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Software

The DSLR-A900 is provided with a software CD which contains:

  • Picture Motion Browser 3.2.01 (Windows) - An easy to use and fast image and video clip
    cataloging and browsing application with a fairly unique calendar based animated interface.
     
  • Image Data Lightbox SR 2.0 (Windows / Mac OS X) - An image browsing and workflow
    application designed for rating and selecting images from a large collection. Provides synchronized
    side-by-side comparison of images in 2, 3 and 4 images per screen views.
     
  • Image Data Converter SR 3.0 (Windows / Mac OS X) - A further development of the previously
    seen Image Data Converter SR, provides advanced RAW conversion capabilities, adjustments
    include Creative Style, Sharpness (including overshoot / undershoot tuning), Highlight Color
    Distortion reduction, vignetting control and Noise Reduction.
     
  • Remote Camera Control 2.0 (Windows / Mac OS X) - A relatively simple but usable - and very fast - program to control a camera attached via USB. Gives control over most the the camera's basic settings and allows remote capture and transfer of captured images to a directory of you choice.
Image Data Converter SR Remote Camera Control
Image Data Lightbox

Although the supplied software package is actually pretty comprehensive, we found that the latest versions of both Image Data Lightbox and Image Data Converter are still very slow indeed and are simply no match for Adobe Bridge CS4 and Adobe Camera Raw.

RAW conversion

As is normal in our digital SLR reviews I like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software, any optional manufacturer RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converter. In the case of the A900 we had the supplied Image Data Converter SR as well as Adobe Camera RAW 5.2 Beta

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • IDC - Image Data Converter SR 3.0
  • ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 4.6 and 5.2 Beta

Color reproduction

Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the color from a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart produced using each RAW converter. As you can see Image Data Converter matches the color response of the cameras internal image processor very closely (there are some very subtle differences but it's unlikely you'd see these in real life). As usual Adobe Camera RAW has its own 'different' color response, deeper blues but slightly paler reds.

Sony DSLR-A900 Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
StandardlandscapePortraitNatural
MonochromeAdobe RGB

Sharpness and Detail

As you can see from the 100% crops below a large part of the difference between the three comes down to sharpening, with Sony's Image Data Converter applying the highest level by default.

J
P
E
G

I
D
C

A
C
R

Resolution

The differences between these three are pretty obvious, and stark. The JPEG from the camera demonstrates good detail beyond absolute resolution which would mean good representation of texture and distant detail. Adobe Camera RAW (as usual) delivers slightly higher per pixel sharpness and resolution with no obvious sharpening artefacts (halos). The biggest disappointment however is the output from Image Data Converter which produced a large amount of moire as well as blurring all the highest frequencies.

JPEG from camera Image Data Converter SR (RAW)
 
Adobe Camera RAW 4.6 (RAW)  
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