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Thread: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Morning everyone . I thought I would do a series of noise tests on the new firmware installed since this is my high ISO event / PR type cam for me to use. Be nice to know where I sit on this and see how it does. Now I am processing all of mine in C1 and the First image posted here is balanced under tungsten and camera set for that. The next two images are set for daylight with tungsten as the mix. Both very typical situations we run into as wedding shooters and as PR shooters. Why tungsten you ask . Very simply I test for the worst situation you can hit and tungsten is the worst when it comes to high ISO and noise. ISO 1600 in daylight with nice light is very nice , but really who cares that is not when you need high ISO but under this crap light we have to deal with sometimes.

    Now My 850 tends to be underexposed here slightly so give the noise just a little extra credit since I am slightly pushing the mid tones which I did in these three scenes . The good news folks is i posted all the raws so YOU can play with your processing and see for yourself. I test for you folks and give you the chance to learn it for yourself on your machines and you raw processing programs. Now in this test all i did was WB each scene and than added a very slight base sharpening to all of them C1 folks I used soft sharpen 1. Very important here C1 does change the noise parameters for each ISO and you will see that when you bring it in your program. Trust me it is not the best defaults either and i have comes up with a really nice style you can create for ISO 800 and 1600 which I will give out later and it really tames the beast very nicely. For now you can find the raws here on my .me account Sony 850 Noise test. I went 200,400,800,1600 and 3200.

    One note I think Sony did work on noise but left that data out on the firmware notes. At least it looks better to me and with the style it is damn good at 1600.

    Raws are here http://idisk.mac.com/guymancuso-Public?view=web


    All are ISO 200 posted for now
    This is strictly tungsten setting


    This is daylight setting daylight coming from left and tungsten fill



    This is daylight setting daylight coming from right and tungsten fill

    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Okay at the defaults for noise and such.

    here we go











    NOTE: ISO 400 is a touch soft , maybe me as I was not using a remote cable
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Okay went back and reprocessed ISO 800,1600 and 3200 to these adjustments in C1.









    Now i am not set in stone on my adjustments but it should not deviate much from what I posted here.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    If anything I could go a little higher in color noise but this will also depend on scene as well but I am pretty happy with ISO 1600 and i will never get to 3200 and rarely will I hit 1600. My magic number is ISO 800 and that is more standard for me.
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    This is the 135mm lens wide open at ISO 1600 F1.8. I wanted to see how fast the AF was and it is deadly quick now. These are all handheld and I 'm pretty damn impressed. This is WHY you buy the Sony system is this lens. LOL

    Nothing great here but interesting









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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Question Guy, if this is to be your high iso camera but you don't need over iso 1600, why not just stick to sensor plus?
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    GREAT question. Honestly I could and it is better but I don't always want to take the Phase out as well. Something I have avoided was the 35mm cams with sensor plus but I also realized too that running around with 25k in my hand is not always a good thing and some jobs I don't want to take that risk. Also the Sony does give me a nice backup system to the Phase which i really did not have anything that good to cover Phase being repaired or whatever. Here is the other thing not everything requires the Phase and rather save that system for when it does and seriously I have less than 5k in this and if i drop it, lose it or it gets stolen. No big deal I won't cry but I will over the Phase. LOL

    But you are certainly correct i really do not need this over sensor plus quality wise . Sensor plus maybe 10 mpx on my P40+ but acts more like 15 mpx cams. 9 mpx won't mean much in difference with this type of work. Its small anyway

    Also 35mm is more versatile as we all know. This thing is quick handling and easy to shoot
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    But you are certainly correct i really do not need this over sensor plus quality wise . Sensor plus maybe 10 mpx on my P40+ but acts more like 15 mpx cams. 9 mpx won't mean much in difference with this type of work. Its small anyway

    Also 35mm is more versatile as we all know. This thing is quick handling and easy to shoot
    I'm interested - so are you saying that the 10mpx sensor plus on the P40+ is better than the 24mp from the A850? Sure, I can believe that looking at 100% crop it may be, but say if you want to print at 24x16?

