Industry News: Sony announces their new flagship camera, the alpha a1

Jan 27, 2021
1
1
Might be just me, but this makes me even happier with my R5. The specs sound good, but this is as good as it gets for them and it is 7,5k euro.

Nothing makes me feel as though I am missing out with the R5. And there is still the R1 to come.
I feel the same way. The R5 focus system is proving to be 99% accurate. Other feature sets are at least adequate or excellent. Very happy with my upgrade from the 5D III.
 
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DBounce

EOS RP
May 3, 2016
278
312
$ony’s biggest mistake was pricing this body to compete squarely against the upcoming R1. Not too smart imo. Even as, I think few will ante up the $7,000 (tax) for this body. Worst still, it cost near as makes no difference to $9k in Europe.
I own several Alpha bodies. But I am not even considering this body. It will overheat in 8K just like the A7S III overheats in prolonged 4K @120P.... it uses the same heat sink. And is in essentially the exact same body. This should have been priced to compete with the R5... not R1.
 

tiggy@mac.com

R5
CR Pro
Jan 20, 2014
678
551
Thetford, VT
www.camnostic.com
The elephant in the room (one of them at least) is that the Alpha 1 is directed at the professional market but doesn't have a built-in battery grip so all that tech runs off of a single battery. This will force professionals to buy a grip adding extra cost to an already expensive body. Meanwhile, Canon and Nikon pro bodies come standard this way.

As a former owner of a bunch of 1-series bodies, I can say I preferred the A9's flexibility with being able to add or subtract a grip. I did NOT like the A9's lack of weather sealing around that interface, though.

I primarily shoot the R5 now, and the weather sealing between grip and body appears to be pretty darned good, and that is the best of both words for me. Lets me choose. I know this is anathema for pros who want to look pro, but when doing events, I like to have one r5 gripped and the other on a belt holster, and gripped cameras stink on a holster.
 
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woodman411

EOS 90D
Aug 1, 2017
150
191
USA
Why would read speeds be increased to the point of eliminating rolling shutter (according to the press release) but still not have global shutter? This seems like a rushed release, like they almost got to global shutter for this price point but didn't quite make it, so they had to throw in a second- rate mechanical shutter. And who wants to process 30fps at 50MP? I think Canon is doing the right thing with the R1 to wait for a proper global shutter at this price point. For the target audience (professional sports), global shutter and qpaf and yes lower MP will be much more compelling than the A1.
 

tiggy@mac.com

R5
CR Pro
Jan 20, 2014
678
551
Thetford, VT
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It appears to me (I'm the guy who did those tests for all the CFe brands on the R5) that the buffer is about the same in terms of gross memory between the A1 and the R5. We'll see when we get an A1 in hand to test. But the CFe A card is going to have 1/2 the performance of the CFe B cards, so the buffer will clear in 2x the time it takes to clear the buffer on the R5.

That said, the best cards clear the R5 buffer in 4-6 seconds, so doubling that is not too terrible. The data you cite below in The Digital Picture table must have used one of the slower cards. The better data we have indicates that the A1, after shooting for about 5 seconds, will need to clear buffer for about 8-12 seconds, depending on how fast your card is. It should be noted that the ONLY card manufacturer making CFe A cards is Sony. I've tested them in an A7s III, and they're pretty good (if expensive and not terribly large). Sony's CFe B cards are among the fastest in that category.

Most realistically, people aren't going to be shooting in 30 fps. They're more likely to be shooting at lower rates because, well, sanity. As a result, they'll likely take more like 8 seconds to fill a buffer and another 8 to clear it. If you burst on and off, you might manage to not hit the end of the buffer, but you're likely to hit it much more often than you do in the R5. The R5, by the way, is fantastic in this regard. I'm a long-time perpetrator of spray-and-pray with wildlife shooting, and I come against the buffer so infrequently, that I've done entire shoots mistakenly writing to my SD card and never noticed because the large cache was protecting me from hitting the wall.

Updated data on R5 CFexpress performance across brands here. They'll be adding the CFe Type A data shortly, as well as data on Nikon and Panasonic CFe Type B performance (which wasn't great).



