Sony A1 vs Nikon D6

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NorthernFocus

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Why doesn't anyone post this comparison? Why are all of the posts from new A1 owners comparing the A1 to D850, Z7ii, etc? What I want to know is if I'm going to spend $6500 on a camera how do cameras in that same league compare with one another. Tired of hearing about how A1 compares to cameras that cost half the price. Some please post some info comparing A1 to another flagship camera.
 

FB101

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Supporting Member
Send me a D6 and I'll be happy to do a comparison for you :) or wait for Steve to publish his video - I have a feeling he'll have some clear thoughts on the topic.

More seriously, I look at the fact that most of us come from the D850 as a huge recognition of how good the D850 is - that's a camera that still punches above its price all day long. It's actually pretty incredible that 5 years later you need to spend twice as much to get a camera that outshines it enough to justify the change.
 

AstroEd

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Do most people outright replace their current cameras? Or as I hope to do add the Mirrorless Sony A9II or A1 (If I can save for it) to work alongside my current Nikon D500?
 

NorthernFocus

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They have nothing in common except pricetag.
Sure they do. They both take digital photos and are both the best thing the respective companies have to offer, ergo the title "flagship".
...I look at the fact that most of us come from the D850 as a huge recognition of how good the D850 is...It's actually pretty incredible that 5 years later you need to spend twice as much to get a camera that outshines it enough to justify the change.
You didn't have to wait five years. The only way the A1 outshines it is AF. You could have bought a D5 five years ago and outshined the AF by a huge margin. I've shot BIF many times beside people with D5/6 bodies and their keeper rates were probably twice what mine were with D500 or D850.

I read all these comments about how amazed everyone is at the better AF. There's no doubt that the A1 broke new ground with the eye tracking but for speed and tracking in general the "flagship" bodies have always been a huge step above the next level down. When I was shooting for profit a few years ago and could justify the cost(in my mind at least) I bought a D4 when I had been shooting a D300 and D800. I made all of the same comments everyone is making now about the A1. Can't believe how fast the AF is, can't believe how well it tracks, can't believe the fps... Although in that case it was also can't believe how much better the IQ is. That's the one comment that's missing regarding the A1.

It would just be nice to hear/read some objective information comparing like for like. Inquiring minds want to know.
 

Steve

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It funny - I literally am doing ISO tests for my review today and the D6 is included. When I downsample the a1 file to the same resolution as the D6 file, ISO performance at 6400 (the only one I've looked at so far) still favors the D6 - but not my much, maybe a half stop. It's basically like comparing a D850 / Z7 to the D6. Looking at comparative output, the D6 has a slight edge but nothing crazy. What really surprised me was that the color from the a1 was more vibrant at higher ISOs than any of the other cameras I tested (d6, Z7, a9ii, and R5). However, at the same time I find when the color is off, the a1 is tougher to wrangle in.

Keep an eye out, if all goes as planned I'm hoping to have the review out in the next week and a half.

Edit: Sorry, when I saw your post I had ISOs on the brain and thought that was what you were after :) I'll also be talking about the AF etc but I'll tell you this much. Take the difference between the D6 and the D850 and multiply it by like 5 to get the difference between the D6 and the a1. To me, although there is a difference between the D850 and D6, it's not nearly the chasm of difference than between the a1 and the D6.

Quick edit - now that I've had a better chance to look at the results, the a1 and d6 are closer than I initially thought at ISO 6400 - it may only be 1/3rd of a stop, possibly even less.
 
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AstroEd

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It funny - I literally am doing ISO tests for my review today and the D6 is included. When I downsample the a1 file to the same resolution as the D6 file, ISO performance at 6400 (the only one I've looked at so far) still favors the D6 - but not my much, maybe a half stop. It's basically like comparing a D850 / Z7 to the D6. Looking at comparative output, the D6 has a slight edge but nothing crazy. What really surprised me was that the color from the a1 was more vibrant at higher ISOs than any of the other cameras I tested (d6, Z7, a9ii, and R5). However, at the same time I find when the color is off, the a1 is tougher to wrangle in.

Keep an eye out, if all goes as planned I'm hoping to have the review out in the next week and a half.

