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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:42 am 
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
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Quite simple really I don't buy products from manufacturers who have no customer support.
Both the K-x and K-r has serious flaws not addressed by Pentax during production (K-x SR causing mirror slap issues, K-r huge front focus in low kelvin light). The K-5 had notable AF issues too again not solved by Pentax

With Nikon AF problems from day one and iffy QC

Simply put my money goes elsewhere in such situations. Reading a nice score on DxO isn't enough, in practical field use both makers did not reach a level of satisfaction for me. Pentax also apply NR to raw files possibly to manipulate the scores.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:48 am 
Grand Caliph

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MarcoC wrote:
I have an a57 and an a700. I have read many, many threads about upsampling, downsampling, prior to comparison, until my head will explode. The bottom line is that I yearn for the control laypout of the a77 but I do shoot a lot of action photography and wildlife that sometimes requires ISO1600-3200 when using long lenses.

Has anyone moved up to a77 from a700 and can comment on high ISO ? I don't honestly think I will want to start messing about downsampling, etc, so straight out of camera, what is ISO 1600-3200 like versus the a700? I know I can use the DPR compare tool but I don't like looking at sterile lab test charts - I prefer real world examples where possible.

I have read rather varying reviews and thoughts - some say a77 is miles better IQ than a700 even at high ISO, some say a77 ISO 3200 is very useable, some say a77 needs to be used below ISO 800. It's hard to find any consensus. And I know David K got rid of his a77 because of being unhappy about the noise performance (I'm sure DK will correct me if I am wrong).

Some say they shoot the a77 at 12MP is using high ISO - does that produce better images than a700 ?

There's no way I can afford an a99 by the way, but I guess a D800 might be an option, but I don't honestly want to switch systems. High ISO on my a57 is nice, but I miss having dual control dials a lot, and I think my lenses would benefit from micro AF adjust as offered on the a77.

Undoubtedly yes, A77 shows obvious noise even at 320, a very safe level I used to use with my a850. I believe it is a safer to buy an A99 for this purpose, at 1.5x factor 8 fps and 10Mps.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:40 am 
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Reading through this thread suggests there is no 'perfect' camera, just some are better than others. I have had excellent customer support over the years from Nikon [even better than Canon] and doggie-doo support from Olympus.

Pentax are an odd ball, in the 60's and 70's they were the pro's choice and we amateurs had the spotmatics and ME's etc. It seems that Pentax are still clinging on to a niche market of loyal Pentax fans. Their latest K5 series are superb but the K30 is struggling to sell in large numbers unlike the previous entry level models.
Yes, Nikon now use Sony sensors, but I suspect the engine processor is getting more from the sensor than other brands. There are rumours that one of the Nikon 24mp sensors is not made by Sony. However, Nikon did say recently that they have access to several different sensor makers, but refused to be drawn.

When I worked in the trade Nikon and Canon sold more than nearly all other makes combined. The pros like them because of the vast lens range, build quality and product backup. Like it or lump it, Sony are a distant third in the pro market and I cannot see that improving in the near future, Pentax could well over take them, if they don't stop faffing about.

I have the cheapest Sony Alpha SLT on the market, the A37, it does all I want.
In my view the sensor to watch for in the future is Fuji and there is one other camera manufacturer that has an interest in it as well.

CSC'a are the growing sector in the British market and there are already some well known pro's using them. They are now the biggest sector of the far East markets including Japan.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:12 am 
Viceroy

