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Tony and Chelsea review the A7rII

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by tomO2013, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014


    Some interesting takeaways..
    - At ISO100 A7RII shows similar levels of detail and dynamic range to the D810. This is more or less in line with Jim Kasson's takeaway when looking at engineering dynamic range. At base ISO it's competitive with the D810.


    - From an adapted perspective, most lenses work great up to about 300mm.
    - Above 300mm for big primes 500mm and 600mm didn't work properly but Tony speculated that it was likely just a firmware update needed.
    -Focus speed is good but not quite as fast as native.
    - Steadyshot makes the A7rii the best hand held low light shooter.
    - For video, the super 35 4k mode looks to be about a stop behind the A7s in low light.

    A personal opinion... I saw another poster on another forum speculate that the 11+7 raw format may be hurting the theoretical dynamic range and noise for shadow areas. I'm going to post to Jim Kasson and see whether a full fat raw file could yield better shadow noise and dynamic ranges results.

    *EDIT* to remove erroneous quote from the video. Thanks Rob.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
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  2. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Nov 21, 2014
    * They did mention higher isos. They said at 'higher isos the A7r2 is basically indistinguishable from the D810 in terms of noise'. This differs from Kasson's results in that he measures the A7r2 as one stop better than the D810 at isos above 1600.

    * The D810 has better dynamic range than the A7r2 because it has a lower base iso of 64 compared to the A7r2 base iso of 100. At iso 100 the the cameras are equivalent based both on Kasson's measured test and also Tony's observation

    * When DXO measures DR it is likely to score the A7r2 sensor at 14.5 or 14.6. This is different to Kasson's measurements because DXO uses a sensor measurement downrezzed to 8mp. The D810 will still score higher at 14.8 because DXO measures off the camera's innate base iso. Using the same inherent sensor, the sensor with the lowest base iso is bound to score better under DXO measurements.

    * In terms of Sony's compressed 11+7 raw I have read that it impacts image quality (compared to uncompressed) if you push a file more than 4 stops in post. This sort of sounds right to me but I have no idea whether it is true.
     
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  3. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    I stand corrected, thanks. Original post updated to remove incorrect comment about high ISO :)

    That being said at 25600 he did say that the high iso differences were not noticeable but that the D810 could be made to look similar with a little processing. Personally I thought that on their examples it showed at least a stop difference at 25600 and his opinion on the D810 was ambitious particularly given that we are looking at different magnifications - scaled down to D810 res, the A7rii may look cleaner yet...

    Jim Kasson's results with 11+7 are very interesting.

    My gut tells me that a lossless raw file could yield some additional recovery information in the shadows as the shadows are where the biggest hit is with the 11+7 compression model. For real world shooting is it a big deal to me? No. The differences between the A7rII and D810 between ISO100 and ISO64 are academic for even tripod shooting. Even given the EVF it's more likely that you can nail a single exposure shot easier with the A7rII. After that if you need more resolution, dynamic range etc.. there is always stacking and HDR.

    That being said it's an interesting (for me anyway technical possibility)... check out Jim's article on the Sony raw and differing shutter modes... http://blog.kasson.com/?p=8586 . Also his blog posting on the A7 raw format http://blog.kasson.com/?p=4823 which implies that in real world it shouldn't damage raw files. However theoretically the algorithm Sony is using is throwing away valuable information from the shadows that could in theory be used to construct slightly cleaner shadows..... It may explain why Nikon managed to get slightly better files with the same sensor in the D800E vis a vis the original A7r.

    When you spoke with the Sony reps.... did they mention anything to you about providing lossless as an option?




     
  4. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Nov 21, 2014
    I am not a particularly technical person so I struggle with some of the situations these guys deal with.

    I do understand the concept he is making with 5Dsr. Namely that with the camera if you have more resolution (which the 5dsr obviously has) you can trade it with higher noise (which the 5Dsr obviously has). Just add noise reduction and you will have less noise and less resolution.

    I 100% promise you that Nikon gets lower noise on their sensor by allowing more light on their sensor (in other words having a lower base iso). It is as simple as that. If you look at the Sony A7r2 sensor it is exactly equal to the Nikon one at iso 100. However it beats the Sony sensor because it has an iso of 64 while the Sony does not.

    The Sony data compression (as in lossy raw) is all about throwing away 'information' which isnt likely to be useful under normal circumstances. That is a trade off in terms of 'data transmission' and 'absolute amounts of data'.

    When I spoke to the Sony technical guy on Friday, I mentioned that the Nikon sensor scored higher at DXOmark because it had a lower iso - and I felt this wasnt good for their marketing of the sensor. He said he had never heard of DXOmak. Do go figure!!
     
  5. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    Totally agree Robbie. And I understood the point you are making about the D810 gathering more light at base ISO64.

    I'm not actually debating any of the findings from where they stand today :)... Totally agree, Nikons base ISO allows more light so slightly lower noise and slightly higher dynamic range when set to native ISO 64. At 100 they're even, above 640 the Sony jumps ahead yada yada yada.

    Really what I am asking/coming at is if a rumored full fat non lossy RAW format from Sony could yield an improvement to shadow noise and SnR such that the A7rII would benefit. If so how much - could it be to the point where (at least from the marketing perspective) it would allow Sony to claim the widest dynamic range, lowest noise at ISO100? I'm not entirely convinced that it has no impact at base ISO to the A7Rii's performance.

    I've been reading the Digi LLoyd article on Sony's lossy raw. Also reading some past posts where comparisons were made between the A7r and the D800E and similar questions were asked... the general conclusion looks to be that full fat raw files provide a very small but tangible increase to dynamic range and noise levels versus their diet versions - at least on the D800 side which has allowed the D800E generation to claim a small theoretically (only lab measurable) advantage over the A7r. The D810 introduced a lower base ISO and with that an extended dynamic range, it's a very small improvement and again may only really be measurable on lines on a graph, but still it's there.

    I'm also thinking that despite the additional advantage of more light at base ISO for the D810, it is still nevertheless based on a modified variant of the original 36mp D800E sensor, that is itself a few years old. Given the time that has elapsed and that Sony have literally thrown the kitchen sink and the who's who of latest/greatest technology at the A7rII - copper wiring, BSI, etc... it's not unreasonable to expect that the new 42mp sensor likely has a greater theoretical potential than what Sony has extrapolated from it today.

    I guess the only way to truly know will be when Pentax and Nikon start using it with their lossless and we see what is theoretically possible.

    By the way, I'm genuinely shocked that the Sony rep had not heard of DXO!! Had he heard of talkemount! :p

    Also, did you bring up the lossy/lossless raw thing ?
     
  6. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I'm not sure why it should. The compression is designed to only affect the highlights. The shadows should be still getting the full benefit of what otherwise would be 14 bits of data.
     
  7. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Nov 21, 2014
    Of course we will only know if we were missing something with 'compressed raw' if we actually had 'uncompressed raw'. But the Nikon D810 offers both and I have never come across anyone who vows by using 'uncompressed'. What you should realize is 'whatever' camera you have, there will be a feature that people whinge about. I am sure that Sony will give us uncompressed raw someday but at that point other people will simply complain that if you use 'continuous shooting' it is only 12 bit rather than 14 bit.

    As to my meeting with Sony, it wasnt very productive. You know when you talk with someone you can tell the difference between them saying 'I dont know' when they genuinely dont know and 'I dont know' when they do know but refuse to tell you. I could tell that they didnt know when the A7000 would be launched even though I suspect it is less than a month away. So the Sony guys I met fell into the 'I dont know' and genuinely dont know camp. They did tell me a couple of things I didnt know beforehand (I can see that from my notes) like 'the A7r2 overheats after 22 minutes with 4k video when the ambient temperature is 40 degrees' but I worked out later that all they did was repeat what is in the user manual. To be honest their technical head of South East Asia was pretty shocked (as in he made copious notes) when I told him that Sony's flash line up was neither competitive or satisfactory
     
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  8. shaolin95

    shaolin95 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    942
    Jul 3, 2013
    Personally, regarding the video, I dont care for anything they have to say about Sony cameras as they always find lots of issues with Sony cameras then somehow overlook many issues on others, sorry but I have seen their channel for a long time until I got tired of the same crap just like with that Froknows guy.
     
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  9. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Nov 21, 2014
    You know I like Tony's videos in general but when he touches on stuff I actually own they can be rather irritating especially if he doesn't happen to agree with my assessment of the tech.

    Of course he is a wildlife shooter so is obsessed with continuous focus and long lenses apparently totally oblivious to the fact that I don't actually shoot wildlife.

    But it really is a bit irritating in this video that he selectively choose his comparison. The D810 for stills, the GH4 for good light 4k video, the 7s for low light video, the Canon for focusing of
    Canon lenses.

    He would obviously get totally different results if he compared the Ikon D810 for video, the GH4 for stills, the A7s for detail and the Canon's ability to focus Sony lenses.
     
  10. storyteller

    storyteller TalkEmount Veteran

    322
    Sep 25, 2011
    I applaud Tony's production values but I stopped watching his videos because he's often long winded, his observations are usually flawed (not just about Sony), and he passes his opinion off as fact. I appreciate that if you want a popular YouTube channel you have to simplify information in order to make it accessible but he often does this in misleading ways—it sounds like he's doing this with the high ISO comparison. The actual resolution of the 5DSR isn't higher enough to make a real world difference over the A7RII (like it does with the 5Dmk3) and there is more to high ISO shooting than just the amount of noise.

    I haven't watched his A7RII video but I'd take it with a hefty grain of salt. It sounds like he's comparing the camera with the best cameras is each type of shooting scenario. The fact that the camera is as good or close to the D810, 5DSR, GH4, and A7S is amazing. It is good to have negative (or better, balanced) reviews of a new, hot camera but be very careful taking Tony as an authoritative source. I want to like his work but I've found it too flawed in the past to trust him now.
     
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  11. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    Is the point of this review to show that 1 A7RII cannot replace 4 different cameras? I don't get it.
     
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  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    Very nicely produced video! I was a bit surprised by the woman swearing at the end. Must be some sort of inside joke?
     
  13. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    Sort of? Lately they have been including bits at the end of Chelsea riffing, talking gibberish or just generally being mean. I like it.

    See this one:


    Or even better:
     
  14. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    To be fair they did say they loved it, and they were comparing it to the very best cameras on the market in their specific categories. Pretty amazing a camera can be put up against both the best still and best video cameras.

    And isn't it better to know the weaknesses?
     
  15. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    I don't have a problem knowing weaknesses, but when 1 camera is tested against the best in respective categories, it is difficult to determine what is a weakness. It is essentially staking the deck. I think a typical comparison between the A7RII vs other cameras in a variety of categories is better. That approach shows the weaknesses and strength of each camera and allows the user to determine based on their needs. This approach tells me the A7RII is not as good as Canon with Canon lenses, not as good as the D810 with stills, not preferred to GH4 for video at low ISO, not as good as the A7S in low light, etc. As Robbie pointed out, In this sort of flip flop, you could simply flip categories and cameras and have the A7RII win the categories.
     
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  16. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    ^^^ Good points, Gary. I think the mini-review would have read better with a different introduction. Something that stated that the A7Rii is a high-resolution, BSI full-frame camera, with internal 4k video, and improved autofocus capabilities...and that they then pitted this new camera against the "best in class" from a number of different categories: GH4-internal 4k recording, A7s-low-light performance, 5DSr-resolution, D810-dynamic range.

    I found it not clear what lenses they used for AF tracking, nor what lens they did the guitar test with.
    Regarding longer lenses: How would AF have been using the FE70-200 or the SAL70400G2 lens instead of the Canon glass?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  17. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    Absolutely. I realise that I may not be wording properly what I am trying to get across. Please understand my reference to compressed / uncompressed raw is not from the perspective of whinging about the camera... there are lots of people complaining about this 'issue' when in the real world it probably only affects a very very specific niche of photography. It's good to be aware of as a quirk but for my style of shooting that's the extent of it.
    What I am asking comes 100% from the perspective of analysing the relationship between the RAW type, dynamic range in the compressed/uncompressed RAW and the potential for increases to dynamic range, noise improvements to the shadows if/when Sony implement their rumored lossless raw. Reading Jim Kasson's article on changing the shutter modes and the affect it has on the shadows...
    http://blog.kasson.com/?p=8586 . Even a 1bit difference in the linear pre-tone curve results in impacts to the perceived shadow noise, nevermind engineering SnR. Given that the single shot af doesn't truly use 14bit data it's close to 13bit, is it also reasonable to extrapolate from his findings that if it did use full 14bit non 11+7 data, then there would be a potential benefit - at least on a graph for SnR and perceived noise in the shadows. Yes I know graphs are not photo's yada yada yada. But I'm just posing it as an open ended question for anybody else who might be like minded or inquisitive about the theoretical potential of the sensor rather than the actual 'as is' today performance.

    I'm so glad that you brought up their native flash. This is a great service to the community. Sony's flash system is ..er... crap! I picked up the 500 dollar top of the line flash only to find out that it over heats after (I mean literally) a few minutes of us. I would also like to see them offer a pro service similar to what is available with Canon and Nikon. In the states I believe outside of the states their support has been pitifully bad. It's been made worse by the closure of many Sony stores around the Canada and Europe.
     
  18. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    Couldn't disagree more, if they flipped you'd learn nothing. Who wants to know if the A7RII is better than the D810 at video? Or GH4 at stills?

    What they showed is, the still image quality is as good as the best in the world, video is in many ways the best, plus it's half the size of the DSLR competition.

    I think some people wouldn't be happy unless reviewers were outright bias towards the Sony. Sony fans (and I count myself as one) have developed a bit of a reputation for complaining about bias in even the most glowingly favourable reviews. Sony isn't the underdog any more...
     
  19. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    Tony and Chelsea have the second part of the review up now.


    I thought that part 2 was good and answered some of my questions I had in Part 1.
     
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  20. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    Very interesting second part.

    His takeaways about resolution were very telling - this is where I feel that the Sony A7rii has a major leg up on the competitions, not just in the MP bump over the d810, but in the fact that IBIS allows you to better maximise your cameras theoretical max image quality potential.

    It's the new usability tweaks that make this camera super exciting for me. Also nice to hear that finally we have a mirrorless camera that is competitive with the best AF systems in pro DSLR's in good light. Apparantly in not so good light there is still some work to do.
    Granted I've seen somebody make a very valid point that testing with an F4 lens is not truly indicative because on Sony bodies focus occurs with the lens wide open. Using a faster glass (of which there are many) and allowing the IR focus assist lamp would massively mitigate this likely.

    As for overheating. I'm sure some people will complain - they always do. But this was not designed first and foremost as an FS7 replacement. It's a pro grade mirrorless camera that also happens to take great photos.