Sony Alpha 1 Review: Is This the Best Mirrorless Camera Yet?

Written by Antonio Cala.

Last updated on March 16, 2024

Table of Contents

Are you on the hunt for a camera that can capture stunning photos and videos? We’ve been checking out the Sony Alpha 1, and it’s definitely worth considering.

This camera boasts a 50.1-megapixel full-frame stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor and a next-generation BIONZ XR image processing engine, which means you’ll get incredible image quality and processing power. Plus, with blackout-free shooting up to 30fps and the world’s first anti-flicker mechanical and electronic shutter, you’ll never miss a moment.

Other noteworthy features include the world’s first 240 fps refresh rate, 9.44M dot 0.64” QXGA OLED EVF, and the ability to shoot 8k 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 video. The camera also has various exposure control types, including aperture priority, auto, manual, program, and shutter priority, as well as multiple metering options.

Let’s dive into the details.

For a complete analysis of wildlife cameras, make sure to check out the ultimate guide to wildlife photography cameras. 

Sony Alpha 1 Overview

Sony Alpha 1 Review

If you’re looking for a camera that combines high-resolution and high-speed performance, the Sony Alpha 1 might be just what you need. This camera boasts a 50.1-megapixel full-frame stacked Exmor RS™ image sensor that can shoot up to 30 fps continuous shooting with up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second. Plus, it has 8k 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 video and much more.

The Sony Alpha 1 camera is equipped with a 240 fps refresh rate, 9.44M dot 0.64” QXGA OLED EVF, which is the world’s first, and a blackout-free shooting up to 30fps from fast sensor readout speed. Additionally, it has the world’s first anti-flicker mechanical and electronic shutter.

Overall, the Sony Alpha 1 camera is a great choice for creators who want to capture what they’ve never been able to before.

Key Features

As we dive deeper into the Sony Alpha 1 mirrorless camera, let’s take a closer look at its key features that set it apart from other cameras on the market.

50.1MP Full-Frame Sensor

The Sony Alpha 1 features a 50.1MP full-frame stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor with integral memory, providing exceptional image quality and resolution. This high-resolution sensor allows for stunning detail and clarity in every shot, making it perfect for professional photographers and videographers.

BIONZ XR Image Processing Engine

The next-generation BIONZ XR image processing engine is 8x more powerful than its predecessor, delivering faster processing speeds and improved performance. This powerful engine enables the camera to capture stunning images and videos with incredible detail and clarity.

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Blackout-Free High-Speed Shooting

With its fast sensor readout speed, the Sony Alpha 1 offers blackout-free shooting up to 30fps, making it perfect for capturing fast-moving subjects with ease. This feature is especially useful for sports and wildlife photography, where every moment counts.

Advanced OLED Electronic Viewfinder

The Sony Alpha 1 features a world-first 240fps refresh rate, 9.44M dot 0.64” QXGA OLED electronic viewfinder that provides a clear and detailed view of the scene. This viewfinder is perfect for capturing images and videos in bright sunlight and low-light conditions, making it perfect for outdoor photography.

Innovative Shutter Technology

The Sony Alpha 1 features the world’s first anti-flicker mechanical and electronic shutter, which helps to eliminate flicker when shooting under artificial lighting. This feature is especially useful for indoor photography, where artificial lighting can cause flicker and other issues.

Overall, the Sony Alpha 1 is an exceptional camera that offers a range of advanced features for professional photographers and videographers. From its high-resolution sensor and advanced image processing engine to its blackout-free shooting and innovative shutter technology, this camera is a must-have for anyone looking to capture stunning images and videos.

Pros and Cons

When it comes to the Sony Alpha 1, there are definitely some pros and cons to consider before making a purchase. Here’s what we found:

Pros

  • Impressive Image Quality: With its 50.1MP full-frame stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor and powerful BIONZ XR image processing engine, the Alpha 1 produces stunning images with exceptional detail and clarity.
  • Fast and Accurate Autofocus: The camera’s advanced autofocus system is incredibly fast and accurate, making it easy to capture sharp, in-focus shots even in challenging lighting conditions.
  • Blackout-Free Shooting: Thanks to its fast sensor readout speed, the Alpha 1 allows for blackout-free shooting at up to 30fps, making it a great option for capturing fast-moving subjects like wildlife and sports.
  • World-Class EVF: The Alpha 1 features a 9.44M dot OLED EVF with a 240 fps refresh rate, providing an incredibly clear and responsive viewfinder experience.
  • Anti-Flicker Shutter: The Alpha 1 is the world’s first camera to feature both mechanical and electronic shutters with anti-flicker technology, making it easy to capture perfectly exposed shots in any lighting conditions.
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Cons