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Quote:
CSC'a are the growing sector in the British market and there are already some well known pro's using them. They are now the biggest sector of the far East markets including Japan.
But classiccameras, is this not the segment where Sony leads CAN/NIK with their NEX range? (If I understand CSC correctly to mean Compact System Camera). With the growing E-mount range of lenses and "free" access provided for just about every SLR and DSLR lens in the market, Sony have a great advantage over CAN/NIK and can become the dominant force in this market. Just imagine the additional advantage of turning the RX1 into a system camera with interchangeable lenses and providing mount adaptors to allow third party lenses use. Go out and take A99/D600 quality shots & video with a smaller package half the weight. I would be surprised if this is not part of Sony's future camera strategy. Per SAR they have abandoned FF prototypes using 36 Mp sensor. I see them going full speed ahead on continued development of APS-C NEX and a FF NEX system based on the RX1 idea. Only way to really get into FF against CAN/NIK. My DSLR system around A550/580 is being used less and less. I now have a small bag containing one NEX-6 with 16-50 Pancake, one NEX-5N with 24mm Pancake & W/A converter and one 55-210 E-mount zoom. That's it and amazingly small and light for what it can do. 18 to 315mm range (36mm speak) & two cameras in one small pack. For everyday use I carry an RX100 on my belt. Barely noticable.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:33 am 
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viceroy
your quite right, the NEX system seems to be the CSC best performer, mainly due to the APS-C sensor rather than the 4thirds sensors of the other brands.
4thirds sensors though are catching up.
The Panasonics are also very popular and probably have the best lens range with Leica options if you have the money. Olympus as far as I can tell are not selling that well in comparison with the others. I think they dropped a big clanger with O-MD E-M5 as its far too expensive and esoteric for Mr modern average.

I'm a bit old school, when it comes to camera design and much prefer the shape of the Panny G3/5 to the NEX 5N Etc. NEX lenses in the past have not revceived glowing reports in the photographic press for optical performance, although I guess things are improving. There is no doubting that the current range of Sony NEX cameras are leaders in the field, but don't discount the other brands as non runners, they are far from that.
I think its only a matter of time before we see the full NEX technology incorperated into new Alpha A mount bodies.

I have to agree with your comments on weight and size though, my Nikon D5100 fitted with a Nikkor DX 16-85 weighs a ton and although the pictures are outstanding in quality, I have a knackered shoulder/neck after a day out with the camera. This is one reason I switched to the SMALLER and lighter A37.
With a huge world market base for Nikon and Canon, I cannot see them being to worried about CSC's at the moment, Having said that, i'm not too impressed so far with their attempts at a CSC.
Its good to hear others opinions.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:38 am 
Acolyte

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'In my view the sensor to watch for in the future is Fuji and there is one other camera manufacturer that has an interest in it as well.'

The Fuji sensor is the same 16Mp Sony sensor. They use there own, different pattern, CFA's on it. It seems to improve high iso, but when you want sharp results, it can, for what I have seen, give very strange fractal like patterns. Can be very ugly.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:05 pm 
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I like the Fuji images I have seen I think they have some great tonality and the latest ones are superb at high ISO.
I'm not sure NEX is going to meet the needs of DSLR users, even with a "Pannie" type body it would be a commercial disaster for Sony to leave A mount and focus on E mount. NEX Is probably doing ok I've seen a few around but it's hardly the choice of enthusiasts either

Bodies such as the A37 are IMO aimed at superzoom upgrade folks no disrespect but it's that kind of size/thing. Just way too small IMO having held one I would not have any interest in that type of small body.

Pentax have as ever some good ideas and the K-30 has a nice VF at a very low price point. I like the concept, think they can make some very good cameras (despite my own issues with them previously) but since Ricoh took over they have done very little to the range bar an "AF fixed K-5II" turning up + the K30, nice enough price and a nice cameras. Ricoh have also just like Hoya increased lens prices substantially to the point where I think most simply won't be bothered looking at them. It is a shame they have lots of potential but neither Hoya nor Ricoh have the legs to make Pentax run. The brand will probably stick around but niche player and never likely to go above that unless they can drop a FF bomb or increase the range and lenses.

I agree both Canon and Nikon bored the pants of most people with their ILC models, and I agree Panasonic are probably doing ok here too. The point is I can't really see these types of camera taking over from higher end DSLR's, and I'm not sold on the "must be small" argument either. Sure a big chunky pro level body is not my thing, but most DSLR or similar type bodies are not huge/massive. It's just unrealistic to expect the emphasis to shift from the 4 main mounts with a long history and tons of lenses out there, to small ILC bodies with different mounts. I really don't see an end to the Canon 700d/1200d/Nikon D3300/5300 type of bodies they are still big sellers.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:35 pm 
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I hope this site can keep a balanced view as not all of us are Pro's or own the high end cameras. Most i'm sure like myself are just keen amateurs with entry or mid range models with modest expenditure. I have no interest in blowing up pictures the size of a cinema screen or spending hours doing PP and I'm certainly not a pixel peeper.

