My first camera ever with no compromises
June 04, 2021
Simply put, this is the only camera I've ever bought where I didn't think, even while unboxing, it's so great, but I still wish it did [____].
Yes, this search for gear perfection is exacerbated by being a hybrid stills/video shooter. But even if the A1 just fulfilled one or the other of those functions this well it would still be extraordinary.
Doing both so well AND concurrently? It's like sci-fi.
Re stills, 50 megapixels is IMO the sweet-spot for full frame. The A1's new sensor renders the most beautiful and subtly-detailed digital images I have ever seen from a full-frame camera. It's a pleasure to use because the entire interface is so responsive. And how great to no longer have to choose between speedy-readout and resolution, or resolution and low-light capabilities.
Re video, the A1 shoots 8k and 4k full-frame and APS-C mode. So I can use my Super-35 cine lenses and my G-Masters. S-Cinetone is a luscious-looking profile. The 10-bit S-Log 3 grades with loads of flexibility in Resolve.
The autofocus is tenacious and feels instantaneous, the color science is great and the Auto White Balance is the most accurate I've ever experienced. Although I typically shoot like there are only 36 exposures in the camera, the 30fps shooting is insanely useful when you need it.
Personally, I'm thrilled that Sony kept the A1 so compact; it's a considerable part of the appeal. An optional vertical grip is a far better option than a massive body.
Yes, the price is firmly in Leica Land, but if you think of it as getting a flagship stills AND video camera, PLUS a top-level landscape/studio AND sports/action shooter all in one body, the sticker shock really isn't that bad.