Picture high quality

The Sony a1 provides actually sensational picture high quality for nearly any kind of pictures you may be taken with. Processed in Adobe Digital camera Uncooked.
ISO 100 | 1/800 sec | F1.4 | Sony FE 35mm F1.Four GM
Picture by Rishi Sanyal

Key takeaways:

  • JPEGs retain very excessive ranges of element at each high and low ISOs
  • Noise discount strikes a barely completely different stability in comparison with the a7R IV, opting to cut back extra luminance noise on the slight price of effective element as gentle ranges drop
  • Colours are improved: richer yellows, much less magenta-tainted blues, hotter greens
  • Class-leading Uncooked dynamic vary in comparison with skilled motion / sports activities cameras
  • Virtually class-leading dynamic vary in comparison with high-resolution full-frame friends
  • ISO invariant over two ranges: 100-400, 500-102,400

Studio check scene

Our check scene is designed to simulate quite a lot of textures, colours and element sorts you will encounter in the true world. It additionally has two illumination modes to see the impact of various lighting situations.


When it comes to Uncooked element seize, the Sony a1 turns in a extremely spectacular efficiency, simply on par with similar-resolution opponents throughout the scene. In actual fact, you need to look fairly intently to identify any additional element extracted by the Sony a7R IV’s higher-resolution sensor. The Sony a1 will be vulnerable to false-color artifacts although, similar to the opposite choices right here, which would require a bit of labor in publish to take away.

Regardless of being constructed to have completely insane readout velocity, which regularly comes at a noise price, the Sony a1 performs equally nicely to the Canon EOS R5 at larger ISO values, and is available in a bit behind the Nikon Z7 II and a bit of forward of Panasonic’s Lumix DC-S1R. In comparison with its pro-oriented friends, the a1 stays aggressive, falling maybe a tad bit behind the Canon EOS-1D X III and the Nikon D5, doubtless because of its elevated pixel rely.


Transferring on to JPEGs, we will see that the Sony a1 has pretty aggressive default sharpening, and appears prefer it’s been ‘turned up a notch’ in comparison with the Sony a7R IV. And, despite wanting fairly much like the Nikon Z7 II at first look, the Sony holds on to effective element rather more successfully. Regardless of the excessive diploma of sharpening, the a1 doesn’t endure from the overshoot at edges that you would be able to see in photographs from the Nikon.

The entire choices right here output what we might name pleasing colour, with the Sony exhibiting particularly wealthy yellows. In comparison with the Sony a7R IV, it appears just like the a1 provides plenty of enhancements, from these richer yellows to far much less magenta-tainted blues, hotter greens and barely much less muted caucasian pores and skin tones (much like what we noticed with the Sony a7S III). Reds seem to have taken a slight dip in saturation and do not seem as Canon-esque as they did with the a7R IV.

At larger ISO values, the Sony a1 sadly reveals a good bit of colour bleed, with the Nikon placing up the strongest exhibiting right here by far. All cameras depart behind a level of luminance noise, and actually, all do job of holding on to low-contrast element although the Canon and Nikon fall behind the opposite choices right here considerably. Sony’s personal a7R IV appears to carry on to simply fractionally extra element at these settings than the a1, which turns into a bit of extra obvious when all are considered at a standard measurement, but it surely does so on the expense of extra luminance noise. With the a1, Sony selected to strike a barely completely different stability, sacrificing a little bit of effective element for decreased luminance noise.

In comparison with its skilled friends, the a1 retains extra element on the highest ISOs than the Nikon D5 and Canon EOS-1D X III, little doubt helped by its decision, but it surely does so at a slight price of elevated luminance noise and colour blotches.

Uncooked Dynamic Vary

The a1 is Sony’s third digital camera to make the most of a full-frame stacked CMOS sensor. Its first, the a9, traded off low ISO dynamic vary for sensor learn velocity, with the a9 II enhancing issues by a bit of over 1/2 EV at its base ISO. However as we’ll see beneath, the a1 brings an excellent better enchancment in low ISO dynamic vary regardless of even sooner sensor scan charges than both a9 mannequin (or certainly another shopper digital camera we have examined).

Our Publicity Latitude check does what you may be temped to do in vibrant gentle: scale back the publicity to seize extra highlights, then brighten the shadows. Even after a 6 EV push of an ISO 100 Uncooked file shot on the a1, noise ranges stay modest in shadows, and are corresponding to – albeit ever so barely behind – the class-leading a7R IV:

In comparison with its professional-oriented friends, the a1 turns in class-leading efficiency, with the bottom noise ranges and biggest element in contrast the Nikon D5, Sony’s personal a9 II, and the Canon 1D X III. It is value noting that the Canon has equally low noise ranges in shadows after excessive pushes, however that is solely made attainable due to noise discount in Uncooked which comes at the price of element. Switching the a1 to e-shutter mode exhibits solely the slightest enhance in noise within the deepest shadows: sufficiently small that it will be irrelevant to most photographers.

Subsequent, we check out ISO invariance. Our ISO invariance check appears at photographs shot with the identical publicity settings however completely different ISO settings. This lets us see how a lot digital (learn) noise is current, that may be overcome utilizing amplification.

At first look, the sensor within the a1 doesn’t seem ISO invariant, however this is because of its twin acquire design. Within the crops above, the noise ranges of the ISO 100 and 400 pictures pushed +6 and +Four EV seem related, whereas the noise ranges of the ISO 800 and 6400 pictures pushed +three and zero EV seem related. The a1 basically has two ISO invariant ranges, between 100 and 400, and 500 upward, as ISO 500 is the digital camera’s second ‘native’ ISO the place every pixel switches to its excessive conversion acquire mode for higher low gentle efficiency.

Which means that in dim situations, you need to use the shutter velocity and aperture settings of a excessive ISO publicity, however hold the digital camera set to ISO 500. By the point you brighten up the shot in publish, the picture will not be noticeably noisier than it will be for those who had shot natively at a better ISO, however you will have saved many stops of spotlight data. Equally, in brighter situations the place quick shutter speeds would possibly require ISOs above 100 however beneath 500, you need to use the publicity related to the upper ISO, however hold the digital camera set to ISO 100 to retain highlights. Assume sports activities or your children operating towards the backdrop of a sundown the place the motion requires not less than 1/500s shutter velocity. You might simply be bumping up towards ISO 400 and clipping these skies to white, however you needn’t accomplish that for those who retain the shutter velocity and aperture related to the upper ISO however then dial the ISO again to 100 to maintain the highlights from clipping.

The absolutely digital shutter mode once more solely exhibits a tiny enhance in noise within the deepest shadows on the lowest ISOs, and any variations in efficiency disappear at ISOs above 200, the place amplification overcomes any additional learn noise accompanying e-shutter mode.

Shop Amazon