Sony Alpha1 Released – 8k Video Game Changer?

Ok, sit tight for this the much anticipated Alpha 1 is here and it may just be the Canon EOS R5 challenger the market needs. Truly, on paper at least, this camera is firstly the answer to the Sony video & hybrid shooters EOS R5 and secondly seems to directly address the (much over hyped) overheating issue that plagued the Canon 8k hybrid offering.

So what do we know from the press release (below)and always we focus on the video aspects here at 120FPS. The newly developed 50.1MP Full Frame Exmore RS sensor allows a full 8k 30p 10-bit 4.2.0 image… insane!! We also get 4k up to 120p with 10-bit 4.2.2 recording and the inclusion of the S-Cinetone profile from the FX9 & FX6.

As if this wasn’t enough Sony are claiming two other massive features. The first is the ability to record 16bit via hdmi, although it’s not stated at what resolution, looking at the footnotes I can assume this may be at 4k. Finally is the engineering that has gone into the heat sync/dissipation, which Sony claims will allow this camera to record 8K 30p video continuously for 30 minutes.

If all of this is true, and this camera really has dealt with the heat issues associated with 8k shooting, then this camera could well be the EOS R5 Killer!!

Press Release (abridged)

Professional Video Quality

8K High-Resolution Movie Shooting

For the first time in an Alpha camera, the Alpha 1 offers 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS recording with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary resolution. Combined with Sony’s acclaimed autofocus technology, gradation and colour reproduction performance, the Alpha 1 will help the user realise their creative vision with the finest detail. It’s 8K footage can also be used for flexible 4K editing during post-production.

Supporting Various Video Formats for Professionals

The Alpha 1 offers in-camera 4K recording at up to 120 frames per second which allows the user to shoot up to 5X slow-motion video. 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.

The Alpha 1 features S-Cinetone, the same colour matrix that produces the highly regarded FX9 and FX6 colour and skin tones. It delivers natural mid-tones, plus soft colours and gorgeous highlights to meet a growing need for more expressive depth.The S-Log3 gamma curve makes it possible to achieve 15+ stops of dynamic range, while the S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.Cine colour gamut settings make it easy to match Alpha 1 footage with video shot on VENICE cinema camera, FX9 and other professional cinema cameras.

Heat-dissipating Structure

A unique 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 record 8K/30p video continuously for approximately 30 minutes.

Supporting Hand-held Shooting

A high-precision stabilisation unit and gyro sensors, plus optimised image stabilisation algorithms, achieve up to a 5.5-step shutter speed advantage, maximising the quality of the high-resolution images derived from the camera’s 50.1-megapixel sensor. The Alpha 1 also features an Active Mode that offers outstanding stabilisation for handheld movie shooting. When using Sony’s desktop applications Catalyst Browse or Catalyst Prepare for post-production, an accurate image stabilisation function is available which utilises metadata generated by the camera’s built-in gyro.

Other features that the Alpha 1 offers include; 16-bit RAW output to an external recorder via HDMI for maximum post-production flexibility, a digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface (MI) Shoe for clearer audio recordings from a compatible Sony external microphone, 5.8K oversampled full pixel readout without pixel binning for high-resolution 4K movies in Super 35mm mode and more.

Reliable and Easy Operability

Professional users need more than just refined features and performance. They also need the reliability and durability demanded of any professional tool. The Alpha 1 has two media slots that both support UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards, as well as new CFexpress Type A cards for higher overall capacity and faster read/write speeds. It also features a durable magnesium alloy chassis, long battery life with the Z-battery which can be extended using the optional VG-C4EM Vertical Grip (sold separately),an improved dust removal feature, shutter close function on power-off to protect image sensor, plus dust and moisture resistance that maximises reliability in challenging environments. It includes a durable, reliable HDMI Type-A connector, and USB PD (Power Delivery) support, allowing higher power to be supplied from an external source so that users can record for extended periods with minimal internal battery usage.

A revised menu structure provides easier navigation, and touch-responsive menu operation offers fast, more intuitive control with Touch Focus and Touch Tracking on its 3.0 type 1.44 million-dot (approx.) LCD monitor.For easy customisation, a subset of the camera’s shooting settings now changes according to the selected shooting mode, making it easier than ever to use different aperture, shutter speed and other settings for shooting stills and movies.

The Alpha 1 Full-frame Interchangeable-Lens Camera will be available in Europe in March 2021 for approximately £6,500.


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