The Sony A1 is the world’s best 35mm-format camera, a technological tour de force with the best usability available. Ultra-responsive in every way with a superb 9MP EVF, it was hard for me to temporarily go back last month to my lightly used Sony A7R IV (for sale, $2500). The A7R IV felt crude by comparison.
The A1 is priced at a serious premium to other cameras. I think it’s worth it for the serious shooter, even if 8K video and 30 fps is not needed. But there is no getting around the price tag.
For the wallet-conscious looking for much of what has arrived in the Sony A1, it might be that a 6 to 9 month wait will satisfy. Namely, a Sony A7R V that would likely sport much of the technology found in the A1.
Even better, my guess is that a Sony A7R V will move to a high-res sensor, perhaps 80 to 100 megapixels. That would explain why it is apparantly delayed until next year, and why Sony for now has offered a slightly upgraded Sony A7R IVa (already discounted $500). Sony has never before delayed this long in upgrading the top of its A7R lineup; this would make sense because surely the holdup is not necessary parts, as those are already shipping in the A1. So a high-res sensor using A1 sensor technology could well be the gating factor.
I would expect the following to appear in a Sony A7R V:
- Faster processor, one that supports higher-speed autofocus as well as lossless-compressed RAW.
- Improvement in responsiveness in all areas.
- The A1 covers the sports/wildlife/8K video segment so Sony could focus on high-res imagery in an A7R V.
- High-res EVF as in the A1.
- Support for CFExpress cards.
- 80 to 100 megapixel sensor.
- Dare we hope for focus stacking support?
In a nutshell, a Sony A7R V might be a high-res Sony A1, less performant for the most demanding scenarios, but less expensive and higher resolution. Maybe. A long shot is a Sony medium format system which we badly need so as to poke Fujifilm to sorely needed advances in its Klingon-designed user interface.
Will a 100MP Sony A7R V compete with medium format?
Given what I see on Fujifilm, where lenses strain to deliver resolution to the sensor, we cannot expect full capture resolution on a 100MP 35mm sensor. However, lens performance on Sony is very high with many lenses, enough that I suspect that it would compete favorably against the Fujifilm GFX100S. It should be an interesting 2022.