  • Expensive Price Tag: The Sony Alpha 1 is definitely a high-end camera, with a price tag to match. It may not be the best option for those on a tight budget.
  • Limited Battery Life: While the Alpha 1’s battery life is decent, it’s not the best we’ve seen. If you plan on using the camera for extended periods of time, you may want to invest in some extra batteries.
  • Systemic Issue: Some users have reported a systemic issue with the camera where it will suddenly go into a reboot cycle when turned on, rendering it unusable. While this issue doesn’t appear to be widespread, it’s definitely something to be aware of.

User Reviews and Testimonials

Cameras often receive negative online reviews due to technical issues, poor customer service or defective models.

The Sony Alpha 1 is no exception, and although it receives some negative feedback, overall, it has more positive reviews than many other models.

Sony Alpha 1 Online Reviews
Sony Alpha 1 Online Reviews
Sony Alpha 1 Online Reviews

Sony Alpha 1 vs Competitors

The main competitors of the Sony Alpha 1 are the Canon R3 and the Nikon Z9. Here are the differences among the 3 cameras. 

-
Sony Alpha 1
Canon R3
Nikon Z9

CAMERA

Sony Alpha 1

Canon EOS R3

Nikon Z9

SENSOR

Full Frame

Full Frame

Full Frame

PRICE

$$$

$$$

$$$

WEIGHT

1.61 lbs

1.81 lbs

2.95 lbs

MEGAPIXELS

50.1 MP

24.1 MP

45.7 MP

BURST RATE

Up to 30fps

Up to 30fps

Up to 120fps

AUTOFOCUS POINTS

759

1053

493

View at Amazon

View at Amazon

View at Amazon

Conclusion

After thoroughly analyzing the Sony Alpha 1, we can confidently say that it is an excellent choice for professional photographers and videographers. The camera’s 8K video capability and fast and accurate focus are impressive features that make it stand out from its competitors.

Moreover, the eye focus for animals is spot on, making it an ideal camera for those who love to capture pets’ and wildlife’s beauty. The camera’s hybrid photo/video capabilities are also impressive, making it perfect for family portraits and underwater wildlife/landscape video.

However, the battery life of the camera is not the best, so investing in a second or even third battery is recommended. Despite this, the camera’s overall performance and features make it a great investment for those who want to capture stunning photos and videos.

Other Models Reviewed

Other Camera Reviews

If you would like to read more about camera options for wildlife photography, make sure you check out our Master Guide to Wildlife Photography Cameras.

For even more specific options, you can check out our other reviews below:

 

Camera Type 

DSLR Cameras 

Mirrorless Cameras 

Compact Cameras 

Drones

 

Skill Level

Cameras for Beginners 

Intermediate-Level Cameras 

Pro Cameras

 

Budget

Cameras Under $1,000 

Cameras Under $2,000

 

Brand 

Sony Cameras 

Canon Cameras 

Nikon Cameras

 
 

Planned activitiy 

Cameras for Bird Photography

Cameras for Shooting Wildlife at Night

Travel-friendly Cameras

Cameras for Safaris

Sony Alpha 1 Reviews Online

When doing your research, you might want to read what other publications have to say about the Sony Alpha 1 camera. 

Here are some of the most popular reviews from the web. 

Why the Sony Alpha 1 Is the BEST Camera for Professional Photographersby shopmoment.com

Sony Alpha 1 Review: Yeah, It Really Is That Goodby petapixel.com

About the Author

Born and raised in Southern Spain, Antonio quit his job in 2013 to travel the world full-time with his wife Amanda for 10 years straight.

They visited 150+ countries, cycled 25,000km + from California to Patagonia, sailed over 10,000NM around the Caribbean & Sea of Cortez, rode their motorbikes 30,000 kms+ across West Africa (Spain to South Africa) and visited Antarctica, among many other adventure expeditions. 

Today Antonio runs Adventure Fix with Amanda, where they share their knowledge about the places they’ve visited and the ones still remaining on their list.

Antonio Cala

Co-Founder of Adventure Fix

Sony Alpha 1 Review
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