Using Sony professionally/limits

Started Jun 10, 2010 | Discussions thread
Alec Contributing Member • Posts: 695
@ vwgn: it's an engineering tradeoff

@ vwgn:

I recommend that you rent a medium format back to try. You'll see that it yields an even better color in the studio and under adequate light (native ISO) and that it either does not even have ISO above 400 or is absolutely atrocious at it. It's a $20K piece of kit that "real, real" pros use. In appropriate situations.

What's going on here?

What's going on here is an engineering trade-off in sensor design, particularly the CFA (color microfilters). A manufacturer can make them pale and/or really wide-band, thus admitting much more light to the photosites, or it can make them dense and narrow-band. The former gives you better low-light performance, the latter gives you a more natural yet vibrant, precise, true-to-life color.

Nikon, and Canon as well, have firmly placed themselves at the "great low-light performance, good color be damned" end of the spectrum. High end medium format backs are at the other extreme. SONY is one of the few camera manufacturers, and the only one with full-frame options, which provides options where color fidelity is more or less balanced with low-light performance.

If for you the low-light performance is more important than fleshtones in decent light and especially in the studio, than Nikon is definitely the camera for you. But careful what you wish for - I for one would not want SONY to become another Nikon in this regard or try to be more Nikon like (make its colors worse / raise true base ISO higher, thus sacrificing good - light performance for bad - light performance).

Ideally there should perhaps be a low-light body and a max-quality controlled-light body in each maker's lineup, or interchangeable sensors, but so far it is not the case. Manufacturers know consumers do not like to be taught lessons in reality and being forced to make hard choices. They would rather believe in magic widget that's good at everything. Remember Kodak Gold MAX film? It did not even have a prominent ISO on the box.
Alex Karasev
principal photographer
Karasev Studio

 Alec's gear list:Alec's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Nikon D800 Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D Nikon PC-E Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D Sony 50mm F1.4 +34 more
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