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Author Topic: A900 Update  (Read 32790 times)
Nick Rains
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« on: September 18, 2008, 10:55:28 PM »
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Just thought you'd like to know that now the ACR4.6 beta is public I can process A900 files alongside 1Ds3 files.

Based on a very quick look today I'd say that the Sony files still falls slightly behind the Canon on sharpness and smoothness of tone. You have to look closely but the Canon is simply 'crisper' whilst the Sony has this odd granularity in smooth areas, not really noise, just a subtle lumpiness in areas where the Canon shows flat tone.

I'll look at some other files in a while, maybe when I get some time over the w/e.

The attached file is a screenshot with both images processed the same in ACR4.6. It may well be that the Sony file (on the right) can be 'massaged' to match the Canon.
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Nick Rains
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Ray
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2008, 11:03:45 PM »
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Nick,
The differences are subtle but noticeable. But what ISO were these shots?

My main gripe about the A900 is its performance at ISO 1600 and 3200. If the 1Ds3 can better it, then the 5D MkII might even better better it.  
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2008, 11:17:35 PM »
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Based on a very quick look today I'd say that the Sony files still falls slightly behind the Canon on sharpness and smoothness of tone. You have to look closely but the Canon is simply 'crisper' whilst the Sony has this odd granularity in smooth areas, not really noise, just a subtle lumpiness in areas where the Canon shows flat tone.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222555\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

No doubt, the Canon file is indeed cleaner and seems to resolve a little bit more by looking at the rendering of the boat's mast cables on the left of the image.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
DarkPenguin
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2008, 11:25:26 PM »
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Could you fix the CA on the Sony one?
« Last Edit: September 18, 2008, 11:25:46 PM by DarkPenguin » Logged
John MacLean
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2008, 01:22:29 AM »
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The attached file is a screenshot with both images processed the same in ACR4.6. It may well be that the Sony file (on the right) can be 'massaged' to match the Canon.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The Sony has direct light so the contrast is higher, but the detail on the Canon is SO much better. This just proves that just because the MP count is larger doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get better IQ.

A friend that sent me this thread also sent me this interesting article:

[a href=\"http://uk.news.yahoo.com/techdigest/20080917/ttc-exclusive-canon-engineers-held-back-e870a33.html]Canon engineers held back by marketing department's "megapixel race"[/url]
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2008, 05:32:05 AM »
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I have looked at some other files and the Sony can look just as sharp and finely detailed as the Canon. In fact in one shot using the 135F2 and 135/1.8 the Sony was better. I also noticed that I shot the Sony at 200ISO and the Canon at 100ISO The Sony has a base ISO of 200 (I think) so this seemed reasonable.

Noise is definitely higher at base ISOs but merely adding 5 to the NR in ACR4.6 pretty much cancels this out.

There is still a slightly less smooth tone to the Sony, but the detail is certainly there. Only bench tests can really distinguish these camera as far as resolution is concerned so to all intents and purposes they are as good as each other IMHO.

Detail - draw
Noise - Canon by a head but at 1 stop less ISO.
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Nick Rains
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Ray
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2008, 05:51:16 AM »
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Nick,
It sounds as though we're into pixel-peeping territory here. One would expect two modern sensors of the same size and type (CMOS) and similar pixel count to produce very similar image quality at base ISO.

Did you not take any shots at ISO 800, 1600 and above? It's at these ISOs one might expect to see the greatest differences.
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Yanchik
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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2008, 07:35:08 AM »
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Quote: A friend that sent me this thread also sent me this interesting article:...

NEWSFLASH: Engineer found who agrees wholeheartedly with his organisation's marketing department !

We are delighted to bring you a startling world exclusive interview with an Engineer who claims to be impressed by his company's marketing department.

"Not only do they work ever so hard," he was quoted as saying, "with long hours, often tiring themselves with late nights of corporate entertainment, they manage despite that to keep a coolly quantitative and analytical view of exactly how customers are segmented into different groups and are able to map feature desirability to these groups. I'm extremely respectful of those insights. Of course, I'm also delighted that without that vital step in the sales and development cycle, my colleagues and I wouldn't have jobs to do at all."

We were able to confirm our contact's Engineering credentials by the soup stains on his tie, his disarmingly friendly manner and his frequent inspections of his shoes.

