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Alamy blacklists compact and bridge digitals

In an unusual move, probably designed to cut down the work of rejecting submissions which fail to make the grade, the on-line picture library Alamy has published lists of cameras (by make) which will NEVER produce a file acceptable to pass their Quality Control. It includes all the Sony Cyber-shots ever made as far as we can tell! They say: “Check your camera – do NOT submit any images from camera models featured on the list below. Camera models featured on this list do not produce files that are capable of passing Alamy’s QC standards.”

The good news is that all Sony Alpha DSLRs from the 100 on are included in a different list of RECOMMENDED cameras – all are confirmed as being capable of providing adequate images.

Here’s the Cyber-shot blacklist:

Please note at present Alamy does not accept any images from the following Sony digital cameras.

Manufacturer and Model
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G3
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S950
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S930
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S980
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T900
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W250
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W230
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H10
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H50
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S750
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S780
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T300
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W110
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W120
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W130
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W170
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G2
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S650
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S700
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S730
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S800
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T2
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T20
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W200
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W35
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W55
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W90
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H2
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H5
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N2
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S600
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T10
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T30
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T50
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W100
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W30
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W50
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W70
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M2
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P200
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S40
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S60
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S90
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S80
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T9
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W5
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W7
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F88
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-L1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P100
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P41
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P73
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P93
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T11
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T3
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V3
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F828
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P10
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P32
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P52
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P72
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P8
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P92
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-U30
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-U40
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-U50
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-U60
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V1
Sony Mavica CD350
Sony Mavica CD500
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F717
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P2
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P31
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P51
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P7
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P71
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P9
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-U10
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-U20
Sony Mavica CD250
Sony Mavica CD400
Sony Mavica FD-100
Sony Mavica FD-200
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F707
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P20
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P3
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P30
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P5
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P50
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S75
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S85
Sony Mavica CD200
Sony Mavica CD300
Sony Mavica FD-75
Sony Mavica FD-87
Sony Mavica FD-92
Sony Mavica FD-97
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F505V
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F55V
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S30
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S50
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S70
Sony Mavica CD1000
Sony Mavica FD-85
Sony Mavica FD-90
Sony Mavica FD-95
Sony Cyber-shot DSC W180
Samsung L310W
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W215
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W190
Sony W270
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W210
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W270
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T70
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W115
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W15
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W12
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-D700
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T70HDPR
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T20HDPR
Sony S930

Now Samsung got in there by mistake, I think, but it includes some cameras I once thought were adequate such as the Cyber-shot F-828. Not surprisingly, the similarly specified Konica Minolta Dimage cameras are also blacklisted:

Manufacturer and Model
Konica Minolta DiMAGE X1
Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z20
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z5
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z6
Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2
Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200
Konica Minolta DiMAGE G600
Konica Minolta DiMAGE X31
Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Xg
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z10
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z2
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3
Konica KD-510 Zoom
Minolta DiMAGE A1
Minolta DiMAGE E223
Minolta DiMAGE E323
Minolta DiMAGE F200
Minolta DiMAGE F300
Minolta DiMAGE G400
Minolta DiMAGE G500
Minolta DiMAGE S414
Minolta DiMAGE X20
Minolta DiMAGE Xt
Minolta DiMAGE Z1
Konica KD-400 Zoom
Konica KD-500 Zoom
Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi
Minolta DiMAGE 7i
Minolta DiMAGE F100
Minolta DiMAGE S404
Minolta DiMAGE X
Minolta DiMAGE Xi
Konica e-mini
Konica e-mini D
Konica e-mini M
Konica KD-200 Zoom
Konica KD-300 Zoom
Minolta DiMAGE 5
Minolta DiMAGE 7
Minolta DiMAGE E201
Minolta DiMAGE E203
Minolta DiMAGE S304
Minolta DiMAGE 2300
Minolta DiMAGE 2330

It’s sad to see the A2 and A200 – both providing .MRW raw files which can be of exceptional quality at ISO 64 with careful handling – included in such a list. But this is reality. Earlier this year, I included in our own Alamy submissions a great set of 60 images by my friend Peter Fry who had visited the Caribbean and Central America using a Sony F-828. I liked his people pix enough to feature them in Photoworld, and they reproduced excellently. But they resulted in the first ever total rejection of a batch of files I have had from Alamy.

