Sony to announce a curved sensor Sony A1 with “crazy high ISO”?

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UPDATE: With only a few hours to go until the Sony Alpha launch event, the speculation is mounting about the mysterious ‘Sony A1’. This rumored camera is said to include a curved sensor, which could result in smaller and faster lenses. However, some more potential specs have now been leaked.

Rumor website Sony Alpha Rumors has reported that one of its sources said, “I saw the unseen [camera] and trust me, you will never be blind in the dark again. CRAZY high ISO.” It also seems that this new potential camera will use the E-mount and will be the “most expensive E-mount camera yet”.

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If these rumors turn out to be true, then Sony is certainly kicking off 2021 with a bang. However, we’ll have to wait for the event at 10AM EST/ 15:00 GMT to find out whether there’s any fire underneath all of this smoke.

ORIGINAL STORY: The previously announced Sony launch will kick off tomorrow at 10AM EST, but it now seems that there could be an additional exciting camera added to previously rumored line-up. Past leaks have indicated that we could be seeing the Sony A9 III and the Sony A7 IV appear on 26 January. However, a new rumor suggests that Sony will also be announcing a full frame camera with a curved sensor.

There’s not a lot of concrete information about this potential new camera, as it appears that Sony is keeping its cards clutched close to its chest. Sony Alpha Rumors reported that its source said that all he had was “unofficial chatter”, so it’s definitely not a certainty that we’ll be seeing this curved sensor camera.

So what would be the potential benefits of a camera with a curved sensor? Essentially, a curved image sensor mimics the design of the retina in the human eye, having a natural curve rather than the traditional flat design.

Sony first revealed this technology in 2014, stating that a curved sensor design results in a simpler lens system that’s 1.4x more sensitive at the center and 2x more sensitive at the edges.

According to a report by IEEE on that original presentation by Kazuichiro Itonaga, a device manager with Sony’s R&D Platform, Itonaga said, “A curved CMOS sensor has a few advantages over a planar sensor. Because of the geometry, it can be paired with a flatter lens and a larger aperture, which lets in more light.”

If a curved sensor can result in smaller, more compact lenses and wider apertures, then this technology could be a true game-changer for the camera industry. We’ll have to wait and see whether Sony has managed to finally bring a curved sensor camera to market – and such a vague rumor doesn’t exactly inspire oodles of confidence that it will turn out to be true. However, only time will tell…

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Sony Alpha A1 camera official – and it’s the most powerful mirrorless camera ever

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The new Sony Alpha A1 full-frame camera has just been announced during Sony’s ’the one never seen’ livestream event – and the 50MP full-framer is the most powerful mirrorless camera we’ve ever seen.

Until now, the camera had been kept totally secret, with no leaks or solid rumors – but now the Sony Alpha A1 is official, and it’s a huge launch for camera fans.

The Sony Alpha A1 combines a 50MP full-frame sensor with 30fps burst shooting for the first time, along with 8K video shooting for filmmakers. The word ‘beast’ is somewhat overused when it comes to flagship cameras, but it’s entirely fitting here.

Based on what appears to be a similar chassis to the Sony A9 II, the Alpha A1 crams in the kind of tech and features that we haven’t seen in a hybrid camera before.

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It brings Real-time Eye AF for birds for the first time, has an impressive 759 AF points covering 93% of the sensor, and shoots 8K/30p video, along with a 4K/120p mode. Thanks to some heat dissipation tech taken from the Sony A7S III, it promises to shoot 8K/30p for an impressive 30 minutes, too.

That isn’t the only tech the Alpha A1 borrows from the A7S III either – the new flagship also has the same 9.44-million dot viewfinder, with 0.90x magnification and 240fps refresh rate, which promises to be an incredible way to view and frame your scene. You also get an in-body image stabilization (IBIS) with a claimed 5.5-stops of compensation, which is now standard for any flagship mirrorless camera.

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(Image credit: Sony)

The ultimate hybrid

We thought Sony’s billing of the Alpha A1 as the photographic equivalent of Neo from The Matrix might have been overkill, but its specs truly do make it the supercar of cameras (with a price tag to match).

The headline spec for sports shooters is that ability to shoot 50MP stills in 30fps bursts, even if there was no mention of buffer size. But the Alpha A1 appears to have been built for all kinds of professional shooters, with Sony hyping the camera’s autofocus performance in particular.

Sony’s autofocus has been class-leading for a while now, but it appears to have been taken up another notch on the Alpha A1. Sony has now added birds to its Real-time Eye AF for animals – we’ve seen something similar on the Canon EOS R5, whose Animal Eye AF blew us away, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Alpha A1 compares.

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony is promising continuous shooting with AF tracking even at f/22, and for portrait photographers there’s the usual Real-time Eye AF for humans, too.

What’s most impressive about the Sony Alpha A1, though, is how it combines a pro stills camera with a super-powerful video tool, in one relatively compact body. Filmmakers will certainly be eyeing it up, given the specs – it shoots 4K in 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally and can output 16-bit raw video over HDMI.

Underlining its pro leanings are the inclusion of two CFExpress Type A slots (which do also accept UHS-II SD cards) along with some impressive wireless transfer tech for journalists. There’s a built-in Ethernet connection and dual-band Wi-Fi that apparently allows FTP transfers that are 3.5x faster than the Sony A9 II. Yes, this camera is very much built for the Tokyo Olympics.

So how much does all of this tech cost? A lot, as you’d imagine – the Sony Alpha A1 will cost $6,500 / £6,500 (around AU$11,520) and will be available from March. We’ll bring you our first impressions as soon as we manage to get our hands on what is likely to be the most trailblazing camera of the year.

Sony Teases New Camera for January 26th Arrival: ‘The One Never Seen’

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Sony has teased the launch of a new camera set to be announced on January 26 at 7 AM Pacific Time. No details other than the timing of the announcement have been revealed, but rumors claim it to be a new a9 series camera.

While the age of the a7 III would indicate that Sony would be better served updating that camera, it has continued to sell well despite being three years old. Additionally, the a7C – which is just a repackaged, smaller version of the a7 III – was recently released, which has led rumor sites such as Mirrorless Rumors and Sony Alpha Rumors to hedge their bets on a new a9 camera.

One rumor is claiming the camera will exist in that Sony sports-line but push the resolution to around 50 megapixels and also offer 8K video, but in an “infant” state that will limit the quality and only allow for internal recording, likely to prevent the overheating issues that plagued the Canon EOS R5.

While many rumors about upcoming Sony products have been right, there are also many which missed that mark. If Sony were to produce a camera in the a9 line, that would bring significant speed expectations with it. Photographers who are attracted to the a9 generally aren’t asking for more megapixels, and the amount of data that would need to be processed after firing the a9 at high speeds with that kind of resolution would be monumental. Wildlife photographers might appreciate the extra resolution though, so it isn’t like such a camera would not have its fans.

Sony was expected to launch a professional camera in early 2021, so the arrival of this teaser is not unexpected. You can follow Sony on YouTube and set a reminder for the event, which will start two minutes after the countdown concludes on January 26th.

(via Sony Alpha Rumors)