A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?

Started Oct 28, 2012 | Questions
jamesbm Regular Member • Posts: 183
A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?

Hi

Looking to buy a fast 300mm lens for photographing wildlife in low light - which camera body is better suited - A57 (16mp) or A65 (24mp)?

Thanks in advance!

ANSWER:
This question has not been answered yet.
Sony SLT-A57 Sony SLT-A65
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
HarryP Contributing Member • Posts: 982
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?

16 mp should be better at higher ISO...but I've used both and really don't see much difference in noise.

The one useful feature in the A65 is the smart conversion button, it crops the picture to X 1.4 & X 2.0 at lower megapixels.  The clear zoom in the A57 is an digital zoom, interpolation feature which I see as useless.

sensibill
sensibill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,401
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?

A57 is cheaper, a little better at higher ISO. A65 has much higher MP resolution which is more effective at lower ISO, though how that works out using Steady Shot with long zoom I couldn't tell you.

Both cameras have crop and zoom features just eas easily done in post process. The EVF  of the A65 is better.

If you're on a budget and are looking at zooms, I'd say A57 should do well, but if you have the lens accounted for and price is less of an object the A65 has advantages.

 sensibill's gear list:sensibill's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Sony a7 II
danny006 Senior Member • Posts: 1,090
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
1

A 300mm lens for wildlife is a little bit on the short side. A 500mm zoomlens would be better.

I use the A77 and have no problems with ISO800 and crop a lot for the birds. I shoot Xfine JPEG.

The 16MP sensor has less noise at pixel level, but don't know if you will get better image quality untill ISO1600. Above ISO1600 I'm sure it will perform better but those high ISO you better don't use anyway.

If you shoot only in RAW then maybe the A57 is the better choice.

-- hide signature --

www.alex-digitalpics.be by Sony

 danny006's gear list:danny006's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS Rebel T6s Canon EF 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS USM Samyang 14mm F2.8 IF ED MC Aspherical Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S
theswede
theswede Veteran Member • Posts: 4,009
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
6

No matter which camera you choose you will have to shoot RAW and invest some time on PP to get the best results, so raw OOC results are less important than sensor capability, and that is almost precisely the same between the models. Therefore the nod goes to the A65 for higher resolution to PP from. But both will be amazing for that kind of work and results will be within a hair's breadth, so don't sweat it, try them out and get the camera you enjoy the most.

Jesper

 theswede's gear list:theswede's gear list
Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D Sony SLT-A37 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a7 Sony a5000 +7 more
sensibill
sensibill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,401
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
2

theswede wrote:

No matter which camera you choose you will have to shoot RAW and invest some time on PP to get the best results, so raw OOC results are less important than sensor capability, and that is almost precisely the same between the models.

What constitutes 'almost precisely the same' is going to be best left to the individual to decide. My advice is to not listen to partisan comment in this forum, but check DPR, DxO and other tests to determine. Or take pics with each camera in Best Buy or another store and take them home to look at on your monitor.



 sensibill's gear list:sensibill's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Sony a7 II
Steve West Veteran Member • Posts: 5,994
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?

Having an A77, I would recommend the A99 for lowlight wildlife--esp if you are going to crop.

-- hide signature --
 Steve West's gear list:Steve West's gear list
Sony Alpha a99 Sony a6000 Sony a99 II Sony 24-70mm F2.8 ZA SSM Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM +7 more
theswede
theswede Veteran Member • Posts: 4,009
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
4

What constitutes 'almost precisely the same' is going to be best left to the individual to decide.

Objective evaluation shows them to be almost precisely the same in actual performance. The only differences are in processing choice in camera, the amount of information in the images is the same. DxO shows this, as do independent tests.

Anyone claiming there is substantial difference in information in a low light photo from an A57 and A65 is in opposition to objective measurement data. The sensors perform almost identical, as expected from sensors in the same generation.

My advice is to not listen to partisan comment in this forum, but check DPR, DxO and other tests to determine.