I am wondering about the CFe A vs B cards. CFe A cards in the A7siii is fine as it doesn't have the high bandwidth that the R5 does.
CFe B cards are relatively available in the market compared to CFe A cards.
CFe B cards are cheaper - at least last time I checked
CFe B cards have a higher bandwidth as they have 2 PCIe lanes vs 1 on the CFe A cards
=> CFe B = top 2GB/s vs CFe A cards @ 1GB/S
Canon have always formally qualified the higher write speed CFe B cards/OEMs which have generally been the larger card capacities although my 128GB Sony Tough has 1440MB/s write speed

From testing by The Digital Picture, the R5 has buffer depth of shots and seconds of shooting as:
20 fps RAW > CFexpress1467.3
20 fps RAW > SD1105.5


8k/raw DCI and 4K120 can only write to the CFe B card without any cinema compression without using the buffer.

It will be interesting what the CFe A cards can achieve in the A1
 

Random Orbits

EOS 5D Mark IV
Mar 14, 2012
2,433
304
Be careful about calling the R5 a successor to the 5D4. There are many still holding out hope for a 5D5!

True! However, I think the time for Canon producing a 5D5 has passed. It would have made sense if Canon had codeveloped the 5D5 as the mirrored version of the R5: same sensor, IBIS, frame rate, etc. However, mirrorless are cheaper to produce, so the price of the 5D5 would also have to be at least as much as the R5, and that's where I think the problem is (Nikon's 780 cost more than Z6 too). It would also have the same problem as the 1DX3, which has better tracking AF (face/animal) with the mirror up than while in DSLR mode. R bodies have the most flexible lens setups: EF and RF. A true 5D5 would be stuck with EF only. A EF-only user would only have to leave the EF/RF adaptor permanently on the R5. My EF lenses (before I sold them) worked better on the R5 than the 5D4 for focusing. There isn't as much a downside for a Canon-user adapting EF glass compared to Nikon users moving the Z system and losing AF with their screw-drive lenses.

There are some photography use-cases that would suffer with the move to mirrorless, such as wildlife where users are waiting hours to get the shot, but they probably aren't large enough of a market to warrant the deveopment of a 5D5 on their own. If Canon was still developing EF lenses, then it would be a different story.
 

Joules

doom
CR Pro
Jul 16, 2017
1,582
1,898
Hamburg, Germany
Why would read speeds be increased to the point of eliminating rolling shutter (according to the press release) but still not have global shutter? This seems like a rushed release, like they almost got to global shutter for this price point but didn't quite make it, so they had to throw in a second- rate mechanical shutter. And who wants to process 30fps at 50MP? I think Canon is doing the right thing with the R1 to wait for a proper global shutter at this price point. For the target audience (professional sports), global shutter and qpaf and yes lower MP will be much more compelling than the A1.
A global shutter is a completely different technology compared to Sonys stacked one. Calling this rushed does not seem acurate. I would wait and see if Canon actually pulls of a global shutter and what that means for image quality and cost in the real world. Before we can see what compromises go along with each of the approaches, it is not possible to evaluate the choices made here. So if Sony believes their stacked design is the better option, that may well be an informed decision and not at all 'rushed'.
 
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mpeeps

Lovin' life on the Central Coast
CR Pro
Dec 5, 2013
93
76
California
www.mpeeples.com
I have ProGrade's SD/CFE reader and it is fast. However, everything in that path must be to the same high standard or else you won't get the full speed (i.e. usb port on the computer side). When I got the reader, there weren't many options that supported full speed and read both SD and CFE.

I'm not aware of a 3-way, but then I sold off the 5D4 after getting the R5 and kept the R as backup. Having RF bodies gives the most flexibility for lenses and the R5 is a worthy successor.
The Prograde is fast. Must be the 3.0. It also gets quite warm.
 

EOS 4 Life

EOS RP
Sep 20, 2020
457
309
$ony’s biggest mistake was pricing this body to compete squarely against the upcoming R1. Not too smart imo. Even as, I think few will ante up the $7,000 (tax) for this body. Worst still, it cost near as makes no difference to $9k in Europe.
I own several Alpha bodies. But I am not even considering this body.
What you say makes a lot of sense but imagine having none of those bodies.
This one camera can replace A9 II, A7R iV, A7S III, and FX9.
A1 is short of each of those cameras but it looks like a steal next to that collection of cameras.
 

