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Software

The DSLR-A350 is provided with a software CD which contains:

  • Picture Motion Browser 2.1.02 (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 1.0 (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 2.0 (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 and Noise Reduction.

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 A350 we had the supplied Image Data Converter SR as well as Adobe Camera RAW 4.4.1.

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • IDC - Image Data Converter SR 2.0.01.09280
  • ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 4.4.1

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-A350 Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
StandardVividPortraitLandscape
NightSceneSunsetBlack And WhiteAdobeRGB

Sharpness and Detail

As you can see from the samples below, there are some quite dramatic differences between the default JPEG settings and those of Sony's supplied software, Image Data Converter, which is applying much more sharpening to the image. ACR isn't sharpening quite so heavily but is producing the most clean, sharp image of the three.

J
P
E
G

I
D
C

A
C
R

Resolution

The differences between the three converters are immediately apparent with Image Data Converter producing fairly poor results that are overwhelmed by moire patterns while the in-camera JPEG engine is still able to present clearly defined, distinct lines. Oddly, ACR, which generally does a better job of pulling detail out of the A350's RAW data, is also outdone by the JPEGs. Perhaps the Sony engineers are expecting the A350 to be bought by people who shoot a lot of test charts.

JPEG from camera Image Data Converter SR (RAW)
 
Adobe Camera RAW 4.3 beta (RAW)  

Highlight color distortion correction

One of the features offered in Image Data Converter that cannot be replicated in-camera is the 'highlight color distortion correction' feature. This attempts to recover the correct colors for areas in which one or more channel has clipped. The best results are achieved in situations where the highlights have only just over-exposed but it's a useful feature to have.

Highlight color distortion correction off.
100% crop
Highlight color distortion correction on.
100% crop
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