DPR is useless for this comparison. No, scratch that, worse than useless since the tests are full of uncontrolled variables and there is not even any clear information on whether light, focus points and exposure are identical. DxO gives an indication which is the closest to objective one can get.

But ultimately the best way to determine whether a camera can do what one wants is to find photos on the 'net where someone has done what one wants to do. If they are good, then the camera can be used to produce them.

Or take pics with each camera in Best Buy or another store and take them home to look at on your monitor.

That's fairly good advice, but again, OOC images will be pretty bad (in different ways) no matter the camera. The A57 loses shadow detail and the A65 shows chroma noise - different ways of showing the information loss from low light.

But taking photos with both and trying to make them look as good as possible is a good way of finding if the camera will match a workflow one is comfortable with. Just remember that all cameras have their own way of handling information loss requiring different ways of PP to get the best results.

Jesper

 theswede's gear list:theswede's gear list
Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D Sony SLT-A37 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a7 Sony a5000 +7 more
Setter Dog Veteran Member • Posts: 5,758
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?

I have the a57 and a65.

I prefer the a57 for low light wildlife shots, mainly because it will step to ISO3200 when set on auto ISO. The a65 will not advance past ISO1600 except manually. The few seconds it takes to make the change can cost a shot.

Actual results with both cameras are both fine at ISO3200. I used ISO6400 with the a57 last week on a covey of quail in the evening. Plenty of noise but I got several very nice shots that look plenty good on my computer.

Jack

sensibill
sensibill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,401
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
3

theswede wrote:

What constitutes 'almost precisely the same' is going to be best left to the individual to decide.

Objective evaluation shows them to be almost precisely the same in actual performance. The only differences are in processing choice in camera, the amount of information in the images is the same. DxO shows this, as do independent tests.

This is a false claim.



Anyone claiming there is substantial difference in information in a low light photo from an A57 and A65 is in opposition to objective measurement data. The sensors perform almost identical, as expected from sensors in the same generation.

False statement. See above.

DPR is useless for this comparison. No, scratch that, worse than useless

False, hyperbolic statement.

But ultimately the best way to determine whether a camera can do what one wants is to find photos on the 'net where someone has done what one wants to do. If they are good, then the camera can be used to produce them.

This is applicable to almost any camera above a basic compact.

That's fairly good advice, but again, OOC images will be pretty bad (in different ways) no matter the camera. The A57 loses shadow detail and the A65 shows chroma noise - different ways of showing the information loss from low light.

The A57 does not 'lose shadow detail'. The A57 images have less chroma noise. Period.

But taking photos with both and trying to make them look as good as possible is a good way of finding if the camera will match a workflow one is comfortable with.

Any camera will 'match a workflow' because you're dealing with the same (RAW) format. It's whether the BASELINE IMAGE QUALITY MATCHES THE NEEDS OF THE INDIVIDUAL.

In short, don't listen to claims and opinions on the forum. Go see for yourself. Ignore people that claim this or that test is irrelevant, or how to 'interpret' the data to favor one model when your eyes tell you something different.



 sensibill's gear list:sensibill's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Sony a7 II
craig66 Senior Member • Posts: 1,402
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
3

A65 has GPS tagging that might in some cases be useful for wildlife.

 craig66's gear list:craig66's gear list
Sony a77 II Sony DT 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 SAM Tamron SP AF 200-500mm F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS Macro HSM Sigma 500mm F4.5 EX DG HSM +10 more
philbot Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
2

sensibill wrote:

Any camera will 'match a workflow' because you're dealing with the same (RAW) format. It's whether the BASELINE IMAGE QUALITY MATCHES THE NEEDS OF THE INDIVIDUAL.

In short, don't listen to claims and opinions on the forum. Go see for yourself. Ignore people that claim this or that test is irrelevant, or how to 'interpret' the data to favor one model when your eyes tell you something different.

I also think those burying their heads in the sand should also be ignored..

