what's troubling here are the signs that DPR is simply in over their heads: a) have had to go to 'fluff' 1st impressions reviews for all kinds of stuff and the number of actual substantive reviews per month has really dropped off from the start of the year; b) not able to collect information competently (took JPEGS from this camera with NR turned off, didn't notice - until I pointed that out - same mistake made on the Sony RX1r too) and hasn't reshot the studio images for either Sony camera, leaving everyone wondering what's up; c) neglecting Sony out of a Canikon bias (doubtful given all the Gold Awards to Sony stuff over the last three years).
Bottom line - something is really amiss at DPR. Desperately short staffed? Overextended?
What is going on with DPR???????
mcolvin1: For $598, I could buy the Sony a5100, which from reviews I have read at other sites, is probably a better camera (APS-C sensor, 24 mp, touch screen, very fast auto focus, etc.) It is only slightly larger than the Canon G7 X (with the kit lens). Better lenses can be added later. DPR has yet to do its review. I am hoping that it will get a high rating. If so, that will be the one I will buy. Its image quality is supposed to be as good as the Sony a6000, which has excellent IQ. But it is small enough to fit in a fanny pack and carry all the time. After reading DPR's review of the G7 X, it is no longer on my list. Why pay more for it when it is probably not as good as the a5100?
Yup. Like I said, it's all about tradeoffs.
mpgxsvcd: I think Canon will see this as a good reason not to use other companies sensors. They will say that putting the Sony sensor in this camera was the reason it failed to produce the results they wanted.
Canon should just go back to their roots. Make a really good Rebel Camera with a Great new zoom lens. Make the lens fast with great AF for video but they need to figure out one way or another how to put a good sensor in it.
I don't care if they make it themselves or buy it from someone else. It needs to finally be as good or better than the competition. Then just advertise the heck out of it and they can get back on track.
the differences in their DxO scores are pretty modest, and don't translate into a meaningful difference in picture quality. Don't get too fixated on DxO numbers. It's just one set of metrics.
so don't buy the kit lens! It's all about tradeoffs. Either the RX100III (arguably better camera than the G7X) or the Canon will be way more compact than the A5100 with a lens on it, but both will not really compete with the 5100 in the pictures department (the RX100III will beat the 5100 in the video department)
monkeybrain: So the Samsung NX Mini's (also 1 inch sensor) sample's gallery was up and the camera on sale before the Canon was announced. But DPReview clearly prioritised the Canon review because it'll get more hits and have (presumably indefinitely) sidelined the Mini review despite the sample's gallery having some very promising shots.
Seems like a pretty fair review to me . . . but (and not to pile on :-)) I am surprised that you rated the screen and viewfinder experience on the G7X and the RX100III as the same?? Really? Was that a hiccup?
kevin_r: Somehow, I'm puzzled by the fact that we have studio images for the Canon 7D Mark II whilst there are still none for the sony A77 Mark II which has already been out in the market for months...... The Canon still has to appear on the shelves.Really strange, that.
yes, i am confident that there are probably some hardware restrictions that prevent the RX100III and even the A77II from doing 4K (and prevent the RX100 from doing it too). But I get the sense (just guessing on this) that Sony is late to the party on 4K. No on-camera record ability on the 4K on the A7s, and no seeming interest in this ability anywhere else. I think they have company on this sluggish/ambivalent embrace of 4K - (Nikon!), but the interest in 4K is about to explode as the sets enter the mainstream (we bought out first 4K set this summer and love it). If Samsung's new PHONE has 4k for Pete's sake, then flagship DSLRs (even APS-C ones) should have it. I think they are really underestimating how quickly interest in 4k will pick up. The new codec (forgotten its designation but the Nx1 has it) will really help by reducing the obscene file sizes. Sony will be caught with their pants down on this.
armandino: It strikes me how bad the Sony SLT-A77 II is in noise when compared to the peers.
Which images are you guys talking about? The JPEGs were removed (due to someone not paying attention and shooting the scenes with high ISO NR turned off!). The RAW images are all close, w/ the A77II and the 7D about the same at 6400, and the 7100 and 7DII both slightly (and I mean slightly) better. Curiously, if you look at DxO testing the three cameras in this class, the A77II at 12800 is less noisy than either the Canon or Nikon APS-C (7D DxO testing not available but 70D probably using the same sensor (http://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-SLT-Alpha-77-II-versus-Canon-EOS-70D-versus-Nikon-D7100___953_895_865). There is really nothing separating the cameras that is truly meaningful in these metrics - people fixate on DxO numbers, but that is nothing but a slightly more sophisticated version of the megapixels wars. It's really whether you like shooting with the camera, its OS, and its support ecology that become the really important question. No the minutia.
Nice to see that Richard has a real sense of humor (he should express it more often):
"At which point you try to compensate for the excessive compensation you've applied and are reminded that the dial operates the opposite direction to every other camera you've ever used, meaning you have to compensate for your compensated compensation. Then the battery runs out, because it's too small."
In fact, I've had more chuckles reading this group of comments, and the review itself, than I've had on any photo blog in a while. Most of the time, it's a crabfest of trolling and grouchiness. This one was pretty good (although there is still no shortage of grumpy customers).
I noticed the RX1R having its NR turned off on high ISO simply by looking at the images (I own the RX1). I'll have to check those images that you mention in your last post on the comparometer out later today - gotta run to see patients. Meanwhile, your feedback would be appreciated about the review I've just done on the A77II. It's the first review on Amazon's website on the camera. Still working on it . . .
My biggest concerns are 1) overexposure (both from flash and ambient light); 2) use of line skipping instead of full frame sampling in video (a real puzzle given Bionz X processor); Sony's dismal instantiation of PlayMemories on this camera; 4) no apparent interest in 4k.
If two Sonys (RX-!R and A77II) had their JPEG studio takes poorly shot with high ISO NR turned off, I get what you mean by quality control problems at DPR. It suggests that if there are other sets of high ISO JPEGs that appear uncharacteristically noisy, it might make sense to check those also. I agree that that default Sony JPEG engine is overly smooth and too aggressive on NR, but it can be tweaked (sharpness for one can be easily improved), and of course, there is always shooting in RAW. . .
I also think that the high ISO performance is significantly enhanced by both the in-body IS and the MF NR setting. You can also set where the MR NR ISO is shooting those multiple frames, to really squeeze the last iota of quality out of low light images.
One other impression Rishi
I suspect that the exact same mistake was made with the Sony RX1R - the JPEGs look like NR was turned off on high ISO. No way that it has way worse high ISO JPEG noise than the RX1.
Hi RishiThanks much for the prompt reply. I suspected as much in terms of the NR settings. I think part of my comment however might have been misconstrued - b/c RAW and JPEG noise DO have a correlation (you have to in a sense choose b/t noise vs loss of detail in JPEGS, and there is no free lunch on that point), I believed that the relatively identical RAW noise in the A77II compared to the A6000 made me suspicious that someone had altered the default high ISO noise setting - which you confirmed.
As for the second question, PD is only on the A6000 sensor, and pulling it off of the circuitry typically helps a little with high ISO noise, at least in RAW. I believe that the PD elements on chip also hurt the A99's noise profile a little bit. As for default NR setting (A77II) severely hurting detail, I'm curious whether there is any evidence that the A77II has a radically different JPEG engine compared to the A6000 - which I think does a superb job of preserving high ISO detail.
The above trollling comment from Serickmetz totally aside, I am wondering what you had for firmware version in the A77II, and what your high ISO NR was set on for the studio images (and are you absolutely sure about that being the default setting??), as the levels of chroma noise in the A77II JPEG images vs. the A6000 is 1) striking; 2) not remotely what I am seeing on my A77II (firmware 1.01). This increase clearly is not accounted for by any corresponding increase in RAW noise, as those images are roughly comparable. Also, the slight 1/3 f-stop noise penalty relative to the A6000 from the SLT system would probably be partially mitigated by taking PD elements off chip in the A77II.
Secondly, when will you guys have a full review of the A77II?
You guys are too kind. If you simply tested a camera (vs. a FLYING camera) with this kind of performance, you would give it a 55. Quit pussy-footing around :-). This much money for such - at best - average compact camera pictures doesn't seem like a great value. It would appear that the helicopter portion is better than the camera portion.
I guess the question that the review omitted is what the competition might be like?
The silence from DPR about the potential status of a review on the A77II is deafening. Numerous posts on the blog here expressing distress about the lack of a formal review, and not a peep from DPR. Is DPR too busy to respond? Or is no response thought wiser than bad news (that a full review isn't going to happen)?
TheEnthusiast: Ever since I sold my A77 and all my APS-C lenses to go full-frame with the A99, I've sorely missed the compactness of the A77. The A99 beat the old A77 in low-light performance by a solid two stops, and the colors in the A99 are terrific. But the A99 is a boat anchor. While I can't give it up, I've been looking for something smaller-lighter as a second camera. At the top of my list have been the A7r and the Leica T. Both of those cameras have walk-around zooms that are somewhat compromised, apparently due to an attempt to attain the last measure of compactness.
One of the things I truly loved about the A77 was the superb 16-50 lens. It doesn't have the Zeiss name or even the G-designation, but it is relatively compact and a fantastic value. Its only significant flaw was some mid-image, barrel-like distortion that I noticed most when comparing RAW images to camera-corrected jpegs of the same shot. The A77 II with the 16-50 lens is a tempting package to me.
I've had the A65, the A99, and now the A77II. I found that the weight of the CZ24-70 plus the A99 just about a pound more than I wanted to tote around even with a shoulder strap. I could be persuaded back to FF by a A99II if it was a real home run. Loved the 24-70 but like you said, the combination is a boat anchor. It's all tradeoffs. I also think that the AF system on the A77II is better than the A99. Way better sports camera, esp, with the deeper buffer.
Here's another classic mis-step associated with the once-over-lightly treatment. DPR is just plain wrong when they state "The electronic viewfinder, on the other hand, is unchanged" (from the A77). Nope. It's not. Way better control over contrast, and way better in low light.
K E Hoffman: Five months! Do you want me to drive down to Seattle on the weekend and help with review, I will :) . This is the best APS camera ever made under $1500. You should be getting these reviews out in 30-60 days.. Are we going to wait until after Christmas for D750 and 7DII reviews? I can even bring my own camera!!
It appears that DPR has gone in the direction of once-over-lightly reviews of everything under the sun vs. detailed reviews that are timely for major products. Since they have been trying to hire someone, I suspect they are seriously short handed. I agree that it is a unique camera (I love mine), but there are also some issues that suggest it was rushed to market (particularly the overexposure in bright light, and the dismal smartphone interface).
Speaking of hot bullet points, which of the first impressions reviews of new cameras will make it to a final (full) review? Some? All? Is this information a state secret?
Waiting with baited breath. Not to be confused with being baited by manufacturers.
CFynn: Why all the complaining?
I have a D800E and I know about all the things it will do better than the A7/A7r - but I can certainly also see the attraction and value of the Sony cameras.
For some types of photography, I know I would prefer to use a camera like the A7r.
If you don't like the camera, and never intend to buy one, just move on and stop moaning. There are plenty of other choices out there that will be much better for you - but I'm sure this camera will be the most suitable camera available for a few others.
Congratulations to Sony for providing a new full frame choice that is well thought out and different from the other full frame cameras out there.
Nice post and agree with all your points.
But if you took away moaning and grousing, people who post on the blogosphere would only have trolling, hachet-jobbing, and passing gas. It would take all the fun out of the brand wars nonsense on DPR! You're clearly just a killjoy. :-)