Sony A550 Review
ISO Sensitivity / Noise levels (contd.)
In-camera High ISO noise reduction
The Alpha 550 has only two noise reduction options - and neither of them is 'off' (in fact there's very little difference between them), so if you prefer a more light handed approach when dealing with high ISO noise you'll need to shoot raw. As the graphs and examples below show, noise reduction only starts to make a meaningful difference at ISO 1600.
Indicated ISO sensitivity is on the horizontal axis of this graph, standard deviation of luminosity on the vertical axis (note that the standard deviation scale here is magnified 2x compared to the graphs on the previous page).
High ISO JPEG Noise Reduction vs Raw Crops
|JPEG Standard NR||JPEG High NR||Raw (no NR)|
Noise reduction and fine detail
The biggest issue with noise reduction - especially luminance noise reduction - is that in the process of blurring away the noise it can also have a very destructive effect on the detail in an image, particularly the fine, low contrast detail you might find in hair, fur or grass. To better judge the effect on fine detail lost due to noise reduction we have shot our lovely model and produced crops from the feathers in the image.
|To check the effect of noise and noise reduction on low contrast detail we shoot our new studio setup at various ISO and noise reduction settings, then crop an area that's challenging to any camera. The very fine detail in the feathers will help to better judge the effect of noise reduction on fine detail.|
Raw vs in- camera JPEG noise reduction low contrast detail comparison
As we saw above the effect of changing the noise reduction setting only kicks in at ISO 1600. As the crops below show, the difference at ISO 200 and ISO 400 is negligible, and at ISO 800 you have to look very closely to see any loss of detail (mainly, it has to be said, because the Alpha 550 can't resolve the finest detail in the feathers). Once you get to ISO 1600 and higher the strong noise reduction blurs away what fine detail there is, though to be fair the raw output at higher settings is so noisy that any detail has been swamped anyhow. The only point I can think you might want to use the A550's output without NR at higher ISO settings is when shooting black and white, when keeping the grain will give you a sharper output.
|ACR RAW NR OFF||JPEG NR-Std||JPEG NR-High|
What's obvious here is that Sony is having to use a lot of NR at the highest settings, and that the difference between the two NR settings is minimal. you're unlikely to be able to do a much better job with raw when shooting above ISO 1600 - the output is simply too noisy and any fine detail is either swamped or smeared away.
- 15 Photographic tests (DR)
- 16 Photographic tests (DR)
- 17 Photographic tests
- 18 Compared to
- 19 Compared to (JPEG)
- 20 Compared to (JPEG)
- 21 Compared to (RAW)
- 22 Compared to (RAW)
- 23 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 24 Compared to (Resolution)
- 25 Compared to (Resolution)
- 26 Kit Lens test
- 27 Conclusion
- 28 Samples
Philips' new Momentum 436M6 43-inch Quantum Dot HDR monitor really deserves that designation. In fact, it's the first monitor in the world to earn VESA's DisplayHDR 1000 badge.
Find out how astrophysicis Donald Olson used a combination of topographic maps, astronomical software, and webcam archives to figure out exactly when and where Ansel Adams snapped two of his iconic photographs from Alaska.
Xiaomi claims its latest smartphone, the Mi 6X, competes with rivals such as the iPhone X or OPPO R15 in the camera department. Yet it costs just 1,600 Yuan (approximately $250 USD).
Adobe has put together a video tutorial that shows you how to create custom Creative Profiles in Adobe Camera Raw that can be used in ACR, Lightroom CC, and Lightroom Classic CC.
What do you get when you combine a Lamborghini Huracan with $500,000 dollar gimbal setup? You get "the world’s fastest purpose-built camera car."
The Japanese electronics manufacturer—one of the pioneers in the digital camera segment—is leaving the compact camera market behind after concluding that no market growth or increase in market share can be expected for the future.
You can now download a zip-file, including all images and videos you ever posted on Instagram, plus comments, messages, settings and other data in json-format.
