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Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?
  
 
lsquare
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p.5 #1 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


snapsy wrote:
All recent Sony bodies appear to use the compression. Here is a list of bodies who raw files I checked: A7r, A7, RX1, RX1r, A35, A55, A65, A77, A99, NEX-C3, NEX-3, NEX-3N, NEX-5, NEX-5N, NEX-5R, NEX-5T, NEX-6, NEX-7, NEX-F3, RX100, RX100M2, RX10, A3000. There may be others.


Even the A99? I thought someone mentioned that the A99 have uncompressed RAW?



Jan 26, 2014 at 08:00 AM
lsquare
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p.5 #2 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


Fred Miranda wrote:
Using Lightroom "Shadows" slider the artifacts start become visible after "+50". On the example I posted, the shadows were almost at the max (+90).
Remember we are checking this at the pixel level. I usually check my files at around 50% magnification before printing them. Unfortunately these artifacts are visible at this magnification as well.
Fred


Fred, are you suggesting that artifacts start becoming visible after +50 for all photos or that it's in certain high contrasty environment? There are plenty of times where I would push shadows over 50 in Lightroom and I'm afraid that the A7's files won't let me do that.



Jan 26, 2014 at 08:01 AM
AhamB
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p.5 #3 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


lsquare wrote:
Even the A99? I thought someone mentioned that the A99 have uncompressed RAW?


I believe I mistakenly said that, but it's the A900 that has an option for cRAW or uncompressed RAW.



Jan 26, 2014 at 08:39 AM
philber
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p.5 #4 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


philip_pj wrote:
'I was just on my way to purchase an A7r when I came across this discussion. So now I have to rethink my purchase. I also have never seen the problem discussed in my D800E.'

This is exactly what we need to hear. People formulating their priorities and acting accordingly to buy the camera that suits them the best. Many users find that in longer shoots with large numbers of files, it can be very restrictive on transfers as well as drives.

'A7r, A7, RX1, RX1r, A35, A55, A65, A77, A99, NEX-C3, NEX-3, NEX-3N, NEX-5, NEX-5N, NEX-5R, NEX-5T, NEX-6, NEX-7, NEX-F3,
...Show more

I think this is a very good point, and one which also pertains to the shutter-induced vibration. It was "discovered" by Lloyd Chambers, who is making a lot of noise about it, and then adds that the Leica M Type 240 suffers from it as well. This had obviously gone unnoticed until now. I am all for exploring any camera's weaknesses, but also for a level playing field. If the A7R moves the learned among us to really go over the RAW content, let's compare with others, and see whether there is not more info to be garnered.



Jan 26, 2014 at 08:55 AM
Jochenb
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p.5 #5 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


I think it's fine when anyone points out flaws, even if they're small. It's up to yourself to decide if they're dealbreakers or not.


Jan 26, 2014 at 10:08 AM
Tariq Gibran
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p.5 #6 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


Jochenb wrote:
I think it's fine when anyone points out flaws, even if they're small. It's up to yourself to decide if they're dealbreakers or not.


And, of course, the other benefit is that when any issues are found - and there is enough consumer noise surrounding them - the manufacturer is much more likely to either fix them via firmware if possible or, at least, address them in the next camera. The alternative is for any issues to be glossed over by apologist/ cheerleaders which, in the end, is not good for either the manufacturer or consumers.



Jan 26, 2014 at 02:11 PM
Beni
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p.5 #7 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


What is Sony's track record for that Tariq?


Jan 26, 2014 at 03:52 PM
sebboh
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p.5 #8 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


Jochenb wrote:
I think it's fine when anyone points out flaws, even if they're small. It's up to yourself to decide if they're dealbreakers or not.


