(UPDATED) Tricks and tips to get the best from A77 RAW images!


Our reader “QX” sent me a link to an article he posted on Dpreview Forum: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1037&message=39655557.

UPDATE: The test caused heavy discussions on dpreview forum and on Sonyalpharumors. Many questioned the conclusion and quality of the test. QX sent me an email that explains better the test and resutls of his test:

My apologies for getting you into that shitstorm.

I have posted a summary of my findings in the comments section, maybe that will help.
I was just trying to put the information out there, and maybe my Original Post in the forums was too strongly worded.
I was alarmed because my A700 did not exhibit this kind of behavior in RAW.

1) If you’re shooting JPEG, choose whatever ISO you want. For High ISO try NR Weak, Clear -2,+2,-2 settings. Those worked for me at 6400 in 6MP mode. 24MP JPG high iso isn’t really… acceptable. You’ll see what I mean.
2) If you’re shooting RAW, stick to ISO 1000, and underexpose by whatever you need to get the equivalent ISO. For example, ISO 1600 means ISO 1000 and -2/3EV compensation. You can bring exposure up later .
3) If you are shooting in good light, don’t bother exposing to the right, as it seems that the RAW file stores almost the same number of levels per stop, so there is no nett gain by exposing to the right. This was my beef in claim 2 in my original post – there is no way to buy yourself any more processing headroom by ETTR (stuff like increasing clarity and contrast will increase noise, and if you tried to boost a properly exposed, low contrast subject, you will get more noise. Traditionally, if you ETTR, reduced exposure in ACR and then boosted contrast, you’d get better results).
4) Make sure you tune the focus correctly for your lenses. The A77 is really high res – it will make you pay for any small front/back focus. I had to tune my 16-50 kit to +3 to make it spot on, and it’s been behaving ever since.

It seems that there are many who just looked at the first post in that thread and jumped to conclusions. There was a lively discussion in that thread punctuated by trolls.
I don’t claim to be perfect, but as in Science, any hypothesis will be tested rigorously, and I am happy that happened in DPReview forum. I also learned a lot from the other posters.

Once again, I’m sorry for the trouble that I caused you.

One more thing: Every RAW file has some form of compression (also Nikon NEF files!). Our reader Oneguy sent me this: “ In the DPR thread that you linked, one of the poster is ejmartin (Real Name:  Emil Martinec, Professor of Physics at  the University of Chicago and a member of the particle theory group. He is also creator of Amaze, Raw demosaicer algorithm). See his article on noise: http://theory.uchicago.edu/~ejm/pix/20d/tests/noise/noise-p3.html
Scroll down to “An aside on “lossy” NEF compression” section and read the conclusion:”Bottom line: The “lossy” form of NEF compression is a clever use of information theory to save space by eliminating redundant raw levels. The noise which is unavoidably present in light effectively dithers tonal transitions so that the compression is lossless in that the image is still encoded without loss of visual information. In this sense, “lossy” compression is perhaps an inappropriate appelation.”


A77 finally shipping in USA (and Europe of course)

[shoplink 8461][/shoplink] Many SAR readers contacted me to tell me that Amazon US is finally shipping the early pre orders from August and September. But also other stores are shipping like Simplyelectronics (1 A77 is still in Stock). You cannot preorder the camera now at Amazon but the little sisther the A65 is in Stock at Amazon (Click here). In Europe even people from Sweden or Italy contacted me that stores like Scandinavian Photo in Stockholm and Amazon.it are also having the A77 in Stock. Same status for Amazon.de and Amazon.co.uk.

Dear SAR readers, if you own the A77 feel free to share your first impressions and tests! I will publish them on SAR! And enjoy your camera :)

The A77 can be pre ordered at [shopcountry 8461].


More news about the NEX-7 shipment and new production location (first preorders on eBay Europe)

[shoplink 8454][/shoplink]

I am continually receiving info from dealers and people that preordered the NEX-7. Thanks!!!

The situation is the following:
Sony is dislocating the production form the factory in Thailand. I don’t know yet how much it will take until the first bunch of [shoplink 8454]NEX-7[/shoplink] cameras can be produced there.
Sony already produced a first Stock of NEX-7 cameras before the flood hit the factory. These cameras will be shipped regularly to the very customers that preordered the camera. This means that people that preordered the camera the very first days here on Sonyalpharumors could get their cameras. A few dealers contacted me to confirm that Sony will ship them small amounts of NEX-7 cameras in early November!
The lens production is not affected! These are produced elsewhere. The new E-mount lenses, the [shoplink 8450]Zeiss 24mm f/1.8[/shoplink], the [shoplink 8448]Sony 50mm f/1.8[/shoplink] and the [shoplink 8444]Sony 55-210mm[/shoplink] will ship regularly.

