Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 Review
Just like the Konica Minolta 7D and 5D the Alpha DSLR-A100 inherits a CCD based 'Anti Shake' system which Sony has relabeled as 'Super SteadyShot'. In contrast to optical based stabilization systems which depend on the lens having the stabilization system built-in the Minolta/Sony system instead stabilizes the CCD itself by mounting it on a platform which moves in reaction to movement of the camera body. The most significant advantage of this approach is of course that it instantly provides image stabilization to all lenses rather than having to pay a premium for lenses with built-in systems.
Photographers are taught the 'inverse of the focal length' rule which states that the slowest shutter speed you can use to avoid blur due to shaking is 1/(focal length) for an image printed at 8x10, for digital SLR's we have to use the effective focal length (so 1/80 sec would be good for a 50 mm lens on a 1.5x crop D-SLR). Most optical based anti-shake systems claim a 2 stops over this (1/20 sec at 50 mm lens, 1.5x crop), newer ones claim 3 stops. Sony claim 3.5 stops with their Super SteadyShot system (around 1/8 sec at 50 mm lens, 1.5x crop).
The next issue became testing this, we had a go at testing the Minolta system when we reviewed the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D and despite the unscientific methods were fairly happy to report an approximate 2 stop advantage. As we still don't have a definitive test system for image stabilization systems I had to come up with another method which would at least give us an idea of how accurate Sony's claims were.
The stabilization test
The test was pretty simple (and hence I won't claim to be absolutely scientific), twenty hand-held shots were taken of a static scene, half of those without SteadyShot, half with, the shutter speed was decreased by a stop and repeated (from 1/80 sec to 1/10 sec). The lens used was the Minolta 50 mm F1.4 (producing a 75 mm equiv. FOV), the test chart was 1.2 m away from the camera.
The resulting 80 images were then inspected and given a blur score from zero to three where zero represented a very blurred image and three a sharp image with no noticeable blur (see crop examples below). Obviously the amount of blur which is acceptable will depend on your personal taste and the final image size (for instance a '2: Soft' will still look fine as a 4x6 print or in a web gallery). Example crops from these four blur scores can be seen below.
|0: Very blurred||1: Blurred|
|2: Soft||3: Sharp|
Hand-held, no stabilization (50 mm lens, 75 mm equiv.)
As you can see from the results here we managed 9 out of 10 sharp images at 1/80 sec but this dropped to just 4 out of 10 at 1/40 sec (although another 4 were acceptable if soft). In total we had 20 usable shots (13 of which were sharp) from the 40 taken.
Hand-held, with Super SteadyShot (50 mm lens, 75 mm equiv.)
Now we enable Super SteadyShot and you can immediately see an improvement, again 9 of our 10 shots at 1/80 sec are sharp, and so are 7 out of 10 at 1/40 sec and 6 out of 10 at 1/20 sec. In total we had 28 usable shots (22 of which were sharp) from the 40 taken.
The results basically state that using Super SteadyShot gave us approximately two more stops in which to work, although it wasn't a cast iron guarantee that at shutter speeds two stops slower every single shot will be sharp, it's clear that this system can only deal with certain types and amplitudes of shake (no current stabilization system can for correct for back/forth shake and only the Pentax SR system claims correction for rotational movement).
|Waffles with fruits by Coolinarka|
from Food photography (desserts)
|Vestrahorn Frozen Reflection by Will B Milner|
from Ice cold
Google has updated its Photos mobile apps to support the recently announced service for creating and printing physical photo books.
Europeana Photography is a new online image archive that includes more than 2 million historical photographs from European collections in 34 countries, covering the first 100 years of photography. Read more
Manufacturers love to state CRI (color rendering index) numbers to prove that their LED lights will provide great color, but a single CRI score doesn't tell the whole story.
NASA's Juno spacecraft is sending back its first images from Jovean orbit, and they're beautiful. Read more
We got our hands on the first zoom lens available for Fujifim's new digital medium format system. Check out the samples
As summer really gets going over here in the Northern hemisphere, the team at Imaging Resource has put together a list of the best cameras for backpacking.
The Ukrainian Parliament banned statues of Lenin in 2015. Two years later, the monuments no longer adorn public buildings or stand watch over town squares, but they're still there.
If you had to choose one camera to bring along for the ultimate West coast road trip, what would it be? DPR's Sam Spencer choose the X100F. Read more
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.