media2x SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)/CFExpress Type A
battery capacityunknown
dimensions129 x 97 x 81 mm
weight (incl. battery)737 g
list price€ 7300.00 (body)


image quality
light metering
white balance
final score

ConclusiON: REVIEW Sony Alpha 1

The Sony Alpha 1 will be available in March 2021 for a suggested retail price of € 7300. As soon as we receive a test copy, we will publish a full review.