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    It acts more like a 15 mpx but no it can't get to the full res for printing like the Sony. One nice thing is the Sony can be a fine backup for the 40mpx back and that was part of my buy decision. But this PR stuff only really needs around 12 mpx so I could on the Sony drop in to that 11mpx setting or just down rez when processing which is more likely what i will do. The Sony is a up for PR and a good backdown for the P40+. Nice balance
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Nice work Guy, from what I have read the high Iso performance from the A850 should be pretty much identical to the A900?


    What alpha glass have you got for this baby?

    maz

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Question Guy, if this is to be your high iso camera but you don't need over iso 1600, why not just stick to sensor plus?
    I'll answer that also Ben ...

    If you are in light requiring ISO 800, 1600+, a A/850-A900 or Nikon/Canon will "generally" focus faster using the center focus point ... especially on moving subjects. The MFDs have gotten a lot better with auto focusing, but in challenging light, the 35mm DSLRs still rule.

    -Marc

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I'm interested - so are you saying that the 10mpx sensor plus on the P40+ is better than the 24mp from the A850? Sure, I can believe that looking at 100% crop it may be, but say if you want to print at 24x16?
    Jono, all these backs are 16 bit color depth and no heavy sensor filtration ... and I may be wrong here, but I'd assume the Sensor Plus retains that 16 bit data, just pixel Bins. Plus the sensor is much larger on the MFD ... sort of like the older 16 and 22 meg backs with the fat pixels ... which still out perform any 35mm DSLR when it comes to IQ.

    -Marc

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Okay, I know this is a noise test ... but I want to echo what Guy mentioned regarding the AF improvement.

    Did a family shoot yesterday in some pretty dreary interior light. Even though there were veiled windows, it was very grey and dull outside, so the windows didn't help much.

    Subjects were a 6 month old with fleeting expressions like you wouldn't believe, and she was a hyper wiggle worm ... and ... a dog ... sometimes together !!!!

    I shot some stuff with the H4D/40 which is pretty quick AF ... but it got so kenitic that it was much wiser to use the A900 ... especially when the light even got lower and flatter in another room

    Both the 85/1.4 and 135/1.8 are now much faster AF with the new firmware, and still as accurate as before.

    IMO, this A900 now seems just as fast as my previous Canons and Nikons. Time will tell, but I've shot in circumstances like this a zillion times, and you just know when something is better than it was before.

    IMO, this is more important than a slightly better ISO performance ... which it also seems to have. I can deal with noise in post, but I can't do anything if I miss the shot. In fact, it may be pure luck, but I didn't miss a single shot yesterday.

    Here's a couple shots ... most of the time the baby had a dead-pan expression which would suddenly change, then change back to dead-pan ... while she was squirming around The dog is a Japanese Shiba Inu and was done with the H4D/40 and 100/2.2

    Thanks Sony!!!!!!!!

    Marc

  14. #14
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    This thread, too, gives me pause... (lol)

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Marc, I love those sony colors..... nothing like them in SLR world, so natural......

    Shelby, I remember those gorgeous Sony shots you used to to do........ sigh.......

    :-)
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by MoJo View Post
    Marc, I love those sony colors..... nothing like them in SLR world, so natural......

    Shelby, I remember those gorgeous Sony shots you used to to do........ sigh.......

    :-)
    +1 to both of those - and then there's the 135 f1.8

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    +1 to both of those - and then there's the 135 f1.8
    +2 also...... and then Jono there's that 16-35 Zeiss which is also a dream to use!

    Also agree with Marc, the new firmware has now produced very fast AF without spoiling in any way the accuracy for which the A900 is renowned....and that's testing it from focusing at 70mm FL then zooming to 400 and refocusing that big lens again. It is now near instantaneous. The 200-500 is exactly the same.
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    Nice work Guy, from what I have read the high Iso performance from the A850 should be pretty much identical to the A900?


    What alpha glass have you got for this baby?

    maz
    I have the 24-70 and 135 Zeiss but looking for the Minolta 200mm 2.8

    I may get a 20mm at some point also
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Jono, all these backs are 16 bit color depth and no heavy sensor filtration ... and I may be wrong here, but I'd assume the Sensor Plus retains that 16 bit data, just pixel Bins. Plus the sensor is much larger on the MFD ... sort of like the older 16 and 22 meg backs with the fat pixels ... which still out perform any 35mm DSLR when it comes to IQ.

