Photokina with the A900

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David Kilpatrick
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Photokina with the A900

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:21 pm

I'll post some of the pix taken with the A900 at photokina on pBase, as I process them. Critical points to make:
1) I have absolutely no need for 24 megapixels for any of these shots, therefore the A900 was not needed - I just took it to show if off :P
2) It has no flash, but in fact flash rarely helps and coping with extreme lighting variations is more useful
I will not be posting full size images - I started out intending to export them at 6.3 megapixels, because that makes most sense for my magazine uses, but decided to use 11.2 megapixels from ACR instead. I did not shoot JPEGs, only cRAW. My battery was down to 12% after only 150 shots and it was freshly charged to 100% on the Sony charger. So far I'm finding that the '880 shots' is nowhere near the actual battery life when shooting raw.

Here is what photokina is all about - Papa Joe's with most of the British photo press party (not the foreground table, but nearly all the middle ground and to the right), half past midnight and we'd just started... but it's not like the old days, they have closed the streets now, no drinking outside after midnight so the Altmarkt is absolutely dead where once there used to be a dozen long tables full until the early hours of every morning - and that was just outside Papa Joe's.

Image

This is at 3200 ISO with the 17-35mm D only stopped half a stop down to f3.2 at 17mm, hand held 1/40th just enough to freeze some people movement. No NR applied, just some chroma NR, and the output size of 11.2 megapixels is close to the Nikon D3/D700 size, or the A700. No AF problems, the lens is by no means bad (much better than Canon's 16-35mm on full frame, judging by samples under discussion today on the Alamypro newsgroup), and while the shadows have some unpleasant noise speckles slightly better lit areas in the image display fantastic sharp detail. Go to the pBase image, view full size, and check the signs, labels, old newspaper ads. Even in very dark areas things like the stripes on a shirt are very well rendered.

http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/103605363

I would compare the A900 shooting at 3200, then reducing to 11 megapixels, with the A100 used at ISO 800 or the A700 used at 1600.

David

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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby Dr. Harout » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:30 pm

Keep them coming. Great. :D
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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:17 am

Here is another 3200 ISO shot, from Papa Joe's, of one of the music automatons:

Image

Again, the acid test here is whether at a 12 megapixel output size, the A900 seriously matches the A700 or the D700, D300, D3 etc. This illumination represents low theatre/stage/stadium level lighting accurately. I think the '12 megapixel' final detail with some basic ACR processing (NR and sharpening) has detail which the D3 would not produce.

http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/103608990

view at 'Original' size. NB: for these low light shots, though I did not shoot JPEGS, high ISO NR was set to LOW and not to OFF.

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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:26 am

Next set: these are ISO 400 grab shots - very quickly taken, no time at all to spare, showing a Cologne S-Bahn light railway train in Sony Alpha livery. I accidentally got the wrong train going to the halls on Tuesday morning, but my luck was in - when I changed trains, the one needed to correct my mistake was a Sony train. I never saw it again. These pix are not perfect but I'm convinced of the usability of the 17-35mm D and the focusing/exposure reactions of the camera.

Image
http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/103608880
Image
http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/103608887
Image
http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/103608893
Image
http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/103608897

At ISO 400, reduced to 12 megapixels, the sharpness and noise are just about perfect. On the second shot I forgot to use the CA controls in ACR 4.6, so you can see a hint of purple fringe on the top window edge. This is the 'native state' of the lens as used.

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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:48 am

And now for two Sony Alpha posters - then I'm off to bed, been a long day, nearly 5 GB of press info copied over, too much to absorb although I only concentrated on DSLRs because that was the only paid commission I have to complete. I did an hour's recorded (audio) interview with Christian Poulsen, owner of Hasselblad - great privilege, but a really great guy, not your typical stuffed shirt in any way.

Image

http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/103609781

Image

http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/103609838

These are on the 28-75mm and NO CA or defringe has been applied - this lens does not need it. Note the white lettering on black and the trees with backlit sky in the second shot. Do I need a 24-70mm Zeiss? Maybe not!

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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:36 am

Sonolta wrote:Now you are somehow trying to say the a900 is better than the D3 in lowlight? Better slow down a bit...you are really starting to sound like a Sony fanboy. 6400 is great on the D3 and please do take a look at ISO 12,800...the Alpha ain't even in the same ballpark!


