SONY has released a new alogrithm for raw conversion (deBayer) which offers improve high ISO noise. IDC (Image Data Converter) is the program issued with all Sony DSLRs. Up to now, no maker has ever revised their ‘house’ converter to offer high ISO improvement as a specific feature. The new version can be downloaded free by existing users (download link is provided at end of story). We have direct download links now for Windows and Mac OSX versions.
What is more important for owners is that IDC has always copied, replicated or matched the behaviour of camera firmware. If Sony has acquired or written new deBayer algorithms, either future DSLRs will have much improved high ISO performance – or firmware upgrades are in the pipeline which could transform existing gear (except the poor old Alpha 100 – it was probably doing pretty well in reality anyway…).
Here are two samples quickly compared – old IDC 3 versus new IDC 3.2, on a 2500 ISO file from the Alpha 900. All settings were identical for the two files, and sharpening and NR were left at default values.
Before – v3.0
After – v3.2 both on Mac OSX Snow Leopard, and I can confirm a VERY much faster performance for 3.2, building a sharp preview of the A900 file rapidly and completely where 3.0 built in slowly and often only left the centre of each image previewed correctly.
We’ll know about the firmware soon, but it is significant that Sony having hinted at firmware upgrades for this Spring (documented from various trade shows, interviews etc on other websites) has first of all come out with an IDC upgrade.
Here is the full press release issued this morning:
α (Alpha) digital SLR users can now enjoy even more control over creating beautiful, low noise images with the latest release of Image Data Converter software.
Image Data Converter SR Version 3.2 now features new algorithms that significantly reduce image noise at high ISO settings when converting RAW data to JPEG files. Processing is most effective at ISO 800 and higher, delivering impressively natural results with minimised colour noise right up to ISO 12,800 (depends on DLSR model).
The new algorithm is effective when converting RAW file or cRAW files (depends on DSLR model) to JPEG files produced by all current and previous model digital SLR cameras by Sony (excluding DSLR-A100).
Image Data Convertor SR Version 3.2 is part of the Image Data Suite that also includes Image Data Lightbox SR Version 2.2. Supplied free of charge with all new digital SLR cameras by Sony, the enhanced bundle now also offers support for Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard).
Registered Alpha customers can download Image Data Convertor SR Version 3.2 free of charge from the Sony Europe support website in English version from 31st March 2010. Other languages will be available to download within the next 10 working days. To download the new update, please visit: http://support.sony-europe.com/dime/digistill/alpha/alpha.aspx?
Direct download links (unofficial): Mac – http://di.update.sony.net/SIDS/IDS32_Installer1004a.dmg
These are English language. The main site will presumably be updated in the course of time.