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May 18, 2017
Posted in reviews

Dpreview says the A9 speed comes at the cost of over one stop dynamic range compared to the A7rIi

Dpreview analyzed the dynamic range performance of the Sony a9 and concluded:

We suspect the higher readout speed is leading to greater noise. In other words, it appears this sensor was likely optimized for speed at the expense of low ISO dynamic range.
There is little to no difference in base ISO dynamic range in different drive modes. So the good news is that the drop to 12-bit in continuous drive comes at no cost. The bad news is that the 14-bit Raws aren’t any better than the 12-bit ones.

But it has to be noted that the “cost” is quite small. Still the article is interesting because it explains how to get the best quality out of the Sony A9:

This means that if you’re shooting in conditions demanding high ISO, for any given focal plane exposure you may wish to at least increase in-camera amplification to ISO 640 to get most tones above the noise floor, if your scene demands the extra amplification to get a usable image. Dropping below ISO 640 to preserve highlights, and then raising shadows afterwards, will come at a greater noise cost than, say, Sony’s own a7R II.
Interestingly, this means there’s little advantage to those large (47MB) uncompressed 14-bit Raw files, save for the lack of compression artifacts. In a perfect world, Sony would have offered a 12-bit Raw mode with a lossless compression curve (without that second stage of localized compression that leads to edge artifacts) for smaller file sizes with minimal loss in quality.

Overall, the A9 is a camera made for sports photographers and for those who seek speed. And 1 stop loss of dynamic range will hardly be noticeable or important to them. If Dynamic Range is what you need then buy the A7rII or have the patience to wait for the A7rIII :)

UPDATE: SteveGJ made an interesting comment on Dpreview findings:

There’s a lot of rubbish some people talk about 12 vs 14 bit RAW files. The fact is, by the time you get to about 800 ISO even the best FF cameras only have about 10 bits worth of dynamic range (at the pixel level) so 12 bits are ample as the bottom 2 will just be noise anyway. It will only be at very low ISOs where you might see some difference, and then only if the sensor has low read noise. Of course you get a bit more back when downsizing, but RAW files contain per-pixel data.
On an ISO-invariant sensor you lose one bit of resolution for every doubling of ISO speed anyway, so even 12 bits becomes irrelevant. Of course this camera is clearly not ISO invariant as it’s probably optimised for higher ISOs needed for action photography (the Canon & Nikon equivalents to the same), so it might be that the loss of (bit) resolution doesn’t follow that precise model, but it’s true in general.

Sony A9:
Sony A9 at BHphotoAdorama, Amazon, BestBuy. FocusCamera. Calumet.de. Park UK. Wex UK. Jessops.
Sony A9 with Grip Extension Kit at BHphoto, Adorama and Amazon.
Note: US readers preordering the A9 at BHphoto or Adorama using our links (and our affiliated links only!) have a chance to win a Sony A9.

100-400mm GM:
Sony 100-400mm GM at BHphoto, Amazon, Adorama, BestBuy. Calumet.de. Park UK. Wex UK. Jessops.

Sony A9 accessories:
Sony A9 battery grip at Adorama, Bhphoto, Amazon. Wex UK. Jessops.
Sony A9 Glass screen protector at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon.
NP-FZ100 battery for the A9 at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Jessops.
GP-EX1 grip at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Wex UK.
FDA-EP18 eye cup at Adorama, BHphoto.
MQZ1 multi battery charger at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Wex UK.
BCQZ1 Z-series Battery Charger at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon.

Join our new Sony A9 Facebook group!

May 18, 2017
Posted in reviews

Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM size comparison and unique new focus mechanism info


image via CameraSize

This comparison shows the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 on the left (790g and $1,999), the new Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM in the center (680g and $2,199) and the Nikon 16-35mm f/4.0 on the right (680g and $1,100). Note: there is no Nikon 16-35mm f/2.8 zoom.

The full specs, image samples and MTF graph of the new GM lens can be found at Sony.net. Helpful hands-on videos of this lens by Max Yuryev and Dan Watson.

A couple of interesting news about the lens:
– It is the first Sony lens with a new fly by wire mechanism. It allows reliable manual focusing! The info comes via Max Yuryev.
– Unusual for a wide angle zoom is that it has a 11-blade circular aperture which contributes to even greater bokeh quality
– The new GM lens weights only 160g more than the slower Zeiss 16-35mm f/4.0 lens. Good job Sony!

Preorders:
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.
Sony 12-24mm f/4.0 at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.

Full specs and features of the lens can be read at sony.com/electronics/camera-lenses/sel1635gm/specifications#features

May 17, 2017
Posted in news, reviews

Sony 16-35mm GM and 12-24mm G officially announced!

Sony just announced the new 16-35mm GM and 12-24mm FE lenses. The full press text can be read on that page at SonyAlphaRumors. More info here:

Preorders:
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.
Sony 12-24mm f/4.0 at Bhphoto, Adorama, BestBuy and Amazon. In EU at Calumet DE, WexUK, Jessops.

Official press pages:
16-35mm GM at Sony.net and 12-24mm at Sony.net.

Previews and Hands-on:
Techradar, Dpreview. CameraLabs (12-24mm). CameraLabs (16-35mm) Photorec. Imaging Resource (16-35mm). Imaging Resource (12-24mm). ThePhoBlographer (16-35mm). ThePhoBlographer (12-24mm).

Early curiosities and findings:
– New 16-35mm GM lens has a new fly by wire focus ring mechanism. Optimized for manual focusing!
– 12-24mm is surprisingly resistant to flare (unusual for such a wide angle zoom)
– 12-24mm lens weights half compared to the Sigma 12-24mm and Canon 11-24mm lens competition

Image samples:
16-35mm at Sony.net. Dan Watson. Dpreview.
12-24mm at Sony.net. Dan Watson. Dpreview.

