Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO

Started Nov 2, 2012 | Discussions
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Amateur Sony Shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 5,417
Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO
6

It's a well known secrete that A900 can handle decent high ISO noise (up to 3200) if you shoot RAW. One of the biggest improvement A99 has over A900 is the better noise handling. Just how much better? I did some unscientific test and to my eyes, it's about 1-1.5 stop better. It might not sound much but in real life that means you can more than double shutter speed, extremely useful for long lens users. Here are the test images and various 100% crop (straight from RAW without any NR). Identical setting for both cameras, full manual exposure.

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Sony Alpha a99
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Bart7D
Bart7D Veteran Member • Posts: 4,277
Re: Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO

For what I see in these pictures the noise is handled better on the A99, but the fine detail and contrast is better in the A900 series.

Thanks for posting your test images here!

Bart

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Marco Cinnirella
Marco Cinnirella Veteran Member • Posts: 5,273
Re: Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO

Bart7D wrote:

For what I see in these pictures the noise is handled better on the A99, but the fine detail and contrast is better in the A900 series.

Thanks for posting your test images here!

Bart

I agree - looks like more/stronger on-chip NR going on with the a99?

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Amateur Sony Shooter OP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,417
Re: Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO

I don't think A99 has NR applied to RAW files (unlike Pentax). Also the grains are finer, less colour noise too.

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Marco Cinnirella
Marco Cinnirella Veteran Member • Posts: 5,273
Re: Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO

Amateur Sony Shooter wrote:

I don't think A99 has NR applied to RAW files (unlike Pentax). Also the grains are finer, less colour noise too.

I thought almost all current CMOS sensors have some on-chip NR applied to raw but I am willing to stan corrected if I am wrong...

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philbot Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Re: Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO

The A900's could probably look a bit better if you worked on the contrast of the noise,

But clearly, even if you look at the details, it's about a Stop difference in some of the underlying detail.

Considering the SLT light loss, that's quite impressive.

Would you be able to upload say the A900 ISO6400 RAW? I'd like to see if the noise profile could be subdued without losing much detail..?

Ralf B
Ralf B Veteran Member • Posts: 7,641
That is one fine Whisky...

... in your selection of test targets!

Thanks for sharing this comparison, as an a900 owner this is quite interesting.
But that whisky - wow:

Ardbeg Supernova

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Cheers,
Ralf
www.ralfralph.smugmug.com

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newday Regular Member • Posts: 173
Re: That is one fine Whisky...

Thank you for sharing these. I have loads of Sony/Minolta gear, but I am seriously considering to get a Nikon(600 or 800) because I am so tired of the bad high ISO performance.

The A99 looks interesting, I really like the swivel screen for video and studio work. But I need a camera with good high ISO performance.

The other thing missing is a built in Intervalometer for time-lapse. But maybe they could add this with a software update.

Bart7D
Bart7D Veteran Member • Posts: 4,277
Re: That is one fine Whisky...

Try to stay on topic, Ralf! Keep clear, see clear... 

(The Ardbeg is out of stock anyway...)

Bart

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Amateur Sony Shooter OP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,417
Re: Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO

philbot wrote:

Would you be able to upload say the A900 ISO6400 RAW? I'd like to see if the noise profile could be subdued without losing much detail..?

I don't know how to upload RAW file to DPR gallery. These are crops are considered "RAW" quality (strait RAW to jpeg conversion, no modification, no NR).

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Amateur Sony Shooter OP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,417
Re: That is one fine Whisky...

I would say A99 is very similar to D600 interms of noise handling. There are two church interior RAW image posted online with ISO 6400 from both cameras, I can easily make them look the same.

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,992
Re: Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO
1

Looks interesting.

Any chance we could see the RAW files?

digitalshooter
digitalshooter Forum Pro • Posts: 19,604
Some one go shooot real life high ISo like a school play or football (nt)
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Thanks,
Digitalshooter
PS: all posts are just my opinion!

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Amateur Sony Shooter OP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,417
Re: That is one fine Whisky...

Bart7D wrote:

Try to stay on topic, Ralf! Keep clear, see clear...

(The Ardbeg is out of stock anyway...)

Bart

Off topic: actually you can get both 1999 and 2000 release from London Whisky Exchange. 1999 release is suppose to be better.

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remylebeau
remylebeau Regular Member • Posts: 293
Re: Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO
1

Nice comparisons thanks for the doing the testing.

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Amateur Sony Shooter OP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,417
Re: Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO

johnbee wrote:

Looks interesting.

Any chance we could see the RAW files?

If I can figure out how to upload RAW file to DPR I would. These crops are pretty much as "authentic" as RAW since all I did was strait conversion no NR or any other modification.

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philbot Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Re: Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO

Amateur Sony Shooter wrote:

johnbee wrote:

Looks interesting.

Any chance we could see the RAW files?

If I can figure out how to upload RAW file to DPR I would. These crops are pretty much as "authentic" as RAW since all I did was strait conversion no NR or any other modification.

Yeah, probably too much hassle..  It's just I've found the 'straight' conversions can differ quite a bit between camera's, it looks like the sharpness is way higher or something is causing much higher contrast noise, I'm sure it could be reduced.

But it's not worth the hassle, the detail under the noise is clearly less, and that's the important thing here.. I'm still shocked at the leap in performance Sony have made with their FF sensor.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,992
Re: Day 2: A99 vs A900 - high ISO
1

Amateur Sony Shooter wrote:

johnbee wrote:

Looks interesting.

Any chance we could see the RAW files?

If I can figure out how to upload RAW file to DPR I would. These crops are pretty much as "authentic" as RAW since all I did was strait conversion no NR or any other modification.

https://www.dropbox.com/

http://www.filedropper.com/

http://wikisend.com/

There is also the option of uploading the files to an FTP server if you are familiar with this.

That being said, there seem to be variances between the samples in terms of processing and shooting. ie, the A99 image seems soft or perhaps OOF. Which is not consistent with the comparison images on Imaging Resource. That being said, at this point, I'd say the results depend greatly on OOC NR and processing which makes it very hard to peer through and assess the overall IQ of each sensor.

tex Veteran Member • Posts: 6,872
Mmmmm, tasty whisky. A900 not too bad! /nt
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Amateur Sony Shooter OP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,417
Two action shots
1

Not super high ISO (only 1600) but still showing fine grain even after sharpening applied.

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