+1

Beni wrote:
What is Sony's track record for that Tariq?


sony mostly ignores such things, but they did eventually fix the NR applied to raw issue on the a700 and i think made some changes to meet the demands of a900 users too?

they don't seem to be big about firmware updates, though they did add peaking to as an update to the original NEX cameras (but not the slts of the same generation).

i think creating a big fuss about the shutter on the a7r probably will only result in possible changes for future models (and of course a few less sales). same goes for the compressed raw, i doubt there will be any change on current models but maybe later models (doubtful though as the compression probably helps considerably with their processing).

the thing that bugs me most about the a7r is the shutter lag, that's the biggest thing pushing me toward the a7 right now.




Jan 26, 2014 at 04:55 PM
Tariq Gibran
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p.5 #9 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


Beni wrote:
What is Sony's track record for that Tariq?


It really depends on how vocal the outcry is over the issue I think. Folks may think that Sony hardly ever updates firmware and so on but for something like say the Raw compression issue, I think it could very well happen. Track record? Sony did eventually update the firmware with the Sony A700 in order to reverse the behavior of automatic noise reduction on the raw files. I think that points to the possibility they could do something via firmware as far as offering a non-compressed raw option with their high end cameras (A7's, Rx1's). Sony is very slow with firmware updates but, imo, their initial firmware has historically been very solid overall as compared to others (such as Fuji for instance).

Edit. Pretty much agree with what Derek said above, though as an RX1 user, I would like - and use- the non-compressed raw option if it were available so I'll hold out hope.



Jan 26, 2014 at 05:21 PM
 

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rscheffler
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p.5 #10 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


My understanding in conversations with a contact at Sony is that there are channels for feedback and that it is given consideration. Whether or not anything happens...

One area of a7 series feedback that may be somewhat controversial (within Sony), is the size of the cameras. They were obviously made as small as possible, yet in some markets critical feedback has been that they're too small. But for Sony to make them this small, there must have been the belief it would be desirable and that the resulting hardware/software sacrifices would be worthwhile.

I would not be surprised if Sony's decision to go with lossy RAW compression is very much related to power and heat management - getting the files as small as possible before degradation is visible to the average person. Transferring large files to the memory card is power intensive. My basis for this is experience with Canon's 1D series cameras (granted, CF rather than SD) where a given event might allow for shooting RAW and other times it must be Jpeg. I can consistently extend battery life by a considerable amount in every Jpeg-only situation in the range of 2-4 times over RAW. This would indicate to me the in-camera computation necessary to convert image information to a lower number of bits, in this case 8-bit Jpeg rather than lossless compressed RAW (used by Canon), is more efficient than the process of transferring larger files to the memory card.

Taking the 1DX as an example, RAW files tend to be around 23-27MB, whereas the Jpegs for these events trend around 3-4MB. With the a7R, RAW file size reduction seems to be by about half from what a likely 36MP uncompressed RAW would be. The a7R RAW files I've shot trend around 37MB, so let's call it 1:1 relative to MP. This also holds up roughly with the RX10: I'm getting a lot of 21MB files vs. its 20MP sensor. Same with the RX1R: 25MB vs. 24MP. As an aside, is there a trend here? All three cameras generate file sizes that equal MP plus roughly one MB....

With the Canon 1DX, lossless RAW is around 30-50% greater than MP (18 in this case). For lossless a7R compression, the resulting file sizes, based on my fly-by-night theory, could be in the 45-55MB range. A question I have is whether there is considerable savings going with variable compression lossy RAW vs. straight lossless compression? I.e. whether CPU usage is similar between the two vs. the reduced energy consumption of transferring a smaller compressed file to the card? Maybe it's about extracting the greatest degree of available efficiencies and compressed RAW is only one of many considerations? A few percent here, a few there... it all adds up. All the better for when the user does something dumb like set the camera down with a button inadvertently depressed, or the eye sensor constantly flipping between rear display and EVF, so that there's suddenly a high power drain.

Given the many compromises of the a7R (very small size which results in a very small battery necessary to drive battery dependent functions such as the EVF and rear display and many components crammed very close together), any reduction of energy consumption and the corresponding improvement in heat management must be a high priority.

Anyway, this is very interesting and it's always good to know as much as possible about any camera's strengths and weaknesses in order to make the most informed decisions and best know how to use the equipment across a range of applications.