EOS 4 Life

EOS RP
Sep 20, 2020
457
309
Wonderful camera but I don't know where I'm going to put it. I'm buying cameras faster than I can clear space for them.

But why Alpha 1? Where did Sony learn to count?
A1>A9>A7>A6400
It kind of puts Canon in a bind.
R1 is expected to be the flagship but it is also expected to be a mirrorless 1DX.
I guess they could have an R1 and an RS1 or they can just consider A1 an overpriced R5.
 
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melgross

EOS RP
Nov 2, 2016
709
466
They actually do compete somewhat, in the sense that they are both represented as all-in-one cameras.
There is no other model in the Sony line-up like this one, it is either all-in on photo or video, but not both at the same time at this high level.

So Canon providing a camera like this at a significantly lower price point will make it very attractive for many people who aren't very concerned about overheating.

The Canon R1 will be higher positioned and different again, I would guess probably a bit less megapixels but definitely over 30 and with a global shutter for 8000$.

While I think the A1 price is quite outrageous, it makes the 1DX III very old for the same amount of money, that's why they "chose" this exact price.

I doubt they chose that price specifically because of the 1Dx. They chose it because they finally decided that it was time to enter the “big boy” camera market against Canon and Nikon, and, at the same time, beat them to the flagship mirrorless market. And that’s what those cameras cost, plus or minus $500.

Whoever is first has the pole position. It’s the only reason why Sony leads the mirrorless market now. I hope nobody really thinks that if Canon, Nikon and Sony started out at the same time in mirrorless that Sony would be in the position they’re in now, because they wouldn’t.
 
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swkitt

EOS M50
Dec 8, 2015
32
20
Apart from the impressive EVF I don't see anything better than the R5 and it's way overpriced in comparison.
The 30fps in electronic shutter, I'm sure Canon can catch up with a new firmware as the R5 is able to do 8k Raw videos at 30fps.
 
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melgross

EOS RP
Nov 2, 2016
709
466
I think you are right and that they will stick with the 20MP. I gave the 1DX iii a shot and it is an incredible camera. I just received the R5 today and will see how it compares AF wise. I thought I could do with 20mpx but it's just not enough for large prints considering I do crop a lot for wildlife. I am sure for sports and events it won't be as much of an issue, and that's probably the end market for these cameras anyway.
That’s the one interesting feature of the Sony—the high pixel count. I’m trying to understand the market they’re going for. Sports and photojournalists don’t normally need high resolution. We’ve been through these discussions before. Transmission speed and memory mean more. But Sony is stating that they have two high speed wireless channels out, and the two card slots. So, this might change the game. I didn’t look at all the specs, but I’m assuming that they can also shoot at a lower, presumably binned, resolution.
 

usern4cr

R5
CR Pro
Sep 2, 2018
992
1,394
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Apart from the impressive EVF I don't see anything better than the R5 and it's way overpriced in comparison.
The 30fps in electronic shutter, I'm sure Canon can catch up with a new firmware as the R5 is able to do 8k Raw videos at 30fps.
I doubt that a R5 firmware update will give you FF photos at 30fps, since it would have to read & transfer the entire 3:2 frame which has appreciably more pixels than the narrower 8K video aspect ratio. They'd also be storing each image to it's own filename instead of just adding data to an existing one (that may or may not have an appreciable effect). But when you look at your monitor in post and see one file for a 15 minute video vs 27,000 files it'll make a difference - PLUS Canon only outputs 10,000 filenames within a "folder" so there would be issues with multiple folders as well.
 
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EOS 4 Life

EOS RP
Sep 20, 2020
457
309
But I suppose if they keep the A9 series, which I doubt since the A9 and A1 are just a bit too similar, and avoid adding an A3 and A5 below the A7 series they can manage to still make sense of it. Or, more likely, they will need to reverse their numbering system, which really is a shame.
A1 is impractical for a lot of A9 users who are not going to pay $2K US more for features that they will never use.
A1 and A9 are no more similar than R5 and R6.
 
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