Sony Cameras

Sony Alpha 1: Is it the Best?

Sony Alpha 1 Features

Model nameAlpha 1
Form factorMirrorless
Effective still resolution50 MP
Special featureBIONZ XR Processor; 5-Axis SteadyShot Image Stabilization; 759-Pt. Fast Hybrid AF, Real-time Eye AF
Optical zoom1
Connectivity technologyBluetooth, USB, HDMI, NFC
Screen size3 Inches
Photo Sensor Size
Sony Alpha 1
50.1-MP 35 mm full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with integral memorySENSOR TYPE
35-mm full frame (35.9 x 24.0 mm), Exmor RS CMOS sensor
Advanced BIONZ XR engine boosts speed by up to 8xNUMBER OF PIXELS (EFFECTIVE)
Approx. 50.1 megapixels
30fps continuous shooting with AF/AE trackingBATTERY LIFE (STILL IMAGES)
Approx. 430 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 530 images (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard)
Movie-making with 8K 30p and 4K 120pBATTERY LIFE (STILL IMAGES)
Approx. 430 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 530 shots (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard)
Wide AF coverage with 759-point phase-detection and 425-point contrast-detection AF pointsVIEWFINDER TYPE
1.6-cm (0.64-type) electronic viewfinder (color)
7.5cm (3.0-type) type TFT
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Sony Alpha 1: Is it the best?

When Canon released the EOS R5, it felt like a step beyond anything that Sony was offering and particularly after a somewhat lackluster 4th generation of Sony cameras in which Sony Alpha 1 is not Sony’s response but Sony’s acing the ball up the field by giving users a little bit of everything though at a huge price tag. Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6 are known for a similar price.

Most Sony cameras might look the same, but what is on the inside? Sony Alpha 1 is a camera that costs several thousand more than any other mirrorless Sony camera. Seen from the outside, you can’t tell what a machine it is because it looks similar. Overall dimensions of nearly 129 millimeters in width, 96.9mm in width height, and under 70 millimeters in overall depth.

Sony Alpha 1 is very similar to previous bodies of the Sony A9 mark II or even the Sony A7R mark IV. Still, the camera does way more than previous Sony bodies at 737 grams versus the Sony A7R mark IV and slightly more than the Sony A9 mark II. It is heavier, but not significantly; the extra weight comes from the enhanced build quality, including a beefed-up mount that helps to support heavier lenses and an internal ceiling.

The new Sony’sweather sealing is Sony’somparable to other kinds of high-end cameras. Sony has also implemented wear a shutter mechanism that covers the sensor when the camera is powered off, keeping dust off the sensor. The exterior of the button placement and the dials are similar, unlike the Canon EOS R5 or similar cameras with top mounts.

One of the upgrades is an enhanced shutter mechanism with carbon fiber to reduce vibration, producing a smoother sound even when using the mechanical shutter.

The viewfinder is also a point of a significant upgrade; the 9.44 million dot resolution is significant, and it’s higher than anything we’ve seen in Sony cameras. Compared to A9 mark II’sdisappointing 3.68 million dots, the 9.44 million dots are a fantastic resolution. It can have a refresh rate of as fast as 240 frames per second which is physically more significant, and it is an opening of 0.64 versus the typical 0.5 inches.

 The LCD screen still has a disappointing resolution of 1.44 million dots and remains only 3 inches. In contrast, some competitors have a 3.2-inch screen with a higher resolution. So certainly, that is something that Sony could have upgraded with a fully articulating screen rather than the typical tilting screen.

Touch responsiveness is better, but navigating the menu via touch is challenging for those with big fingers. It works relatively well, and there seems to be less lag on input. The dual-purpose slots accept both CF express A type and SD cards.

Sony alpha 1 top view
Sony Alpha 1

 Sony Alpha 1 has a lot of functionality, including the fastest connection no camera has via Ethernet, headphones, and mic input jacks. Full-size HDMI port and a surprising USB C for charging; however, you can use long-format recording and external power.

The Embody image stabilization has improved by degrees, but Sony no longer has an advantage like it once did. Cameras like Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 have higher ratings for stabilization.

The grip feels slightly better, although a grip extender can be used.

