Sony 'striping': here's the fix
|Take a look at the PDAF stripes across the female model's face in this image (cropped from an original vertical shot). The bad news is that it looks terrible. The good news? There's a fix.|
It's known as 'PDAF striping' and it's not limited to a single camera, or even a single brand. It's likely due to light reflections off the metal masks of on-sensor phase-detect pixels. Masked pixels, as opposed to a split dual-pixel design that obviates the need for metal masks, is to the best of our knowledge a design choice: the approach enables high performance AF even during 10 to 20 fps bursts.1 The unfortunate side effect is the potential - albeit rare - for single pixel stripes in transitions from blown areas to darker ones. Depending on your set of lenses and the kind of photography you practice, you might never see this issue, but if you do it can be unpleasant and distracting. Particularly if you print large, or pixel peep.
The striping does seem to be limited to certain lenses: the Sony FE 85mm F1.8 is particularly prone to this issue
In our shooting with the a7 III, prominent examples of bright stripes tended to show up up in images that contained a significant amount of flare or backlit subjects. It seemed to mostly be an issue with shots taken with the FE 85 F1.8, when subjects were captured with the intent of deliberately inducing flare (we saw it in a couple 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM shots, but it wasn't offensive).
We investigated the issue further with the help of our very own knowledgable forum members, and are pleased to announce that as of today there is at least two fixes available.
See the results for yourself:
This particular fix is courtesy of Professor Hank Dietz, who is none other than the fellow who developed a fix for Sony compressed Raw artifacts. His tool is available here. For now, it only works on compressed Raw files, but it works with Raw files from any Sony camera exhibiting the issue. That's important, because this issue is not isolated to the a7 III by any means (though its predecessor the a7 II doesn't appear to have any issues). It occurs with the a7R II/III, a9, R100 V - i.e., most cameras with masked pixels for on-sensor phase-detect AF (and not just limited to Sony).
Higher resolution bodies are less problematic because a single pixel stripe is a smaller proportion of the image. The a7 III and a9 also have more phase-detection pixels than any other camera Sony has introduced, which makes the issue slightly more pronounced on these cameras.
Striping does appear to be isolated to certain lenses though: the Sony FE 85/1.8 is particularly prone to creating this issue, and we were easily able to induce striping even in modest backlit shots like the one above (zoom into 1:1 on the flare above the toddler's hat). However, we've had less luck recreating the striping with many other lenses like the 55/1.8, FE zooms, or the various 35mm primes we've tested. There doesn't appear to be much aperture dependence, based on Jim Kasson's analysis of our test shots.
You need not worry... just run problematic Raws through Prof. Hank Dietz's repair tool, and you'll get a Raw file largely devoid of any issues
What does all this ultimately mean? Well, if you shoot a lot of backlit subjects and love flare, don't worry: you don't have to steer clear of the a7 III or Sony mirrorless cameras. Instead, you may wish to steer clear of certain lenses like the 85mm F1.8 or 50mm F1.8. But even then, you need not worry too much: just run your problematic (compressed) Raws through Prof. Hank Dietz's repair tool, and you'll get a clean Raw file in return.
To take advantage of Professor Dietz' work, you simply drag-and-drop a compressed Sony Raw file into the web application, wait a few seconds, and download the resulting file (you'll want to add '.ARW' to the end for your Raw software to read it properly). And voila - almost every trace of the striping is removed. In extreme cases, you may see some remnants of striping, but out of the files we tested, this only happened once. Oh, and if you have any feedback, please PM Hank via his DPReview profile.
There's another fix independent of Hank's work. We've been in touch with one of the contributors - forum member pippo27 - for the open-source RawTherapee Raw converter, and he's integrated a fix in the Raw processing pipeline based on an understanding of the exact locations of the masked PDAF pixels.2 It's already available in development versions you can download here, and will be included in the next major release. There's even a Photoshop fix developed by DPR forum member Magnar W, if you're past the Raw development stage or have a problematic JPEG.
While we're still trying to nail down the root cause of these issues to help us predict when, where, and with what lens this will be an issue, rest assured that you needn't worry too much: the occurrence is rare, and when it appears, you'll likely have a (quick) workaround. We do hope though that Sony itself addresses the issue in-camera, especially as Prof. Dietz suggests it shouldn't even be too computationally burdensome.
1Both Sony and Canon executives have hinted to us the higher performance of the masked approach, and the computational burden of the dual-pixel approach, respectively.
