There are certain times in life where you end up in some cool situations.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I was just sitting at home doing some work when suddenly I got a phone call.  I hopped in the Tesla and rocketed drove the speed limit to where I was told to meet up.

There it was.

The new Sony Alpha 1.

Not only did I get to see it, but I also got to hold it and smell it and everything.

First impressions of the Sony Alpha 1 camera

Well…it looked like my a7rIV and my a9II.  This model happened to have the battery grip attached, but otherwise it felt exactly how I expected it to feel!

Sony did not do any extreme modifications to the body for the new camera, so anyone who has a 4th generation Sony alpha camera (a7rIV, a9II, or a7sIII) will feel right at home with the new tiny monster.  The fourth-generation grip is slightly bigger than on the a7rIII and other third-generation Sony cameras and feels much better in the hand so I was glad they didn’t tinker with it on the Alpha 1.


It’s what is inside that matters.  And what’s inside is perfect.

The autofocus was instant.  It tracked perfectly (granted not in the most challenging scenario but still).  Looking through the video resolution settings and seeing 8K as an option was pretty incredible too.  Like I said yesterday, it’s overkill for so many, but for those who need it, you have it now!

What is different on the outside?

Besides the Alpha 1 badge on the front (which I’d immediately cover with gaff tape, as to not advertise the value of the camera in my hand), there are a few exterior modifications.

The left top dial from the a9II makes an appearance with a slight alteration, but the dial is wonderful because it allows you to change shutter speeds and autofocus modes when shooting action without needing to leave the viewfinder.  Gotta love the H+ mode for 30 frames per second!

(credit to my Tesla for providing the cool mirror effect on the all-glass roof)

Similar to the a7sIII, the Alpha 1 has two multi-use card slots, each compatible with UHS-II SD cards or the new CFExpress Type A cards.

The other side of the camera, the side with the connection ports, has been revamped as well.  Gone is the micro-HDMI port, replaced by a full-size HDMI port, just like the a7sIII.  Additionally, the Alpha 1 adds the ethernet jack from the a9 and a9II for sports photographers who need to submit pictures to their wire service immediately (I forgot to open it in the picture below but you know what an ethernet jack looks like).

Well?  Where are the sample pictures from the camera?!

I didn’t get to take any, and even if I did I couldn’t share them with you until the embargo period expires on Thursday.  I wasn’t in an incredibly interesting photography environment anyway so the pictures wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting as those you’ll see on Thursday from others when the embargo expires.  I’m expecting the image quality to be on par with the a7rIV and provide the dynamic range and sharpness for which Sony is known.

My thoughts on the Sony Alpha 1

Everybody is going nuts about the specs on this camera, and for a really good reason.  At the same time though, we all run the risk of being this guy, from the HBO show Veep:

For those who need it, this is going to be an incredible camera.  I have no doubt Sony will sell quite a few of them actually.  But very few people actually need this camera, and not everyone will be able to run out and get one of these, $6500 is a lot of money.  What the Alpha 1 can do in one body most Sony shooters will already be able to almost do with one of their existing ones.

For those who get it, it will feel familiar to you but in almost every way be better.  For those who don’t get it, you’ll still be able to produce amazing images with what you have, and even have your $6500 camera/lens combo not fare particularly well against an iPhone at Zion National Park.

Bravo to Sony…and who wants to buy my a7rIV and a9II?!

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