Being a Canon user, I seem to recall some furor around whether or not Canon's 14-bit RAW files are really 14-bit...



Jan 26, 2014 at 06:21 PM
BrianVS
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p.5 #11 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


There are lossless algorithms that could have been employed that would result in saving space. File size varies, but generally compression rations between 2:1 and 3:1 are achieved. They are throwing away data for more predictability in file size? That's what buffers are for.

To add- thanks to this thread I looked up what Nikon "lossless compression" means. Their definition of "lossless" and the accepted meaning of "lossless" are different. They mean "visually lossless"... I just turned it off and setup for camera for Uncompressed. The difference is in post processing, pulling detail from shadows and highlights. I'll be checking if it improves things.



Jan 26, 2014 at 06:40 PM
lsquare
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p.5 #12 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


lsquare wrote:
Fred, are you suggesting that artifacts start becoming visible after +50 for all photos or that it's in certain high contrasty environment? There are plenty of times where I would push shadows over 50 in Lightroom and I'm afraid that the A7's files won't let me do that.


Anyone else here may know the answer?



Feb 03, 2014 at 01:33 PM
Tariq Gibran
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p.5 #13 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


lsquare wrote:
Anyone else here may know the answer?


It's only under very specific conditions(high contrast edge where the shadow in that area is brought up) that this artifact will show up. So, no, you are not going to see this issue with every image where shadows are brought up +50. It's rare.



Feb 03, 2014 at 03:10 PM
indusphoto
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p.5 #14 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


Comparing the A7R raw vs D800E raw images downloaded from dpreview, I see not much difference between A7r files and D800E files at low ISO. However A7r begins to fall behind at high ISO and at 6400 the A7r files are significantly mushy as compared to D800 or D800E. It is possible that it could be the processing pipeline, but I think it is due to compression.

It seems to me that the way Sony's compression logic works, they will need a low-pass filter on data to cram variations within seven bits offset. The limited offset range works in lower ISO as high frequency is absent unless very high contrast edges are present s demonstrated in this thread). However the inherent noise in high ISO image will be difficult to quantify in seven bit. So either Sony filters high-frequency noise before compression, or else down-samples the data to fit in the offset. In either case, the result is lower resolution which is clear when comparing any high ISO image against a competitor's camera. Bummer!




Mar 12, 2014 at 04:50 AM
snapsy
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p.5 #15 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


indusphoto wrote:
Comparing the A7R raw vs D800E raw images downloaded from dpreview, I see not much difference between A7r files and D800E files at low ISO. However A7r begins to fall behind at high ISO and at 6400 the A7r files are significantly mushy as compared to D800 or D800E. It is possible that it could be the processing pipeline, but I think it is due to compression.

It seems to me that the way Sony's compression logic works, they will need a low-pass filter on data to cram variations within seven bits offset. The limited offset range works in lower
...Show more

Haven't noticed it and I've compared a lot of A7r vs D800 images (used both). And High ISO noise doesn't really stress Sony's tonal gradient compression very much - the std dev for the noise even at ISO 6,400 isn't very high relative to the ADU tiers of the compression.



Mar 12, 2014 at 05:14 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.5 #16 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


snapsy wrote:
Haven't noticed it and I've compared a lot of A7r vs D800 images (used both). And High ISO noise doesn't really stress Sony's tonal gradient compression very much - the std dev for the noise even at ISO 6,400 isn't very high relative to the ADU tiers of the compression.


I would think that at high ISO settings, compression is "less" of an issue.



Mar 12, 2014 at 05:46 AM
indusphoto
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p.5 #17 · Lossless RAW files from the Sony A7/A7R?


snapsy wrote:
And High ISO noise doesn't really stress Sony's tonal gradient compression very much - the std dev for the noise even at ISO 6,400 isn't very high relative to the ADU tiers of the compression.


Thinking about it again, I see your point. As long as tonal gradient is small within the block, compression should not impact noise level.




Mar 12, 2014 at 07:25 AM
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