lunes, 1 de marzo de 2021


By José Manuel Serrano Esparza


The recent announcement of the upcoming launching into market during 2021 of the 50 megapixel mirrorless full frame Sony Alpha 1 has meant the genesis of a new stage in the evolution of reference-class digital professional cameras.


In the midst of a striking international economic downturn because of the pandemic, Sony has been able to create the most powerful, complete and versatile photographic camera made in the world hitherto.

And saying this, known from the very moment in which its specs were revealed, doesn´t mean any underestimation whatsoever regarding the rest of firms within the photographic sector having top-notch professional cameras in the market, both reflex and mirrorless ones, featuring proved ability to spare when it comes to meeting the needs of even the most exacting photographers. 

Suffice it to mention the 21.8 megapixel Micro 4/3 format Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, the 26 megapixel APS-C format Fujifilm X-T4, the 45 megapixel full frame Nikon D850, the 21 megapixel full frame Nikon D6, the 47 megapixel full frame Leica SL2, the 36.4 megapixel full frame Pentax K-1, the 45 megapixel full frame Canon EOS R5, the 45.7 megapixel full frame Nikon Z7 II, the 47 megapixel full frame Panasonic SR1, the 24.2 megapixel full frame Sony A9 Mark II, the 61 megapixel full frame Sony A7R Mark IV, and so forth.

Id est, all of these great cameras from different brands and formats in existence before the appearance of the Sony Alpha 1 get amazing levels of image quality, in addition to boasting breakthrough technology and electronics.

But the fascinating digital technology, steadily in full-blast evolution, never fails to surprise all and sundry, and undoubtedly, Sony, thanks to its expertise, strenuous effort, boundless economical resources to invest in R & D and the huge know-how it has amassed since 2013, year in which it introduced the Sony A7 (first full frame digital compact camera with interchangeable lenses),                                                        

has gone beyond itself rolling out this brand-new Sony Alpha 1, which will turn into the new yardstick among professional mirrorless EVF 24 x 36 mm format cameras since its very introduction during March of 2021, with a formidable array of specs, being particularly relevant the following ones :                                                               

- 24 x 36 mm format state-of-the-art 50 megapixel stacked Exmor RS CMOS with a lightning speed readout of 1/200 s, that´s to say, roughly 1.5 times faster than the Sony Alpha 9 II, in spite of featuring double megapixels. In addition, it is able to obtain images with 15 diaphragms of dynamic range.

- 8k 30 fps video recording with a special heat dissipating structure, enabling more than 30 minutes of shooting, along with 4K at 120 fps.

This original 8K footage can be used to spawn a highly flexible 4K edition in post production, without forgetting that the Sony Alpha 1 likewise boasts S-Cinetone, showing  the same colour matrix generating the very appreciated FX9 and FX6 colours and skin tones, as well as fairly natural medium tones and gorgeous highligths.                                      

- Improved Bionz XR isp, with a very advanced architecture, an eight times bigger power of data handling and able to make up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second. Thanks to them, Sony has managed to hugely improve the AF accuracy in real time when it comes to fulfilling the tracking and focusing on human and animals eyes in a very comprehensive range of head angles with respect to camera and photographer, as well as the new real time AF mode for birds eyes and a significantly bettered continuous focusing in real time optimized for subjects in motion.                          

- 9.44 million dots extraordinary OLED electronic viewfinder offering impressive resolution, 0.9 x magnification and a stunning level of detail, with a refresh rate of 240 fps.                                          

It instantly becomes the best EVF ever manufactured for a professional photographic digital camera.

- Burst of 30 fps with the electronic shutter while keeping full AF and AE tracking performance, with remarkable accuracy even for fast moving subjects. 

- Built-in 1000BASE-T Ethernet port turning it into a remarkably high performer camera for sports photography.

- Unprecedented workflow speed, with the fastest built-in Wi-Fi available, ultrafast 10 gygabites/second USB 3.2 Type-C connector and 1000BASE-T Ethernet for wired LAN transfer, along with 16 bit exit to external recording devices through HDMI, so a very important improvement in speed and efficiency during post production is attained. 

To properly understand the quantum leap in this aspect of the Sony Alpha 1, suffice it to say that its wireless data throughput is approximately a 350% faster than with the Sony Alpha 9 II. 

The maximum AF precision and speed attained until now in any professional digital photographic camera, even in the most extreme contexts of sports and wildlife, something in which the Sony Alpha 2 was already the reference-class model.                                                               

Its price of 7,500 euros is rather steep, perhaps too much in the current market circumstances, but it should also be valued everything that is offered by this fabulous camera to professional photographers and videographers alike, since it provides an overall performance clearly beating the Leica SL2, the Canon R5, the Nikon Z7II, the Nikon D850, the Nikon D6 and the Panasonic S1R.