Who said anything about 6400 or 12,800? 'Take a look?' I was one of the first photographers to use the D3 and publish large images taken at 25,600 - I just have not published any report on the web, at all, because I was commissioned by the British Journal and I do not 'undercut' people who hire me. I did let a few images out however. I know exactly how the D3 and the D700 perform, especially at 3200 which I used most of all settings with the D3. Now on the basis of a few shots I can't tell too much about the A900, but hold your 'fanboy' fire and don't be so keen to trash the party before the birthday girl has arrived!

Here is the Nikon D3, section of a 12 megapixel image shot at f5.6 and 1/125th using the 24-70mm at 24mm. Now it's not stunningly detailed even if the noise is very even, and the noise is not zero either. Processing conditions using ACR were 0 sharpening, 50 chroma, 0 luminance. The focus point in the shot is the copper cauldron. Checking many other shots, this degree of detail softening is typical of the Nikon at 3200:

Image

Now look at a section of one of the shots I just posted, this time processed identically to the Nikon (the full image actually uses some luminance NR and sharpening 25 because it can take it, this omits the luminance NR and sharpening):

Image

I do not know, by the way, how the Canon 5D MkII performs and therefore make no comment. But I'm pretty sure the Alpha 900 will do everything the Nikon D3 can do at ISO 3200, an important ISO value which is the highest setting on the Nikon cameras retaining normal colour saturation.

David

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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby Dr. Harout » Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:59 am

Ha ha, that is really something. Thanks for this comparison. I'm really glad. That makes us 2 Sony 'fanboys' :lol: :lol:
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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby Greg Beetham » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:49 am

Yes me too Doc,
even I'm starting to be a fanboy of this camera, Sony has built something special there, I think.
Greg

ps I'd really like to see some more shots with the 28-75 D, I'm bored with the 17-35 now..................just kidding. :)

pps David it's a wonder you didn't run accross Olaf over there somewhere....

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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby Dr. Harout » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:12 pm

Greg Beetham wrote:David it's a wonder you didn't run accross Olaf over there somewhere....


So Olaf is there too. That's wonderful news. :D
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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby KevinBarrett » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:00 pm

Great shots, DK. You're making a good case to start saving for the a900 and my wife doesn't like it...seems she wants a new car or something...oh well.
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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:06 pm

Don, not one of these images is in comparison with anything taken using the Alpha 900, in similar conditions or othewise. It doesn't help at all to fill up a thread like this with countless links to Nikon images which everyone has seen, so I will take this thread no further. Photokina shots will now appear in a blog post, and not in the forum where only a tiny fraction of people see them, and you then make multiple replies which do absolutely nothing to help people understand rthe A900 better. I have work to do and this is just wasting my time.

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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby alphaomega » Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:25 pm

David
The A900 looks like being a real winner. What about A900 IDC? I am frustrated by the fact that even v3 just released does not feature CR removal. What software did you find in the A900 box and have you tried it out? Is it simply IDC v.3 or an uprated product with additional features including CR removal? At present I use PS/ACR for my R1, A700 and A350 RAW images principally because of the CA produced particularly by the CZ 16-80 lenses. If the Sony does not match that supplied by Canon and Nikon, the reviewers will have a filed day regardless of the camera's performance.

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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby picman » Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:52 pm

David Kilpatrick wrote:Don, not one of these images is in comparison with anything taken using the Alpha 900, in similar conditions or othewise. It doesn't help at all to fill up a thread like this with countless links to Nikon images which everyone has seen, so I will take this thread no further. Photokina shots will now appear in a blog post, and not in the forum where only a tiny fraction of people see them, and you then make multiple replies which do absolutely nothing to help people understand rthe A900 better. I have work to do and this is just wasting my time.

David


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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby moire2 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:56 pm

Sonolta, why are you posting random images???

A comparison needs a reference, otherwise its useless.

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Re: Photokina with the A900

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:11 pm

alphaomega wrote:David
The A900 looks like being a real winner. What about A900 IDC? I am frustrated by the fact that even v3 just released does not feature CR removal. What software did you find in the A900 box and have you tried it out? Is it simply IDC v.3 or an uprated product with additional features including CR removal? At present I use PS/ACR for my R1, A700 and A350 RAW images principally because of the CA produced particularly by the CZ 16-80 lenses. If the Sony does not match that supplied by Canon and Nikon, the reviewers will have a filed day regardless of the camera's performance.



It is just the same as you can download, and no CA removal. I agree - the performance of lenses with very sharp R-G-B images rendered to different scales, producing CA, can be transformed by programmed CA removal. IDC should offer it.

David


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