Edit: Sorry, when I saw your post I had ISOs on the brain and thought that was what you were after :) I'll also be talking about the AF etc but I'll tell you this much. Take the difference between the D6 and the D850 and multiply it by like 5 to get the difference between the D6 and the a1. To me, although there is a difference between the D850 and D6, it's not nearly the chasm of difference than between the a1 and the D6.
Thank you sir for all you do for the community. I have to say it is mostly because of your YouTube I decided to spend more money than I should have and got the Nikon D500 with Sigma 150-600mm lens. And I do not regret a dime of it.
 

Wes Peterson

Active member
When I downsample the a1 file to the same resolution as the D6 file
Doesn't downsampling act like noise reduction? Wouldn't a true test of sensor noise performance require cropping in on the high mp camera? Downsampling seems to show what you can get away with on the web or with noise reduction but isnt a real representation of sensor noise patterns.
 

Steve

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Doesn't downsampling act like noise reduction? Wouldn't a true test of sensor noise performance require cropping in on the high mp camera? Downsampling seems to show what you can get away with on the web or with noise reduction but isnt a real representation of sensor noise patterns.
Downsampling to equalize output is the normal way to go. Sensor level noise means very little because we don't show our images at 100% (or we shouldn't LOL). Matching resolution show you what the difference would be for comparative output. So, if you had a D6 and I had an a1 and we shot the same scene with the same framing and same settings and we both made a 24 x 16 out of the image, what would matter is how that final output compares between the cameras, not what that image looked like at pixel level (this applies to web output as well). Downsampling the a1 to D6 size gives us a true representation of that information. (BTW - you can look at this he other way - uprezzing the D6 file to a1 size, although the end results are always the same between uprezzing and downsampling when comparing output images). I talk about this concept in this video:

 

NorthernFocus

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Doesn't downsampling act like noise reduction? Wouldn't a true test of sensor noise performance require cropping in on the high mp camera? Downsampling seems to show what you can get away with on the web or with noise reduction but isnt a real representation of sensor noise patterns.
As @Steve explained you have to compare like for like. IOW the ultimate output is what matters. Pixel peeping at 100 percent is not a relevant comparison.
 

Marcus Slade

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Well, Steve has already weighed in here and as he's reported, he has his big review of the A1 coming imminently. I will say that his big review of the D6 factored quite strongly in my decision to buy the D6 and I'm very glad I did. Even though he's just suggested that the gulf between the D850 (my other camera) and the D6 is dwarfed by the gulf between the A1 and D6, I will remain very happy with it. For me, I am confident that I've already obtained shots with the D6 this year that I doubt I would've obtained with a lesser body. If his forthcoming review of the A1 leaves many pining for one and Sony struggling to keep up with production, I will content myself to know that he has a purchase planned for the Z9 and, therefore, another motherlode of a review he'll likely be contemplating for 2022...and what about the Canon contendahs? :cool:
 

eaj101

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NorthernFocus

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...This is why I often end up 'triangulating' as many reliable sources as I can find (and peoples' definition of 'reliable' can vary a lot).
Ditto. (Same thing I do with world news nowadays) As a technical person reading this stuff drives me crazy. Even the various sites that do some sort of technical analysis each have their own methodology so there's no apples to apples comparison. Lenses are a little easier. But people still find a way to make it complicated. So about the best we can do is find someone's subjective analysis/opinions that match up with our own experience more often than not. And who has access to more equipment than us. Then we can extrapolate with some degree of confidence when they relate experience with equipment we don't have in our bag.

Or we can just rent stuff and test it ourselves...
 

