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May 17, 2015
Posted in reviews

Mark Galer finds faults in Tony’s Northup “Pixel Density vs Noise” test.

On that Youtube video (Click here) Tony Northrup claims that there is actually almost no noise performance difference on still images between the A7s and D810 (once you downsize the D810 images). Mark Galer spotted some “problems” with Tony’s test:

In response to Tony’s Northup “Pixel Density vs Noise” test.

There are a couple of problems with Tony’s argument. He is basing most of his judgement on a photograph of a white wall at ISO 6,400. The highlights of an image are more of an even playing field. The problematic area for noise in our digital images is to be found in the shadows and not the highlights. The test ISO has been capped at ISO 6,400 and the A7S low-light performance really becomes noticeable when the ISO is raised beyond ISO 6,400. 12,800 is the maximum ISO for the Nikon D810 (without artificially pushing it) and 25,600 is the maximum ISO for the A7m2 and A7R.

I would like to quote Ian Norman from the Lonely Speck website: “The sensor on the a7S is relatively ISOless between ISO 3200 and 51200. This means that for any given shutter speed and aperture setting, changing the ISO between these values shouldn’t change the relative level of noise in the image.”

This means that the A7S has two full stops more light collecting potential compared to the Nikon D810 for recording information in extremely low levels of ambient illumination, whilst holding onto the same levels of noise that is present in the files produced by the Nikon D810. I am not sure why Tony forget to mention this in his 22-minute video – but I can see why some people would begin to question his motive or expertise in making this assessment. This is a failure to recognise a significant leap in sensor development – and as Tony pointed out, the Video comparison at ISO 51,200 is profound – but Tony dismisses the A7S advantage as ‘in-camera software processing’ – truly bizarre.

Click on image to see the full set of comparisons from Mark Galer.

Here is a link to the gallery of sample images.

This is a ‘real world’ test. No white wall and ISO values above and beyond the maximum setting capable by the Nikon D810.
I ‘exposed to the right’ and processed each file using the same settings in Adobe Lightroom. Noise reduction was switched off in camera. White balance was adjusted slightly to render the same colour for the pairs of files and a moderate amount of sharpening and noise reduction applied (+40 & +40).
The A7R stacks up well in these conditions (especially when expositing to the right) but the A7S still shows a clear advantage in additional detail and with less noise when the files from both cameras are exported as 4K files. The A7S still has a stop up its sleeve with noise at 51,200 not climbing above that being recorded at 25,600 although the low light conditions did not require any higher ISO values.

You can also discuss the matter on Mark Galer’s SonyA7 Facebook group:

Sony A7s store links:
Sony A7s in USA/CA at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, Sony USA, Sony Canada.
Sony A7s in Eu at Sony DE, UK, ES, FR, IT, NL, BE, AT, CH, SE, NO, FI, PL. And Wex UK.
A7s Gariz leather case in Black (Click here), Brown (Click here), Red (Click here) and Orange (Click here).

May 17, 2015
Posted in reviews

A6000 with 500mm & 850mm telephoto (Guest post by Barry Wells).


The following review is a guest post by Barry Wells. It has been first posted on SonyAlphaForum. Test with the Kowa 500mm (here on eBay) and Kowa 850mm (here on eBay) lenses.
Read the rest of this entry →

May 16, 2015
Posted in reviews

Focus Numérique says the new Sony 90mm FE is a pleasure for the eyes :)


Focus Numerique (translation here) tested the Sony FE 90mm lens. They said the lens is a pleasure for the eyes and its performance is very impressive!

Martin Vieten (translation here) reviewed the lens and you can see many image samples on his site. He writes that the lens is worth every penny and the lens convinces with an excellent image quality, especially in backlit situations. Resolution and bokeh leave little to be desired.

The 90mm lens will ship from July 7 at those stores:
In USA at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto.
In Europe at Sony Germany, Sony UK, Sony FR, Sony IT, Sony ES, Sony NL, Sony BE, Sony AT, Sony CH, Sony SE, Sony FI, Sony NO, Sony PT.
In Asia at Digitalrev, Sony Australia.

May 12, 2015
Posted in reviews

35mm FE Distagon “is exceptional” (Admiringlight). 28mm FE “good performer considering the small size” (Philip Reeve)


Image courtesy: Adminringlight

Adminringlight compared the Sony Zeiss FE 35mm f/1.4 vs. Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4 and writes:

It’s easy to see that the FE 35mm f/1.4 is exceptional. It takes an extremely good Fuji 23mm f/1.4 and makes it look mediocre in comparison.  Zeiss has done something rather incredible with the lens.

Philip Reeve (German text version at SystemKameraForum) tested the 28mm FE lens and writes:

Optically it is a very good performer. The center is very sharp from f/2 with nice contrast and unusually smooth bokeh. What I find very remarkable about the lens is it’s size. It is much harder to design a small lens with such a good performance, the lens diagram tells us that Sony used a lot of special glass to achieve it. And of course they also allowed for a high amount of distortion but I think this was a good decision, because any other parameter like lower sharpness or bigger size would have been harder to digest.

Zeiss 35mm FE Distagon store links: Amazon, B&H, Adorama, eBay
Sony 28mm FE store links: Amazon, B&H, Adorama, eBay

Zeiss Batis preorder in USA and Europe (UK/Germany)
Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 lens in US at Adorama, Bhphoto. In Eu at Amazon DE, WexUK. In Asia at Digitalrev.
Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2.0 lens at Adorama, Bhphoto. In EU at Amazon DE, WexUK. In Asia at Digitalrev.
Lens shade for 85mm at Adorama, Bhphoto.
Lens shade for 25mm at Adorama, Bhphoto.

May 11, 2015
Posted in reviews

DxO tests the Zeiss Distagon FE lens ans writes it’s a “Razor-sharp German precision”.


DxOmark (Click here) published the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Distagon FE lens test results and writes:

With excellent optical construction, including three aspherical elements, it’s a pretty hefty lens, however, that measures 112mm in length and weighs 630g. If you’re looking for top-quality low-light shooting, you’ll need all that heavy glass, however, and it helps the FE 35mm f1.4 deliver some excellent results.
Achieving a high DxOMark score of 38 points, the FE 35mm f1.4’s performance is excellent and ranks as the second best FE-mount lens we’ve tested. Sharpness and Transmission results are particularly strong, and with decent results in the other Lens Metric categories, it’s an impressive all-round excellent performance from the FE 35mm f1.4.[/shoplink]

The 55mm FE is still the king of sharpness. Looking at the score comparison I am actually surprised to see how good the much more compact FE 35mm f/2.8 lens is. A nice little (still bit overpriced) gem :)

The Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Distagon FE is in Stock here:
in USA at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto.
in Europe at Sony Germany, Sony UK, Sony FR, Sony IT, Sony ES, Sony NL, Sony BE, Sony AT, Sony CH, Sony SE, Sony FI, Sony NO, Sony PT.
in Asia/Australia at Digitalrev, Sony Australia.

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