Something particularly praiseworthy, because all of them are exceptional cameras enabling any professional photographer to make top-of-the-line pictures.

Whatever it may be, selling as many units as possible of the Sony Alpha 1 makes up in my viewpoint the second most important goal for the firm presided by Kenichiro Yoshida, with an experience of thirty-three years inside Sony, in addition to being its President, CEO and main driving force since 2018 of the firm restructuring and breathtaking new spirit of constant innovation and groundbreaking products at top speed, following the steps of Akio Morita´s fundamental keynotes harking back to seventies and eighties, as well as hiring new talents from other sectors to enhance diversity within the company. 

Because it seems apparent that Sony´s top priority with its new flagship has been to bang its fist on the table and position itself as the leader in manufacture of top-notch mirrorless EVF full frame digital professional cameras able to flawlessly carry through a number of different photographic assignments, with the added bonus of providing it with a huge videographic potential and being the reference-class brand designing and making state-of-the-art digital sensors.                                                           

Because the Sony Alpha 1 is from a diachronic viewpoint the most versatile professional photographic camera of all time, including both the analog and digital eras, and evidence clearly suggest that it will be able to perform at a stratospheric level in such photographic genres like landscape, fashion, wildlife and birds, product photography, sports, studio photography, portraiture, weddings, and so on, as well as being a very good choice for professional filmmakers with its 8K 30 p and 4K 120 p capabilities, though in this price class it should have come with built-in ND filters and it isn´t the perfect camera for 2x anamorphic shooters, who will get a 4K effective resolution of 5184 x 4320. Furthermore, the skin tones delivered by the Sony Alpha 7SIII are more filmic. 

And obviously, the image quality achieved by this camera in photographs will be gorgeous, though it shouldn´t be forgotten that it will greatly depend on the coupled lenses and it will get the best results with the cream of the crop highly luminous primes

In this regard, in spite of its overall inferior specs in comparison to the Sony Alpha 1, the 47 megapixel Leica SL2 will probably go on being the world benchmark in image quality, thanks to its unbeatable SL telecentric fixed and zoom lenses designed by Dietmar Stuible, with such an optomechanical level that to mention only two of them, the Apo-Summicron-SL 35 mm f/2 ASPH has been optimized for highest performance at f/2, f/2.8 and f/4, being diffraction limited at f/5.6, while the Apo-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280 mm f/2.8-4 yields an image quality at every focusing distance and diaphragm significantly approaching to the one rendered by the Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4 also diffraction limited at f/5.6, without forgetting that the Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH is nowadays the best standard lens ever made for 24 x 36 mm format along with the Zeiss Otus 55 mm f/1.4.

But it is important to bear in mind that unlike the analogue era in which the key factors were the optical quality of the lenses and the black and white or colour film used, in the professional digital cameras the final image obtained stems from the synergy between the sensor, the power/calculation speed/architecture of the isp and the optical excellence of the lenses (which goes on being the most important aspect, but whose balance with the other two elements is more difficult to attain than the classic chemical emulsion/lens symbiosis in the analogue cameras).                                                          

This way, since Sony is the undisputed world leader in design and manufacture of both digital sensors and ISPs (the BIONZ XR engine of the Sony Alpha 1 with its large size gets a 1,5 times smaller distortion than the Sony Alpha 9 II) and the 50 megapixels CMOS EXMOR RS sensor of the Sony Alpha 1 is the state-of-the-art in this field at the moment (as well as being very optimized for exceedingly fast readout minimizing distortion in pictures), it seems logical to believe that this camera attached to the best professional primes both natives ones and from other brands through adapter, will hugely reduce the distance with respect to the 47 megapixel Leica SL II in the scope of professional 24 x 36 mm format mirrorless EVF digital cameras.

As to the touted 5-axis in-body image stabilization for a 5.5 step shutter speed advantage of the Sony Alpha 1 (something that also happened during the presentation of the Canon EOS R5), it is evidently a good figure, but clearly beaten by the 7,5 steps of the superb Micro 4/3 format Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III (an utterly professional camera whose already great potential in wildlife, birds and sports photography has been impressively enhanced after the launching into market of the Zuiko Digital 150-400 mm f/4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro super telephoto lens, equivalent to a 300-800 mm f/4.5 in 24 x 36 mm format and to a 187-1000 mm f/5.6 using the built-in 1.25x converter) and the 6,5 steps of the Micro 4/3 Panasonic G9, APS-C format Fuji XT-4 and full frame Panasonic S5.