- - + - -

Oh, beg pardon. I seem to have ambled off into the realms of fantasy for a moment....

Y
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madmanchan
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2008, 08:25:04 AM »
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One would expect two modern sensors of the same size and type (CMOS) and similar pixel count to produce very similar image quality at base ISO.

Why?
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Ray
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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2008, 08:41:09 AM »
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Why?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222635\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Market competition plus the fact that this always seems to be the case, judging by the comparisons at dpreview. Differences at base ISO seem to be overshadowed by factors such as processing technique, raw converter type and compatibility and, in relation to jpeg output, in-camera default settings.

At least, this seems to be the case to me. High ISO performance seems to me to be the frontier where differences are most marked.
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aaykay
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2008, 11:06:12 AM »
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I have looked at some other files and the Sony can look just as sharp and finely detailed as the Canon. In fact in one shot using the 135F2 and 135/1.8 the Sony was better. I also noticed that I shot the Sony at 200ISO and the Canon at 100ISO The Sony has a base ISO of 200 (I think) so this seemed reasonable.

Noise is definitely higher at base ISOs but merely adding 5 to the NR in ACR4.6 pretty much cancels this out.

There is still a slightly less smooth tone to the Sony, but the detail is certainly there. Only bench tests can really distinguish these camera as far as resolution is concerned so to all intents and purposes they are as good as each other IMHO.

Iliah Borg, in this dpreview thread, confirms that the *real* base ISO of the A900 is around ISO 130.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=29320995
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=29321180
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Tony Beach
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2008, 11:23:51 AM »
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Thanks for all the hard work Nick.  It appears that the ultimate quality of output from these cameras will come down to the user, RAW conversion, and the lenses.
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ejmartin
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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2008, 11:52:28 AM »
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Iliah Borg, in this dpreview thread, confirms that the *real* base ISO of the A900 is around ISO 130.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=29320995
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=29321180
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222683\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

He's talking about RAW headroom.  To a good approximation, all DSLR's leave about a stop more highlight headroom than the ISO standard for metered middle gray relative to saturation, very likely to compensate for the abrupt response cutoff at saturation of digital sensors instead of the smooth rolloff that film has.  In such a case it makes sense to leave some more headroom for properly rendered highlights, at the expense of a bit more noise in shadows.  The A900 is not special in this regard, so if you like, according to this standard, ALL DSLR's overstate their ISO by around one stop.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2008, 11:54:03 AM by ejmartin » Logged

emil
Dan Wells
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2008, 03:41:12 PM »
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Hi Nick-
       Thanks for your A900 preview and these test shots... When you looked at other shots, was there still the odd clumpiness in the A900 files? I'm looking at moving over from the 1Ds mkII, mainly for the ergonomics (so much lighter, much better control placement), Zeiss glass (the Canon 24-105 is an OK to good lens, the Zeiss 24-70 a great one) and in-body IS (IS on lenses where Canon's version dosen't have it) ... The extra 8 million pixels are nice, but they're a third or fourth reason to consider the Alpha, not the decision driver. However, that clumpiness could be a deal breaker compared to my very smooth Canon...

                                      -Dan
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aaykay
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2008, 04:25:14 PM »
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Hi Nick-
       Thanks for your A900 preview and these test shots... When you looked at other shots, was there still the odd clumpiness in the A900 files? I'm looking at moving over from the 1Ds mkII, mainly for the ergonomics (so much lighter, much better control placement), Zeiss glass (the Canon 24-105 is an OK to good lens, the Zeiss 24-70 a great one) and in-body IS (IS on lenses where Canon's version dosen't have it) ... The extra 8 million pixels are nice, but they're a third or fourth reason to consider the Alpha, not the decision driver. However, that clumpiness could be a deal breaker compared to my very smooth Canon...

                                      -Dan
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Dan, the following contains a few samples.  Please be warned that these are all a bit premature in judging what the camera is capable of, since none of the support for the images are anywhere close to being "mature" and fully supported products yet:

[a href=\"http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/sony_a900preview_samples/]http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/sony_a900preview_samples/[/url]
http://www.alphamountworld.com/image-sampl...e-image-gallery (contains some fairly high-res images)

There are some other places where they show higher resolution mindblowing images, but those have some members-only restrictions.
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aaykay
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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2008, 04:57:29 PM »
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Also, if you can get a copy of the French magazine "Chasseur d'Images" (October Issue), it has a detailed review of the A900 (they are not typically Sony fans), along with the 5DII and so on.  

And they gave the A900, 6 stars out of 5, for landscape use !  All other categories were scored as 5 stars.

Their additional verdict: At ISO 1600, the A900 has less noise than the Nikon D3. At ISO 6400, the D3 wins.  Of course they did imatest/DXO tests etc., and printed the results at A2 size, while considering their scoring.

Bottomline, anyone intending to use the A900, better be prepared to invest in the latest crop of ultra-high-end lenses, to get the benefit of what it is capable of.   Anything less, and prepare to be disappointed, since the sensor resolution is pretty merciless on even average lenses, especially when one moves to the FF borders.
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Ray
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« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2008, 06:51:08 PM »
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Bottomline, anyone intending to use the A900, better be prepared to invest in the latest crop of ultra-high-end lenses, to get the benefit of what it is capable of.   Anything less, and prepare to be disappointed, since the sensor resolution is pretty merciless on even average lenses, especially when one moves to the FF borders.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222755\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It makes me wonder just how much better the latest crop of ultra-high-end lenses are compared with lenses of yesteryear that scored 4 and above out of 5 on the Photodo MTF tests; lenses such as the standard Minolta 50/1.4, the Sigma 24/2.8 (one of the better lenses from Sigma) and the Tamron SP 90/2.8 which is also one of the better lenses in the Tamron range.

My Minolta 35-105 zoom would be the walk-around lens and is probably no better than the Canon 28-135 within the range common to both lenses.  My Sigma 400/5.6 prime, although probably at least as sharp as the Canon 100-400 (and slightly sharper at F5.6 according to Photodo tests) does suffer from obvious vignetting at full aperture and even at F8.

I had my eye on the A900 because I already have a few Minolta-fit lenses. However, should I feel the need to buy additional lenses, the switch becomes an expensive exercise which is difficult to justify.

On the other hand, there are two areas in my Canon lens range which I feel need upgrading, the extreme wide end and the extreme telephoto end. My Sigma 15-30 does not really have adequate edge and corner resolution, and an upgrade to the Canon 100-400 would be much appreciated.

If I'm going to end up buying replacements for these two lenses anyway, they might as well be Sony/Zeiss or some other Minolta-fit alternative, if such lenses exist.

Of course, I won't be pre-ordering any camera till I've seen full reviews and comparisons between all options. There are indications that the 5D2 has less noise than the D3 at ISO 6400 when same physical size images are compared.
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dchew
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« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2008, 07:27:17 PM »
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It makes me wonder just how much better the latest crop of ultra-high-end lenses are...

I find myself very exited about the next few years because I think we will continue to see several new and improved lenses due to the image quality the current DSLR's are capable of.  

Dave Chew
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Ray
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« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2008, 07:59:27 PM »
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I find myself very exited about the next few years because I think we will continue to see several new and improved lenses due to the image quality the current DSLR's are capable of.

Dave Chew
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222778\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Me too! But I hate buying gear that becomes under-used and sits on my shelf. The 15-30 and 100-400 range are much used by me. The 24-105 completes the range and is also much used..

My immediate concern in considering the purchase of an A900 would be the availability of a better quality 15-30 and 100-400, or similar equivalents. Is there anything of the quality of a Nikkor 14-28/2.8, for example, with a Minolta fit?

I should add, the sample images from the new Zeiss 16-35/2.8 I've seen so far seem a bit disappointing at the edges and corners. Whilst this lens would probably be an upgrade to my Sigma 15-30, it's not clear at this stage if it would be better than the Canon 16-35 MkII on a 5D MkII.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2008, 08:34:34 PM by Ray » Logged
DarkPenguin
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« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2008, 08:31:00 PM »
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Me too! But I hate buying gear that becomes under-used and sits on my shelf. The 15-30 and 100-400 range are much used by me. The 24-105 completes the range and is also much used..

My immediate concern in considering the purchase of an A900 would be the availability of a better quality 15-30 and 100-400, or similar equivalents. Is there anything of the quality of a Nikkor 14-28/2.8, for example, with a Minolta fit?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222785\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

So far as I know the only lens in the ballpark of the 14-28 is the oly 7-14.  Unfortunately it doesn't fit on a 20+mp FF body.
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