Sony A1 makes Super Bowl debut

Sony A1 makes Super Bowl debut

Super Bowl LV may have been most notable for Tom Brady's sensational seventh ring, but The Big Game was also a big deal for another reason: it marked the NFL debut of the Sony A1. 

In addition to the Bucs routing the Chiefs (and Brady nabbing his fifth Super Bowl MVP), the NFL's centerpiece event saw the Sony A1 (opens in new tab) bring its astonishing professional-grade firepower to one of the biggest sporting events on the planet. 

• Read more: Best camera for sports photography (opens in new tab)

A late addition to the equipment being used by the CBS Sports production team covering the Super Bowl, Sony's 8K powerhouse was brought in to capture the dreamy, shallow depth of field shots that have become one of the broadcaster's most talked about new tricks of late.

Of course, any full frame camera with a fast lens can separate the subject and make the background blurry. Where the Sony A1 comes into its own is the manufacturer's new and improved autofocus system, with spookily accurate subject detection and near-magnetic tracking. 

“The operator has been blown away by how cool it is and how fast the autofocus is,” Jason Cohen, CBS Sports' VP of remote technical operations, told Sports Video Group News (opens in new tab)

“He said it’s amazing because he literally just touches a screen to select the subject that he wants it to focus on and it is instantaneously locked in the focus.” The A1 was set to be deployed on a MōVI handheld rig, for cinematic close-up shots. 

The NFL's – and NFL fans' – fascination with Sony shallow depth of field shots began on 20 December, during a game between the Seahawks and the Redskins. This was where a Sony A7R IV (opens in new tab) and Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM (opens in new tab) was used on a gimbal to capture bokehlicious close-ups. 

While the A1 and A7R IV aren't up to the task of filming entire games, they are fast becoming favorite tools for specialty shots along with other camera tech like Skycams, Flycams, Steadicams and the Movie Bird (a 53-foot telescoping jib). Still, it's fascinating to see consumer cameras being used in professional environments.

Pre-order the Sony A1 at Adorama (US)
(opens in new tab)Pre-order the Sony A1 at B&H (US) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Sony A1 at Park (UK) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Sony A1 at Wex (UK) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Sony A1 at Ted's Camera (Au) (opens in new tab)

Read more: 

Sony A1 vs Canon EOS R5
(opens in new tab)Sony A1 vs Sony A9 II vs Sony A7R IV (opens in new tab)
Sony A7R IV review (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.