The fact is, there is much inconsistent data around, nothing should be taken as absolute without establishing a level of validity..

e.g.


DPreview say this about ACR..

"Here we look at the RAW files processed through Adobe Camera Raw (in this case version 7.2). Images are brightness matched and processed with all noise reduction options set to zero. Adobe does a degree of noise reduction even when the user-controlled NR is turned off.

The amount of NR applied 'under the hood' is not high, but it does vary by camera (Adobe is attempting to normalize output across different sensors), so inevitably we are still looking at a balance of noise and noise reduction, rather than pure noise levels"

Relying on no NR in ACR as being absolute is clearly a falsehood.


Then you have the fact DPReview say this about the A65 (They didn't even bother measuring DR on the A65..)

"Please note that the sample images on this page have been taken from the Sony SLT-A77 review as the image quality and features are identical on the SLT-A65."

But DxO think the A77 is better then the A57..

Quite inconsistent.. (There are some obvious reasons for the differences, I'm just saying don't take things at face value ).


Then you have the inconsistency of exposure with DPReview samples.. just check the EXIF, and in this case, A57/A65, only at ISO3200 do you find they where given the same exposure.. every other ISO, the A57 is given 25% more light..


You are right, people should use their own eyes (and head) when looking at the data..

The problem is, it'll make your head hurt, because all the face value data you find either has a large dollop of inconsistency to it (so who do you believe?) or it's easily misinterpreted..

e.g. if we take ISO6400 for these cameras and stick to DPReview, The A57 has

- 25% more light

- Seemingly much less noise in it's RAW files

YET, if you believe DPReview (and many others) that ACR isn't a level playing field, you can simply tweak the A65's NR level to match the A57's base NR level and see what image detail is left..

This is using well below the 'default' ACR values for Chroma NR on the A65 image.. and considering it's exif shows 25% less shutter duration was given to the A65, this is all the difference it makes..

You can clean these up further and they just look closer and closer in all aspects of detail..


But, I would still recommend the A57 for higher ISO over the A65 for most people just for the fact that the A57 wants to expose for longer by default (low ISO gains, as show in DxO and DPReview) means that it'll always try to gather more light for you.. leading to less chance of noise in the first place.. it might mean it always wants to select 25% longer shutter speeds, or larger apertures, but for reliably getting the least noise, it saves you the bother..

I'd only recommend the A65 if you understood that it's lower ISO gains mean it'll tend to want to meter less then other camera's, and that maximising it's resolution advantage lower down the ISO scale requires extra effort too.. If you know that, and accept that, then there is every reason to get the A65..

sensibill
sensibill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,401
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
3

philbot wrote:

sensibill wrote:

Any camera will 'match a workflow' because you're dealing with the same (RAW) format. It's whether the BASELINE IMAGE QUALITY MATCHES THE NEEDS OF THE INDIVIDUAL.

You are right, people should use their own eyes (and head) when looking at the data..

The problem is, it'll make your head hurt, because all the face value data you find either has a large dollop of inconsistency to it (so who do you believe?) or it's easily misinterpreted..

What makes MY head hurt are the extraordinary lengths to which self-appointed defenders of the A65/77 go to try to undermine existing tests, personal experience and hard visual proof while providing your own custom-tailored interpretation where there's no difference or even a 'detail advantage' for the A65/77 when pixel normalized.

Slight differences in exposure do not cause significant differences in chroma noise or give a scene a decided purple cast. What we are seeing here is not because ACR is interpreting data 'inconsistently', or due to wildly varied studio lighting, a 1/200sec difference in exposure, the A57 applying NR, attack by giant atomic insects, planetary alignment or any other reason other than the simple fact that the A65/77 makes more noise at high ISO.



Same ACR, same non-NR, non-sharpened export resampled to 16MP and exported JPEG baseline max quality.

 sensibill's gear list:sensibill's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Sony a7 II
philbot Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
4

sensibill wrote:

other than the simple fact that the A65/77 makes more noise at high ISO.

