“WE HAVE SEEN CAMERASTHAT SHOOT RAWS AT 30FPS BEFORE, BUT NOT ON MODELSWITH 50MEGAPIXELS” Another major improvement is evident when looking through the 9.44m dot OLED EVF. The image is excellent, big and incredibly detailed – great for critical focus checking, previewing and setting continuous high shooting. There’s zero blackout, making accurate subject tracking easy. Set AF-C and the EVF resolution does drop, but you would be hard- pushed to see any difference. The A1’s finder has the option of a 240fps refresh rate, the world’s fastest, which is recommended when tracking fast- moving subjects. But this comes at the cost of lower magnification (0.7x instead of 0.9x) and a crop. We have seen cameras that shoot Raws at 30fps before, but not on models with 50 megapixels. Whether you require that sort of frame rate or not, the fact remains that this is an amazing feature. AE/AF tracking is included, but certain conditions have to be met. This rate is only possible using compatible lenses, with AF-C set, a shutter speed of at
least 1/250sec, and you are limited to JPEGs, HEIF or lossy Raws. Critical shooters keen to capture at 30fps might be concerned with only having lossy Raws to work with, but I don’t think it’ll be too much of a problem. Shooting the same scene, an uncompressed Raw was 107MB, a lossless compressed was 67MB, and a lossy Raw was 57MB. While the latter is smaller, the difference in file sizes is not huge. You would have to be working to an extremely high standard to encounter any issues. If you want lossless Raws, shoot at 20fps with the electronic shutter, or 10fps with the mechanical option. Confusingly, there’s no 30fps option in the continuous high menu; the highest shown is 20fps. Satisfy the conditions above and you get 30fps, although there is no indication of that – if you don’t, you’ll get 20fps. In practice, it’s unlikely to be noticeable, and I only saw the difference because I was shooting an online stopwatch as part of the test. Sony has been in the vanguard of developing autofocus in mirrorless cameras, and the A1 is impressive in this regard. I tested the A1 with a selection of Sony lenses, including the remarkable FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS, a long telephoto that sells at £1599. That is amazing value for a marquee lens of this range – and it’s a very decent performer. When shooting birds, a combo of subject detection set to ‘bird’ and
ECONOMICAL The Sony A1 might not have much in the way of acreage, but the space is maximised. And controls are a decent size despite this, making them great in use
NEW LOOK Sony has worked on the A1’s menu, and the colour-tabbed approach makes it easier to navigate compared to previous models
DIAL WITHIN A DIAL The key control on the left top-plate is a combined drive and AF control. Both need a lock depressing before moving, which is only a good thing. Having physical bracketing and self-timer controls is excellent
PERFORMANCE: EXPOSURE LATITUDE
Further processing smoothed it out. Shots overexposed by +4EV did not recover well, with our test image showing grey veiled highlights. That was no surprise, but improvements were instant: the +3EV shot looked pretty good. While highlights looked a bit flat, they were acceptable. Within the +/-2EV range, the Raws were corrected to give spot on results. This scene is contrasty, so this is a commendable performance but even contrastier scenes were handled very well too.
To test the latitude of Sony A1 lossless Raws, we shot +/-4EV exposure brackets in a range of situations – like cloudy days, interiors or against a setting sun – correcting them in Lightroom. The right exposure of this scene was 1/200sec at f/5.6 and ISO 100, with the camera set to aperture-priority. Overall, A1 Raws did really well. Underexposed shots recovered, and while digital noise was present in shadows with -3EV and especially -4EV frames, this wasn’t excessive.
Issue 99 | Photography News 33
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