It’s no surprise that Sony has been eyeing the professional camera market for some time and while the Sony’s a7 series of cameras have been a great success, many working pros have been skittish about adopting E-mount cameras as their workhorse. Yesterday’s announcement of the Alpha 1 may change all that, here’s why. 

Key Features (Via Sony) 

  • New 50.1-megapixel (approx., effective) full-frame stacked Exmor RS™ CMOS image sensor in combination with an upgraded BIONZ XR™ imaging processing engine with eight times more processing power 
  • Blackout- free continuous shooting at up to 30 frames per second 
  • Fast sensor readout enables up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second, double the speed of the Alpha 9 II, even during 30fps continuous shooting 
  • Bright and large 0.64-type 9.44 million-dot (approx.) OLED Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder with the world’s first refresh rate of 240 fps 
  • Silent, vibration-free electronic shutter 
  • World’s first anti-flicker shooting with both mechanical and electronic shutter 
  • Electronic shutter flash sync up to 1/200 sec. for the first time in the Alpha series 
  • World’s fastest mechanical shutter flash sync up to 1/400 sec. 
  • 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS video recording with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary detail and resolution, in addition to 4K 120p 10-bit 4:2:2 movie shooting capabilities 
  • Wide dynamic range of 15 stops for stills and 15+ stops for video 
  • Improved Real-time Eye AF (autofocus) for humans and animals, and new Real-time Eye AF for birds, as well as Real-time Tracking that automatically maintains accurate focus 
  • 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization for a 5.5-step shutter speed advantage 
  • S-Cinetone color matrix as seen in FX9 and FX6 to deliver expressive cinematic look 
  • Professional workflow support with the industry’s fastest built-in Wi-Fi, SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, 1000BASE-T Ethernet and more 

A Multi-disciplinary Beast 

Make no mistake, this spec sheet promises to deliver a beast of a camera that’s designed to take on whatever a professional photojournalist, videographer, documentarian, or other creative pro can throw at it. A 50-megapixel sensor paired with Sony’s AF technology will make even the most particular pixel-peepers melt – it’s an ungodly level of resolution in a camera that doesn’t require a custom bag. With its blazing fast 120 AF/AE calculations, 30fps continuous shooting, and flash sync speed of 1/400 second with the mechanical shutter, the Alpha 1 is a speed demon as well. If there was any doubt of what this camera is built for, rest assured that this camera is built for sporting events and the great outdoors.  

Some other features on the Alpha 1 include two media slots that support CF Express Type A as well as UHS-I & II SD cards, HDMI Type-A (aka full-sized HDMI connector), and USB-PD to keep the battery juiced while on the go.  The Alpha 1 also makes FTP communication even easier with onboard ethernet connection, FTP over Wireless LAN, and even direct, tethered connection to a smartphone. If you gotta get the paper out, the Alpha 1 is ready to work.

Pricing and Availability 

So, here’s the thing: the camera of your dreams will cost you. This is a professional workhorse and priced accordingly, coming in at $6500 USD the Sony Alpha 1 is not cheap but is properly speced for its audience. For those of us who are not Reuters or the AP here’s the takeaway: this supercar of a camera is packed with bleeding-edge tech that undoubtedly has their competitors shook; and for us laypeople, we can expect to see the tech trickle down to more consumer-centric offerings soon. It’s truly an exciting time at Sony Imaging. 

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