The Micro 4/3 format Olympus mirrorless EVF cameras have been the most technologically advanced hitherto regarding image stabilization, reference-class self cleanness through ultrasounds, electronics, etc, and many of their breakthrough innovations have been subsequently adopted by cameras from other brands and formats, while Panasonic has been until now the benchmark in video recording with its Micro 4/3 cameras, some of them highly optimized for it, like the Panasonic GH5, without forgetting the full frame Panasonic S5 also being an excellent option for very high quality 4K shooting at 60 fps.

But the Sony Alpha 1 means a major qualitative and technological leap.                                                        

It is a camera playing in another league, has been designed and manufactured without any compromise and integrates in one camera body the best virtues of the Sony Alpha 9 II, Sony A7RIV and Sony A7S III, becoming an all-round photographic tool excelling in performance regarding image quality, incredibly fast operation, unparalled quickness of workflow and video recording

On the other hand, Sony has made a commendable effort in :

- Its incredibly silent electronic shutter (very suitable for sports and other photographic environments in which getting pictures with maximum discretion is fundamental), turning it into the new benchmark of the photographic market in this side and also regarding lack of vibration, a major factor when it comes to obtaining the best possible image quality.

- Its mechanical shutter (presently the second best in the market as to absence of noise, only beaten by the state-of-the-art mechanical shutter of the Leica M10-P) as a complementary choice and technologically very advanced, in such a way that it is able to reach a flash synchronization speed of 1/400 s (the fastest on earth), thanks to a new and very light shutter curtain made with carbon fiber and a special shutter system.

Besides, it can get a 10 fps burst rate, clearly outperforming the Leica M10-P mechanical shutter 5 fps.

And this mechanical shutter of the Sony Alpha 1 is very reliable and able to endure more than 500,000 shots.                                                                       


The Sony Alpha 1 arrives in the middle of a highly convulsed photographic market, brought about by some pivotal factors :

A) The new economic slowdown generated by the pandemic, which has raised uncertainty at every level.

B) The transition stage from professional reflex photographic cameras to mirrorless EVF ones, which has delayed and keeps on delaying more than some voices had vehemently foretold.

Because underestimating such extraordinary professional cameras like the 45.7 megapixel Nikon D850, the 20.8 megapixel Nikon D6, the 30.4 megapixel Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, the 36 megapixel Pentax K-1 II and others, proclaiming that they are outdated and less professional than the best mirrorless EVF cameras is simply not true, since those 24 x 36 mm format professional reflex cameras are the evolutive pinnacle of a breed having been for many decades in the market, work very well and have proved their worth in every conceivable photographic genre, in addition to being more ergonomic and featuring a better size/weight balance between camera body and highly luminous lenses coupled.

As a matter of fact, vast majority of professional photographers keep on using professional reflex full frame Canon and Nikon cameras in 2021, though it isn´t less true that the photographic market trend, including the professional sector, is towards mirrorless EVF cameras, something that began to consolidate with the arrival in 2017 of the 24 x 36 mm format Sony Alpha 9, which with its fabulous speed, focusing precision and huge shooting stability with people and animals in motion, has been highly successfully used by some agencies and specialized photographers on sports and wildlife for three years.

But nowadays, a very high percentage of professional photographers                                                    


go on using high-end Canon and Nikon full frame reflex cameras and lenses, and it isn´t easy that they are willing to change their photographic gear overnight to full frame mirrorless EVF cameras like the Canon R5, Nikon Z7, Sony Alpha 9, Sony Alpha 9 II or Sony Alpha 1, because it would require a huge economic investment only being profitable if they could pay it off as soon as possible. 

Additionally, pros using full frame reflex Canon and Nikon cameras  have available a massive assortment of lenses, both new and second hand ones, together with a wide range of accessories.

But the fact remains that electronic viewfinders (in the same way as mirrorless cameras) have come to stay, thanks to their lack of blackout, the information on the screen, the substantial weight saving on replacing the pentaprism, their 100% coverage, etc, something also happening with electronic shutters that feature a lot of advantages like their amazing shooting stability and absence of noise, without forgetting that mirrorless EVF cameras include fewer mobile parts that can be spoilt and mechanical complexity is minimized (so operative life of the camera will be usually longer), as well as being much smaller and lighter.

C) The contempt and sneer that are sometimes suffering the Micro 4/3 and APS-C professional mirrorless EVF cameras by some people stating that their sensor " is very small " and that " they are dead systems " .                                        

But truth is that Micro 4/3 like the Olympus OM-D R-M1 Mark III,                                     

Panasonic GH5                                          

and Panasonic G9 have been the most technologically advanced until now and pioneer in a very high percentage of breakthrough innovations that were later incorporated by other cameras from different firms and formats, particularly the 24 x 36 mm format mirrorless ones. 