Autofocus is a huge aspect to consider when investing in the Sony Alpha 1, which is more of a sports camera. The Alpha1, like the Sony A9 II cameras, is designed to be the ultimate sports camera. Before, Sony had up to 20 frames per second, and now with the electronic shutter, you can have up to 30 frames per second. A bit of a boost of around 690 to 97 Autofocus points in the face detect Autofocus points are up to 759. Autofocus points go down from 93% coverage to 92% coverage from the Sony A9 mark II to the Sony Alpha 1.

Sony Alpha 1Front view
BIONZ XR image processing engine

Advanced BIONZ XR engine boosts speed by up to 8x

The α1 features a revised system architecture with greatly enhanced processing performance from image capture through all signal processing stages. Processing latency is minimized while image processing power is dramatically increased for extraordinary image quality. The user interface, network, and file management processing are distributed so that a fast, stress-free control response is maintained regardless of real-time processing load

Exmor RS CMOS image sensor

50.1 megapixel Exmor RS™ image sensor

The α1 features a full-frame stacked back-illuminated CMOS Exmor RS™ sensor with 50.1 effective megapixels and integrated memory. In addition to delivering outstanding image quality, this allows the Alpha1 to shoot continuously at up to 30 frames per second while offering fast, precise phase-detection AF and top-quality 8K movies with full-frame 8.6K oversampling for the first time in the α series. Unprecedented performance for a new era of image-making.


4K movie recording

The Alpha1 offers in-camera 4K recording at up to 120 frames per second. Extraordinarily smooth 5x (max.) slow-motion imagery at 4K resolution provides the new expressive capability. In addition to supporting 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, this feature can be used with efficient Long GOP inter-frame compression or high-quality Intra (All-I) intra-frame compression.

8K 30p movies

For the first time in the Alpha series, the Alpha 1 offers 8K 30p XAVC HS recording with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary resolution and realism. With superior Alpha 1 AF, gradation, and color-reproduction performance, 8K resolution brings the world to life. 8K footage is also ideally suited to flexible 4K editing. Low-bit-rate proxy files with HD resolution can be recorded simultaneously with 8K. 8K 4:2:2 Ten-bit recording is available as of Alpha1 Ver. 1.3, allowing more varied expression and high-level editing capability at 8K resolution.

Effective heat-dissipation for extended recording

A newly developed heat-dissipating structure keeps image sensor and image processing engine temperatures within their normal operating range, preventing overheating while maintaining compact body dimensions. This makes it possible to continuously record 8K/30p or 4K/60p videos or 10-bit 4:2:0 videos for more than 30 minutes.

Built-in Wi-Fi supports 2 x 2 MIMO.

Built-in wireless LAN allows communication on the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz41 bands, the latter with 2×2 MIMO support (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac) for industry-leading speed. Dual antennas ensure reliable communication, even with the camera’s durable magnesium alloy chassis. 5-GHz communication is a notable advantage for news and sports shooters who must deliver quickly.

Sony Alpha 1

Fast USB Type-C and 1000BASE-T network connections

A USB Type-C® connector that supports fast SuperSpeed USB 10-Gbps (USB 3.2) data transfer. High-speed PC Remote (tethered) data transfer of large files smoothly. The Sony Alpha 1 also has a built-in 1000BASE-T LAN connector for high-speed, stable data transfers, including remote shooting. FTPS (File Transfer over SSL/TLS) is supported, allowing SSL or TLS encryption for increased data security.

Picture of Alpha 1 with superb resolution and speed

Works with iMovie and Final Cut Pro X

This product is compatible with Final Cut Pro X and iMovie.

Camera rear view with two Z batteries

High-capacity Z-series battery for extended recording

Shoot up to 530 stills per charge. Components and circuitry have also been designed to optimize power use. Get more capacity with two Z batteries in the VG-C4EM grip.

Pros and cons

Best quality and realistic imageExpensive overall cost
Best available 4K and 8KCF Express A memory card is pricey
Best Autofocus

Who is the Sony Alpha for?

The Sony Alpha 1 is good for professional photographers who want the highest quality videos and images. It is also suitable for anyone who loves exploring new features.

Final Verdict:

Although expensive, Sony Alpha 1 is the best and the most powerful camera compared to its competitors. I recommend buying it for the best quality images, 4K, and 8K videos.

You can look at Sony A9 Mark II for a cheaper full-frame mirrorless camera with impressive features.

Click to buy a Camera only

Click to buy with a 100-400mm Telephoto lens

Click to buy with a 200-600mm Telephoto lens

Click to buy with a 16-35mm lens

Click to buy with a 160GB memory card

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