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The incredible Sony A1 goes where no camera has gone before with a multitude of skills, such as being able to shoot 50-megapixel images at 30fps and flash sync at 1/200sec with its electronic shutter NewSony marks anewera
If life were normal, it’s about now I’d start gearing up for The Photography Show at the NEC and looking forward tomeeting readers, seeing old friends and spending a fewquid. Last year the showdidn’t happen inMarch and the rearranged September event became a virtual weekend festival. There’s a virtual event again this spring, 6 and 7 March, with an actual showbeing planned for September. You’ve got to applaud the organisers for trying tomake the most of the horrible situationwe’re in. I hope the line-up of talks and presentations for the virtual event is good enough to enticeme to switch on the PC. I didmake an effort last September andwas looking forward to the virtual talks, because at the actual show I rarely get the chance to see speakers. But the fact is I didn’t get to the end of any of the talks/ presentations, because they were on the dull side of not very interesting. Just not very engaging and the whole process a little clunky . It’s rare that I leave the NEC without having given the credit card a good pasting, too, so at the virtual festival, I couldn’t resist a look at what the dealers had on offer. My credit card remained in the wallet. I know I’msimply asking for hate emails from the speakers, the retailers, sponsors and the organisers, but the fact is sitting in front of the computer at home watching a presentation (recorded or live) does not make for compelling viewing. And I’msuremy credit card remained untouched because there wasn’t the chance to browse a huge range of kit andmake impulse buys.
All in all, last year’s virtual event didn’t work for me, but it probably did for many. If it did, please feel free to email me, or use podcast@ photographynews.co.uk and tell me what you liked. Of course, despite my previous experience, I will no doubt check out this year’s event just because it’s unlikely I will have anywhere else to go. Fingers crossed, though, that the actual showhappens andwe’ll see you there – for your diary, the proposed dates are 18-21 September. Show or no show, the year has startedwith a bang in terms of top- end kit, with Sony introducing the A1 and Fujifilmwith the GFX100S. I appreciate both are top-end cameras with serious price tags and way out of reach for most of us, but for pro action/agency photographers (in the case of the A1) and social/ commercial photographers (with respect to the GFX100S), I’d have to say they seem incredible value, with remarkable feature lists. I can’t wait to try them, because they look amazing. Until next month.
BY ANY MEASURE, the Sony A1 looks like a sensational camera. Its resolution is 50.1 megapixels with a new full-frame, back-illuminated stacked Exmor RS sensor that works with an upgraded Bionz XR engine that has eight times more processing power than the Bionz X used in the A7R IV and A9 II. All that power is needed, because the A1 can shoot at 30fps continuously for 165 JPEGs or 155 compressed Raws with AF/AE tracking, making 120 calculations every second. This drops to 20fps with uncompressed or lossless compressed Raws and these speeds are with the camera’s silent, vibration-free electronic shutter and without blackout. Rolling shutter effect is an issue with electronic shutters and moving subjects, while flicker is a problem in artificial light, but the A1 has the technology to deal with these potential problems. The electronic shutter can also work with electronic flash, making the A1 the first camera to offer this – the flash sync speed in full-frame is 1/200sec and 1/250sec in APS-C format. Switch to the mechanical shutter and full-frame flash sync is 1/400sec and continuous shooting is possible at 10fps.
Other headline features include five-axis image stabilisation, 4D autofocus using 759 phase detect AF points covering 92% of the image area, and 425 contrast detect points, human/eye/bird detect AF, real-time tracking AF, two CFexpress Type A slots and 8K/30p video recording. The Sony A1 goes on sale this March with a body price of £6499. sony.co.uk
But the A1 is not all about speed. Its 50.1-megapixel sensor can deliver a 15EV dynamic range at low sensitivities and its native ISO range is 100-32,000 with low noise and high resolution at the fastest speeds. Shoot in APS-C format and you still get 21 megapixels and, with static scenes, if you want the maximum resolution, the Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode results in 199-megapixel files.
What’s inside 03 News New cameras and lenses galore and we’re only in February 08 Word search Your chance to win a Samsung 256GB microSD card 11 Club news Camera clubs continue to meet virtually, but their enthusiasm remains unwavering 14 Make the Switch Vicki Portanier loves to travel and can’t wait to rack up more air miles when the pandemic is finally over
18 52 Assignments: Nature Photography This new book has ideas for every week of the year. As a taster, we have three to get you thinking, plus interviews with the two authors 22 Camera supports buyers’ guide Many cameras and lenses have amazing skills when it comes to defeating camera shake, but none of them can beat a tripod. Here’s a truckload of leading models to consider 27 Printing and presentation buyers’ guide Nothing beats seeing your pictures in print, so whether you print yourself or upload images, here’s our pick of the best services and kit around
30 Big test: Nikon Z 7II Nikon’s latest flagship full-frame mirrorless gains a second card slot and an extra imaging processor, but are the changes worth having if you already own a Z 7? 34 First tests PN 's monthly trawl of new arrivals in the imaging market. This month features a eclectic mix, from sling camera straps to LED lights and a double-sided paper. l Blackrapid Delta and Nicole Elliott camera straps l Tokina atx-m 23mm f/1.4 X
l Litra LED lights: Torch V2.0, Pro and Studio l Permajet Double Sided Lustre 295 paper
Issue 85 | Photography News 3
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