The Pentax K-1 II features a hand-held Pixel Shift mode that creates a 'super resolution' image. Here's how to create a better-looking one in Photoshop using four files.
One of the weirdest copyright cases in the history of photography is finally over. The courts have sided with photographer David Slater and rejected PETA's claim that the monkey who took the infamous selfie has any claim over the photograph's copyright.
In his latest video, Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography shares his thoughts on how equipment nowadays is seen less as a means to an end, and more as the end in and of itself.
The latest update to Lightroom Classic CC brought with it a slew of major bugs, including some that would cause the program to crash. Adobe has now released an update to address these bugs, along with an apology.
The new drives come in the M.2 form factor and with the latest PCIe Gen 3×4 lane interface, offering NVM Express (NVMe) bandwidth. In other words: they're an interesting option for anyone editing large batches of photos or 4K/8K video.
Photographer Alexander Gee has created something pretty cool: the first (to our knowledge) E-Mount film camera. It's called LEX, and when it's finished, Gee intends to make the camera's design files open source so that anybody can built their own from scratch.
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a low-power HD video streaming method that could eventually allow tiny, maybe even battery-free wearable cameras to stream high definition video.
Nikon Corporation has warned investors that an assessment of its Belgium-based metrology business based is worth much less than expected, and that they should brace themselves for an 'extraordinary loss' of 10,343 million yen.
In 2009, photographer Michael Benanav joined a family from the nomadic Van Gujjar tribe on their annual journey from the lowland jungles of the Shivalik Hills to the alpine meadows of the Himalayas. This is the story behind the images he captured.
NVIDIA's Content-Aware Fill competitor is getting better and better. A new demo from shows how the latest version can fill in entire chunks of a person's face, or pieces of an image that are missing, with incredibly realistic results.
This hacked Polaroid Sonar Autofocus 5000 puts a digital spin on instant photography, but not in the way you're used to seeing. It's one of the most ambitious and well-executed DIY camera projects we've seen.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu has launched a new high-end model, the Meizu 15 Plus. And based on specs alone, the phone is well-worth a closer look for mobile photographers who are open to buying from a less established brand.
Open source photo editor GIMP is a popular (and free) Photoshop alternative, but can it really be used on a professional edit? In this video, photographer Shane Milton shows you that it most certainly can.
Photographer Jolyon Ralph pit the new Huawei P20 Pro against his beloved Canon 5DS R, and was "somewhat stunned" by how well the 40MP smartphone performed against the 50MP DSLR.
Thanks to a low-res proxy version of the Insta360 Pro 8K footage, stitching times and computer processing requirements are reduced significantly when editing 360° footage from the six-lens system.
DxO Labs has filed the initial proceedings to start the bankruptcy process in France. The company is currently under "judicial administration," which allows it some time to restructure and find a buyer before the liquidation process occurs.
SmugMug has acquired struggling photography site Flickr for an undisclosed sum, with CEO Don MacAskill promising to give the neglected photo sharing service "the resources that it deserves."
YouTube channel Filmmaker IQ has put together a very interesting, technically detailed, and scientifically accurate description of exactly how various image sensors (and photographic film) work. One of the best overview videos we've seen.
In Part 1 of his series on photographing Greenland in winter, landscape photographer Erez Marom shares the freezing details of his arrival on the town of Uummannaq where the temperature was -25°C. Still, he went out shooting.
The APO-Makro-Plasmat 105mm F2.7 is Meyer Optik's latest Kickstarter lens revival, and it promises "natural sharpness, unbelievable color reproduction, and a glowing bokeh united at every step of the aperture" ... whatever that means.
The update also comes with "post-scan cloud processing," which allows you to render 3D models with 4K resolution textures for better detail and realism.
Chinese accessories brand Meike has announced it will introduce an 85mm F1.8 lens for Canon and Nikon full frame DSLRs that will feature autofocus. This will be the company’s first AF lens.