    -Marc
    Exactly Marc we are starting with big sensor just binning it down in pixels. Same look just smaller file
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  20. #20
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Thanks guys... oh how I miss those sony colors, ergos, and the sharpness/bokeh of that 135/1.8

    I'd love to have the ZA 24/2, siggy 50/1.4, za 85/1.4, za 135/1.8 and the old minolta HS 200/2.8G as a kit. Fantastic stuff.

    I've not given up on Sony just yet. I don't shoot weddings for a canon-based studio anymore... so I'm now toying with the idea of offloading my canon stuff and picking up a minimal sony setup for my 35mm "kit of choice". Anyone interested in a 5Dmkii, a few lenses and some flashes

    (seriously?)

    Guy and Marc... thanks for the samples. This new firmware truly looks to have done some great things for an already great camera.

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Thought I would process these 1600 files . They are underexposed so give them a little credit since they are at least a half stop darker in exposure than they should be



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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Guy,

    I think you should try L3 on this camera for high speed conversions. The improvement from L2 to L3 was substantial, and it has shown significant benefit on the M9 and also on the a900 that I have.

    Funny thing though, when I'm shooting for B&W at high speed, I like the grain that the a900 produces, so sometimes I'll use the older rendering engine to keep the noise in the image. For color, I can't see myself not using the L3 rendering engine.

    If high speed color is the primary purpose of the camera, download L3 and do a few comparisons with the C1 images you have. Or, if you want, post them somewhere and I'll download them and crunch them through L3 for you. The improvement is not subtle.

    ---Michael
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Thanks Michael look above in one of the posts i have a link to all the raws. LR is not on my system and it may never get there either. LOL

    I'm a C1 fanboy total admit it and I also shoot a Phase back so I'm in for the long haul. Please do some raw conversions would love to see them though. My theory is this be a expert at one of these programs than be so so at both.
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Also we need to be careful as well sure i could knock the noise down more but it could be at a cost to detail. LR by default shows better noise reduction but watch the detail as it may slip.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Folks should read this . Very interesting

    http://www.captureintegration.com/20...ction-in-c1-6/
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    FYI: A special "juice" in the match kicks in at exactly 60 on the color noise reduction slider.

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Guy,

    I know you are a C1 person, which is why I figured you may have not tried L3. I agree that ultimately, it is better to learn a product and then use it to best effect rather than tilting at the windmills of 'the best' at whatever particular aspect of raw conversion you wish to use.

    In my case, I've been using LR since before it was LR, (back in the days of Raw Shooter Pro), so I am comfortable with it.

    I'll try to download a few and run them through LR3 tonight and then post a few image snips if that's OK with you.

    ---Michael
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Guy,

    I noticed you mentioned that the MFDB acts 'more like a 15MP sensor', and I think this is an interesting perspective conceptually.

    I know what you are saying, but I think of it in the exact opposite manner... A sensor with an AA filter installed will have a reduced resolution capability that ultimately makes it behave like a lower resoluton sensor in some ways (the lpmm capabilitiy of the lens/sensor combination will be reduced, but the overall magnification capability of the file will not).

    Rather than stating that the MFDB is capable of performing to an equvalent 35mm sensor cability, I think of it as how a 35mm sensor acts more like a lower MP MFBD sensor, for example. I do this because I believe that a non-AA filtered sensor is the truest reflection of the performance of a propduct at that megapixel level.

    The M9 is a good example of this, as it out performs the a900/a850 in some ways considerably, and is 'only' 18MP versus the 24.5MP of the Sonys. In unfiltered MP performance, I feel the Sonys run around 13-15MP compared to the M9, although some of the actual performance may also be related to the lenses (in my case Leica R on the Sony and Leica M on the M9).

    I sure do like the way the Sony cameras perform, though. After 25+ years with Canon, I switched over last summer, with no regrets so far.