I like the pictures my A37 camera takes and have no intention of buying top of the range models. Bridge cameras were mentioned, well I am tempted to go back to them because I will have no extra lenses or extra weight to lug around and some of the latest models are as good or better than some entry level DSLR's.
Fuji will be on my short list.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:43 pm 
Viceroy

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[quote][I really don't see an end to the Canon 700d/1200d/Nikon D3300/5300 type of bodies they are still big sellers./quote] I think that Barry Fitzgerald is probably right in that observation, but nobody knows for how long. I have just returned from Edinburgh and observed a multitude of small tourists from Asia mostly fielding those CAN/NIK DSLRs BF was referring to. All of them could have got better pictures with my RX100 or a NEX-6 with the 16-50mm pancake and it woud'nt have been "a camera with a person" so to speak. I think it is dangerous for CAN/NIK to assume that bulk sales will continue of entry level and enthusiast DSLR cameras. At some point they risk a large shift to Compact System Cameras or even bridge cameras. Commercial history is full of the demise of powerful companies because they did not either create or quickly follow new trends. Look at Apple and their creations and what happened to Ericsson and Nokia among others. Now Samsung on the other hand picked up the challenge and are now outselling the iphone with their Galaxy. So CAN/NIK run the risk of being too late into CSC products.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:40 am 
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Back to the original question concerning High ISO noise.
Most reviews seem to say that the A77 is noise free up to ISO 1600 and hardly noticable up to ISO 3200, but gets progressively more evident the higher up the ISO range. Don't all cameras do this to one degree or another.
From the various reviews I have read, most seem to say the A57 fairs slightly better.
With the number of photo sites being crammed onto an APS-C sensor, 24mp in this case, has required a lot more processing to keep noise levels down, in fact the new Nikon 24mp 3200 exhibits more noise than the previous 3100.
Nikon have actually said their older 12mp cameras are hard to beat for noise and higher ISO performance, I have to agree with that, as my old D90 from years ago gave stunning noise free Jpegs. I regret selling it, but I thought the grass was greener as they say and that is not always true, especially with my 12.3mp D90.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:03 pm 
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I do a lot of low light shooting and always have done. I did look at the A77 raw files but we're limited to studio shots for direct comparison which does not reflect a worst case scenario esp with mixed/low kelvin lighting.
I think ISO 6400 is pushing things on the A77 a strange colour cast seems to show up too and even though you can remove the colour noise fairly well in LR the cast remains some colours are falling apart in their rendering. ISO 3200 I would say with a bit of work will be "ok" on that model.
A57 I found the images better with a lot less colour noise and even at ISO 6400 are usable with some care in processing. This reflects my experience of using the 16mp CMOS on the D7000 I'd use it to ISO 6400 and not higher (not for serious printed assignments anyway)

D90 is still quite good though colours tend to fade above ISO 3200 loss of some saturation not huge but 3200 was my limit there. I tended to use the Pentax 12mp cameras to ISO 3200 sometimes I would push it a bit more. Pentax seem to be able to retain the colours better, but at the expense of some NR going on in raw and some softness as well as some random "bigger" colour splodges that cause problems removing in software (ie you get a speckled effect and it seems to confuse ACR with it's hot pixel removal) Km5d ISO 1600 was good but it took a notable hit above that (loss of colour again) and A200 ISO 1600 top for me

The A200 has serious issues with colour noise in lower kelvin light which could rage out of control and like the A77 you cannot always remove this without hurting the image/saturation/colours etc. Part of the problem was that the blue channel goes nuts in lower light and low kelvin light, adding more exposure helped this situation a lot. I believe in part some of Sony's perceived noise at high ISO was down to overly conservative metering.

I found in low light the Km5d had significantly more exposure than the A200 with the same lens/shot almost ideal exposure in even low light levels. All the Sony bodies I have used and shots I have seen at the default multi segment metering give considerably less exposure than the Km5d does and than the Nikon bodies I had. Pentax were actually even more prone to underexposure in low light in some cases 2 stops under!