AstroEd

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Because I am still new and learning I find I tend to crop a lot of my shots due to not framing well at the time of the shot, I was wondering would a Higher MP resolutuion sensor allow for less noise in the cropped image? This is one of several reasons I am thinking I want to add an Sony A1 or waiting for the Z9 to go with the Nikon D500 I am learning on now.
 

padrepaul

Active member
Because I am still new and learning I find I tend to crop a lot of my shots due to not framing well at the time of the shot, I was wondering would a Higher MP resolutuion sensor allow for less noise in the cropped image? This is one of several reasons I am thinking I want to add an Sony A1 or waiting for the Z9 to go with the Nikon D500 I am learning on now.
Cropping is easier with a higher MP camera; I'm a Nikon shooter and own the D500, D850 and D6; assuming the Z9 is great Ill likely keep the D850 and sell or trade in the D6 and D500. As for less noise, you'll get less noise on the D6 then the 500 and 850. But with good noise reduction software now, I've found even on the D850 I can use that and still get great results; the D6 does really shine in low light though. So assuming you have Nikon glass, I'd suggest just wait for the Z9 which is now very soon.
 

NorthernFocus

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Because I am still new and learning I find I tend to crop a lot of my shots due to not framing well at the time of the shot, I was wondering would a Higher MP resolutuion sensor allow for less noise in the cropped image? This is one of several reasons I am thinking I want to add an Sony A1 or waiting for the Z9 to go with the Nikon D500 I am learning on now.
If you're cropping now with the D500 neither an A1 nor D850 is going to get you any more pixels on target. There's no point going to a full frame camera unless/until you start filling the frame with your DX camera.
 

Doug Herr

Well-known member
Not sure I understand how any of those things contribute to improved images. Fun to shoot maybe. But better photos?
I carry the camera with me more often because it's smaller and weighs less. That's gotta result in more images, if not better.

D850: 2.01 lb / 915 g
a1: 1.6 lb / 737 g

Nikon 600mm f/4: 8.4 lb / 3.81 kg
Sony 600mm f/4: 6.7 lb / 3.04 kg

I hike for miles with the a1+600 GM (8.3 lb vs. 10.41 lb). If I carried a second body it would still weigh less than the D850 + 600 f/4. The lower weight and the 600's CG closer to the camera body means I often use it hand-held, a big benefit with an active subject.

EVF's benefits include less vibration, real-time histogram & WYSIWYG exposure feedback, accurate AF w/o AFMA, viewfinder magnification for simple, accurate manual focus in any light w/o reading glasses, image review in the viewfinder, clearly visible in any light w/o reading glasses. All contribute to better photos.
20-30 frames/sec helps capture the peak expressions, optimum wing positions, the fraction of a second an active subject is still, etc.

There's also:

Fully electronic shutter w/o rolling shutter distortion. Completely silent, no blackout. Huge benefit with timid subjects at close range.
Much bigger buffer, I have yet to hit the limit.
Sensor stabilization means slower shutter speeds & lower ISO with slower moving subjects when using lenses w/o optical stabilization.
 
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Steve

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Because I am still new and learning I find I tend to crop a lot of my shots due to not framing well at the time of the shot, I was wondering would a Higher MP resolutuion sensor allow for less noise in the cropped image? This is one of several reasons I am thinking I want to add an Sony A1 or waiting for the Z9 to go with the Nikon D500 I am learning on now.
Definitely watch that video I posted in this thread. It talks about how cropping affects noise.
 

Steve

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Thank you I did watch it now. I will try to learn to frame my shots better at the start.
The other option is if you have to crop (it happens of course) to do everything to drop the ISO - tripods, monopods, you name it. It can make a huge difference. (y)
 

anthonyrobinson

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Thom Hogan has done a review of the a1 (https://www.sansmirror.com/cameras/camera-reviews/sony-nex-camera-reviews/sony-a1-camera-review.html). He likes the camera a lot, but his comments on the AF (https://www.bythom.com/newsviews/is-sony-now-better-than.html) are different enough from Steve's to make me wonder if they're looking at the same camera :) This is why I often end up 'triangulating' as many reliable sources as I can find (and peoples' definition of 'reliable' can vary a lot).
I was an early adopter of the nikon Z7, and followed a lot of what Thom said/posted in real time.. I think he's either an ambassador, a pseudo-ambassador or too brand loyal to be objective - he was always extremely dismissive on any comment about the poor autofocus and kept saying its because people didn't understand the mirrorless AF setup and that it differed from dSLR. I initially believed it (probably because I wanted to), but these days I just struggle to take him seriously after that. Including where he says now that A1 and D6 are no different in AF performance.
 
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