Author Topic: A900 at 3200 ISO  (Read 21402 times)

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Offline rannari

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Re: A900 at 3200 ISO
« Reply #45 on: August 04, 2010, 04:46:09 PM »
Alpha-numerique has done some high ISO testing with

Lightroom - DxO - Bibble - C1Pro - Aperture - IDC - ACDSee - Silkypix - Lightzone - Raw Developer

http://www.alpha-numerique.fr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=536:comparatif-de-logiciels-a-hauts-iso-6-sony-alpha-900&catid=70:comparatifs&Itemid=321

My french is not very good (relatively null), but you can see and compare the results.

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Offline Gengis

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Re: A900 at 3200 ISO
« Reply #46 on: August 12, 2010, 07:07:17 AM »
ranslation courtesy of bablefish:


Lightroom 3 continues its full paperboard with made remarkable, with all the sensitivities. DxO Optics Pro, not far behind, is also very good and has l' favours to propose made automatic very good. Bibble s' in fate always well and the other software has all progressed compared to the versions available in 2009, especially in management of the chromatic noise. Silkypix is always also surprising, with a strong grit but right and well preserved colors, and a very good restitution of the details. All the software tested can be used for pullings not exceeding A4, best allowing d' to go jusqu' in A3 and even in A2 jusqu' in 1600 ISO. L' Alpha 900 thus still gained of utilisability with the high sensitivities, and its results on the level of the pixel (zoom 100%) are even a little better than those obtained with l' Alpha 700. With 2 times more pixels, it thus allows pullings twice larger with a slightly better quality. We finish by the sentence of ritual conclusion: Sonystes which shooté in RAW can be delighted by these results, and those which preferred the direct JPEG can leave their handkerchiefs… ; -)
A350, Beercan, Sigma 1770 , various kit lens, Lusting after a 100Macro and a 70400G.

Offline Desmo

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Re: A900 at 3200 ISO
« Reply #47 on: August 13, 2010, 06:38:12 AM »
Mind hosting the original RAW file and i will put it though DxO for you.

I can't understand why people spend so much on Photoshop Lightroom etc when DxO is so fantastically good at a fraction of the price.
Photoshop is bloatware for photographers really; most would struggle to use 10% of it's available features.

Offline fother

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Re: A900 at 3200 ISO
« Reply #48 on: August 21, 2010, 03:50:20 AM »
I can't understand why people spend so much on Photoshop Lightroom etc when DxO is so fantastically good at a fraction of the price.
Photoshop is bloatware for photographers really; most would struggle to use 10% of it's available features.

You're getting different products mixed up there Desmo. Lightroom and Photoshop CS5 are very different programs.

Lightroom is the same price as DXO (US$299 -  DxO, Lightroom), though Lightroom add-on presets are free and enourmously plentiful, while the equivalent DxO film pack is $99 (there are also commercial presets for LR, but the volume of free ones is stunning)

Personally I use virtually all of Lightroom's features.

Photoshop CS5, on the other hand, is the 'bloated' program with more features than any one person is likely to use. It's also the professional standard, and so there is significantly more information and how-to tutorial material available, which makes it popular amongst people who don't actually needs all the features.

Photoshop CS5 and its antecedents have also been around far far longer than the others, so many users who have been at he game for a while continue to use it as it's more natural and efficient to stick to what you know rather than learn a whole different interface... and of course a lot of people tried DxO when it was first released (prematurely), and it was nowhere near comparable. It's improved now, but most people only give an 'alternative' program one chance. Just like lots of Photoshop (CS5 / CS4) users aren't on Lightroom because the initial lightroom releases weren't all that mature. :)


Offline Desmo

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Re: A900 at 3200 ISO
« Reply #49 on: August 31, 2010, 10:43:04 AM »
I've been following this and a few other threads on the subject around the net and I fail to see the problem.

Firstly, you may call me anal but I only ever shoot RAW. To me, coming from a film background with a strong darkroom base, RAW makes sense and shooting jpeg is a bit like shooting Polaroid or cheap crappy colour neg film and expecting Velvia.

Having said that I shot RAW and in camera Jpeg together on my A900. I shot some images around home in twilight on a monopod with shutter speeds around 160 and apertures around f8 at 200mm on the zoom. The first thing I offer is "Whats the issue?" At standard settings even the in camera jpeg at 6400ASA is way better than TMax 3200 pushed a stop to 6400. The grain was visible but not unattractive and frankly, I like a bit of grain.

