Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?

Started May 21, 2014 | Questions
- Ken - Contributing Member • Posts: 580
Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?

Another thread on this forum was started about banding occurring in scenes that are strongly backlit. I went out and did some tests and discovered that in strong backlit situations horizontal banding occurs in the deep shadow areas near the light source, in this case the sun shining through tree limbs. The other thread had some useful discussion, but it seemed that some of the feedback was from people who may not own the A6000. The purpose of this thread is to get an idea if this phenomena occurs on all A6000 or only some.

The problem is easy to overlook unless you do a test like I have done, photographing directly into the sun shining through tree limbs, or some other subject. Viewing the images at 100%, I did not notice it at first. I only really noticed it when I enlarged the image to 200%. The crop below is scaled up to 200%. The banding can also be made more visible by boosting the Exposure or Shadow controls in Lightroom. I shot several backlighted scenes and the phenomena varies in how easy it is to see the horizontal green bands.

The banding was present whether the electronic first curtain shutter was enabled or disable.So this makes no difference.

I am debating whether this would ever actual present a problem in large photographic prints since it is barely perceptible at 100% and only in these types of back lit situations. I do shoot a lot of pictures where the sun is part of the composition, so I am pondering my next course of action. The best place to start is to determine whether or not this is normal or not for the A6000? Experience with other cameras would be interesting to note, but that will not answer this fundamental question. That is why I am asking A6000 users to test their cameras themselves and report what they find.

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Ken
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Original Full Frame

Cropped portion of Full Frame

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smallLebowski Contributing Member • Posts: 996
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?

- Ken - wrote:

Another thread on this forum was started about banding occurring in scenes that are strongly backlit. I went out and did some tests and discovered that in strong backlit situations horizontal banding occurs in the deep shadow areas near the light source, in this case the sun shining through tree limbs. The other thread had some useful discussion, but it seemed that some of the feedback was from people who may not own the A6000. The purpose of this thread is to get an idea if this phenomena occurs on all A6000 or only some.

The problem is easy to overlook unless you do a test like I have done, photographing directly into the sun shining through tree limbs, or some other subject. Viewing the images at 100%, I did not notice it at first. I only really noticed it when I enlarged the image to 200%. The crop below is scaled up to 200%. The banding can also be made more visible by boosting the Exposure or Shadow controls in Lightroom. I shot several backlighted scenes and the phenomena varies in how easy it is to see the horizontal green bands.

The banding was present whether the electronic first curtain shutter was enabled or disable.So this makes no difference.

I am debating whether this would ever actual present a problem in large photographic prints since it is barely perceptible at 100% and only in these types of back lit situations. I do shoot a lot of pictures where the sun is part of the composition, so I am pondering my next course of action. The best place to start is to determine whether or not this is normal or not for the A6000? Experience with other cameras would be interesting to note, but that will not answer this fundamental question. That is why I am asking A6000 users to test their cameras themselves and report what they find.

So this banding is present at ISO100 even? Hmm.... Could it be SS issue? Is it present at 1/60 for example? And is it present at OOC JPEG or RAW?

OP - Ken - Contributing Member • Posts: 580
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?

Good questions. Forgot to mention that the original file is RAW and the conversion was made in Lightroom. I don't think it is a shutter speed (SS) issue, since the banding occurred, though not as pronounced, earlier in the morning (about 3 hours after sunrise) when I photographed the same test using the 19mm Sigma and the shutter speeds were around 1/200 of a second, considerably slower than the shutter speed used in the test I posted, which was photographed with the mid day sun shining through the trees. The banding is more pronounced in the crop I posted, but this may be because the mid day sun is brighter than the morning sun, which is why the shutter speed was so fast (I was shooting in aperture priority mode).

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creaDVty
creaDVty Senior Member • Posts: 1,423
Raw or JPEG? With HSS flash or not?