Furthermore, the most important factor when it comes to getting a good picture was, is and will go on being the photographer´s flair, experience and knowledge, together with his/her ability to convey messages, emotions and feelings, because cameras and lenses are after all tools at the service of the person making the photograph

A sphere in which professional mirrorless EVF Micro 4/3 and APS-C cameras have proved not only been able to yield excellent image quality (with chances of making superb 70 cm x 1 meter enlargements on photographic paper, as proved by bird photographer Scott Bourne in his gorgeous prints on museum quality canvas), but also that they are the market benchmark to lengthen the operating efficiency during hours photographing with the least possible physical and mental weariness, thanks to their small size and light weight, as happens with their lenses, though it is also true that they have more difficulty to generate selective focusing at the widest apertures, specially with wideangle and standard 50 mm objectives, than bigger format cameras.

To mention only an example, during the 2019 Superbikes World Championship                                                                     

a raft of professional photographers could use the Micro 4/3 format Olympus E-M1X camera coupled among others to the                                                                                           

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 40-150 mm f/2.8 zoom lens (equivalent to a 80-300 mm f/2.8, that sometimes was attached to the MC-20 1.4x converter, getting a 420 mm f/4), delivering an utterly professional image quality with exceptional sharpness all over the whole range of diaphragms and focusing distances, with a weight of only 755 g and dimensions of 160 x 79.4 mm, in symbiosis with the 7.5 stop stabilization, enabling outstanding handling convenience shooting handheld, something out of the reach of other full frame cameras and lenses featuring much bigger size and weight, being more uncomfortable to use and making photographers get tired before.

And the very small sensor of professional Micro 4/3 cameras was never a hindrance to obtain splendid pictures of wildlife (Atsushi Sasaki, Joakim Odelberg and others), landscape (John Bryant, Benjamin P. Grunow), fashion ( Viviana Galletta), travels (Marco Crupi, Jonas Borg), photojournalism (Daniel Berehulak, winner of two Pulitzer prizes), etc. 

Besides, it was the Japanese visionary genius and engineer Yosuke Yamane who designed and created in 2008 the first mirrorless EVF digital camera in the world : the Panasonic Lumix G1, conceptual forefather of every mirrorless EVF digital camera appearing after it

On the other hand, Fujifilm has got in the market very professional APS-C format mirrorless EVF cameras like the 26 megapixel Fuji X-T4, a sturdy and highly versatile model boasting a 6.5 stop image stabilization, in addition to being a brand that has stood out offering constantly updated firmwares significantly bolstering the performance of its cameras. 

The upshot of it is that the number of megapixels is not the most important factor to deliver the best possible image quality in a professional digital camera, but the interaction between sensor,  isp and lenses, whose optical excellence goes on being the most decisive element, even more than in the analogue era, because digital sensors are much less tolerant with lenses than chemical films.

Therefore, more megapixels don´t automatically mean higher image quality, since it will depend on a number of aspects and their balance.

D) A few hours after the announcement of the Sony Alpha 1, another unexpected event happened : the disclosure of  

the new 100 megapixel medium format Fujifilm GFX100S camera in a much more compact and economic version, with a price of 6,000 euros and an impressive size reduction (30% smaller) and weight (half a kg lighter) with respect to the Fujifilm GFX100.

The movement made by Fuji hasn´t been by chance, and highly probably, with the launching into market of its new 100 megapixel Fujifilm GFX100S medium format camera at such a competitive price for what is usual in the professional scope of medium format cameras (with prices of camera bodies often ranging between 11,000 and 50,000 euros), the firm led by Shigetaka Komori aims at achieving two key goals : 

1) To compete one on one with the Sony Alpha 1 in the photographic market, something that could beforehand seem odd, since they are very different cameras belonging to also different product segments, technologies and product philosophy, and obviously the medium format Fujifilm GFX100S falls far short of the Sony Alpha 1 working speed, capabilities for sports photography and wildlife in motion, AF speed and so on.

But everything stems from the fact that the amazing digital technology, steadily on the go, has spawned for some years a change of paradigm with respect to the analogue era, in such a way that the 24 x 36 mm format professional cameras have greatly surpassed the qualitative potential of the analogue 35 mm format, and now the image quality and possibilities of making large prints on photographic paper enjoyed by reflex full frame cameras like the Nikon D850, Nikon D5, Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Pentax K-1 II, etc, reach a level comparable to the analogue 6 x 9 cm format digitized with virtual drum scanners (though with a different image aesthetics).

And if we speak about 24 x 36 mm format professional mirrorless EVF cameras like the Canon R5, Nikon Z7II, Sony Alpha 9 and Sony Alpha 9 II, image quality is even better, approaching to 4 x 5 (10 x 12 cm) large format, though also with different image aesthetics, mainly because of their fabulous telecentric and almost telecentric lenses getting the most of their very short flange distance and large bayonet inner diameter (20 x 54 mm in Canon, 16 mm x 55 mm in Nikon, 18 mm x 46,1 mm in Sony).

