Sony A1 review

Quality

To compare the noise levels of the Sony Alpha 1, I photographed the following scene with it at all sensitivities in RAW+JPEG mode, before repeating the test moments later with the EOS R5 for comparison. I then took crops from the area marked by the red rectangle for side-by-side comparison in the table below. JPEGs are straight out of camera using the default settings, while RAW files were processed in Adobe Camera RAW with noise reduction disabled and high sharpening of 50 / 0.5 / 36 / 10 to really show what’s going on behind the scenes and what data is available to work with. Note the A1’s RAW files weren’t supported by Adobe at the time I created this page, so for now I’m presenting JPEG results only; I’ll add the RAW comparison later.

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Above: Sony Alpha 1. 100% crop from JPEG at 50 ISO
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Above left: Sony Alpha 1. Above right: Canon EOS R5. 100% crops from JPEGs at 100 ISO
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Above left: Sony Alpha 1. Above right: Canon EOS R5. 100% crops from JPEGs at 200 ISO
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Above left: Sony Alpha 1. Above right: Canon EOS R5. 100% crops from JPEGs at 400 ISO
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Above left: Sony Alpha 1. Above right: Canon EOS R5. 100% crops from JPEGs at 800 ISO
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Above left: Sony Alpha 1. Above right: Canon EOS R5. 100% crops from JPEGs at 1600 ISO
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Above left: Sony Alpha 1. Above right: Canon EOS R5. 100% crops from JPEGs at 3200 ISO
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Above left: Sony Alpha 1. Above right: Canon EOS R5. 100% crops from JPEGs at 6400 ISO
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Above left: Sony Alpha 1. Above right: Canon EOS R5. 100% crops from JPEGs at 12800 ISO
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Above left: Sony Alpha 1. Above right: Canon EOS R5. 100% crops from JPEGs at 25600 ISO
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Above left: Sony Alpha 1. Above right: Canon EOS R5. 100% crops from JPEGs at 51200 ISO
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Above: Sony Alpha 1. 100% crop from JPEG at 102400 ISO

Canon sharpened

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Above left: Sony A1 JPEG. Above right: Canon EOS R5 RAW sharpened. Both 100% crops at 100 ISO

Canon’s traditional style for in-camera JPEGs using the default settings is somewhat restrained compared to much of the competition, resulting in softer-looking images in side-by-side comparisons. To extract the maximum detail from Canon files, I find they benefit from a boost in sharpening and lower noise reduction. To illustrate this, I’ve converted the RAW file from the EOS R5 at 100 ISO, increased the sharpening, disabled the noise reduction and presented it next to the out-of-camera Sony A1 JPEG above. You can see the Canon crop on the right is now delivering a similar degree of detail to the Sony, although there are still differences in the amount of contrast. I’ll add conversions of the Sony files once they’re supported in ACR.

Check prices on the Sony Alpha 1 at B&H, AdoramaWEX or Calumet.de! Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!
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