Was the shot in raw or in JPEG? If raw, what was your converter? I have tried adjusting my exposure by up to +5EV (just to test) and I didn't notice any banding on normal shots. (I use raw+jpeg, and I use Lightroom 5.)

The only time I saw banding is when I used HSS with electronic first curtain shutter, and I used a shutter speed of 1/2000 or higher. Then I saw some banding which got worse the higher my shutter speed was above 1/2000.  But if EFCS is deactivated, there's no banding even with HSS, at any shutter speed.

Edit: here is a sample backlit shot (grain added for effect). When I get home, I'll boost the exposure to see if there's banding in shadow areas.

Best regards,

Mic

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OP - Ken - Contributing Member • Posts: 580
Re: Raw or JPEG? With HSS flash or not?

Mic, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The tests were done in RAW and converted in Lightroom. I haven not done any tests with high speed synch flash.

I doubt you will see the banding effect in the photo of the little girl, the back lighting needs to be very strong with the sun in the frame, almost like a silhouette. In my tests the banding only appears in the deep shadow of the bark near the sun. In other areas of the frame including shadow areas the banding does not appear.

Several other back lit photos that were taken in the morning did not show the banding even though the sun was in the frame and in the morning shots that did show banding, the banding was not as pronounced as the mid day shots. So I think the stronger the contrast between the sun and the silhouetted area, the more pronounced the banding will be, and in my tests it only appears in the deep shadow areas that are close to the sun. In my test crop I have outlined the banding area, which is mainly where it is visible, so if you compare this cropped section to the whole photo, you will see that it is in a very small area close to the sun.

I see no evidence of banding in any of the other test photos I have taken during the past several weeks. This is a phenomena specific to the shooting conditions I have outlined above.

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Ken
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pixelpushing
pixelpushing Veteran Member • Posts: 3,230
I see it in both

I can see the effect in RAW and JPEG. LR will reduce the greenish tinge to the lines with its processing, but that's about it. I can replicate this phenomenon with relative ease - anything with the sun or very bright source and shadows. Not pitch black shadows, but haze especially brings this effect out, such as late in the day sun.

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Joachim Wulfers
Joachim Wulfers Veteran Member • Posts: 3,614
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?

I took these two photos recently. I don't see any banding here.

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OP - Ken - Contributing Member • Posts: 580
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?

Joachim, thanks for posting the two images. It is difficult to tell whether any banding is present in either image because as far as I can tell the effect is only seen when viewing the original file size image at 100% or 200%. From my observations I would not expect to see banding in your first photo, since the sun appears diffused by the clouds, also possibly not in the second one since clouds are not so dark. Even though the cloud looks dark in the second photo, they appear to be darkened because the exposure was lowered because of the bright sun. We would need to be able to view the original in order to look at it at 100%-200% in order to see the banding if any was present.

My experience the banding appears in the darker opaque areas, the tree trunk and limbs, but no banding shows in the tree leaves, even though they are relatively dark, but not as dark/opaque as the trunk and limbs.

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OP - Ken - Contributing Member • Posts: 580
Re: I see it in both
1

I shared my photo illustrating the banding with a Sony technical support representative yesterday. After answering a few questions, they said that a product specialist would contact me within 2 days about the issue. When I hear what they have to say, I will post their response. In the mean time I am going to shoot a few more tests.

Hopefully more people with the A6000 will do some tests and post their full resolution samples of back lit high contrast scenes.

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Ken
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kaku Contributing Member • Posts: 681
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?
1

I wouldn't be surprised if someone pops up and tells you it's your problem and not the cameras -- because your photo is "underexposed" or your subject (the tree/branches) are severely underexposed. =]

Juhaz Contributing Member • Posts: 617
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?

Remember to test with EFC off as well if you wish to thoroughly investigate this, as that was already determined as possible reason in the other thread.

I don't see any.

These are all 100%. The sun looks small in the first one because of extreme wide angle, it's with the 8mm fisheye.