There are likewise at the moment three professional 24 x 36 mm format mirrorless EVF cameras obtaining an image quality between roughly the analogue 4 x 5 (10 x 12 cm) and 5 x 7 (13 x 18 cm) large formats : the 47 megapixel Leica SL II, the 61 megapixel Sony Alpha 7RIV and the new 50 megapixel Sony Alpha 1.

Therefore, Fuji knows that full frame EVF mirrorless professional cameras are increasingly reducing distances in terms of image quality in comparison to the medium format digital cameras, as well as clearly outperforming them in operative speed, technological innovation and versatility of use in a slew of different photographic genres, particularly in sports photography, wildlife, landscape, studio, street photography and travel photography. 

That´s to say, if professional medium format digital cameras were until now a very small market niche because of their much higher price than 24 x 36 mm format both reflex and mirrorless EVF professional ones (turning them out of the reach of vast majority of pros), the breathtaking overall performance and image quality attained by the best mirrorless EVF full frame Canon, Nikon, Leica and Sony cameras makes that sales chances for medium format cameras having filled that product segment hitherto (Hasselblad, Phase One, Fuji and others) be shrinking, in spite of offering fabulous models like the 100 megapixel Hasselblad H6D-100c (30,345 euros), the 100 and 150 megapixel modular Phase One XF kits (with prices between 31,000 and 53,000 euros) featuring the Honeybee Autofocus inner AF (a real breakthrough within the medium format field), the 100 megapixel Fujifilm GFX 100 (11,000 euros), etc.                                             

2) Fuji strives upon being the main brand setting off a trend of generalized drop in prices of professional medium format digital cameras, fully aware that it is perhaps the only chance of survival and development of this product niche, because the performance, groundbreaking technological feats and innovation that Canon and specially Sony are achieving with their 24 x 36 mm format sensors is simply impressive, have it down to a science, and have significantly narrowed distances in image quality with respect to the medium format cameras, which go on being the benchmark in that regard, though the gap is getting smaller and smaller.

Something that is also happening with the reference-class SL primes and zooms coupled to the 24 x 36 mm 47 megapixel mirrorless EVF Leica SL2 and Panasonic S1R professional cameras and making them deliver a gorgeous image quality approximately between 4 x 5 (10 x 12 cm ) and 5 x 7 (13 x 18 cm) analogue large formats.

That´s why Fuji has joined to the tendency of major price drops in medium format digital cameras set off by the 50 megapixel digital Hasselblad 907X back (with a price of 6,500 euros, which can be attached to medium format analogue Hasselblad cameras like the 500C, 500 C/M, 501 c, 503 CX, etc, with Carl Zeiss Oberkochen lenses) and the also 50 megapixel Hasselblad X1D II 50C, announcing this new 100 megapixel Fujifilm GFX 100S. 

But Fuji needs to reduce the size, weight and price of its medium format cameras by all means, and in this regard, the Fujifilm GFX 100S could be the beginning of a future saga of cameras with significantly smaller dimensions and weight than what is usual in this product segment, in addition to offering a currently virtually unbeatable quality/price ratio in this professional domain, to such an extent that it is even cheaper than the Sony Alpha 1.

Because from a conceptual standpoint and with regard to optimization for shooting handheld getting impressive image quality, the Fujifilm GFX 100S (with dimensions of 150 x 104 x 92 mm and a weight of 900 g) is related to the 6 x 9 cm format Fujica BL analogue rangefinder camera from 1969 with interchangeable lenses (Fujinon SW 50 mm f/5.6, Fujinon SW 65 mm f/5.6, Fujinon AE 100 mm f/3.5 with which the electro beam coating is born, and Fujinon TS 180 mm f/5.6) and larger dimensions (116 x 183 x 145 mm and thickness of 38 mm, with a weight of 1260 g), designed by Yamamoto Katsuhiko. 

It´s true that its versatility and handling speed is a far cry from the Sony Alpha 1 and its tremendous 30 fps burst shooting.