    ---Michael
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Hi Guy
    Is this your home? nice

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Michael
    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post

    The M9 is a good example of this, as it out performs the a900/a850 in some ways considerably, and is 'only' 18MP versus the 24.5MP of the Sonys. In unfiltered MP performance, I feel the Sonys run around 13-15MP compared to the M9, although some of the actual performance may also be related to the lenses (in my case Leica R on the Sony and Leica M on the M9).

    I sure do like the way the Sony cameras perform, though.
    This I can relate too. . . . . and just to add another poison, Aperture does a grand job with the A900 files, but like Guy, my poison is so incorporated into my DNA that the thought of changing it might be terminal
    Although - unlike Guy, I do have C1 6 and LR 3 installed on my system . . . I just don't use them!

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Michael please go ahead process some out and see what you come up with for sure. I do agree with you also on the Sensor plus issue and we are pretty much saying the same thing in a sense. I do think at some point this deserves a thread on exactly this also. Be interesting to actually test that out sometime and see how they actually match out. M9 is a good example for sure because of the Non AA filter but the MF is a much bigger sensor so that throws in a curve ball.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Ok, just finished...

    I didn't do any tonal adjustments at all. I left the color on the 'auto' setting, and made no other tweaks.

    There is a little sharpening in LR and then a little after I resized to 1200px which is what it appears you did.

    The noise reduction is basically the default in LR3, with the exception that I turned n the Luminance NR to different levels depending on the ISO (20 for 800, 30 for 1600, 50 for 3200), and also set the Luminance:Contrast setting to 10 and the Luminanceetail to 60 for 3200, 50 for 1600, and 50 for 800.
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Here's what I see in the C1 images; a pretty tight image at 800, with a little grain and very subtle but minor low frequency chroma noise. As the speed goes up, the grain increases, but more importantly in my mind, the chroma noise jumps up considerably. Not enough to be rejecting the images, but it is present, and is most apparent in the smooth surfaces of the images.

    The older rendering engine LR3 files show worse chroma and luminance noise than the C1 files in the higher speed images. At 800, it is pretty acceptable. I could tame the noise a bit more but LR3 tended to go pretty flat if you got carried away with the old rendering engine. If you look at the 3200 image, there is a certain 'crunchiness' to the image grain that I never really liked (for color work).

    The New Rendering Engine LR3 files appear to have slightly better luminance noise at 800, and the difference increases as the speed increases. The chroma noise is all but eliminated in the images, with a slight bit creeping in at the 3200 setting. There is a little bit lower resolution in the image (look at the text on the shaving cream). Gone is that crunchiness completely. I could smooth out the grain a little more, but at a subtle expense to the sharpness, so that is dependent on the kind of image you want and just how 'plastic' you want the image to look.

    I'm not sure that I have really made the most out of the sharpening in this quick stab. I don't know the new rendering engine too well yet, as i have been working in B&W a lot recently.

    I don't mind grain, but I really don't like chroma noise. Anyone remember Kodachrome 200 and how great that looked?... Anyway, I can work with TMAX 3200 grain for an image, but absolutely detest the low frequency chroma noise that a lot of digital cameras show at higher speed. Or at least used to, as they are all getting so good now that it's really hard to complain compared to the cameras of yesteryear, or the blotchy color grain of high speed print film.

    ---Michael
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Looks nice need to study this more but gotta run to a shoot which the Sony is primary cam. BTW i did buy a 200mm 2.8 HS Minolta this morning from a forum member. Looking forward to that lens
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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    The images are so far apart that it is impossible to compare...

    I grabbed the C1 3200 image and the LR3 New 3200 image and put them together for easier comparison.



    There are clearly tradeoffs for rendering, but if you are thinking high speed shooting, I think LR3 does a great job. Not that it should convince anyone to change from their preferred package, but in a pinch, it can be leveraged to do very 'good things'. Ugh, now I sound like Martha Stewart!


    ---Michael
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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    For B&W, I often prefer to use the older rendering engine in LR3 due to the grain it produces:



    This is shot at 6400 handheld at the Laurentian Library in Florence, one of the finest examples of Michelangelo's work, and an absolutely sublime place of you are into architecture.

    Look into the shadow areas to see some the substantial grain texture, which works just fine for me in B&W, a lot like T-3200 used to.


    ---M
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post
    There are clearly tradeoffs for rendering, but if you are thinking high speed shooting, I think LR3 does a great job. Not that it should convince anyone to change from their preferred package, but in a pinch, it can be leveraged to do very 'good things'. Ugh, now I sound like Martha Stewart!


    ---Michael
    HI Michael
    Thanks for that . . . . now please could you have a go in Aperture 3 as well

    Mind you, I completely understand why Guy isn't even going to load LR3 - once you have a workflow and a large library, changing over to another program is really a big deal (and if you spend the months necessary to do it, then when you've finished you'll find that your old program comes out with a better version!).

    I suspect that Aperture would come somewhere between the two, but I'm not sure I really want to know.

    . . . . the mono chair shot is lovely.

    It's chroma noise that kills a picture (IMHO of course) I don't usually mind luminance noise, and it usually looks okay on Sony shots anyway.

    thanks again.

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post
    The images are so far apart that it is impossible to compare...

    I grabbed the C1 3200 image and the LR3 New 3200 image and put them together for easier comparison.


    I'm not really that lazy - here is a go with Aperture 3



    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Michael
    Thanks for that . . . . now please could you have a go in Aperture 3 as well

    Mind you, I completely understand why Guy isn't even going to load LR3 - once you have a workflow and a large library, changing over to another program is really a big deal (and if you spend the months necessary to do it, then when you've finished you'll find that your old program comes out with a better version!).

    I suspect that Aperture would come somewhere between the two, but I'm not sure I really want to know.

    . . . . the mono chair shot is lovely.

    It's chroma noise that kills a picture (IMHO of course) I don't usually mind luminance noise, and it usually looks okay on Sony shots anyway.

    thanks again.

    all the best
    Jono,

    Thanks for the compliment on the images. I was pleased enough with it that it made it into a calendar for my friends this year.

    You are absolutely right; chroma noise is the real problem. Since we both agree, I guess that makes it true and unequivocal.

    I just loaded this on my uncalibrated computer at the office, and I barely see the chroma noise in the C1 image that I can see on my graphics system at home, so this is clearly an issue of subtlety rather than real image problems.

    I think this is one of the real attributes of the Sony pro cameras; they have a very neutral and natural color characteristic that does not develop chroma noise as readily as some of the other cameras. Pump up the saturation a bit, and it will probably creep up somewhat.

    Regardless of the software chosen, it's remarkable that a 3200 image holds together as well as it does these days. It's a credit to the technology that images like this can be made VERY useable even under somewhat non-ideal conditions.


    ---M
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post
    Jono,

    Thanks for the compliment on the images. I was pleased enough with it that it made it into a calendar for my friends this year.

    You are absolutely right; chroma noise is the real problem. Since we both agree, I guess that makes it true and unequivocal.
    Absolutely . . . . incidentally, I didn't do any noise reduction on the Aperture version (or anything much at all to be honest).

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post
    .

    Regardless of the software chosen, it's remarkable that a 3200 image holds together as well as it does these days. It's a credit to the technology that images like this can be made VERY useable even under somewhat non-ideal conditions.

    ---M
    I quite agree - I think also that when people compare high ISO quality between say the D3 and the A900, they will pixel peep at 100% . . . . . . and the D3 will always look better - the problem of course being that they are doing much more magnification with the Sony image.

    I was really surprised recently; I had to do two wedding books that I had shot, one with a D700 and one with an A900 - I was fully expecting the low light shots from the D700 to be much better, and of course, they seemed to be when zooming in and out in Aperture . . . . but when they were in the book, the Sony pictures were much nicer, the greater resolution more than making up for the noise characteristics.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Sony 850 NOISE TEST

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    This is the 135mm lens wide open at ISO 1600 F1.8. I wanted to see how fast the AF was and it is deadly quick now. These are all handheld and I 'm pretty damn impressed. This is WHY you buy the Sony system is this lens. LOL
    Thanks for the great comparison images....and I fully agree with the above, that the 135/1.8 is one of THE reasons to but a Sony Full-frame. It has never failed to deliver for me.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

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