24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)

Started May 31, 2012 | Discussions
philbot
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24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
May 31, 2012

Since that thread hit it's limit, and it's better to keep this stuff isolated so we can keep it out of subsequent threads..

The subject is discussing the different MP sensors, and how does more MP affect things..

We had two trains of thought, one that the 24MP sensor will inherently always produce a better image then the 16MP one (via RAW processing), and one that the 'rules' of sensors (perhaps phsyics is a bit misplaced) means that as ISO increases the 24MP sensor (everything else being equal) disproportionately loses more 'detail' and crosses over the 16MP sensor, eventually ending up worse off at high ISO. I stated that cross over point seems to be around ISO3200ish in the A65/A57 comparison

Tom2572 wrote:

philbot wrote:

theswede wrote:

philbot wrote:

there will be a tipping point at which it stops holding on to high contrast detail and apply smudging.

While this is true ...

This is largely because of the physics, the 24MP sensor is going to start off (at lower ISO) with more image detail, but it decreases as you move up the ISO scale, crossing over the 16MP at some point, and ending up a little bit worse at extreme ISO's.

... this is not true. There is no law of physics which mandates this.

At a given sensor area low light performance depends on the total light gathering capability and read noise of the photosites covering that area. There is no reason to conclude that a higher photosite density will necessarily affect the noise per area either up or down. It is perfectly possible to create a sensor with higher photosite count and equal light gathering capability per area (in fact it will probably be a slight bit better, as long as photosite quality can be maintained) and comparable read noise performance.

On 1:1 viewing the image from the higher photosite sensor may have more visible noise than the image from the lower photosite sensor, that is to be expected, but there is absolutely no necessity for this to be true when viewing them at the same size relative to the sensor size.
Jesper

I agree with your theory, which is pure theory, but I think it isn't what was being discussed..

The discussion was about a general statement that a 24MP sensor always produces a better image then a 16MP sensor, so immediately I am only considering like for like, i.e. comparable technology with the only difference being pixel size.

In which case, you have to consider all the non-linear side effects that each smaller site has with regards to noise (based on identical technologies, so read noise and shot noise constraints and parameters are identical).. as well as other non linearities due to structural / physical elements such as microlenses..

I think it's OK to state the laws of physics mandate this, but it has to be in context, which I hope I've just added.. if not, then I retract that, but the principle I am sure is correct.. You can't base a theory on having lower relative read noise on one vs the other, because you'd have to say why less dense sensor wouldn't use the same lower relative read noise design, and the same for shot noise/electronics noise etc..

I largely used > > http://www.clarkvision.com/...s/digital.sensor.performance.summary/index.html ?> > as my source of information many moons ago..

Seems to me it's you that needs to learn how to read. I absolutely did not make a general statement that a 24mp sensor always produced a better image than a 16mp sensor, The general statement that I made was that the a65 will always produce a better image if you are willing to process RAW files yourself than an a57, and I will continue to stand behind that one. And again, I'm standing behind that statement as an a57 owner who also thinks that the a57 produces better in-camera JPEGs than the a65.

Just for grins though, how does your law of physics explain the D800? Is Nikon governed by a different set of laws than Sony is?

Firstly,
Here are your own words about the 24MP/16MP and to which I first replied

Tom2572 wrote:

First, my opinion on image IQ between the two is highly influenced by my background in computer engineering that says given relatively similar processors and subsystems between the two cameras, the 24mp sensor should create better pictures than a 16mp sensor

And secondly,

The D800 uses a physically much larger sensor, it's FF, not APS-C.. in the A65/A57 the sensors are identical in size (APS-C), only the number of pixels has changed.. Both adhere to the standard 'rules' of sensors as I understand them and have stated.

Nikon D800 Sony SLT-A57 Sony SLT-A65
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Bosman71
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to philbot, May 31, 2012

I was wondering if the better peg engine from the A57 will also make my subject smile if the subject forgot to do so, make the sun shine on my photos on a rainy day?

Or should I buy the A65 so I noticed the subject was not smiling because of the OLED EVF and will not see the rain on the photos anyway due to noise and artifacts?

The thing I am wondering about is what will I notice in normal llife shooting with these cameras. Price difference here in Holland is about 50 euro's, so no deal breaker whatsoever. So far I have used the A100 for 5 years and I like to update to one of these.

Also I wonder if you use the EVF that often if you can see the same on the life view lcd. Outside the lcd is supposed to be very good.

So the difference between these two options are minimal A few MP's with its advantages and disadvantages. Maybe the price of the A57 should drop a little so this would make the choice easier...??

I hope the review of the A57 will be here soon. Love to see what the results are. Maybe this can help me pick the right one?

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123Mike
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to philbot, May 31, 2012

We had two trains of thought, one that the 24MP sensor will inherently always produce a better image then the 16MP one (via RAW processing), and one that the 'rules' of sensors (perhaps phsyics is a bit misplaced) means that as ISO increases the 24MP sensor (everything else being equal) disproportionately loses more 'detail' and crosses over the 16MP sensor, eventually ending up worse off at high ISO. I stated that cross over point seems to be around ISO3200ish in the A65/A57 comparison

I think the latter applies. Plus you end up with more noise before the resolution becomes lower than the A57. Probably at low and medium ISOs (eg. under 800, not including 800), the end noise result is higher with the A65, and that's noise per image, not per pixel. I judged that by examining carefully, hair in indoor flash shots at night.

The D800 uses a physically much larger sensor, it's FF, not APS-C.. in the A65/A57 the sensors are identical in size (APS-C), only the number of pixels has changed.. Both adhere to the standard 'rules' of sensors as I understand them and have stated.

At what cost?

Another thing that was discussed, and perhaps this requires a different topic, is the whole back focusing thing. Fixing per lens, vs. Sony wanting to back-focus on purpose as to not waste focus space in front of the subject. I think evidence shows this.

I also thing that the A65 has a fixed profile for a bunch of lenses it recognizes. It's like an A77 with a bunch of Sony selected values, and then fixed uneditable on the A65.
I think I was different behavior on the A57.

End of day, I can use the 55-200 Sony lens on the A65, but not the Min 28-135 because almost all shots are out of focus, and the A65 introduces horrible noise extra bad for slightly out of focused areas.

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TrojMacReady
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to 123Mike, May 31, 2012

123Mike wrote:

Another thing that was discussed, and perhaps this requires a different topic, is the whole back focusing thing. Fixing per lens, vs. Sony wanting to back-focus on purpose as to not waste focus space in front of the subject. I think evidence shows this.

This is quite an absurd claim of which I can't seem to make sense. There is no such thing as "wasting" focus space.

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123Mike
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to TrojMacReady, May 31, 2012

This is quite an absurd claim of which I can't seem to make sense. There is no such thing as "wasting" focus space.

Others imply that as well. I just don't understand why this is so hard to understand?
The focused point is a point, a distance away from the camera, sure.

But... the perceived amount of space in front and behind that focus point, that still produces in focus results, is not a fixed point. It's a space.

Thus, if you wish to take a picture of someone's face, for instance, if focus was spot on, the front of the face would be the center of the focused space (so to say).

A certain distance away is still in focus without any perceived blurring. Let's say, 2 inches in an arbitrary case (eg. using Minolta 50mm lens @ f 2.8 ?).

So there is 4 inches of space where pixels are in focus before you can detect blurring.

Why spend 2 inches behind the focused point, and then waste 2 inches of space in front of the subject where it's just air?

Why not have the camera focus 2 inches out, so that you spend all 4 inches on the face?

I think THAT is what Micro Focus Adjust on the A77 is all about. I do not think it is about "fixing" lenses. The lens doesn't make decisions. It's the camera that instructs the focus motor to move until satisfied.
My theory is that Sony puts the focus back "a bit", on purpose.

My A33 did that. It worked for cheapo lenses like the kit lens and the 55-200 lens. But it screwed up the Minolta 28-135 lens, which I had to stop down to f8 before it became nice.

After adjusting 3 screws on the A33, I could get tack sharp results in f4.5, or f4 even, although f4 has bizarre flaring characteristics on that lens.

I'm frustrated that I can't easily get to the adjustments screws of the A65, because I really want to undo Sony intentionally setting it back.

It's also possible that it's not just the sensor that's intentionally set back, but that it chooses to nudge it back a tad depending on the lens it recognizes, while using defaults for lenses it doesn't care about (eg. 80's Minolta lenses).

What I do NOT think it does, is to focus spot on always. I'm seeing back-focusing, either a tad, or too much all over the map. Plenty of people complaining about back-focusing. I've seen it badly on the A33 and A65 myself.

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TrojMacReady
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to 123Mike, May 31, 2012

123Mike wrote:

This is quite an absurd claim of which I can't seem to make sense. There is no such thing as "wasting" focus space.

Others imply that as well. I just don't understand why this is so hard to understand?
The focused point is a point, a distance away from the camera, sure.

But... the perceived amount of space in front and behind that focus point, that still produces in focus results, is not a fixed point. It's a space.

Thus, if you wish to take a picture of someone's face, for instance, if focus was spot on, the front of the face would be the center of the focused space (so to say).

A certain distance away is still in focus without any perceived blurring. Let's say, 2 inches in an arbitrary case (eg. using Minolta 50mm lens @ f 2.8 ?).

So there is 4 inches of space where pixels are in focus before you can detect blurring.

Why spend 2 inches behind the focused point, and then waste 2 inches of space in front of the subject where it's just air?

Why not have the camera focus 2 inches out, so that you spend all 4 inches on the face?

I think THAT is what Micro Focus Adjust on the A77 is all about. I do not think it is about "fixing" lenses. The lens doesn't make decisions. It's the camera that instructs the focus motor to move until satisfied.
My theory is that Sony puts the focus back "a bit", on purpose.

My A33 did that. It worked for cheapo lenses like the kit lens and the 55-200 lens. But it screwed up the Minolta 28-135 lens, which I had to stop down to f8 before it became nice.

After adjusting 3 screws on the A33, I could get tack sharp results in f4.5, or f4 even, although f4 has bizarre flaring characteristics on that lens.

I'm frustrated that I can't easily get to the adjustments screws of the A65, because I really want to undo Sony intentionally setting it back.

It's also possible that it's not just the sensor that's intentionally set back, but that it chooses to nudge it back a tad depending on the lens it recognizes, while using defaults for lenses it doesn't care about (eg. 80's Minolta lenses).

What I do NOT think it does, is to focus spot on always. I'm seeing back-focusing, either a tad, or too much all over the map. Plenty of people complaining about back-focusing. I've seen it badly on the A33 and A65 myself.

It's a theory without any proof, not even statistics to back it up. My camera for example had more of a tendency to front focus with most of my lenses. It simply make no sense whatsoever. Especially if you consider that the most popular moving subject is the one moving towards the photographer. In which case your theory would always results in horrible backfocus.

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PhotoCycler
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to philbot, Jun 1, 2012

philbot wrote:

I stated that cross over point seems to be around ISO3200ish in the A65/A57 comparison

It was reported elsewhere that the A65 is actually more sensitive at ISO 1600 than the A57, meaning if both are set for ISO 1600, you're giving an inherent advantage to the A57 because the A65 may actually be like ISO 2000 by comparison. I hadn't investigated it to verify. Something to think about.

From the images that (you?) posted elsewhere, the final detail and noise levels when comparing at ISO1600 and ISO3200 settings for each camera appear pixel peeping close. It's amazing some people want to argue this to no end. At lower ISO's than that, the A65 becomes the true winner. And where do I take most of my photos??.... that's right, at lower ISO's than 3200. So I know the majority of the time I will get more detail from my A65 shots in good lighting or flash. More extensive cropping aside, 16 MP is probably enough for me - still using my 6 MP and 10 MP models and am happy.

Aside from the damn sensor and ISO comparisons, there's also the better viewfinder of the A65, but consensus seems to indicate it's a relatively minor thing unless you've already spent the extra money on the A65 and are needing to justify your purchase. The GPS would be nice, but certainly not a deal breaker. I'm still a little concerned about flash exposure issues with the A65 reported in the last several months. The word is still out on the A57.

I'm generally not at all concerned with any backfocus issues because in the last couple months of reading this forum every day, 123mike is the ONLY ONE who has reported experiencing it with more than a single lens. And just because he posts about it in every other post, doesn't make it any more common of a problem. He still adds up to just "one."

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Photoviewer
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to PhotoCycler, Jun 1, 2012

PhotoCycler wrote:

philbot wrote:

I stated that cross over point seems to be around ISO3200ish in the A65/A57 comparison

It was reported elsewhere that the A65 is actually more sensitive at ISO 1600 than the A57, meaning if both are set for ISO 1600, you're giving an inherent advantage to the A57 because the A65 may actually be like ISO 2000 by comparison. I hadn't investigated it to verify. Something to think about.

From the images that (you?) posted elsewhere, the final detail and noise levels when comparing at ISO1600 and ISO3200 settings for each camera appear pixel peeping close. It's amazing some people want to argue this to no end. At lower ISO's than that, the A65 becomes the true winner. And where do I take most of my photos??.... that's right, at lower ISO's than 3200. So I know the majority of the time I will get more detail from my A65 shots in good lighting or flash. More extensive cropping aside, 16 MP is probably enough for me - still using my 6 MP and 10 MP models and am happy.

Aside from the damn sensor and ISO comparisons, there's also the better viewfinder of the A65, but consensus seems to indicate it's a relatively minor thing unless you've already spent the extra money on the A65 and are needing to justify your purchase. The GPS would be nice, but certainly not a deal breaker. I'm still a little concerned about flash exposure issues with the A65 reported in the last several months. The word is still out on the A57.

I'm generally not at all concerned with any backfocus issues because in the last couple months of reading this forum every day, 123mike is the ONLY ONE who has reported experiencing it with more than a single lens. And just because he posts about it in every other post, doesn't make it any more common of a problem. He still adds up to just "one."

It is very obvious you and some Sony new hunter for mid-price SLT really suffering between the two model. I was too. Was really seriously driving me bananas..

You are trying very hard to build up your confident and try to think very objectively to picky either one and you actually love the a65 more but still worry. But you are getting more and more confidence now towards it and it is a good sign to you. Try to repeat by posting your observation for few more weeks I ensure you will love the a65 and is like you already own one. Try it. Very effective.

Let me follow Mr EvilOne rule:
For all, If you can afford, and best you should, always buy the top model !!
Top of 24mp : a77
Top of 16mp : a57
Easy choose!

Just kidding.

Btw, I enjoying to read all kind of opinion here.

Cheers

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doctorxring
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to Photoviewer, Jun 1, 2012

.

I returned my A65 and have an A57 on the way.

That's all I'm going to say for right now !

.

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123Mike
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to PhotoCycler, Jun 1, 2012
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123Mike
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to PhotoCycler, Jun 1, 2012

Greater detail with more detailed noise that is.

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123Mike
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And more
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 1, 2012

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1037&message=39862754
(he talks about front focus, but in fact is a back focus problem).

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123Mike
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In reply to 123Mike, Jun 1, 2012
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doctorxring
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Re: And more
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 1, 2012

.

1. Is this back-focus problem something that occurs with other
brands of DSLR's ?

2. After reading those threads about he A55 and A33 it seems
that this is a collimation issue and should be avoidable if the
camera is set up properly (at the factory). Correct ?

.

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theswede
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 1, 2012

123Mike wrote:

This is quite an absurd claim of which I can't seem to make sense. There is no such thing as "wasting" focus space.

Others imply that as well. I just don't understand why this is so hard to understand?

I do not imply it; I state it outright. A camera which does not focus exactly on the focus point is defective, end of story. The purpose of focusing on, say, a face is to get the focus where the focus point is. Not behind it. If a camera puts focus somewhere else, it is broken. And yes, whole lines of cameras can be broken.

Why spend 2 inches behind the focused point, and then waste 2 inches of space in front of the subject where it's just air?

Because otherwise you do not get the point of highest focus where it should bem namely the eye. Not behind the eye, not in front of the eye, but precisely on the eye.

Why not have the camera focus 2 inches out, so that you spend all 4 inches on the face?

Because that is a waste of focus - you do not get the focus point where it should be and the eyes are not as sharp as they could be.

I think THAT is what Micro Focus Adjust on the A77 is all about.

You think wrong. People who know what they're doing want focus where they set it, not behind that point - that way you increase noise and reduce contrast. You really believe that's what people want from a camera?

I do not think it is about "fixing" lenses. The lens doesn't make decisions.

And because the lens "doesn't make decisions" its mechanical properties have zero effect on where the focus point ends up? You yourself explain that your lenses behave differently with your defective camera, yet you can't draw that to its logical conclusion?

It's the camera that instructs the focus motor to move until satisfied.

And that satisfaction criteria is a sensor showing the focus point being in focus, nothing else.

My theory is that Sony puts the focus back "a bit", on purpose.

In the sense that when making sloppy focus sensor calibration it's better to get slight back focus than front focus, probably - and they're probably not alone about it, especially on their cheaper models. But in the sense that they deliberately want to mess up people's non-face photos and make the camera useless and noisy? They might be crazy and stupid, but not that crazy and stupid.

My A33 did that. It worked for cheapo lenses like the kit lens and the 55-200 lens. But it screwed up the Minolta 28-135 lens, which I had to stop down to f8 before it became nice.

And there you go explaining why microfocus adjustment is needed without understanding it.

What I do NOT think it does, is to focus spot on always. I'm seeing back-focusing, either a tad, or too much all over the map. Plenty of people complaining about back-focusing. I've seen it badly on the A33 and A65 myself.

Plenty of people having badly calibrated cameras. You still have zero reason to conclude it's intentional (beyond cost saving by calibrating sloppily, of course).

Jesper

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doctorxring
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to theswede, Jun 1, 2012

.

Thanks Jesper --

dxr

.

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tbcass
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 1, 2012

123Mike wrote:

Others imply that as well. I just don't understand why this is so hard to understand?
The focused point is a point, a distance away from the camera, sure.

But... the perceived amount of space in front and behind that focus point, that still produces in focus results, is not a fixed point. It's a space.

What you are describing is depth of field which increases as the aperture decreases.

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theswede
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to tbcass, Jun 1, 2012

tbcass wrote:

The focused point is a point, a distance away from the camera, sure.

But... the perceived amount of space in front and behind that focus point, that still produces in focus results, is not a fixed point. It's a space.

What you are describing is depth of field which increases as the aperture decreases.

Strictly speaking the description is of "acceptable" circle of confusion. There is still a plane where the focus is sharpest (circle of confusion is the smallest), and the space in front of and behind that plane has small enough circle of confusion that we conventionally call it "in focus".

But focusing is not all about getting the subject within the acceptable circle of confusion. It's about placing the point of lowest circle of confusion precisely where the photographer wants it. And that's empathically not some place behind the subject. Especially for portraits with shallow dof lenses. For those it's critical that the plane of focus is on the eyes.

Jesper

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PhotoCycler
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to 123Mike, Jun 1, 2012

123Mike wrote:

I'm generally not at all concerned with any backfocus issues because in the last couple months of reading this forum every day, 123mike is the ONLY ONE who has reported experiencing it with more than a single lens.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=103

I had stated on this forum, specifically.

I was referring to A65 specifically, not A30 or others.

I stated "with more than one lens."

Also, focus inconsistencies and user error understanding how auto focus works is not the same thing as having a lens that always backfocuses. There are other reasons why focus can be off from time to time. It's the same with all cameras.

Front focus is not back focus.

And from reading this forum regularly, I don't see this being complained about from A65 users who have been posting frequently and know how to use their cameras. I remember the old 5D/7D days in 2005/2006 when there actually used to be a lot of people with backfocus problems, and we accessed screws on the bottom of the camera to make an adjustment for focus trying to find an adjustment that would work best among our lenses.

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PhotoCycler
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Re: 24MP vs 16MP sensors (overspill from A57 vs A65)
In reply to Photoviewer, Jun 1, 2012

Photoviewer wrote:

Let me follow Mr EvilOne rule:
For all, If you can afford, and best you should, always buy the top model !!

If I follow EvilOne's rule, then I might as well buy one of each model just because I can afford it. I have little interest in getting an A77, and it certainly isn't about affording.

I can't say I love any camera in existence today. It's been over 6 years since I bought my last DSLR (5D). I'm in no hurry to buy and just am enjoying the discussions here. Photog is only one hobby for me, so I'm not stressed out about it in the least. The extra MP of A65 don't mean a lot to me. Good flash exposure, including with my 3600HS(D) is far more critical to me.

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