Yeah, but as shown, the same detail within the noise..



Same ACR, same non-NR, non-sharpened export resampled to 16MP and exported JPEG baseline max quality.

Did you miss what even DPReview admit about ACR?

"Here we look at the RAW files processed through Adobe Camera Raw (in this case version 7.2). Images are brightness matched and processed with all noise reduction options set to zero. Adobe does a degree of noise reduction even when the user-controlled NR is turned off.

The amount of NR applied 'under the hood' is not high, but it does vary by camera (Adobe is attempting to normalize output across different sensors), so inevitably we are still looking at a balance of noise and noise reduction, rather than pure noise levels"

sensibill
sensibill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,401
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
3

What you are showing is how you can't let this issue go. Respectfully, I'm not spending more time on this today, or in this thread (already sufficiently hijacked although OP had made their choice).

I'll leave you with your own words from 5 months ago. Maybe you can argue with yourself:

You have to remember that the A57 has larger pixel sites, so on every theoretical level it is always going to be slightly advantaged even when we resize for comparison at high ISO's.

My take is they are fairly close, but the nod has to go with the A57, but it seems very small and you have to factor in low ISO 24 vs 16MP as the upside to that..

 sensibill's gear list:sensibill's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Sony a7 II
philbot Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
3

sensibill wrote:

What you are showing is how you can't let this issue go. Respectfully, I'm not spending more time on this today, or in this thread (already sufficiently hijacked although OP had made their choice).

I'll leave you with your own words from 5 months ago. Maybe you can argue with yourself:

You have to remember that the A57 has larger pixel sites, so on every theoretical level it is always going to be slightly advantaged even when we resize for comparison at high ISO's.

My take is they are fairly close, but the nod has to go with the A57, but it seems very small and you have to factor in low ISO 24 vs 16MP as the upside to that..

LOL, that was exactly the time I then was pointed at the theory and science behind it.. and guess what, I changed my mind..

Remember, I had my A77 at that time as well, but had the belief the A57 was superior..


Anyway, here's the ISO3200 comparisons.

Using LR4.2 (Same ACR raw converter I believe?)

A57 is with all NR off.. 
A65 is with only a tiny amount of Chroma NR (half of default Chroma NR value).

(No sharpening or luminance NR on either, A57 upscaled to 24MP, black levels matched for shadow comparison)

Again, with different camera RAW preconditioning and even different ACR pre-conditioning, this is only to show the A65 has what I'd class as identical information in the image..

I think it's obvious that somewhere in the 'chain' the A65 is not given the same RAW preconditioning as the A57, that doesn't mean it has less information, because clearly if you lift the noise veil, it easily equals the information contained within the A57's RAW file (or so close even pixel peepers would struggle..)

If you apply default Chroma to each, the differences are just as close..

This isn't hijacking the thread, it's very pertinent information, if you want to know when compared apples to apples which has the most information you can use for your images, the answer is both are too close to call..

As I said, I think a more fundamental factor is the ISO gain difference, I think practically that would have more of a profound effect at higher ISOs where the A57's propensity to want to meter 25% more light for the same scene is going to require less thought.

theswede
theswede Veteran Member • Posts: 4,009
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
2

Objective evaluation shows them to be almost precisely the same in actual performance. The only differences are in processing choice in camera, the amount of information in the images is the same. DxO shows this, as do independent tests.

This is a false claim.

Thank you for your graph and screenshots supporting my point. The sensors are almost precisely the same in actual performance, as expected from sensors of the same generation, so the choice comes down to personal preference of default treatment of data and handling.

DPR is useless for this comparison. No, scratch that, worse than useless

False, hyperbolic statement.

Not in the least. DPR can't even keep focus points consistent, much less amount of light entering the camera, so their "comparisons" are a useless pile of junk.