I then decided to get rid of a bit of grain in the most painless and fastest way possible. I have Neat Image on my computer so I let Neat Image do an auto profile of the grain and remove it without human interference. The result was pretty good and the grain was reduced to very low without losing much definition. Mind you, from my last century dinosaur perspective from filmsville, I kinda missed the grain.

Ok, I thought, "what about the RAW files". I opened DxO and again, to reduce time and make this all as auto as possible; let the program do it's thing. The resulting DxO jpegs were noticeably lower in grain than the in camera jpegs and of course had that nice highlight/shadow that the program gives. I didn't load any lens modules as I'd shot these using my Tokina ATX Pro 80-200 f2,8 and it isn't profiled. The result was somewhere between the Neat Image smoothness and the in camera jpegs. Actually, I liked these so much I didn't bother doing anything else.

I have a Canon iPF5000 printer at home so printed the samples at A2 on smooth high quality paper (not photo paper). When viewed from a normal distance the grain was not obnoxious in any of the pictures. It was visible for sure but the colour and sharpness were enough to carry the images. The DxO shot did look best of all but perhaps the other tweaks it does were also responsible.

About a decade or more ago, I blew up some 35mm images to about 1 metre high from Fuji 800ASA colour neg for a fashion photographers in store displays. The A2 shots from the A900 at 6400asa had a lot less grain than those prints and I know Peter was paid a handsome sum for his work and my prints. They were displayed on the walls all around the fashion chain and were generally viewed from around 10 metres or so.

The upshot is that I have no concern shooting 6400 with my A900. I rarely had to shoot that fast with film and I don't expect to do so often with digital either, However, I do have a cycle race to shoot in the forest in October (Spring here) and it will be a bit dark. If I have to: I have no worries shooting right up to that speed to get the shots I need.
I expect my lenses from 24-200 with constant f2.8 aperture won't need that speed unless it's raining as well but I will probably shoot 800ASA for at least some of the angles. I'll also be shooting rear curtain sync with slow shutter speeds to capture motion blur AND sharp stop action in the same frame.

My advice to those worried about 6400 on the A900: "Get over it" It's not the massive issue some pixel peepers are making it out to be and if it is a little intrusive, it can be greatly reduced in post processed RAW.

Offline Desmo

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Re: A900 at 3200 ISO
« Reply #50 on: August 31, 2010, 10:53:37 AM »
I can't understand why people spend so much on Photoshop Lightroom etc when DxO is so fantastically good at a fraction of the price.
Photoshop is bloatware for photographers really; most would struggle to use 10% of it's available features.

You're getting different products mixed up there Desmo. Lightroom and Photoshop CS5 are very different programs.

Lightroom is the same price as DXO (US$299 -  DxO, Lightroom), though Lightroom add-on presets are free and enourmously plentiful, while the equivalent DxO film pack is $99 (there are also commercial presets for LR, but the volume of free ones is stunning)

Personally I use virtually all of Lightroom's features.

Photoshop CS5, on the other hand, is the 'bloated' program with more features than any one person is likely to use. It's also the professional standard, and so there is significantly more information and how-to tutorial material available, which makes it popular amongst people who don't actually needs all the features.

Photoshop CS5 and its antecedents have also been around far far longer than the others, so many users who have been at he game for a while continue to use it as it's more natural and efficient to stick to what you know rather than learn a whole different interface... and of course a lot of people tried DxO when it was first released (prematurely), and it was nowhere near comparable. It's improved now, but most people only give an 'alternative' program one chance. Just like lots of Photoshop (CS5 / CS4) users aren't on Lightroom because the initial lightroom releases weren't all that mature. :)

I was generalising. Of course I know Lightroom and Photoshop are quite different. Yes, Photoshop is the bloatware and all most people probably need is covered in far cheaper products.
As for RAW processors; it's like a set of lenses. You choose the base program and follow the upgrade path rather than changing systems completely and paying big bucks again. I chose DxO because I really liked the specific lens/body profiling and also the massive amount of automation it affords. Yes, I have Film Pack 2 as well.
Generally though, I'm processing 300+ RAW images at a time and I'm supplying DVD's to clients. I will spend more time on a few shots if necessary but to be honest I think the photographers eye sells the shot far more than post processing does.

I've also had ACDSee since the stone age (1 megapixel cameras) and have always updated it. Again, the automation is the key. I use this as a library tool and for super quick changes to jpegs for the likes of this forum. The auto of, DC, and website creators are also excellent for compiling professional CD/DVD for clients.

