Sony Unveils Alpha a1 Flagship Camera that Shoots 50MP Images at 30FPS & 8K Video

Hero photo of Sony A1 camera

Sony just introduced a new flagship mirrorless full frame camera called the Sony Alpha a1, which is capable of shooting 50-megapixel images at 30 frames per second. The new Sony Alpha a1 is designed to offer the best of both worlds for photographers: high resolution images at frames rates quick enough to capture fast action sports.

The new Sony Alpha a1, which was introduced at a Sony online press conference, appears to be the follow-up to Sony’s top-of-the-line sports camera, the a9 II, but as the Alpha 1 name denotes, it’s also the start of a new professional camera line for Sony. 

The Sony Alpha a1 also offers some head-turning video specifications. In particular, it can capture 8K video at 30p, which puts it on par with the Canon R5, which was introduced last summer. In addition, the Sony a1 can shoot 4K video at 120p for high-resolution, slow-motion capture.

Photo of rear of Sony A1 camera

Here’s a rundown of some of the main camera specifications for the Sony Alpha a1. 

Sony Alpha 1 main features

  • New 50.1-megapixel full-frame stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor in combination with an upgraded BIONZ XR imaging processing engine designed to offer 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 OLED Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder with the world’s first refresh rate of 240 fps
  • Silent, vibration-free electronic shutter
  • World’s first, according to Sony, anti-flicker shooting with both mechanical and electronic shutter
  • Electronic shutter flash sync up to 1/200 second for the first time in the Alpha series
  • World’s fastest, according to Sony, 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, according to Sony, built-in Wi-Fi, SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, 1000BASE-T Ethernet and more

Two areas that Sony did not address, in depth, during the online press conference were the weatherproofing/durability ratings of the Alpha a1’s camera body, and the articulating features of its rear LCD screen. According to a Sony spokesperson who briefed us after the presentation, the a1 has a similar build to the Sony a9 II, which is dust and moisture resistant but not, technically, waterproof. The Sony a1 also shares a similar rear 3-inch LCD to the a9 II, which tilts back off the camera body but does not side swivel like the new Sony a7S III.

The Sony Alpha 1 a1 goes on sale in March 2021 for approximately $6,500 USD and $8,500 CAD.

This is a breaking news story. We will add updates about the new Sony Alpha 1 as we gather them. Below is a Sony video introducing the a1 and showcasing some of its main new features.

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