That's not hyperbole. That's how it is. The hyperbole starts after that, when explaining how much time has been wasted arguing over differences which are down to uncontrolled variables and not cameras.

But ultimately the best way to determine whether a camera can do what one wants is to find photos on the 'net where someone has done what one wants to do. If they are good, then the camera can be used to produce them.

This is applicable to almost any camera above a basic compact.

Indeed. Thanks for the support.

The A57 does not 'lose shadow detail'. The A57 images have less chroma noise. Period.

The A57 has less chroma noise and less shadow detail. The amount of information in the images is almost exactly equal. Even DPR shows this, although I wouldn't trust that comparison for anything at all.

But taking photos with both and trying to make them look as good as possible is a good way of finding if the camera will match a workflow one is comfortable with.

Any camera will 'match a workflow' because you're dealing with the same (RAW) format.

Trivially incorrect, as evidenced by the differences between A65 and A57 RAW images. The in camera processing is vastly different meaning the images require different workflows to reach optimal quality.

It's whether the BASELINE IMAGE QUALITY MATCHES THE NEEDS OF THE INDIVIDUAL.

And since baseline image quality is pretty much equal that's a non-issue.

In short, don't listen to claims and opinions on the forum. Go see for yourself. Ignore people that claim this or that test is irrelevant, or how to 'interpret' the data to favor one model when your eyes tell you something different.

Indeed. Ignore subjective evaluations of unprocessed images from sources with multiple uncontrolled variables. That is the best advice possible. Unfortunately that rules out all subjective evaluation of OOC images, but that's a feature, not a bug. The end result is what matters, not the way there.

Jesper

 theswede's gear list:theswede's gear list
Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D Sony SLT-A37 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a7 Sony a5000 +7 more
theswede
theswede Veteran Member • Posts: 4,009
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?

sensibill wrote:

Same ACR, same non-NR, non-sharpened export resampled to 16MP and exported JPEG baseline max quality.

How do you know the same ACR algorithm is used? Have you audited the source code? ACR uses different algorithms, different defaults and different processing settings for pretty much every camera - by necessity since the RAW files are very different - and there is no explicit attempt to create comparable conversions between cameras.

Indeed, it would be futile to try to make comparable default conversions since sensors do not respond linearly to changes in circumstance. Everything from color separation, noise reduction (yes, ALL sensor arrays employ noise reduction in consumer cameras, no exceptions), gain and linearity in read-out varies, so there is no baseline to start from.

There are, again, too many uncontrolled variables to draw any kind of conclusion about what is actually going on.

Jesper

 theswede's gear list:theswede's gear list
Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D Sony SLT-A37 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a7 Sony a5000 +7 more
sensibill
sensibill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,401
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
2

theswede wrote:

Objective evaluation shows them to be almost precisely the same in actual performance. The only differences are in processing choice in camera, the amount of information in the images is the same. DxO shows this, as do independent tests.

This is a false claim.

Thank you for your graph and screenshots supporting my point. The sensors are almost precisely the same in actual performance, as expected from sensors of the same generation, so the choice comes down to personal preference of default treatment of data and handling.

No, they aren't. No, the screen shots do not support your point (which has been that there is no difference). There's a difference, is my point, and that people should make up their own minds, not to have it made for by 24MP shrill contingent shouting down anyone saying the 16MP is cleaner at high ISO.

DPR is useless for this comparison. No, scratch that, worse than useless

False, hyperbolic statement.

Not in the least. DPR can't even keep focus points consistent, much less amount of light entering the camera, so their "comparisons" are a useless pile of junk.

Your opinion might be classified as such.

That's not hyperbole. That's how it is. The hyperbole starts after that, when explaining how much time has been wasted arguing over differences which are down to uncontrolled variables and not cameras.

Arrogance.

But ultimately the best way to determine whether a camera can do what one wants is to find photos on the 'net where someone has done what one wants to do. If they are good, then the camera can be used to produce them.

This is applicable to almost any camera above a basic compact.