UPDATE: First preorders are now available on eBay too. In Europe the [shoplink 9822 ebay]NEX-7 body (Click here)[/shoplink] and the [shoplink 9823 ebay]NEX-7 with 18-55mm lens (Click here)[/shoplink]. Ask for the availability time before to buy them!

Here is a part of the well written report by Imaging Resource: “On October 13th, efforts to repair a damaged dyke at Ayutthaya’s Hi-Tech Industrial Estate were abandoned. One notable plant located at Hi-Tech is Sony Technology (Thailand) Co. Ltd., which manufactures p
roducts including Alpha SLR and NEX compact system camera bodies, as well as interchangeable lenses. Shortly thereafter, Sony Marketing (Japan) Inc. announced that it was postponing Japanese-market availability of products including the NEX-C3, NEX-5N, NEX-7, and Alpha SLT-A65, and Sony Hong Kong followed suit with a delay for the NEX-7 in that market. Note, though, that the company has yet to announce any such delay in the US market. (A possible reason for this relates to the time factors involved in shipping by sea. Countries closer to the factory were likely scheduled to receive stock from later in the production run, where those further from the source may already have stock enroute from earlier production.)

And here are all NEX cameras and lens preorder links (Click on shopname to check price and availability):
Sony NEX-7 [shopcountry 8454].
Sony NEX-5n [shopcountry 8452].
Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 [shopcountry 8450].
Sony 50mm f/1.8 [shopcountry 8448].
Sony 55-210mm [shopcountry 8444].
NEX-5n viewfinder [shopcountry 9110].



Sony TidBits…


Sony HVL-F20S review

There is a new Sony Alpha NEX-C3 review at CameraLabs (Click here): “The NEX-C3 is smaller, lighter,and more fully featured than the first generation NEX models. It provides increased sensor resolution at little or no cost to its excellent image quality and delivers improved handling both for compact upgraders and enthusiasts. All-in-all, more than enough to gain it our Highly Recommended award“.

Sony E55-210 Vs Pentax F80-200 Brief Shootout (RiceHigh)

Sony 135mm f/2.8 lens tested on the A77 at Ctec.

Sony A65 image samples at Optyczne.

Sony A77 review at Kamera&Bild.

Test à hauts ISO des Raw du NEX-C3 développés avec Lightroom 3 (AlphaNumerique).

Sony NEX-5n review at Photographybay (Click here): “Once you become accustomed to the control scheme, the NEX-5N is fast, accurate and delivers solid images. The inclusion of a 1080/60p video capture is a huge bonus for those interested in overcranked footage for their 24p sequences. All-in-all, the NEX-5N is a great camera that is marred by an unfortunate problem with its audio recording capabilities“.

Sony 55-210mm tets iamges at DC.watch.

Sony VG-20 review at Slashcam (Click here to read the google translation).

Why you should chose SOny over Nikon/Canon (improvephotography).


Full Sony NEX-7 review at Photoreview Australia (Good news: German NEX-7 ship date confirmed)


The video on op shows a german NEX-7 presentation made by Chip.de.

Photoreview (Click here) posted a full NEX-7 review: “For an EVF, the NEX 7’s finder is quite impressive. It’s big, bright and information-rich – and also very sharp. However, its dynamic range is a bit restricted and, depending on the subject and how you’ve set the finder’s brightness, in sunny conditions you can find highlights or shadows being clipped. It also suffers from a slight (but perceptible) lag in refresh rates.” and “Colours in test shots appeared natural and even traditionally difficult-to-record blues and purples were handled very well, as shown in the sample images below. Imatest showed saturation to be well-contained but revealed a few hue shifts that affected mainly the warmer hues. Skin colours were a tad warm, which some people may prefer.”  About the noise: “Image noise only became visible in test shots  at ISO 6400 and it was mainly  the granularity of luminance noise.”
The camera earns an overall rating of 8.6/10 and gets the Editor’s choice award.

