Sony Alpha 1 – The Ultimate Hybrid Flagship Sony shoots for the crown of the best hybrid camera on the market

Earlier today Sony unveiled its most secret camera in recent years – the Sony Alpha 1 a new high-end model that will sit above the current A7 and A9 lines and bring  8K recording as well as very advanced still capabilities, improved AF, and much more and will serve as Sony’s new flagship model.

Total secrecy

This is one of the first times that we can remember that Sony was able to keep such a big announcement secret. Although rumors have circulated for quite some time we didn’t see actual specs or any images of the new camera prior to the launch day.

We have been talking to Sony ourselves just last week and from what we understand just a few key company employees outside Japan knew what this new camera is.

This goes to show that when a company like Sony really wants, it can certainly prevent leaks.

No leaks – the new flagship Alpha 1

No leaks - the new flagship Alpha 1

What’s New with the Alpha 1

It seems that the best way to think about the new Alpha 1 is as a sort of a hybrid between the best features of the A7S III and those of the A9 II plus some new capabilities that did not exist in any Sony camera until today (not even the Venice/FX9 for that matter).

At the heart of this model is a brand new sensor with a 50.1MP resolution, not quite as high as the 60MP+ of the A7R IV but way over the 12MP of the A7S III. This means that the new camera can not only shoot 8K but also shoot in APS-C mode (something that the A7S III can’t do because of its low resolution) and of course can be used for high resolution still as well.

What is truly amazing is that as a stills camera it can shoot up to 30fps at 50MP and that the 9.44 million-dot EVF can stay blackout-free (like the A9 II) but at this high resolution and ultra-fast speed (all due to the upgraded BIONZ XR processor).

The most advanced Sony sensor to date

Alpha 1 sensor

The extensive Sony video product announcement video

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Alpha 1 Camera Specs

  • Sensor: 50.1 full-frame back-illuminated sensor.
  • Processor: dual Bionz XR processors.
  • Auto Focus: 759 phase-detection points with 92% coverage.
  • Sensitivity: 100-32,000 ISO (expandable to 50-102,400 for stills).
  • Video: up to 8K 30p 4:2:0 10bit, 4K up to 120p 4:2:2 10bit, with 4.3K ProRes RAW out (over HDMI).
  • Heat dissipation: Passive cooling using a graphite heatsink (there is no recording limit at 8K, some sites state 30 min limit).
  • Colors: support for S-Cinetone color (like the Sony Cine cameras) and SLOG 3.
  • Monitor: 3.0 very-angle monitor (not full articulating like the A7S III).
  • Viewfinder: 9.44M dot OLED up to 240fps with 0.9x magnification and eye-point of 25mm.
  • Flash sync speed – up to 1/400 second in mechanical shutter mode.
  • Body: magnesium alloy chassis (environmentally sealed).
  • Continuous shooting – 30 fps in electronic shutter mode (up to 155 RAW images in the buffer)
  • Battery: FZ-100 battery support up to 530 shots (compatible with the VG-C4EM two-battery accessory grip).
  • Audio: Multi-Interface Shoe with support for digital audio (similar to the A9 II and A7SIII etc.).
  • IBIS: 5.5 IBIS with Active Mode
  • Multishot – Pixel Shift Multi Shooting (199MP combined).
  • Memory card: Dual SD UHS II/CFexpress Type A slots.
  • Wireless connectivity: New 2×2 MIMO WIFI 802.11ac (up to 3.5X speed).
  • RAW type – includes 3 mode RAW shooting: uncompressed, lossless compressed, and compressed modes.
  • Connections: USB-C (3.2 up to 10Gb/s), full-size HDMI, LAN port,
  • Weight: 737 grams.
  • Menus: the same revised menu system we have seen in the A7S III.

The Alpha 1 top panel (the record button has not moved like the A7S III and there is a redesigned left dial)

Alpha 1 top

Pricing and availability

The new Sony’s Alpha 1 will ship in March 2021 and will sell for around $6500 making it the most expensive mirrorless Sony camera ever.

The back of the Sony Alpha 1 – no articulating screen and a back video record button

Sample videos

Although no hand on of this camera are available at the moment for press members, Sony released several videos shot with the camera, and here they are.

YouTube player
YouTube player
YouTube player

Bonus video: ProAV TV talk to Philip Bloom on the Sony Alpha 1

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Xperia PRO – a smartphone/monitor/streamer device 

Sony also announced a very interesting advanced “PRO” smartphone which doubles as a monitor with a micro HDMI connector. This new Xperia PRO got its first hands-on from the good people at B&H (see below).

B&H hands-on with the Xperia PRO

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If you don’t want to miss any new photography products be sure to check out our product photography section on our photo gear channel.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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