Press text:
Photolari (Spanish). Photoscala (German).

Interview with Mark Weir:

Videos:

12-24 F4 Review by Max Yuryev:

16-35 2.8 GM Review by Max Yuryev:

Lens hands-on by Dan Watson:

Interview at BH:

MTF chart (Click on it to enlarge)

16-35mm:

12-24mm:

Product Images:

Poll:

What lens will you buy?

View Results

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May 16, 2017
Posted in reviews

First A9 test with Canon Lenses using the MC-11 adapter by Jason Lanier

Currently the Sigma MC-11 adapter is a hot deal because it sells for $149 only at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto. But how well does it perform on the new Sony A9? Jason Lanier just posted this test video where you can find the answer. Spoiler: It does surprisingly well in low light conditions. And flexible spot works fine too!

For $149 this is a no brainer. Everyone with Canon lenses in the house should buy the Sigma MC-11!

 

Sony A9:
Sony A9 at BHphotoAdorama, Amazon, BestBuy. FocusCamera. Calumet.de. Park UK. Wex UK. Jessops.
Sony A9 with Grip Extension Kit at BHphoto, Adorama and Amazon.
Note: US readers preordering the A9 at BHphoto or Adorama using our links (and our affiliated links only!) have a chance to win a Sony A9.

100-400mm GM:
Sony 100-400mm GM at BHphoto, Amazon, Adorama, BestBuy. Calumet.de. Park UK. Wex UK. Jessops.

Sony A9 accessories:
Sony A9 battery grip at Adorama, Bhphoto, Amazon. Wex UK. Jessops.
Sony A9 Glass screen protector at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon.
NP-FZ100 battery for the A9 at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Jessops.
GP-EX1 grip at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Wex UK.
FDA-EP18 eye cup at Adorama, BHphoto.
MQZ1 multi battery charger at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon. Wex UK.
BCQZ1 Z-series Battery Charger at Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon.

Join our new Sony A9 Facebook group!

May 14, 2017
Posted in reviews

Zeiss Batis 135/2.8 OSS – initial impressions by Per Kylberg

This is a Guest Post from Per Kylberg. He tested the new Zeiss Batis 135mm FE which just started to ship at Amazon, BHphoto, Amazon.de and Photo-Porst-Neuwied.

Zeiss Batis 135/2.8 OSS – initial impressions

Freshesest possible leaves @2.8 about 90cm – shallow DOF and beautiful  bokeh. Yes, not perfect sharpness slight movement but image shows close up  capabilities and bokeh.

To me the specifications of this lens was exactly what I hoped for: Light, OSS, excellent IQ. It was confirmed via an, unusually early, unusually trustworhty  review (http://www.verybiglobo.com/zeiss-batis-apo-sonnar-135mm-f2-8-lens-review/#). To finance this very expensive lens I sold off three seldom used lenses moving my total camera system investment up by “just” 950€.

A7R2
Images imported to Lightroom using my own default settings:
Detail 51-0.5-36-0
Clarity +9
Profile: Camera Light
(Adobe default settings are so dull and boring!)
Images has no further post processing – except for the three images comparing 135 to 85.

More and larger images can be found here:     https://www.flickr.com/photos/perkylberg/albums/72157680507030814

Conclusion: A superb lens that draws absolutely beautiful images. Will work excellently for portraits. @1.3m the LED says DOF 0.00 to 0.00, means DOF is less than 8mm. (Now some of you start whining, but making portraits is NOT about “sharp iris and unsharp eye lashes”. It is about creating contact and trust with the person, create lighting and environment that shows persons character and emotions. Too short DOF may be a “beautifier” but also acts as a “make up” that hides the person/personality.)

The Batis 135/2 out-resolves the Batis 85/1.8.

Color and contrast is superb

  • OSS is effective, 1/20 being my limit – same as for the 85mm. Note: Yes,  lens OSS is more effective than in-body IS. Olympus, market leader in IBIS. Still their new HQ zoom also have lens OSS.
  • AF about the same, maybe a tad faster, as the 85mm
  • “Infinity” is about 250m away. LED says @5,6 from 109m to infinity DOF, @2.8 from 148m to infinity – something to keep in mind.
  • LED is very useful, especially with longer lenses as you can see the DOF  and adjust aperture to get the DOF you want.

135 vs 85

Many are interested to see how a 135 draws the image compared to 85 mm and the following three images illustrates just that. The 135 has a more compressed perspective as shows a) Larger seeming distant objects, b) Fewer objects visible in the background, c) background seems more flat, less detail. To me this  makes the 135 a more creative tool.

People with long nose would be preferred be photographed with the 135. Flat  nosed people would though prefer the 85 perspective….

To me the 85 is the best general portrait alternative. The 135 takes it a little  more to the wild side which of course can be an advantage.

ver 1: 135 @6.3. Note the background and its bokeh

Version 2: Same position  and aperture but with Batis 85. Note different  background perspective and bokeh

Version 3: 85mm but moved closer to mimic the version 1 135mm FOV. Note 
very background very different perspective as well as slightly different bokeh

Excellent detail and rendering @5.6

@2.8 and LED reading: 28m, DOF from 28m to 31m.Wanted the naked tree in background to be out of  focus but all birch leaves in focus. In PP I will  enhance just the birch tree.

Intention was to do an infinity test, but how far is infinity really? With the Batis 135, about 150m is NOT infinity, much to my surprise. @2.8 and focus nearest corner of the white building the 400m away “Crown tower” is out of   focus!

5.6 (on a rainy day) focus on more distant brown building. LED says DOF from  109m and onwards.

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