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Color banding with the A7. Is it better with A7II or A7RII ?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by izTheViz, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    537
    May 10, 2013
    Paris
    Yannis Marigo
    Hey,

    Recently noticed, maybe more than ever before, some banding in the sky when shooting at dusk (especially). I know the why and how of those artefacts but wonder if the A7 is much prone than other cameras ? Referring to a comment Andreas Grund left to my latest photo on 500px, he says this is a problem he fights against with his A7 mk I. I must admit I sometimes need to cheat and add structures to the sky to get rid of them.

    I now just wonder wether if the A7II and A7RII give better result.
    Question for any A7II / A7RII owner or even better, those who have upgraded from the A7,
    any obvious improvement ?

    Thanks

    Yannis
     
  2. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    I'm interested too. I have experienced it with some LE blue hour photos. Oddly, I'm not sure what conditions trigger the effect since it doesn't happen all the time. In fact, it's rather rare.
     
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  3. adwb

    adwb TalkEmount Regular

    127
    Sep 30, 2015
    Bristol UK
    Alistair
    I would be intrested to see some examples of this banding as I'm unsure that I have ever had the problem
     
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  4. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I've never seen such an issue on my A7--or my A7rII, so I can't help you...
     
  5. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    537
    May 10, 2013
    Paris
    Yannis Marigo
  6. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    I get it all the time with my A7... It really shows up on long exposure photos and when sunset approaches, when the sky is not a uniform color but layers of several colors
    That and sensor flare are my main cons with my new to me A7 :(
    I was out shooting some long exposures with my friend @Alex_Apo@Alex_Apo today and we were discussing exactly that
     
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  7. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    537
    May 10, 2013
    Paris
    Yannis Marigo
    Agree. Both are main cons to the A7 but the banding starts getting on my nerves. That's what I wanna be sure the 7II or RII are clean.
     
  8. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
  9. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    537
    May 10, 2013
    Paris
    Yannis Marigo
    Nope, you'll find it in the medium to dark blue sky, upper and upper left of the first photo.
     
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  10. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    OK, I can see irregularities there although I find them difficult to see, it's kind of blotchy and that could also be caused by the JPEG rendering and possible processing by Flickr. Do you see the same when looking at the raws in Lightroom/Photoshop in a 16-bits color space?
     
  11. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    537
    May 10, 2013
    Paris
    Yannis Marigo
    yes...unfortunately
     
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  12. southy

    southy TalkEmount Veteran

    370
    Feb 5, 2014
    Australia
    I just went and looked at some of my A7 images of similar type and don't see anything like you are getting.

    Is there a chance the original images were slightly underexposed and pushed in PP?

    Also there are some settings on the A7 that lower the bit rate even further than the already compressed RAW. Is it possible you ended up in one of these settings. I believe continuous shooting and bracket exposure and some other modes can cause lower bit rate.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
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  13. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
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  14. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Now, THAT I didn't know!!! I only recently started using LENR on my A7 after seeing these problems with my files...
     
  15. Alex_Apo

    Alex_Apo TalkEmount Regular

    194
    Jul 18, 2015
    Cyprus
    It will be very informative to see a comparison between a7 and a7x models.
     
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  16. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    Nick - LENR won't be the only issue in your case, because like me, you use bulb mode quite a bit. Bulb mode will also trigger 12 bit capture with A7x cameras. Here is an excerpt from the Sony help guide for the A7RII

    "RAW images recorded with this camera have a resolution of 14 bits per pixel. However, resolution is limited to 12 bits in the following shooting modes:
    • [Long Exposure NR]
    • [BULB]
    • Continuous shooting (including continuous shooting in [Superior Auto] mode.)
    • [Silent Shooting]"
     
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  17. izTheViz

    izTheViz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    537
    May 10, 2013
    Paris
    Yannis Marigo
    Sorry for late response but quite busy at work.
    Well,
    -I never use LENR
    -Almost only shows in the sky when shooting during blue hour
    -This happens in BULB but also in Aperture Priority Mode
    -It is true that the darkest the photo the more banding shows, hence when darkening a too bright sky in post banding get worst (or just appears)
    -I went through some of Southy's bluehourish shots taken with the A7 and indeed, almost no banding
    -I noticed this recently even though I've been shooting blue hour with this camera before
    -Could it be the FE 16-35 ? Sounds crazy I know but my oldest bluehourish photos (with no banding) were taken with some FDs and those from Southy I've inspected were taken with legacy lenses too. Hmmmm, hope it's not the case...but I need to make a test ASAP.
     
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  18. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    A bit late to the party, but I did some quick test shots with my A7 and evaluated the files in RawDigger. LENR (Long Exposure Noise Reduction) on or off doesn't make a difference, both files show a bit depth of 13 bits. Using Bulb or LENR decreases the bit depth to 12 bits, as opposed to 13 bits for a file without use of LENR or Bulb.

    Exposure using Bulb on the A7. Notice that there are only sample values for multiples of 4, best visible in the blue channel, and with the maximum value being approx. 16000 for these files, that means a bit depth of 12 bits. Click on the pictures to get a larger view.
    i-8ZTNLbv.

    The same for a file with LENR, not using Bulb. Also here values are present for multiples of 4, again giving a bit depth of 12 bits.
    i-fwGkSRH.

    Normal, meaning no LENR, no Bulb. Here you see values with multiples of 2, giving a bit depth of 13 bits.
    i-pkZzpHV.

    So for the A7 you get an increased risk of banding by using Bulb and/or LENR, but the bit depth is only decreased by 1 bit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
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  19. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    @addieleman@addieleman thanks for that!!!

    I'm gonna give turning LENR off a try to see if it'll make a difference with banding!
    I don't know if losing 1 bit depth makes such a difference with the files...

    Though I must say that I'm a bit disappointed that using Bulb mode may cause banding cause I frequently have to reside to shutter speeds over 30sec for this lowlight long exposure photos :(

    Definitely want to hear an opinion from an A7 user who had banding issues and got an A7II afterwards, to see if the A7II has improved on that
     
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  20. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    I'm not sure why it would make a difference if this banding is caused by the reduced bit depth. All the A7 cameras new and old decrease to 12bits for bulb and LENR. I'm not sure why. This may also be a result of the lossy compression Sony uses combined with the reduced bit depth. If the lossy compression plays a role, then at least Sony has released firmware to allow uncompressed raw on the II A7's.
     
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