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zackiedawg
zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 32,131
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?
8

kaku wrote:

I wouldn't be surprised if someone pops up and tells you it's your problem and not the cameras -- because your photo is "underexposed" or your subject (the tree/branches) are severely underexposed. =]

You should be surprised if it happens, because so far every person who politely and helpfully offered their observations to those OTHER threads that clearly WERE related to underexposure chroma noise has been very clear that the green stripes are a sensor issue and completely different from the other red-green dots, Christmas lights, magenta cast, etc. complaints.

Rather than try to belittle people with experience who offer help when asked for help, you might try taking what they say at face value, and not try to put words in their mouths - that's how trolls end up infecting forums weeks from now with blanket statements like 'all the A6000 defender fanboys said the green stripes were from underexposure!  ha ha!', which of course has not been the case from the outset.  But no one goes back to the original threads a month from now to see the facts - they just go with whatever they see on the internet, now, today, and take it as fact.

To make it perfectly clear: red and green blotches appear to many, myself included, to be chroma blotch noise from high ISO and underexposure/poor light and contrast.  Green stripes in the photo near shadow areas next to highlights appears to be a sensor issue.  The only question we're having now is whether it's a sensor issue for every A6000 out there using this sensor, or something that has occurred to some or a batch of sensors.

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Tuloom Veteran Member • Posts: 3,384
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?
3

kaku wrote:

I wouldn't be surprised if someone pops up and tells you it's your problem and not the cameras -- because your photo is "underexposed" or your subject (the tree/branches) are severely underexposed. =]

Those who have owned different systems know what chroma noise looks like, don't give new names to it like "christmas trees" and have the acuity to understand where and when high ISO can wreak havoc in a photo. On occasion, some of the more intelligent and curious OP's are willing to listen and learn.

The problem here is not chroma noise or under exposure.

JohnK Veteran Member • Posts: 7,062
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?
4

From instructions for a Baby Brownie Special camera, a good general rule.

Hi Ken, it seems to me that you are trying to break your camera, shooting in a situation that experienced photographers would avoid. Thing is, IMO, no camera will perform well shooting into the light. Results will be disappointing for any number of reasons, flare, banding, ghosting, internal reflections, chromatic aberration, you name it. This is not news. Who would want to look at or buy such photos? Photography is partly about working within limitations, so now you've found one. Accept it, use the equipment to its best advantage. It does not matter how great the subject of a photo is if the photo itself is spoiled by poor technique.

IOW, I don't think there's anything wrong with your camera, I'm sure my a6000 would do something similar if I pointed it at the sun, but I'm not going to do that because I'm pretty sure nothing good would come of it.

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OP - Ken - Contributing Member • Posts: 580
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?

Yes Justin, that is the question. Is banding under these high contrast back lit situations an issue with all A6000 sensors or only a particular batch. I shared the photo illustrating the banding with Sony and they said they will have a product specialist contact me today or tomorrow. I will post what they have to say.

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zink
zink Contributing Member • Posts: 582
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?
1

JohnK wrote:

From instructions for a Baby Brownie Special camera, a good general rule.

Hi Ken, it seems to me that you are trying to break your camera, shooting in a situation that experienced photographers would avoid. Thing is, IMO, no camera will perform well shooting into the light. Results will be disappointing for any number of reasons, flare, banding, ghosting, internal reflections, chromatic aberration, you name it. This is not news. Who would want to look at or buy such photos? Photography is partly about working within limitations, so now you've found one. Accept it, use the equipment to its best advantage. It does not matter how great the subject of a photo is if the photo itself is spoiled by poor technique.

IOW, I don't think there's anything wrong with your camera, I'm sure my a6000 would do something similar if I pointed it at the sun, but I'm not going to do that because I'm pretty sure nothing good would come of it.

Some people like the sun in the frame. I also like it. With a good lens and the right exposure, it should not be a problem.

@ -Ken-

Could you share the RAW file?

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OP - Ken - Contributing Member • Posts: 580
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?
1

JohnK wrote:

From instructions for a Baby Brownie Special camera, a good general rule.

