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Past Article Calendar

March 2010

High ISO Noise fix for Image Data Converter

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: //

Direct download links (unofficial): Mac – //

Windows – //

These are English language. The main site will presumably be updated in the course of time.

13 comments to High ISO Noise fix for Image Data Converter

  • bmco2

    To admin: The link you gave is for Mac, do you have one for winxp, thankyou

    • admin

      Just change .dmg to .exe – both links are listed clearly in the article, and have been from the time they became known about.

  • admin

    Sorry, they do not. Here is a copy of one of the links:
    You will find that it says ‘IDS32’ in the middle of that string and I can assure you the older installer is differently named as an EXE or DMG installer image. It is called IDS30_Installer0809a.dmg for Mac for example.


  • robbo

    The direct links download verson 3.0 – there is no mention of 3.2.

  • robbo

    Can’t see any updates, nor can I find an announcement on any Sony websites. Can it be that this is a hoax?

    • admin

      No. We have included the official link (not active) and also two direct links to the software. Many people (hundreds) have already installed it. It’s not a hoax.

  • VDGI

    that’s really nice of Sony FINALLY to get their finger out and do at least something about high ISO noise..

  • LEdgars

    Overall I’m already very satisfied with my A900. For Raw processing DxO and now LR3beta2 are delivering pretty nice results. There is another strange problem – inconvenience of A900. Sometimes I could get extremely good results at ISO3200, but sometimes even at lower ISOs (ISO800-1600) noise is terrible and no one of converters could manage it. I remember one of reviewers of Luminous Landscape noted the same problem. I hope for firmware that will solve this problem.

  • Ivan Watkins

    Hey David,

    You don’t know how you’ve peaked my interest towards the thought of obtaining firmware that does good at High ISO’s. I use my A-700 for weddings and other low light events. I’ve been able to photos by slightly over exposing my high ISO images (800 & up). I then adjust exposure and run all images through noise ninja and end up with a really nice low noise product for my clients. It will be a breath of fresh air to be able to get out of the camera low noise images the way user of some of the Canon and Nikon camera’s experience today.

    Will new firmware be released for the A-700 even though it is discontinued?


    • admin

      Any firmware based on this converter upgrade would affect in-camera JPEGs, not the raw files. They say the IDC program will not apply to the 100, but will be for all later models. So any possible firmware changes could affect all those models – or may never happen. I think their priority would be the A900/850, and the A550/450.


  • Sol

    I’ll have wait for that hopeful ‘firmware’ version of this ISO improvement. And with the many high ISO images that I shoot, this would be a welcome upgrade.
    Sorry, but simply put, the IDC software is so cumbersomely slow, that I’d have to switch brands before I’d commit to trying to work IDC into my daily professional workflow. I find it pretty useless.
    A firmware update, combined with the new Lightroom Beta 3 efforts id a much more useable workflow solution for me.
    Thanks for the heads-up, David.


  • admin

    Yes, I have fired off an impatient email to their European Press Office telling them to get this software on line FAST as the news is now going to be widely spread. Another typical Sony outcome – I should have known better… can’t find it on Sony USA either. If anyone can track down a live download link, I’ll add it.

  • sondermann

    There certainly isn’t new software available at the moment (The file I downloaded was IDC version 3.0).