While the world waits for the February 4 Sony embargo date for reviews that include pictures, video and image quality evaluations, Tony Northrup gave his fairly complete set of impressions of the newly-launched Sony A1 flagship camera. Northrup has the camera in-hand, and was able to compare it directly to the camera that appears to be its most direct competitor, the Canon R5.

As is normal for major new series releases, initial spec sheet marketing gives way to the coverage of limitations and caveats.

The biggies on the positive site:

  • Rolling shutter appears to be completely quelled
  • EVF is indistinguishable from optical viewfinder
  • Flash abilities beat those of any other mirrorless camera

The disapointments:

  • One of the two key features doesn’t work quite as advertised: the 30 frames per second appears to be possible only when using a lower bit depth; a small set of expensive lenses; and while the tracking and autofocus aren’t being engaged. Real-world conditions give frames per second of about half of the rated 30 FPS, which is less than that achieved by the R5.
  • The tilt screen tilts in only one dimension, largely preventing its use shooting in portrait orientation.
  • Newly-launched bird eye tracking isn’t as good as Canon’s R5 equivalent
  • The heat envelope isn’t so different from that of the R5.