Indeed. Thanks for the support.

Hilarious. So we should all have first gen 1" or 4/3 cameras because all sensor performance is irrelevant. Why ever upgrade? Why bother with ANY such tests? Why do you participate at DPR if they're so vile?

The A57 does not 'lose shadow detail'. The A57 images have less chroma noise. Period.

The A57 has less chroma noise and less shadow detail. The amount of information in the images is almost exactly equal. Even DPR shows this, although I wouldn't trust that comparison for anything at all.

You have not and cannot prove the A57 has less shadow detail at normalized resolution. Because it's a falsehood, like much else you've been posting on this subject for months (years?).

But taking photos with both and trying to make them look as good as possible is a good way of finding if the camera will match a workflow one is comfortable with.

Any camera will 'match a workflow' because you're dealing with the same (RAW) format.

Trivially incorrect, as evidenced by the differences between A65 and A57 RAW images. The in camera processing is vastly different meaning the images require different workflows to reach optimal quality.

Trivially incorrect is a good term to categorize 24MP apologists denying the earth is round the 16MP outperforms it at normalized high ISO

It's whether the BASELINE IMAGE QUALITY MATCHES THE NEEDS OF THE INDIVIDUAL.

And since baseline image quality is pretty much equal that's a non-issue.

False, again. Proven out by DxO, DPR, my own findings and even those of Philco, who has since drunk your kool-aid and has decided the world is flat the 24MP gives up no noise performance to the 16MP at ISO 1600 and above.

In short, don't listen to claims and opinions on the forum. Go see for yourself. Ignore people that claim this or that test is irrelevant, or how to 'interpret' the data to favor one model when your eyes tell you something different.

Indeed. Ignore subjective evaluations of unprocessed images from sources with multiple uncontrolled variables.

Such as Phil's. And to say nothing of individual opinions summarily dismissing entire website methodology (DPR) and selectively hand picking only the results from other sites they agree with (like DxO).

 sensibill's gear list:sensibill's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Sony a7 II
sensibill
sensibill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,401
Re: A57 or A65 for lowlight wildlife?
2

theswede wrote:

sensibill wrote:

Same ACR, same non-NR, non-sharpened export resampled to 16MP and exported JPEG baseline max quality.

How do you know the same ACR algorithm is used? Have you audited the source code? ACR uses different algorithms, different defaults and different processing settings for pretty much every camera - by necessity since the RAW files are very different - and there is no explicit attempt to create comparable conversions between cameras.

I said same ACR, not same internal algorithms. Not that you have presented any data on how A65 ACR conversions differ to account for mystifyingly worse chroma noise performance than A57. It must be a conspiracy.

Indeed, it would be futile to try to make comparable default conversions since sensors do not respond linearly to changes in circumstance. Everything from color separation, noise reduction (yes, ALL sensor arrays employ noise reduction in consumer cameras, no exceptions), gain and linearity in read-out varies, so there is no baseline to start from.

How exactly does a sensor array employ noise reduction prior to the imaging pipeline?

So no baseline exists, so you can't say the A65 doesn't produce equal results in any form, and no sensor comparative evaulation can exist. According to your logic.

There are, again, too many uncontrolled variables to draw any kind of conclusion about what is actually going on.

And we need to know what exactly is going on in order to say Camera A has cleaner high ISO than Camera B why?

Again, your view is, that either A65 has equal noise performance at high ISO normalized or all such comparative efforts are void in the absence of precisely identical pipelines and associated algorithms both in camera and out. Which is it? Not that it matters.

The rest of us will suffer with flawed comparisons that show us performance baselines that either exist or not, but if they do, they don't matter, according to you. This will be great news to owners of first gen 12MP Micro 4/3 cameras when they learn that the Olympus OM-D and GH3 have nothing (relevant) on them in terms of IQ. Indeed, image quality as a concept is moot.

All according to you.

 sensibill's gear list:sensibill's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Sony a7 II
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads