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Author Topic: LR2, the Sony a900 and RAW conversions  (Read 6718 times)
dwood
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« on: December 10, 2008, 07:41:35 PM »
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I'm 'this close' to pulling the trigger on a Sony a900 with a CZ 24-70. I'm also an LR2 user. I've been reading a fair number of reports recently (other forums) that imply that ACR/LR are not doing a particularly good job with RAW conversions on a900 images. I always take forum chatter like this with a grain of salt but this opinion seems fairly widespread, so I have to admit that I'm a bit concerned. I'd be quite interested to hear from folks here that are processing their a900 files in LR2.

-Doug
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2008, 08:02:01 PM »
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Quote from: dwood
I'm 'this close' to pulling the trigger on a Sony a900 with a CZ 24-70. I'm also an LR2 user. I've been reading a fair number of reports recently (other forums) that imply that ACR/LR are not doing a particularly good job with RAW conversions on a900 images. I always take forum chatter like this with a grain of salt but this opinion seems fairly widespread, so I have to admit that I'm a bit concerned. I'd be quite interested to hear from folks here that are processing their a900 files in LR2.

-Doug

Doug,

Frankly the LR conversions at high ISO with the Alpha cameras are embarrassing.  "Worm" artifacts all over the place, smeary, and poor resolution.

If you insist on using lightroom, I'd recommend a different camera.  The Canon's seem to do pretty good with LR/ACR.
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dwood
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2008, 08:32:16 PM »
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Quote from: MatthewCromer
Doug,

Frankly the LR conversions at high ISO with the Alpha cameras are embarrassing.  "Worm" artifacts all over the place, smeary, and poor resolution.

If you insist on using lightroom, I'd recommend a different camera.  The Canon's seem to do pretty good with LR/ACR.

Well, that's not giving me a warm fuzzy. I assume you have an a900 Matthew. Have you had good results with other converters? If so, what do you like?
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2008, 12:26:34 AM »
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Hi,

I'd suggest that it is well known that Sony Alpha 900 is not well suited for high ISO work. My impression is that ACR works well with Sony Alpha's including the A900 but there may be better converters for high ISO work. Sony Alpha 900 has also an on chip noise reduction which may cause problems, it can be disabled from normal menus on the camera.

Michael Reichman (the owner of this site) discusses noise in the A900 at some length in his review and he is using LR.

I do have an A-900 but I just had it for two days and not done any real shooting, but what I have shot this far looks pretty good to me.

Regarding converters you may have a look at "Capture One" from Phase One, Bibble Pro, SilkyPix if you are on Mac you should also try Irident Raw Developer. Bibble Pro has Noise Ninja built in, but has a somewhat unusual user interface.

Also please keep in mind that both Aperture and LR are workflow solutions. They handle most aspects of image maintenance. You essentially don't convert your pictures but just keep a recipe for doing that. Conversion is done on export or on the fly when needed.

Best regards
Erik

Best regards
Erik



Quote from: dwood
I'm 'this close' to pulling the trigger on a Sony a900 with a CZ 24-70. I'm also an LR2 user. I've been reading a fair number of reports recently (other forums) that imply that ACR/LR are not doing a particularly good job with RAW conversions on a900 images. I always take forum chatter like this with a grain of salt but this opinion seems fairly widespread, so I have to admit that I'm a bit concerned. I'd be quite interested to hear from folks here that are processing their a900 files in LR2.

-Doug
« Last Edit: December 11, 2008, 01:00:31 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

Farmer
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2008, 01:10:18 AM »
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I think Eric has offered good advice.  How often are you likely to want/need to shoot over ISO 400?  With fast glass and stabilisation built in?  Could you know have a standard workflow and for images that demand a different/better high ISO conversion deal with them accordingly?

Also, if you have specific examples of where LR/ACR is converting poorly compared to other software, I would suggest forwarding examples to Adobe or perhaps even posting here.  The odd person involved has been known to frequent around and might be able to help or provide feedback (but the best thing is to feedback directly to Adobe).

I'm an A700 user looking at an A900.  For my A700, I've not had any real issues with ACR and I'm loving the new 5.2, but I don't typically shoot over ISO400 anyway.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2008, 06:34:31 AM »
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Hi,

I'm using LR 2.1, and I have just moved from the A700 to A900. I have done som very limited shooting on the A900 and very little on high ISO. On the Alpha 700 I looked a lot into high ISO. I'd suggest that both systems are quite usable up to 1600 ISO, past that image qulity starts to detoriate. Much can be improved using a good noise reduction code like Noise Ninja. Because noise reduction should be done early in the project I'd would suggest cheking out Bibble Pro which employes Noise Ninja at the demosaicing stage.

My impression from DxO-mark is that the A900 lags the Canon 1DsIII 5DII duo by about one stop, so the canon pair would have the same noise levels at 3200 ISO as the Sony Alpha at 1600 ISO. DxO-marks got a lot of flak on this forum, but I think that those contributors who have analytic mind and good understanding of the math essentially supported DxO-mark methodology.

Erik

Quote from: Farmer
I think Eric has offered good advice.  How often are you likely to want/need to shoot over ISO 400?  With fast glass and stabilisation built in?  Could you know have a standard workflow and for images that demand a different/better high ISO conversion deal with them accordingly?

Also, if you have specific examples of where LR/ACR is converting poorly compared to other software, I would suggest forwarding examples to Adobe or perhaps even posting here.  The odd person involved has been known to frequent around and might be able to help or provide feedback (but the best thing is to feedback directly to Adobe).

I'm an A700 user looking at an A900.  For my A700, I've not had any real issues with ACR and I'm loving the new 5.2, but I don't typically shoot over ISO400 anyway.
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dwood
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2008, 09:21:40 AM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

I'm using LR 2.1, and I have just moved from the A700 to A900. I have done som very limited shooting on the A900 and very little on high ISO. On the Alpha 700 I looked a lot into high ISO. I'd suggest that both systems are quite usable up to 1600 ISO, past that image qulity starts to detoriate. Much can be improved using a good noise reduction code like Noise Ninja. Because noise reduction should be done early in the project I'd would suggest cheking out Bibble Pro which employes Noise Ninja at the demosaicing stage.

My impression from DxO-mark is that the A900 lags the Canon 1DsIII 5DII duo by about one stop, so the canon pair would have the same noise levels at 3200 ISO as the Sony Alpha at 1600 ISO. DxO-marks got a lot of flak on this forum, but I think that those contributors who have analytic mind and good understanding of the math essentially supported DxO-mark methodology.

Erik

Eric - thanks for your posts. I don't normally do much work at higher ISO values so perhaps I'd be in okay shape here.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2008, 12:19:00 AM »
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Hi,

I made some more formal tests yesterday. My test imgaes where somewhat underexposed, but I found that I could make a pretty acceptable A4 print at 3200 ISO. I have also found out that high ISO Noise Reduction is a must above 1600 ISO. Applying Noise Ninja cuts noise into about half without significant loss of detail. The test setup I have is quite extreme.

One bad thing I have noticed is that DR is reduced quickly when ISO is increasing, another is that the dark grey areas turn blotchy (have non uniform color on clusters of pixels). The observations I made are with LR 2.1 (same as ACR) and DPP. This is quite consistent with DxO mark. I would suggest that noise problem is not with ACR but with the camera and the electronics.

So my suggestions are:

- If high ISO is important look for something else (Nikon D700 is a good choice)
- For maximum detail the match stands for now between the A900 and EOS 5DII (in the 3000 USD league)
- Invest in good noise reduction software

I still did not have any opportunity to shoot some "real stuff", sorry.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: dwood
Eric - thanks for your posts. I don't normally do much work at higher ISO values so perhaps I'd be in okay shape here.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 06:50:12 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2008, 03:03:57 PM »
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200 ISO and 800 ISO test images added here:

http://www.pbase.com/ekr/a900_test


Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

I made some more formal tests yesterday. My test imgaes where somewhat underexposed, but I found that I could make a pretty acceptable A4 print at 3200 ISO. I have also found out that high ISO Noise Reduction is a must above 1600 ISO. Applying Noise Ninja cuts noise into about half without significant loss of detail. The test setup I have is quite extreme.

One bad thing I have noticed is that DR is reduced quickly when ISO is increasing, another is that the dark grey areas turn blotchy (have non uniform color on clusters of pixels). The observations I made are with LR 2.1 (same as ACR) and DPP. This is quite consistent with DxO mark. I would suggest that noise problem is not with ACR but with the camera and the electronics.

So my suggestions are:

- If high ISO is important look for something else (Nikon D700 is a good choice)
- For maximum detail the match stands for now between the A900 and EOS 5DII (in the 3000 USD league)
- Invest in good noise reduction software

I still did not have any opportunity to shoot some "real stuff", sorry.

Best regards
Erik
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Bill Caulfeild-Browne
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2008, 04:46:11 PM »
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Quote from: dwood
I'm 'this close' to pulling the trigger on a Sony a900 with a CZ 24-70. I'm also an LR2 user. I've been reading a fair number of reports recently (other forums) that imply that ACR/LR are not doing a particularly good job with RAW conversions on a900 images. I always take forum chatter like this with a grain of salt but this opinion seems fairly widespread, so I have to admit that I'm a bit concerned. I'd be quite interested to hear from folks here that are processing their a900 files in LR2.

-Doug


I have been using the A900 for all of two days now!

I'm normally an LR2 user as I love the workflow, but prefer Capture One for my Phase One files, so I decided to try C1 for the Sony too. It is like night and day - LR2 files at ISO 800 are simply unacceptable, but C1 produces eminently usable pix. Even ISO 1600 can be contemplated...

I strongly recommend Sony A900 users try C1.

Bill
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dwood
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2008, 07:02:08 PM »
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Quote from: billcb
I have been using the A900 for all of two days now!

I'm normally an LR2 user as I love the workflow, but prefer Capture One for my Phase One files, so I decided to try C1 for the Sony too. It is like night and day - LR2 files at ISO 800 are simply unacceptable, but C1 produces eminently usable pix. Even ISO 1600 can be contemplated...

I strongly recommend Sony A900 users try C1.

Bill

Thanks for this Bill. As I mentioned, I normally don't shoot higher ISO but there are times when it's needed, so this is not great news. I wonder if you'd mind describing the problems with ISO 800 and above images processed through LR2 that make this combo 'simply unacceptable'. And...if anyone from the LR team happens to read this, please feel free to jump in with any thoughts. The a900 is an interesting camera to me and I really enjoy using LR, so it would be a bummer to have to jump ship.
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Bill Caulfeild-Browne
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2008, 07:11:05 PM »
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Quote from: dwood
Thanks for this Bill. As I mentioned, I normally don't shoot higher ISO but there are times when it's needed, so this is not great news. I wonder if you'd mind describing the problems with ISO 800 and above images processed through LR2 that make this combo 'simply unacceptable'. And...if anyone from the LR team happens to read this, please feel free to jump in with any thoughts. The a900 is an interesting camera to me and I really enjoy using LR, so it would be a bummer to have to jump ship.



I'll post a couple of examples tomorrow.
Bill
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2008, 07:20:59 PM »
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I have played with a few A900 raw files.

The problem is ACR, and has been for a while now. The level of artefacts produced, is probably down to the base level NR processing going on, I get the same effect with other cameras, though it's more noticeable on some of the sony ones, and some other makers too.

I know some may not like that, and I don't want to spoil the party here, but until somebody takes not at adobe, you are not going to get decent quality higher ISO raw conversions. Broken record or not, it needs to be repeated.


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kuau
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2009, 01:59:00 PM »
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Well is this debate still going on? I just got an a900 last week for landscape work. I never shoot over 400 iso. Will LR2.3 do the job or do I need to be looking at Capture 1 Pro or something else. I really like LR and Ihave purchased all the trainging videos from Michael on his great site.
Thanks
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Gould Photography
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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2009, 01:34:55 PM »
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Quote from: dwood
I'm 'this close' to pulling the trigger on a Sony a900 with a CZ 24-70. I'm also an LR2 user. I've been reading a fair number of reports recently (other forums) that imply that ACR/LR are not doing a particularly good job with RAW conversions on a900 images. I always take forum chatter like this with a grain of salt but this opinion seems fairly widespread, so I have to admit that I'm a bit concerned. I'd be quite interested to hear from folks here that are processing their a900 files in LR2.

-Doug

Hi Doug,
I am now shooting with the a900 (upgrade from 7d) and using craw files. I looked at C1 and LR2 for processing. C1 in my opinion did a better job with iso 1600 images than LR2, but not by a huge margin, especially when it came to printing. In the end I chose LR2 for the ease of workflow and cataloging. After some initial configuration, I am able to process and upload a days shooting (drag racing) within roughly an hour. That would include exif tagging, minor color/sharpening/etc, sorting, export to jpg and upload to smugmug. I have a couple thousand shots processed in LR2 from the a900 now and the results just keep getting better the more I work with the camera and software.

Studio work within LR2 has also been a pleasure, the link to photoshop is very convenient for soft proofing (wish LR2 had that feature). The adjustment brush and amount of controls over raw files is wonderful. The output I have been getting on 16x20 prints has been excellent. Don't believe all the negative info floating around, try C1 it has a 30 day trial, you already have LR2 do a comparison. In the end you won't be disappointed with whichever you choose.

Steve
www.gouldphoto.com


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MBMPhotography
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« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2009, 03:24:48 AM »
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Quote from: kuau
Well is this debate still going on? I just got an a900 last week for landscape work. I never shoot over 400 iso. Will LR2.3 do the job or do I need to be looking at Capture 1 Pro or something else. I really like LR and Ihave purchased all the trainging videos from Michael on his great site.
Thanks

Hello,

Well if you do not regularly go higher than 800 you will bbe happy with this couple. I use it myself and have no problems. For landscapes the A900 is totally amazing IMHO  
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