2Thanks to extensive investigations led by Jim Kasson, Bill Claff and forum member Horshack.
|Colorful Boats by gongal|
from Fujifilm Challenge
|Physallis in a sun beam.. by baobob|
from It's a setup.
|Portal at second beach by Ferpect|
from Seven ways to shoot a landscape: Seascape
EIZO has released an updated version of its display calibration program ColorNavigator 7 that brings along new features and support.
An incredibly rare contact sheet from the last known photo shoot of Marilyn Monroe has appeared on eBay for $195,000.
After teasing it last autumn, DJI has announced the pricing and availability of the optional Multilink accessory for its Inspire 2 and Cendence controllers
The Live Planet VR System is an all-in-one package designed to simplify the process of creating, storing and sharing immersive video content on-demand with a high-powered 16-camera array at the center of the platform.
Samsung's latest image sensor offers a high pixel count in a tiny package.
Meike has released a budget 50mm lens for Canon and Nikon's full-frame mirrorless camera systems.
One of three lenses launched alongside the Nikon Z6 and Z7, on the face of it the Z 50mm F1.8 S might appear the most pedestrian of the group, but it might just be the niftiest fifty we've ever seen.
Panoram is a simple app that makes it easy to split up panoramas so it's easier to post on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat 'Stories.'
News results from Google might be missing a few images if a new EU Copyright Directive passes.
Professional commercial photographer Moe Lauchert shares an incredible gallery of film photographs he captured on Ilford HP5 with a Nikonos 5 while serving as a diver at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, Texas.
This week, Sony introduced its newest APS-C camera, the a6400. Of course, Chris and Jordan were on hand to take it for a spin and test out all the new features.
The Sony a6400 is, in many ways, just a refreshed a6300, but its overhauled AF system makes a big difference. We look at how it compares with its rivals in and beyond the E-mount system.
Glove and Boots take a humorous look into the history of photographs and how far technology has come since the days of caveman hand selfies.
We've been shooting with a beta version of the Sony a9's upcoming firmware 5.0. While there's much more analysis to come, we can say it makes for a dead simple AF tracking user experience. Take a look at some of our samples.
A statement following internal investigation by DJI alleges a number of employee were part of an internal corruption scandal that overcharged DJI for parts and materials.
Astrophotography fans will be treated to the sight a rare super blood wolf Moon this weekend, and lots of helpful people are offering advice on how best to photograph it.
Accessory maker K&F Concept is offering a range of adapters, allowing the use of non-Nikon as well as Nikon F lenses on the new Nikon Z mirrorless cameras.
Lens maker Tamron has confirmed that new firmware issued at the end of last year to make certain lenses compatible with Nikon’s Z7 camera will also work for owners of the Z6.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has captured a photo of Earth that's being compared to the iconic 'Pale Blue Dot' captured by the Voyager 1 space probe in 1990.
GoPro has updated its Fusion ecosystem with new firmware for the Fusion camera and updates to the Fusion Studio software as well as the Adobe Premiere and After Effects plug-ins.
The Tamron 17-35mm F2.8-4 is a compact and light-weight lens for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs. We took it on grand tour of Seattle's top tourist spots and found it makes a pleasant, albeit wide, walking around lens.
Olympus has published the third teaser video for its upcoming sports-oriented mirrorless camera, due for release next week.
Fujifilm has announced its new GF 100-200mm F5.6 R LM OIS WR tele-zoom lens. The lens, equivalent to 79-158mm when mounted on a GFX camera, has image stabilization (with a claimed 5 stops of shake reduction), a linear AF motor and weather-sealing.
Amongst all of the camera news yesterday, Sony also announced its new Imaging Edge mobile app, which replaces PlayMemories Mobile. Three desktop applications have also been updated, adding support for time-lapse movie creation.
We've been busy shooting with Sony's newest mirrorless camera, the mid-range a6400. Have a look at our initial samples.
Adobe has taken the new year as an opportunity to introduce an updated Behance with improved user profiles and more prominent project pages.
OPPO's 5x zoom prototype never made it into a production unit but now the company is about to release an even longer optical zoom for smartphones.
Our intrepid team is in San Diego, for the launch of the new Sony a6400. In this short overview video, Carey, Chris and Jordan talk through the main specifications of the new camera, and what they might mean for photographers and videographers.
After further testing, Sigma has updated its lens compatibility notice to highlight what lenses work with Canon's EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera.