Thanks for the well written article.
HowaboutRAW: Good for Sony, now reconsider compressed raws in general.
I keep hearing this 11 bit story, but it's really 11+7 bits.
Attributing the "washed out colors" (non existent) to the lossy compression algorithm, requires at least a blind test that keeps ceteris paribus, which in turn can only be done with the A900 or A850, comparing the compressed output vs non lossy compressed output. Sofar I haven't seen anyone able to point out which is which based on just colors... Let alone calling one washed out compared to the other.
Please, let's keep jpeg engines/profiles (in camera or converters) out of this, as they cannot prove anything on the subject of colors, especially when comparing different cameras.
Surely, A900/A850 owners can present us with another test to evaluate the subject again.
The A7S could be using a relatively transparent color filter, just like some other low light specialized cameras. Whatever the output in terms of colors, is still up to the converter calibration and therefore will also differ per converter. "Washed out" is therefore a rather pointless term without a context.
That's not an example for Sony cameras in general either. In fact, most Sony cameras have a comparably discriminating or "dense" color filter (see the metamerism index measurements for example), which sacrifices a hair of sensitivity for better color separation compared to most Canon and Nikon cameras. No "washed out colors". And compressed RAW isn't a recent thing, it was introduced in 2008 and all cameras released after the A900 (+A850), offered only compressed RAW. It's only now that people suddenly perceive it to be a problem (other than Iliah Borg, who's always been vocal about it, but also praised the denser CFA's...).
Sangster: Canon L 24 mm f/1.4 II $1550Nikon 24 mm f/1.4 ED $1930Zeiss Batis 25 mm f/2 $1300
Canon L 85 mm f/1.2 $2000Nikon 85 mm f/1.8G $500Zeiss Batis 85 mm f/1.8 $1200
Very interesting pricing strategy.
You forgot to mention that the 85mm Batis has OIS, which none of the competitors do.
sierranvin: If these lenses be anything like the Loxia duo, they are just more noisy, squawking Zeiss vaporware. The long ago announced Loxia 2/35, 2/50 remain more or less unavailable anywhere in the US (check the big retailer websites - the Loxia 2/35 has been backordered vaporware for months now). That's ok Zeiss, we're sure you're selling thousands of them somewhere else in the galaxy...
In Europe, they can often be found in stock. Even European Amazon stores have Loxias in stock as we speak.
falconeyes: I am long predicting smartphones featuring lens arrays.
I did even predict Apple to be first to market and this news is a hint it will happen sooner than later.
Large enough lens arrays (like 5x5) can rival full frame image quality.
Lens/sensor array cameras are actually MORE sophisticated (not less) than lightfield cameras because they don't suffer from the severe diffraction-bound resolution limit which plenoptics does.
I don't see a 3x3 array coming to iPhones, for the simple fact that it would take too much space on the limited form factor. Not to mention the fact that Apple cares a lot about margins...
" Phones impose limits on depth, not width"
Not true either. They're closely related. Many phones have their cameras in the area above or under the screen, because of depth constraints even for the most shallow imaging units. Especially with phones still becoming thinner. The alternative being a pucker found on phones like the S6. Again, I don't see Apple fitting an array in the top or bottom part. Or when more shallow, practically the whole back. Too much cost at the expense of their holy margins anyway. 9 modules instead of 1 can easily be a loss of >10% margin on the cost price.
And their iPads have never had the top mobile photography hardware.
BTW, you did mention lightfield cameras. Which are all about " gimmicks for kids like depth extraction" after the fact.
The HTC One M8 already featured a dual lens setup (second unit was mostly for depth information).
Only the execution (mainly software part) was lacking.
ZeneticX: not sure which company should we be more worried about... sony or olympus
"Sony Imaging Division is making a Loss"
The nonsense is strong in this one.
Sony's Imaging division is the only one from the big 3 imaging companies showing relatively flat sales (2% increase in the last 2 quarters year on year) in a shrinking overall imaging markets. And growing profits (note, not losses, 341% increase the last 2 quarters, year on year) where the other 2 big ones (you know who) are showing shrinking sales and shrinking profits.
For Sony that's mostly thanks to the ILC's and higher end (RX) compact cameras, despite significant shrinking sales for lower end compacts and camcorders. And just like the others, they are helped by the exchange rate, altough costs are largely affected too (see Baht for example, since most of their Imaging products are produced in Thailand).
Those are the facts, back to the assumptions in this thread.
TrojMacReady: "and has no obvious weaknesses in the imaging department"
It has by far the lowest usable resolution among flagship devices, minus the (about to be replaced) One M8.
That is a weakness in reasonable to good light, not just because it limits output size, but also because you have much less room for cropping, which is the only savior to somewhat compensate for the obvious lack of optical zoom on these cameras.
I'd easily pick the Note 4 as the best allround camera.
Here's a "blind" shoot out:http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-Galaxy-Note-4-wins-our-blind-camera-comparison-iPhone-6-is-distant-second_id61676And one among "pros":http://www.phonearena.com/news/And-the-best-phone-camera-is...-pro-photogs-rank-Note-4-iPhone-6-Z3-Lumia-1020-and-more_id66752And a third one:http://www.phonearena.com/news/Galaxy-Note-4-dominates-our-blind-camera-comparison-beats-a-Canon-DSLR-and-the-iPhone-6-Plus_id66093
RAW support would also greatly help to bypass the yellow veil in iPhone 6 (Plus) videos and images (possibly to mimic the "golden hours" regardless of time of day...).
I didn't say the iPhone 6 Plus has the weaker camera because of less pixels (there are many factors to consider what's best for you, some of them being subjective), I just pointed out that it does have a clear weakness, contrary to the claim in the article.
OrdinarilyInordinate: OnePlus One should be on that list: ability to save RAW files in DNG format along with JPEGs, quite good auto white balance. Only issue I have with it is somewhat slow focusing that seems to sometimes lag behind the shutter.
The Oppo Find 7(a) supports RAW too and has good output (hinting at decent in camera processing and a fine lens) to boot.
In terms of cropping power to somewhat offset the lack of optical zoom, you're talking about center cropping. In 20MP mode on the Sony, the iPhone really falls short in terms of usable detail when going for the same object magnification, despite an actual longer focal length of the lens (29mm vs 25mm IIRC).
I wasn't talking about megapixels, I was talking about usable detail. I probably should have limited my claim to the largest/more well known vendors, but some of the top Chinese Vendors (Oppo, Meizu, Xiaomi, Lenovo), Nokia/Microsoft, Motorolla, Samsung, LG and even Sony (if you go "manual" mode) do better in this regard these days with the Z3, despite subpar processing.
"and has no obvious weaknesses in the imaging department"
brownie314: Looks at least as good as the Nikon J4. But Samsung NX mini looks better than all of them.
Are you seriously telling me you don't think the clear and very heavy handed RAW NR destroys low contrast detail? The playing cards are a high contrast area, usually least affected by NR. Look elsewhere, such as what I hinted at above. I can apply my own NR to the other cameras and beat that.http://oi62.tinypic.com/27zdfut.jpg
Choice (balance NR vs detail) beats no choice, especially when it comes to RAW, since its main purpose is... choice.
Not really, the NX Mini applies insanely heavy RAW noise reduction. At ISO 800 that already turns the 20 Schilling note into mush, at ISO 3200, you'd have to tell me it's a Schilling note, I wouldn't recognize it.... Kind of makes RAW files useless for one of its main benefits.
Nice to see my city represented, by the photographer and some of his pictures.
Great stuff, even when I set aside my clear bias. ;-)
zigi_S: The elephant in the room hasn't been noticed. Namely sensor DR. Why?
"hyperbole, sensationalist"You just described your first post in this subthread.But you missed one part: "contradictory", because you went from "fictional" to "marginal" within seconds.
"also it really depends on how much and what percentage your shots are at ISO 100 to around 400"
This assumes the benefit only exists at lower ISO's, but the benefit of a camera with larger DR at low ISO, is also that it allows you to underexpose at low ISO, push to a higher in postprocessing (achieving similar noise levels as shooting "well exposed" at high ISO), but retaining much more highlight information. And that last part, is not possible if you don't start with that extra room for pushing low ISO shots to high ISO shots, but rather always have to rely on in camera ISO amplification, due to much higher read noise and/or pattern noise.
Thus the actual benefit usually covers a larger ISO range (on the Canon ISO scale so to speak) in practise.
WT21: I've been buying m43 because I don't care at all for Sony lens options. I hope the 28/2 is good. That would be great on my NEX6.
I'm not going to claim the 35mm OSS is optically better than the PL, but it's also a tad cheaper and offers stabilization. I do know there's some variance with quality, as the one tested by Photozone beat the PL for measured (system) resolution, even wide open, while DXO showed weaker wide open performance.