But a significant percentage of professional photographers could have doubts on choosing one camera or the other one for genres like landscape, fashion, portrait, product photography, weddings, studio photography and creative photography, environments in which the Fujifilm GFX 100S´s bigger 33 x 44 mm sensor will make that its image quality beat the superb one delivered by the Sony Alpha 1, with the added advantage of the wonderful medium primes Fujinon GF 23 mm f/4 R LM WR, GF 45 mm f/2.8 R WR, GF 63 mm f/2.8 R WR, GF 110 mm f/2 R LM WR, GF 120 mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR, GF 50 mm f/3.5 R LM WR and GF 250 mm f/4 R LM IIS WR.                                                  

And if all of it were not enough, Fuji has announced alongside the medium format Fujifilm GFX 100S a brand-new dreaming lens : the highly luminous Fujinon GF 80 mm f/1.7 R WR, equivalent to a 63 mm f/1.2 in 35 mm format, which is straightforwardly a statement of intents : 

Fuji tries not only to outperform the formidable Sony Alpha 1 in pure image quality as to resolving power, sharpness, contrast, accuracy and beauty of colours, level of detail, all feasible uniformity of optical performance in center, borders and corners at every diaphragm and focusing distance, but also and particularly in bokeh at the widest apertures, with which it will endeavour to approach as much as possible to the mythical creative out of focus areas rendered by analogue large format cameras in images where subjects must be highlighted with respect to the background.

As a matter of fact, Fuji has a long diachronic experience in the manufacture of medium format lenses yielding tremendous image quality and exquisite bokeh at full aperture,   

like the 5 elements EBC Fujinon 90 mm f/3.5 (equivalent to a 39 mm f/1.2 in 24 x 36 mm format) permanently coupled to the 6 x 9 cm format Fuji GW 690 III rangefinder camera from 1992 (very used in his reportages for magazines by the German photographer Martin Schoeller, who was assistant of Annie Leibovitz in 1993, 1994 and 1995, and also by the mythical American photographer to create some of her images), sharing aspect ratio 2:3 and similar beauty in the out of focus areas   

with the superb 17 elements in 12 groups and 11 diaphragm blades Sigma 35 mm f/1.2 DG DN Art in Sony E mount for 24 x 36 mm format.

In spite of it, though the best choice to draw maximum possible quality in resolving power and contrast from the 50 megapixel Sony Alpha 1 will be the Zeiss Batis 18 mm f/2.8, Loxia 21 mm f/2.8, Zeiss Sonnar E 24 mm f/1.8 ZA, Zeiss Batis Distagon T* 25 mm f/2, Zeiss Loxia Distagon T* 25 mm f/2.4, Sigma AF 28 mm f/1.4 DG HSM/Art, Sony Zeiss FE 35 mm f/1.4 ZA, Zeiss Loxia 35 mm f/2 Biogon T*, Sony FE Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35 mm f/2.8 ZA, Zeiss Batis 40 mm f/2, Zeiss Planar T* 50 mm f/1.4 ZA,  Sigma Art 50 mm f/1.4, Sony Zeiss Sonnar 55 mm f/1.8 ZA, Zeiss Loxia Planar T* 50 mm f/2, Sony FE Macro 50 mm f/2.8, Voigtländer Heliar 50 mm f/3.5 Version IV, Zeiss Batis Sonnar T* 85 mm f/1.8, Sigma 135 mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art, Zeiss Batis Apo-Sonnar T* 135 mm f/2.8, the Leica M and Leica R lenses and others, 

the just created Sony´s mirrorless EVF full frame jewel of the crown could significantly increase its potential of aesthetic beauty of image in bokehs at widest apertures attaching it through adapter manual focusing lenses like the Voigtländer Nokton 35 mm f/1.2 Version III Aspherical, Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 Version 4 (1979-1996), Canon FD 55 mm f/1.2 Aspherical (1971-1980), Takumar 55 mm f/1.8 Super-Multi-Coated (1971-1972), Carl Zeiss C Sonnar T* 50 mm f/1.5 ZM, Kern Macro-Switar 50 mm f/1.9 (1968-1981), Olympus Zuiko 90 mm f/2 (1986-2003), Takumar 85 mm f/1.8 Super-Multi-Coated (1972-1974), Summilux-R 80 mm f/1.4 (1980-2009), Summicron-R 90 mm f/2 (1970-2000), Carl Zeiss Biotar 75 mm f/1.5 from Oprema Jena, Zhon Yi Mitakon 50 mm f/0.95, Voigtländer 75 mm f/1.4 Aspherical, Voigtländer 75 mm f/1.8 Heliar Classic, Nikkor 105 mm f/2.5 Pre AI-S, etc, in symbiosis with its state-of-the-art 50 megapixel CMOS Exmor RS sensor. 

And all of these classical lenses boasting very accurate and smooth manual focusing could likewise be able to attain great results with creative out of focus renderings in 8K recording.

It would be also feasible to couple the stratospheric manual focusing Zeiss Otus 55 mm f/1.4 (both in ZE version for reflex full frame Canon cameras or ZF.2 for 24 x 36 mm format Nikon reflex cameras) to the Sony Alpha 1 through Metabones adaptor in E mount to get fabulous portraits at full aperture oozing tons of tonal gradations, simultaneously depicted with great subtlety and remarkable level od detail typical of medium format, together with a fairly smooth transition between focused and defocused areas, without forgetting the three dimensional effect yielded by this lens, fruit of its unmatched sharpness, contrast and incredible separation of subjects with respect to the backgrounds. And the contrast and colours it yields is so exceptional that you barely need to use any edition software after the creation of images.