Hi Ken, it seems to me that you are trying to break your camera, shooting in a situation that experienced photographers would avoid. Thing is, IMO, no camera will perform well shooting into the light. Results will be disappointing for any number of reasons, flare, banding, ghosting, internal reflections, chromatic aberration, you name it. This is not news. Who would want to look at or buy such photos? Photography is partly about working within limitations, so now you've found one. Accept it, use the equipment to its best advantage. It does not matter how great the subject of a photo is if the photo itself is spoiled by poor technique.

IOW, I don't think there's anything wrong with your camera, I'm sure my a6000 would do something similar if I pointed it at the sun, but I'm not going to do that because I'm pretty sure nothing good would come of it.

John, Thanks for your thoughts

In this case I read a thread describing the banding situation, which I had not seen in any of my A6000 photos. I wanted to test out the camera and see if I could replicate the results. I found that I could replicate the results under the extreme conditions captured in the photo I posted. I am not concerned about flare, chromatic aberration, image noise etc., these are separate issues. For a number of years I have used a full frame DSLR, and have never encountered this issue. I feel confident it is a sensor issue, my question is whether it exists in all of the A6000 or just particular batch of these cameras.

When I teach photography, I tell people to throw out the Baby Brownie instruction manual, and experiment with back lighting. I regularly include the sun in my composition, and have sold a number of these types of prints. The photo I posted is an extreme situation, but since I get paid to take landscape photographs, I feel it is important I understand the limitations of my equipment and whether or not it is working properly.

I like the A6000 and want to be able to use it as a light weight kit when hiking and doing landscape work. If the banding issue is unique to a batch of these cameras, then I will need to replace mine. If the banding is something all of these cameras have, then I will live with it, and hope that a firmware update will correct the problem. I am hopeful that in many back lit situations, the banding will not be present, but I don't like surprises. So I want to figure out what is going on with the sensor before putting my faith in its photographic capabilities..

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OP - Ken - Contributing Member • Posts: 580
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?
1

Thanks for taking the time to post your photos. Is it possible to post full resolution files? The banding is not visible unless viewed at least 100% and often 200%.

I did test EFC (electronic first curtain shutter) on and off and the banding is present in either case.

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pixelpushing
pixelpushing Veteran Member • Posts: 3,230
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?

kaku wrote:

I wouldn't be surprised if someone pops up and tells you it's your problem and not the cameras -- because your photo is "underexposed" or your subject (the tree/branches) are severely underexposed. =]

My photos that exhibited this issue were not underexposed. Deep shadows are part of a high contrast 'sunburst' or 'sun haze glow' style of image. There's no precisely right or wrong way to expose it, really.

I was able to demonstrate these lines in the lightly shaded hazy glow areas of my image without adjusting exposure at all.

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pixelpushing
pixelpushing Veteran Member • Posts: 3,230
Re: Do you have A6000 Banding with Back lighted Subjects?

Tuloom wrote:

kaku wrote:

I wouldn't be surprised if someone pops up and tells you it's your problem and not the cameras -- because your photo is "underexposed" or your subject (the tree/branches) are severely underexposed. =]

Those who have owned different systems know what chroma noise looks like, don't give new names to it like "christmas trees" and have the acuity to understand where and when high ISO can wreak havoc in a photo. On occasion, some of the more intelligent and curious OP's are willing to listen and learn.

The problem here is not chroma noise or under exposure.

I don't feel the other thread's red spots are simple chroma noise, either. I know from chroma globs and color congestion areas, and those are more like hot pixels (that don't stay fixed in place from one picture to the next), and are in loosely grouped areas.

A moot point either way, as I'm seeking to either get the local retailer to take it back (a bit past the return date but you never know) or sending it back to Sony for replacement and then selling it. The A6000 is potentially a great camera, but I think this initial run has some issues. I also suspect that the green line thing is more widespread that some folks think, but that's just IMO.

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