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Sony A1 Reader Comments (4)

Important to my B&H loaner support — buy your Sony A1 via the links on this site when pre-ordering starts Jan 27 at 10 AM EST.

Feel free to send thoughtful comments on the Sony A1.

Roy P writes:

Sony A1

Sony A1 = a tectonic shift in the world of photography.

Sony likely spent over $100M in just the development of the new processor in the A1, and god knows how much they spent on the other custom silicon in the camera, the new EVF, new sensor, body design, etc. It wouldn’t surprise me if Sony’s R&D budget for the A1 exceeded Leica’s total annual revenue (about 420M Euros). 

Besides the hard-hitting technical features, the A1 has a lot of features in it that are specifically aimed at high-end pro photographers. If you’re covering a game or an event, with an A1, you could have an eye-catching image sent to an editor’s computer and published on say, much sooner (by several minutes) than you could with any other camera system. How do you stay in business if you don’t switch to the A1?

Start the death watch. Pentax just died, and Nikon just went into a coma. Panasonic and Leica have been told they may be terminally ill.

Having been a Nikon user for 15+ years until I switched to Sony 7-8 years ago, I hate to see Nikon disappear, but I just don’t see what they can bring to the table, other than a brand name. But Polaroid, Studebaker, RCA, Kodak, Aristo, etc. were also great brand names once upon a time, and the brand names were not enough to bail them out.

Other than the multi-shot high res mode (which is probably still not in the A1), the Panasonic S1R / S1 has little to show, and I can’t imagine Panasonic  being thrilled about building an S2 / S2R to leapfrog the Sony A1. If the S1R now looks weak, the Leica SL2 looks like a complete joke, with its absurd prices for both the camera and the lenses.

The A1 also gives Sony the ability to get very aggressive on the pricing of the A7, A7R, A7S and A9, just in case the other camera makers hope to find refuge in being the “low cost alternative to Sony” category. Sorry, that category is already taken, by Sony.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Sigma, Voigtlander, Zeiss, Tamron, Tokina, and all the other aftermarket lens makers become even more Sony-centric, exploding the already burgeoning Sony lens line up.

Canon has no option other than staying in the game and fighting back, and I think they will. They have the wherewithal and all the reasons to stay in the game. My guess is, there was already a meeting called for this morning to discuss the aftermath of Sony’s announcement, and they’re probably debating if Canon should budget $1B or more for its next killer camera.

Kudos to Sony for not sitting on its hands. The A1 development must have started 18 months ago. It will be interesting to see how soon Canon can respond. But going forward, there’s very little doubt that it will be a new 2-horse race, Sony and Canon in that order.


Now I have to figure out what gear to sell to fund the Sony A1. Of course I’ll be covering the Sony A1 in detail.

Louis F writes:

For the high price I find it disappointing there is no built-in GPS.

DIGLLOYD: yeah, I 'get' it that if you need it, it’s a hassle to add some kind of external unit. Are such uses really there for more than 0.1% of shooters? I certainly understand it for some types of documentary stuff, wildlife and plant biology, etc.

For me, GPS is mainly a headache in having to remove it from my published images, so that I don’t see my favorite locations trampled by people wanting to put their tripod in the same spot. GPS is a disaster for wild untrammeled places, as per my essay. Yeah, I know drones are great too—at destroying the solitude of wild places. GPS and drones are all part of a wilderness clusterfuck when seeking a connection with life and beauty—I was reminded of that ugly reality jut last month near Alabama Hills. Well, maybe that’s a little unfair to GPS since it’s just something used by drones.

Rich M writes:

Lloyd, what am I missing? You write (and quote Roy P) “Spectacularly MISSING (maybe it’s there?) is support for focus stacking and/or a multi-shot high-res mode.” Yet in the very press release you post, with your own highlighting, ...

DIGLLOYD: I don’t see focus stacking included anywhere.

Pixel shift as per Sony is entirely different than Panasonic S1R multi-shot high-res mode. Sony’s pixel shift cannot deal with the slightest subject movement or lighting change, in stark contrast to what the S1R can do (including being smart enough to deliver viable images even with running water). And Sony’s 16-shot mode is of no value that I can determine for greater resolution, always less sharp than 4-shot mode. One is usable in the field (Panasonic) and one is rarely usable (Sony).

Glenn K writes:

You would think for $6500, Sony could include a decent LCD screen on the back... 1.4MP with crappy color doesn't compete with Canon, Nikon or Panasonic!

I'm not sold on the A1 being the "the camera to have" for everyone. It is, no doubt, a technological advance (as it has to be for $6500). For sports, wedding and wildlife work it would seem to be the bee's knees. Many pros will find it ideal, but the average wedding photographer and prosumer wildlife photographer will likely balk at the cost (unless they are dentists migrating from Leica). The potential market narrows rapidly above $3500.

Shooting landscapes, travel and some 4K video, the A1 isn't at all attractive to me. For less money, I can have an A7SIII for high quality 4K video and an A7R IV for higher resolution stills.

Tomorrow, Fujifilm is going to offer me twice the megapixels on a larger sensor for less money. Nikon can give me equivalent stills, perfectly fine 4K 60p video and access to better holy-trinity zooms for less than half the money. As for the E-mount lens ecosystem, sure it is large, and there are some spectacular primes, but there are many duds (most of the Sony-Zeiss zooms) and duplications.

What's most exciting to me is that Sony has finally discovered lossless compression. Now give me an A7R V with the 61MP sensor, the new viewfinder and menus, dual CFExpress A cards, <$4K pricetag and updated 24-70 and 70-200 GM zooms, and I am all in! A 2+ MP LCD would be icing on the cake.

DIGLLOYD: I agree completely on the crappy low-res rear LCD. It’s a wart that could have been a Retina display as per iPhone. Bummer. OTOH, I rarely use it anymore, on any camera that’s not a DSLR.

Aside from the price, I am not following this spec-sheet argument... which seems to be its own undoing in the last paragraph. But OK... if price is a stipulation, then I am not going to disagree—the A1 price sure gives me pause at about twice what an A7R IV goes for. It’s going to hurt paying for the A1.

Personally, I have zero interest in carrying a 2nd body just for sporadic video; I want it in one body or it’s useless. And I want it in 8K, which is the near future. No thanks on 1/4-resolution 4K. And if you do video a lot , why would you shoot it in 4K? You’d surely prefer the A1 4K from oversampling the sensor vs standard 4K, but 8K is better yet.

If Glenn can stipulate price as a factor, then I will stipulate visual enjoyment while shooting: the ultra high-res EVF and 240 fps refresh rate and zero blackout of the A1 will contribute to a very enjoyable shooting experience each and every shot. This was in fact a very significant factor for me in going with the A7R IV over the III. Pretty simple. But there’s lots more to enjoy with the A1 than just the view.

I’m not hip to the Fujifilm rumors, but presumably Glenn is referring to the smaller-size 100MP body that has been rumored to complement the big-brick Fujifilm GFX100.

Important to my B&H loaner support — buy your Sony A1 via the links on this site when pre-ordering starts Jan 27 at 10 AM EST.

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