But it is important to bear in mind that it is a very big and heavy lens (with a weight of approximately 1 kg), so on attaching it to the Sony Alpha 1 through the aforementioned adapter, it would add a lot of stress to the camera mount. Furthermore, Sony Alphas are the smallest and lightest full frame cameras in the photographic market, so the unbalance between camera body and lens would be huge. 

In this regard, to get the most suitable balance between small size / weight of Sony Alpha 1 camera and attached lenses, as well as great comfort of use, the best option should go on being the manual focusing Leica M aspherical lenses, with their very reduced dimension and lightness, which will attain most times a reference-class image quality in symbiosis with this camera and will greatly enhance their discretion in street photography and travels

On the other hand, the Fujifilm GFX 100S has been provided with a highly efficient 6 steps stabilization system, slightly beating the Sony Alpha 1 in this aspect.

And its maximum shooting rate of 5 fps, albeit being very inferior to the best mirrorless EVF and reflex professional Micro 4/3, APS-C and full frame cameras, is more than enough for a medium format camera like this and the photographic contexts for which it has been conceived, being also able to record very high quality 4K video at 30 fps.

Whatever it may be, Fuji has the need of setting itself apart from the 24 x 36 mm mirrorless EVF Sony, Canon and Nikon cameras that will highly probably be in the medium and long run the dominant forces of the professional photographic market in terms of sales and spreading, so it is making a strenuous effort to obtain large format appearance in its images related to different legendary photographic emulsions, to such an extent that the Fujifilm GFX 100S offers a wide assortment of simulations of well-known chemical films, with further possibilities to get very beautiful images with vintage aesthetics.

E) The computational photography generating images with the aid of in-camera algorithms has arrived to stay and is making great strides, particularly in the field of high-end smartphones with incredibly powerful and fast isps adjusting the operation of sensor and lenses, in addition to making further improvements in the post production of the captured image. 

All of it is soundly based on artificial intelligence and the use of machine learning able to optimize the way in which camera sensor captures the light, gathering pixels to improve luminosity.

Id est, the only thing that users have to do is to frame the scene they want to photograph and press the shooting button of the smartphone, and the artificial intelligence will do the necessary things to get the best feasible image. 

Obviously, this doesn´t seem to be the best didactic route regarding photography learning by users, but it is highly efficient and fast.

As a matter of fact, computational photography has been used for years to reduce noise in images made at high isos, to minimize vigneting in wideangle lenses, to generate effects like the HDR merging some images into one, etc, both in reflex digital APS-C format and full frame cameras and in Micro 4/3, APS-C and 24 x 36 mm format ones.

But the greatest and most recent technological upheaval has arrived with the adoption of computational photography by mobile phones, which has been able to transcend the photographic boundaries of firmwares with extraordinary dsps able to make thousands of calculations at the same time, even on every pixel arriving from the sensor and in real time.

Evidently, even the most advanced smartphones are nowadays very far from the photographic capabilities, image quality and ergonomics of the professional mirrorless EVF Micro 4/3 and APS-C cameras and 24 x 36 mm reflex and mirrorless EVF ones, and it is really difficult to use those smartphones to get pictures of sports photography, animals in motion, fashion with creative bokehs, birds, product photography with great diaphragm apertures, and so on.

However, the spreading of smartphones has started being massive in landscape photography, street, travels and many daily activities where the extensive depth of field inherent to their tiny sensors is often an advantage when it comes to creating images in which everything is in focus and with good sharpness. 

It´s also true that they are exceedingly small sensors, so on making prints on photographic paper, images captured by high-end smartphones are nowadays very far in quality from the ones attained by digital Micro 4/3, APS-C and 24 x 36 mm format professional cameras.

But it shouldn´t be forgotten that in spite of the great accomplishments it has achieved, computational photography is still in its initial stage of development, and it is foreseeable that it can achieve historical breakthroughs throughout the upcoming years. 

On the other hand, some professional photographers are already using a high-end smartphone as a backup gear for very fast capture and transmission of images and video.              

Consequently, thanks to the huge financial resources of the mobile phone companies involved like Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Sony, etc, and the many qualified engineers they devote to this task, computational photography takes software to the frontier of what is technologicably feasible, through state-of-the-art microchips with enormous calculation ability at the service of photography, measuring in tenths of seconds the camera orientation, the reflected and incident light, the distance to the photographed person or subject, the elements that have to be photographed, the facial traits, the skin tone of portraits, and so forth, building up some images to leverage the best of each one and producing a final picture liked by users. 

But the most cutting-edge technological advances in this field are still to come.

Perhaps the almost total transition from professional reflex digital cameras to mirrorless EVF ones in terms of manufacture will have taken place in approximately five years.

And a progressive integration of elements of computational photography in mirrorless EVF professional cameras from every brand and format is predictable.

As a matter of fact, even Leica has been for five years strongly betting on this new avant-garde technology with its Max Berek Laboratory of Computational Photography, in synergy with Huawei, and investing a great deal of cash-flow on it, fully abreast of the pivotal role that this scope will mean to all intents and purposes as a core of the second digital revolution in professional photographic cameras

Something that was explained by its CEO Matthias Harsch on June 16, 2019 in the German financial newspaper Handlesblatt, where he highlighted the increasingly major role that artificial intelligence and computational photography will have in digital images, words that were furtherly corroborated six months later by the Leica announcement on January 29, 2021 of the new LPC (Leica Perspective Control) function introduced in the 24 x 36 mm format Leica M10-P, M10-R and M10 Monochrom rangefinder models, using the camera’s integrated orientation sensors to recognise whether it is being held in a straight position, or slanted upwards or downwards, leveraging computational imaging to automatically correct receding lines, a common   phenomenon that is especially bothersome in architectural photography. 

Because the high-end smartphones have taken away a significant sales share from the segment of entry-level digital cameras throughout the last two yeas and have almost wiped off the map the sector of compact cameras, with the exception of some very high level models.

And computational photography has even started to delve into the sphere of portraiture with its AI system which obtains an ideal lighting of the pictures, analyses faces, illuminates angles, finds the best light directions and calculates the depth of field.

And night modes grounded on artificial intelligence are able to capture beautiful images with low levels of light, in a fast and highly efficient way.

It has resulted in praiseworthy devices like Samsung´s Bright Night sensor, yielding sharp images with brilliant and vivid colours under dim lighting conditions, almost in darkness, and with an outstanding noise reduction. 

It´s true that all of this very advanced computational photography is designed and developed to see the pictures on the screen of a smartphone or computer and not on photographic paper, which is where the most genuine and haptic real photography is shown.

But the economical resources, available cash-flow and research potential of firms like Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Sony, etc, are huge, so this sector of computational photography is going to be the technologically most innovative regarding the photographic software and the miniaturized breakthroughs in computer science.

As a matter of fact, computational photography has already been able to create some high-end smartphones with very good photographic capabilities and triple lens device with ultrawide,wide and telephoto objectives like the Apple iPhone 12 Pro / 12 Pro Max, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 + , the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, the Sony Xperia 1 II and others.

And computational photography is likewise making great headway in the simulation of diaphragm apertures and selective bokehs in backgrounds for portraits.


The 47 megapixel Sony Alpha 1 is presently the most complete, versatile and fast professional photographic digital camera in the world, in addition to yielding along with the 47 megapixel Leica SL II a reference-class image quality in the realm of mirrorless EVF full frame models, only beaten by some medium format digital cameras with much steeper price (except the Fujifilm GFX 100S and the Hasselblad X1D II 50C), far lower maximum shooting burst, inferior all-rounder capabilities and a significantly more reduced array of available primes and zooms.

But it isn´t less true that the quality / price ratio currently provided by cameras like the Micro 4/3 format 21.8 megapixel Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, the APS-C format 26 megapixel Fujifilm XT-4, the 45 megapixel Canon R5, the 45.7 megapixel Nikon Z7II, the 47 megapixel Panasonic S1R, the 24,2 megapixel Panasonic S1H (very optimized for video, with 6K recording at 24 fps) and the 61 megapixel Sony A7RIV is more favourable for vast majority of pockets, as well as being very professional cameras that have proved their mettle and efficiency when it comes to fulfilling the most different photographic assignments, so they can be enough for many professional photographers, depending on the works they have to do.

Whatever it may be, it is clear that the Sony Alpha 1 is the new flagship of the professional photographic market, a hugely sophisticated camera standing for a tipping point and with which the Japanese firm has upped the ante, because it includes a myriad of important parameters, both for still and video images, in only a camera body and at the highest level.

And that´s what really matters : the formidable overall performance of this camera, aside from more or less subjective considerations on the beauty of its design, always understanding that it doesn´t obviously excel in this side where it is clearly surpassed by other professional cameras in different formats.

Because the Sony Alpha 1 is a landmark camera that is going to greatly lead the way to follow by mirrorless EVF professional cameras in different formats during next years, with capabilities, new technologies and innovation that will arrive in a not long time to the rest of professional digital cameras from other brands, and that is good for the photographic market.