More controversial is the Alamy list for Sigma – even the latest (or almost-latest) SD-14 and the popular pocketable DP-1 are banned:

Manufacturer and Model
Sigma DP1
Sigma SD14
Sigma SD10
Sigma SD9

Well, in fact I have many images taken on the SD-9, SD-10 and SD-14 on Alamy and submitted as complete batches too, not hiding amongst a submission. My entire set from one trip to Turkey was shot on the SD-9, and all the files were duly taken up to 48MB. They have sold, as well, and no complaints or refunds have ever followed the sales. For owners of the DP-1 expecting to use it as a stock-photo notebook camera, this latest list is a knock-back.

And, in the Kodak list, the DCS760 is blackballed. This beautifully made Nikon F5 based DSLR has one of the best 6 megapixel sensors ever designed, within its limited working ISO range. With a 1.3X factor, it has very large pixels and uses very narrow-cut colour filters producing superb colour quality. I have owned one for a few months, and of course, there are a few Alamy pix from it. I would have to rate the quality higher than my Konica Minolta Dynax 7D or 5D six megapixels in some respects.

Also, the excellent Ricoh GR Digital and GR II are both rejected. Again, I have an entire set of images taken using this GR, an optically superb fix focal length wide angle 8 megapixel compact, which went on to Alamy as a set in the past without question. They are still some of the best-looking files for colour and the performance of that 28mm-equvalent lens. Even the pics with the 21mm-equivalent wide angle converter are up to DSLR standard.

What exactly is sharp enough for Alamy?

Here is an example of what is NOT sharp enough:

stormont14ak-small

This is a picture of Stormont, the Belfast Northern Ireland Assembly building, taken by Ailsa Kilpatrick when she visited the Assembly earlier in the year. She used a Sony Alpha A350 with 16-105mm SAL lens. It’s been straightened up a touch and distortion removed (though it was at the long end of the lens, and this was just a minor verticals correction). Contrast has been increased greatly to give it some impact. The point of focus, as you would expect, is on the columns and facade of the building, but this is the result which Alamy QC rejected, when enlarged to 48MB size (5120 pixels high):

stormont14ak-sectionsoftdef

Bear in mind that no capture sharpening or unsharp masking can be used when sending files to Alamy, so some natural softness will be present due to AA filter and deBayer operations. I would have said, looking at the detail shown in the upper egg and dart string of the course above the column’s capital, that although the 16-105mm has produced a slightly ‘dirty’ rendering, it’s well up to the sharpness of any of the 6 or 8 megapixel shots I have filed in past years. But when sent the clip (because this was the image they rejected, taking with it several dozen others which are automatically kicked back if you get one in the batch failed) they confirmed that they upheld their QC decision.

This is no great worry, Ailsa took many other pictures some of which are already accepted and on-line, and many are that little bit cleaner and sharper than this. But when asked, Alamy’s staff stated that standards for QC have not changed. What was once accepted (6 megapixels enlarged to 17 megapixels, the 48MB size required) was still accepted. There had been no shift in standards created by the effect on staff of seeing so many 14, 16, 21, and 24 megapixel files arriving today. I found this hard to believe, because my own standards have changed after using the Alpha 900. My earlier work no longer looks sharp enough!

A few days later, the list of unacceptable cameras appeared on Alamy’s blog. They may not have been willing to be drawn into making any comment about improving standards, but their action speaks louder than words. In the list of non-approved cameras are several mainstays of early Alamy shooters – successful ones as well. The Konica Minolta Dimage A2 and A200, the Canon PowerShot S1 Pro, the Ricoh GR Digital… all these were purchased in their dozens (even sought for on the used market) by travelling Alamy contributors wanting raw files from a lightweight versatile camera with 8 megapixels.