And here is a good news. A german SAR reader wrote:
I live in Germany and today I got a phone call from a Sony employee regarding my preorder of the Nex 7.
They asked to change my Adress because they cant send to a p.o. box (Packstation in german) and that the scheduled shipping is 11.11 but maybe a bit erlier! I even asked about the flood and she confirmed once again : Shippig will be in first days of November, 11.11 beeing the last day of the shipping span. (for my preorderd Nex 7)
So good luck to everyone who preordered ! Btw: I preordered the Nex 7 Kit (incl. 18-55mm black lens)

P.S.: Sony Alpha Nex-7 Camera test Shooting speed 10 fps (youtube) and Sony NEX-7 prototype video test at the Denver Zoo (Vimeo).

New NEX cameras and lens preorder links (Click on shopname to check price and availability):
Sony NEX-7 [shopcountry 8454].
Sony NEX-5n [shopcountry 8452].
Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 [shopcountry 8450].
Sony 50mm f/1.8 [shopcountry 8448].
Sony 55-210mm [shopcountry 8444].
NEX-5n viewfinder [shopcountry 9110].


Complete A77 review posted at Dpreview! More hints about the Sony A77 and A65 2.0 firmware update…


Dpreview posted the full A77 review (Click here). The camera earns an overall score of 81% and a Silver Award: “We’re pretty confident though that whatever your level of expectations and expertise, the A77’s rugged and well thought-out ergonomics, innovative full-time live view and AF systems and exceptionally good EVF will keep you very happy indeed. However, the somewhat mushy JPEG image quality, high noise levels and slightly laggy operation stop the A77 from getting a gold award.”
Dpreview findings are not a surprise. The camera is good but Sony has to improve the JPEG engine via firmware upgrade. That alone would make the camera almost perfect. Of course there is still a way to get the maximum out of the camera. And that is by shooting in RAW. Just look at that JPG versus RAW comparison to see the huge difference: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonyslta77/page18.asp. The A77 sensor is really good without the Sony jpeg engine!

The A77 is finally in Stock in Europe at Sony.fr, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Sony.de, Sony.nl Sony.se, Jessops, Sony UK, Amazon.co.uk and Warehouseexpress,. And in Asia at Digitalrev and Amazon.jp

One more thing: Another “source” sent me this: “I was informed by person from SONY. Both camera was designed with special Bionz processor, but before releasing they put some better and new one processor inside camera and that make the problem. That is why they are going to release 2.0. It should work perfectly. Lets hope.
If the rumors coming from asian websites are correct version 2.0 should be out in early November!


Collecting: Your fullframe lens wishlist!


Dear readers! It’s time for a new poll! 2012 will be the year of full frame and  many here would like to know what kind of full frame lens you need. Feel free to comment this post with your lens suggestions.

I will also take into account the suggestions you wrote on yesterdays post about the upcoming 500mm f/4.0 lens.

Just a reminder: The first SLT full frame camera will be announced in Spring 2012 and there will be two more cameras within the year 2012. The first camera will be the A9x with 24 mega-pixels and be announced along a couple of new FF lenses. The second camera will feature a 36 Megapixel sensor. The third model will be something completely unexpected and new.

These are the links to the current Sony Fullframe lenses (without the older Minolta lenses):
SAL-16F28 Fisheye 16mm f/2.8 Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9774] SAL-1635Z 16-35mm f/2.8 ZA SSM Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* AF SLR Lens [shopcountry 9773] SAL-20F28 20mm f/2.8 AF Lens for Alpha & Minolta Maxxum Series [shopcountry 9775] Distagon T* 24mm f/2 SSM Wide Angle Lens [shopcountry 9769] SAL-2470Z 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9776] SAL-2875 28-75mm f/2.8 SAM Constant Aperture Zoom Lens [shopcountry 9777] SAL-35F14G Wide Angle 35mm f/1.4G Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9779] SAL-50F14 Normal 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9780] SAL-50M28 Normal AF D 50mm f/2.8 Macro Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9781] SAL-85F14Z Telephoto 85mm f/1.4 Carl Zeiss Planar T* Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9782] 85mm f/2.8 SAM Mid-range Telephoto Lens [shopcountry 9768] SAL-100M28 100mm f/2.8 AF Macro Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9770] SAL-135F18Z 135mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Autofocus SLR Lens [shopcountry 9771] SAL-135F28 135mm f/2.8 Manual Focus SLR Lens [shopcountry 9772] SAL-70200G Zoom AF 70-200mm f/2.8 APO G(D) SSM Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9782] SAL-70300G 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G SSM Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9783] SAL-70400G 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9784] SAL-75300 AF D 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9785] SAL-300F28G 300mm f/2.8 APO G SSM Autofocus Lens [shopcountry 9778]