The A900 offers an immense array of image parameters built around the concept of Creative Styles. There are 13 customizable Image Styles (presets), each of which can be customized with a further five parameter adjustments (contrast, saturation, sharpness, brightness and zone). There are six numbered Creative Style registers in which you can store your preferred Image Style (with or without further parameter adjustments) for immediate access using the Quick Navi screen. The main change over the Alpha 700 is that all Image Styles are now customizable, and the AdobeRGB style has gone (you can select aRGB color mode using the menu system, irrespective of the currently selected Creative Style).
Our only criticism is that with such a level of customizability it would be nice if the on-screen creative style icon made it more obvious that 'non standard' settings were being used, and if you could create your own, named, Creative Styles in-camera.
Image parameter adjustments
- Default Creative Styles: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, B/W
- Image Styles: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape,
Sunset, Night View, Autumn Leaves, B/W, Sepia
- Image parameter adjustments
- Contrast: -3 to +3 (Cannot be changed if the zone setting has been changed)
- Saturation: -3 to +3
- Sharpness: -3 to +3 (not B/W or Sepia modes)
- Brightness: -3 to +3
- Zone: -1 to +2
Default Creative Styles
Although you can assign any of the thirteen Image Styles (along with any additional parameter adjustment) to the six memories, by default the Alpha 900 offers these. As you can see there are differences not only in tonality, but also in the level of sharpening applied to each of the presets.
Creative Styles: Landscape comparison
It's almost impossible to do the Alpha 900's Creative Styles options justice here, such is the immense variety of adjustment on offer. On the following pages we'll look a little more closely at the more conventional adjustments (contrast, saturation etc); here's a taste of what the various Image Styles have to offer. In many cases the differences are minimal (small saturation, contrast and sharpness differences), but some - such as 'Autumn Leaves', 'Sunset' also appear to affect the white balance (and are obviously designed for use in very specific circumstances). The examples below are all converted from the same RAW file using Sony Image Data Converter (which to be honest is a far more sensible way to experiment with Creative Styles).
Creative Styles: Portrait comparison