Other image software on my laptop: Neat Image, Corel Draw 4 (for those photoshop things without all the cost and a bit less bloatware), Painter (I use this one a bit), Focus Magic.
I have Adobe CS2 but really can't be bothered installing it (student version from a few years back)

Modern Laptops are awesome with graphics software. My desktop benchmarks on Microsoft at 4.5 out of 7.5, my laptop is 5.9 and would be 6.5 if the hard drive was quicker: i7 quad core processor with 4GB ram. This is great as it's fast and I can start 300 images off and leave them to process in DxO.

 I don't really want to spend as much time in front of a computer screen as I used to on a print back in film days. Mind you, I will if the image really deserves it; I just don't think it's all that necessary if the light, composition and timning coupled with the pohotographers eye got it all right in the first place.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2010, 08:09:15 PM by Desmo »

Offline Stef.

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Re: A900 at 3200 ISO
« Reply #51 on: August 31, 2010, 08:14:31 PM »
Desmo- I don't really want to get into this discussion to far as it comes up all the time. Just a couple of quick thoughts:
1. it all depends what you are used to and which program you are comfortable with. I haven't seen necessarily any time gain with the one or other program. I use PS since pretty much its invention (and did a lot of beta testing for them) and for me to convert 100s of raw files is no issue whatsoever. I wouldn't say it's quicker or slower than other programs.
2. one important point though and that's what I tell all newcomers to post-processing: if you go with something such a Lightroom/Elements or the full version on PS you will use the industry leading programs. This means there is a wealth of free tutorials out there that will help you tons. There are also tons of free downloads such as plug ins/actions and much more and Adobe TV is one of the best internet tutorial resources that I ever came across in my life. So in other words it I have to pay money for a program to use than I personally prefer one such as Adobe's. GIMP is a different issue as it is free and I can see why some people really go through the steep learning curve of it as they save a lot of money. (Long time ago I worked with the Corel programs, spent a hell of a long time learning them only to "convert" to Adobe)
3. I think by now I have tested pretty much every raw converter and frankly most of them have their ups and downs. I am confident to say that with most of them you can achieve spectacular results IF you went through the learning curve and didn't stop with the basic settings. But than again...I believe it is worth much more to learn one program properly than dabbling in too many.
4. Noise is the old issue and old discussion...I do not think you can compare it to the film days (eventhough I have done this myself numerous times ;) ). We are living in times where ISO6400 is absolutely achievable and for many documentary photographers this high ISO is vital for their work as they would not be able to use flash or similar. In former days we had to do with what we had and yes nobody really complained but than there was no other alternative. I find it absolutely legitimate that some people really want a camera that performs fantastically well at high ISOs such as the Nikons. For me this is of no relevance whatsoever but than I do a different kind of photography.

5.
Quote
I think the photographers eye sells the shot far more than post processing does.
I do believe it is a combination of both. You can't afford to let your images down by either. A lot of professional photographers outsource the pp work as they prefer it done by professionals retouchers. In former days (just thinking about Ansel Adams who often spent weeks to print just one single image) I spent a huge time in the darkroom and still do these days in the lightroom.

Anyway, I guess we could discuss this for ages...
Stef.
P.S. Sorry for this long blurb...
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Offline Desmo

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Re: A900 at 3200 ISO
« Reply #52 on: September 01, 2010, 12:33:28 AM »
Actually I agree Stef

It all depends on your start point: if you already have Adobe or Corel or ACDSee or Bibble etc etc; the cost of changing is often prohibitive. Upgrades are not too expensive.
However, here in NZ, CS4 was about NZ$2500 last time I looked compared to Corel 4 at about $750-900 (both are now updated). For 90% of photographers, CS4 would be overkill and the money pretty much a waste as both have good support and training.

However, even The Gimp has plenty of training available online: that's one of the nice things about a piece of open source that's been around for so long: plenty of people have tutorials with lots of good advice.

Re RAW: The link a few messaegs up shows that the top 3 programs tested: LR, DxO and Bibble all did very well at reducing grain or noise while the others were actually a long way behind. If there was just a little difference then the cost factor might be an issue but there is night and day between the top three and say ACDSEE and Raw Developer etc. The same then applies once you've made your choice: stick with it unless it falls markedly behind in quality and pay for minor upgrades rather than for major purchases.

Again, for me, DxO works best. It's noise reduction looks a tiny fraction behind LR but it's auto lighting control and camera/lens distortion corrections lend it the lead for IMO. Price wise there's not a lot in it and I won't be buying Adobe any time soon to achieve a minor upgrade in one aspect and a major downgrade in others (Lens/camera correction).