Now that era is passed. If you are planning on trying Alamy, study the example above. It was, I am told, a borderline case but nevertheless not good enough. If you can’t get something visibly better than this (and it makes a perfectly sharp looking A2 print!) don’t bank on getting your Sony Alpha, or any other, images past Alamy Quality Control.

- David Kilpatrick


6 comments to Alamy blacklists compact and bridge digitals

  • sony in oz

    What about the cyber-shot DSC-R1? That doesn’t appear to be on the list. Never owned one but maybe the 10mp sensor and zeiss lens help it over the line…

  • Philip

    Sorry that you feel lonesome alphaomega, hope you don’t mind if I join you! I picked this list up from the Alamy blog just before David wrote this article (a matter of a few hours), and was somewhat relieved to see that all my DSLRs are listed on the acceptable list. I am also releived that my Canon G9 isn’t on the unacceptable list (although it doesn’t make it onto the accepable list either….), not that I use it much, but I do carry it just in case when a larger camera is too conspicuous.

  • admin

    There’s been some Alamy Contributors Forum discussion (no doubt shortly to be locked) and I’ve made a few replies there. As part of that process, I checked back some Canon 300D images taken on the same trip as a lot of KM A2 (banned) images. The KM A2 images are larger (56MB versus 49MB) and far sharper and better detailed as well as having nicer colour and tones! It also looks as if they are actually rejecting a lot of 6 megapixel DSLR images now, even though they say this is not the case.

  • alphaomega

    Seems as if I am the only person commenting on this thread. Maybe Photoclubalpha do not have many visitors submitting to Alamy. Anyway I elected to e-mail Alamy asking about the use of my Panasonic LX2 and 3 since these were not on the banned list of cameras. The reply came this morning:

    “Please note that we normally accept images using any DSLR with a resolution of at least 6 MP. However, any images which match our submission criteria mentioned in http://www.alamy.com/stock-photography-guide.asp are acceptable to us.”

    On the one hand they are not saying that the LX2 & 3 are acceptable. On the other hand they are not saying they are banned either. From the text I conclude that if I send in images taken with the LX2 or 3 they will be accepted as long as they meet their QC standards. That is encouraging and images from any other quality P&S not listed should presumable also pass through as long as QC conditions are met. Even the LX2 & 3 have their limitations and I would not dream of sending in images not taken in RAW, ISO100 and bright weather to eliminate noise. Almost every image needs CA removal at the RAW stage so In my opinion even the best P&S cameras have limited usage for Alamy purposes.

  • alphaomega

    Another couple of thoughts on this new exclusion list. I remember reading a review in Amateur Photographer UK of the Sigma SD14. The reviewer thought that this was an excellent 4Mp camera. It could be that Alamy simply think that the SD14 is a 4Mp camera regardless of the claims of nearly 14Mp through its three sensor layers. I also remember reading about the Ricoh GX200 and Digital II that the noise increased dramatically beyond ISO100/200. It could be that these factors have had an impact on Alamy’s camera rejection list. Another aspect is possibly that Alamy is approaching 17 million images. Probably the great majority of “amateurs” submittion below standard images are using P&S cameras. There is no longer the need to build up a large collection so this is probably a good way to prune away the time consuming sub standard performers without affecting the coverage and furthermore, with the emphasis on trying to get away from “editorial only” the P&S shooters are no longer required. The fact that David Kilpatrick was able to “squeeze” acceptale images out of P&S cameras with his knowledge and experience does not mean that the majority have the same capability. I also think that Alamy are increasing their requirements but they will not admit it publicly. They can afford to be more critical now.

  • alphaomega

    At first I was concerned when I read this article, and it will be a blow to a lot of people. On checking the Panasonic list I noticed that my Panasonic DMC LX2 and LX3 were not listed although the LX1 was. That was a great relief as I use these occasionally when my DSLRs are too heavy/bulky. It shows that the list is at least based on some research, unless Alamy has made a mistake. I will submit a few good LX3 images to observe what will happen to these. In the past all my LX2/3 images have “sailed through” Alamy QC, but then I am careful to use only sunny images taken at 100 ISO and converted in Silkypix from RAW.