Pushing the highlights to mid tones, and in some cases crushing the blacks means you will have a hard time in post processing. Even looking at the A99 Sony are still conservative in low light, A57 shows this too as does the A200 and other models I have tried. I would add at least 0.7-1 stop exposure for these cameras (in some cases more). The difference is quite significant for low light shooting where the expose to the right strategy really does help a lot. Despite having an older more basic metering system the old Km5d was actually very consistent for metering in low light even as good if not better than the D7000 I used. Not that Sony have bad metering but they need to add more exposure esp for lower light levels, this is pretty easy to do I'm surprised they have not followed Nikon's aggressive exposure for low light (in some cases a bit too much exposure from Nikon)

If you look at the A99 samples on DPR you can clearly see examples of insufficient exposure for low light shots (the bar shot for one) You can of course correct this yourself but they obviously didn't spot it. Look at the histograms and you will see things pushed down from highlights to mid tones (even the lego shot shows this)


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:04 am 
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bfitzgerald wrote:
If you look at the A99 samples on DPR you can clearly see examples of insufficient exposure for low light shots (the bar shot for one) You can of course correct this yourself but they obviously didn't spot it. Look at the histograms and you will see things pushed down from highlights to mid tones (even the lego shot shows this)


Right on - A99 delivers 2/3rds of a stop less exposure at higher ISOs, even after compensating for the mirror, compared to Nikon or Canon, to the sensor. It completely distorts the noise assessment but also doesn't improve the images.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:47 pm 
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David Kilpatrick wrote:
bfitzgerald wrote:
If you look at the A99 samples on DPR you can clearly see examples of insufficient exposure for low light shots (the bar shot for one) You can of course correct this yourself but they obviously didn't spot it. Look at the histograms and you will see things pushed down from highlights to mid tones (even the lego shot shows this)


Right on - A99 delivers 2/3rds of a stop less exposure at higher ISOs, even after compensating for the mirror, compared to Nikon or Canon, to the sensor. It completely distorts the noise assessment but also doesn't improve the images.

David


David- can you encapsulate in a nutshell what dissappointed you about the a77 to the extent that you got rid of yours or prefer to use other models? Was it mainly due to noise performance as I seem to remember or am I mis-representing you ? And what's your take on how the a77 high ISO is versus a700 ?


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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:53 pm 
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I have not got rid of my A77. I should, but I haven't. The higher resolution small sensor is useful. However the A99 wins in a big way in low light, even the NEX-5N is far better. I have all three so I don't really need to worry, but I am rather short of funds as a result. I'm just very unwilling to lose APS-C and the lenses which go with it.

I still use the A700 for my studio product pix. There's no comparison with the A77 because if you use the A77 at 3200, you can reduce the file size. There's not much ultimate difference but the A77 can do multi shot noise reduction for JPEGs etc.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Is a77 high ISO really as bad as is made out?
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:45 pm 
Grand Caliph
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David Kilpatrick wrote:
I have not got rid of my A77. I should, but I haven't. The higher resolution small sensor is useful. However the A99 wins in a big way in low light, even the NEX-5N is far better. I have all three so I don't really need to worry, but I am rather short of funds as a result. I'm just very unwilling to lose APS-C and the lenses which go with it.

I still use the A700 for my studio product pix. There's no comparison with the A77 because if you use the A77 at 3200, you can reduce the file size. There's not much ultimate difference but the A77 can do multi shot noise reduction for JPEGs etc.

David


I'd love to add an A99 to my collection simply as it is so similar to the A77 and just marginally bigger. The cost however is a huge barrier I simply cannot get round no matter how much redundant equipment I sell off. It's a pity as I have 2 G lenses to use on it and I'd love to have a true 70mm focal length on full frame again rather than the cropped view which often is just that bit too limiting.

I had hoped that selling off kit would allow me to maybe buy a pre-loved A900 but Christmas intervened so I'll have to re-evaluate in the New Year.

The noise on the A77 is not a great problem for me. I do get images which I can't use but they are often in very poor light anyway when I really should have put the camera away. Lightroom does a very good job of suppressing the noise.

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