With respect to this thread though; the grain/noise of the A900 is only an issue when shooting jpeg in camera as it is a jpeg processing thing not something inherent in the sensor etc.
As I noted before; I'll never shoot jpeg only as it's akin to using Kodak 35mm retail colour film and expecting Fuji Velvia 120 Pro results. I understand that some photographers feel they must shoot jpeg to get the processing speed or "motor drive" speed they need for sport etc. That's a different issue as they are generally shooting in better light than that which requires 6400ASA.

Yes, in comparison to other brands, Sony should front up with a firmware upgrade addressing this. In the end though, that's a matter of convenience rather than quality.

Offline Stef.

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Re: A900 at 3200 ISO
« Reply #53 on: September 01, 2010, 12:58:51 AM »
Desmo, now I agree with you. Just one little point: in my understanding, noise reduction will take place even with raw files if you do not turn it off in camera.
 
See here for more:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra700/page18.asp

I am aware it does concern the A700 but the noise reduciton feature as far as I know is the same with the A700 and A900.

I personally work on noise reduction in various steps anyhow. Slight reduction in the raw converter and then I work mainly either with Noise Ninja/ Neat Image or Dfine 2 in PS CS5. The reason for doing this is that I first use an action: find edges which gives me all the edges in the image that I don't want the noise reduction to work on. Therefore I just invert the edge selection, place it onto a new layer and then work with the noise reduction software on these remaining parts. Th newest raw converter from Adobe has FINALLY something similar to edge selection and it works much better. I was never a fan of using noise reduction globally on an image.

Lastly, I fully agree with CS being overkill for a lot of people and therefore I would not really recommend it , but I have to say that I am more than impressed with Elements and if you know your way around in Elements there is hardly anything you can't do that you can with CS.

Anyhow, I guess we all find the programms eventually that we are happy with and that do the job one way or the other.

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Offline Desmo

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Re: A900 at 3200 ISO
« Reply #54 on: November 20, 2010, 02:12:09 AM »
More thoughts on this subject:

Actually I reckon its an argument of careful versus lazy or at most a time management issue.

How fast is the CPU of your camera? How much memory does it have on board? What kind of processing power should you expect it to have and lastly; is it reasonable to expect that a camera will ever have the power of a PC or Mac desktop/notebook?

Why do I ask this? I ask you first to think about the time it takes to process a RAW in your favourite program of any reasonable quality. We might work on an image for 1-10 minutes tweaking it to be just right and then when we push the 'go' button, how fast does the RAW software actually convert that image to the subsequent Jpeg?

The answer of course varies considerably between images and programs but the real answer in the context of this thread is that it takes a bloody sight longer than the camera takes to create its own Jpeg in situ. The camera manufacturers are sacrificing quality for speed and a Jpeg is the polaroid of the digital world: fast but poor quality.

So what does that mean? It means we are unrealistic if we EVER expect in-camera Jpeg quality to equal or exceed the capabilities of reasonable or good RAW software on our desktops or laptops.

Which brings me back to the point made at the start: "I reckon its an argument of careful versus lazy or at most a time management issue."

How much do you care about the quality of your images?
In the end, if you REALLY care about it you will understand that there is no substitute for RAW and that in camera Jpeg is only useful if you have a time managemnet issue or are lazy.

A couple of events I shot recently required me to send photos to magazines and newspapers the same/next day. I shot a combo of RAW and Jpeg and send the quick and dirty jpegs off immediately. HOWEVER; I still processed those same shots from RAW for the master disc sent to all the sponsors and advertisers who didn't have a same day or next day deadline to meet and the fact is, they got the better shots.

No, I don't buy the storage issue. A 16GB card for my camera is now around $75, a 32GB is about $125 for MS Pro (I haven't found it necessary to buy the fastest cards around even when shooting mountainbike racing. Someone shooting motorsport may need to double those costs to get the speed they need). I can shoot over 600 compressed RAW images on 16GBt or over 400 uncompressed RAW images. My A900 takes 2 cards and I usually have 48GB on board so can shoot around 1200 images without opening a slot. In fact I have to have a battery base on the camera to allow that many shots!

So there ya have it: if you want to shoot the ultimate in ISO, shoot RAW and use your desktop or laptop to process them with your favourite RAW converter. My fav is DxO and the latest version allows about 2 stops underexposure for the same or better quality (noise) compared to any in camera jpeg. In fact DxO claim it enables ISO ratings to 100,000 and if you have a difficult image in other situations like a brides dress outside on a sunny day; the new single shot HDR is for you (shoot 1 stop underexposed and let the software bring out thew detail while also subduing the noise).