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Archive 2017 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony

  
 
Gary Clennan
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


I also told them I was Fred Miranda and then they immediately agreed to also fix the issue of file precision dropping to 12bit.


May 08, 2017 at 01:31 PM
navmannz
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


I rang the Sony help line here in NZ about it last week and sent them the link to my blog post that documents the problem (here) - two days later I was asked to send the raw files that I show in the blog, which I did, but since then have only had repeat queries asking me about lenses, serial numbers and accessories. I did however get the impression that they are taking it seriously.

-John



May 08, 2017 at 02:40 PM
ThanhHa
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


Gary Clennan wrote:
I also told them I was Fred Miranda and then they immediately agreed to also fix the issue of file precision dropping to 12bit.


Well, this gives me hope. Thank you!



May 09, 2017 at 07:55 PM
WestTexas Sky
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


One to two weeks is hopelessly optimistic for a resolution. The engineers will have to first be given the green light to actually do something. That alone could take months. Then they develop the fix. Then test. Then roll it out. I think end of year is a best case scenario.

You might also have different groups that might think this is a good thing since it hides hot pixels. They will argue that the general public hating hot pixels outweighs the nice of Astro Photography.

Large companies, sadly, do not move quickly. Especially for stuff like this.

Gary Clennan wrote:
I asked him how long and was told 1-2wks was his best guess. I wouldn't bank on it but I would think that it is in their best interest to get it resolved quickly. He said it is their "most urgent" FW update they are working on. We will just have to see...




May 10, 2017 at 10:51 AM
nampramos
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


WestTexas Sky wrote:
One to two weeks is hopelessly optimistic for a resolution. The engineers will have to first be given the green light to actually do something. That alone could take months. Then they develop the fix. Then test. Then roll it out. I think end of year is a best case scenario.

You might also have different groups that might think this is a good thing since it hides hot pixels. They will argue that the general public hating hot pixels outweighs the nice of Astro Photography.

Large companies, sadly, do not move quickly. Especially for stuff like this.



That's why no one is seriously asking to roll back that "fix" but simply to give a menu option to turn it ON/OFF.



May 10, 2017 at 11:05 AM
Gary Clennan
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


WestTexas Sky wrote:
One to two weeks is hopelessly optimistic for a resolution. The engineers will have to first be given the green light to actually do something. That alone could take months. Then they develop the fix. Then test. Then roll it out. I think end of year is a best case scenario.

You might also have different groups that might think this is a good thing since it hides hot pixels. They will argue that the general public hating hot pixels outweighs the nice of Astro Photography.

Large companies, sadly, do not move quickly. Especially for stuff like this.



I'm only relaying what I was told and not what I think will actually happen....



May 10, 2017 at 01:14 PM
WestTexas Sky
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony



Ideally raw would mean raw and suffer from none of this. But, Sony moves really slow about these kind of things.

Having an A7R and A7S both running early firmware, I am not impacted but I still hope for a fix. Sony does so much right so when they make these big errors, it hurts.
nampramos wrote:
That's why no one is seriously asking to roll back that "fix" but simply to give a menu option to turn it ON/OFF.




May 10, 2017 at 01:51 PM
navmannz
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


WestTexas Sky wrote:
Ideally raw would mean raw and suffer from none of this. But, Sony moves really slow about these kind of things.



I just found this little gem on Sony's help page for the A7RII that confirms your view - it appears as if Sony recognise the concept of raw files, even though they have departed a long way from the delivery of them...

"RAW is an untreated image file format that is like the digital equivalent of a film negative. Data from a camera that records in this format is saved without any adjustments. RAW files need to be processed or developed using Image Data Converter or other compatible software. The benefit of this format is you can adjust various attributes such as contrast, saturation, sharpness, white balance, and others without degrading the image. Afterwards, it can be saved to another image format like TIFF or JPEG.

How ironic...

-John



May 10, 2017 at 03:30 PM
jhinkey
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


WestTexas Sky wrote:
Ideally raw would mean raw and suffer from none of this. But, Sony moves really slow about these kind of things.

Having an A7R and A7S both running early firmware, I am not impacted but I still hope for a fix. Sony does so much right so when they make these big errors, it hurts.



So, do you want all the stuck/hot pixels in your RAW file or where do you draw the line?



May 10, 2017 at 03:45 PM
navmannz
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


That's probably the one exception - my understanding is that at least one other manufacturer updates a map of these each time the user performs a sensor clean, and then uses that map to filter the identified dead pixels. I have no problem with that. Sony's median filtering is way more intrusive than that though, so this is really a bit of a straw-man isn't it?

-John



May 10, 2017 at 04:45 PM
WestTexas Sky
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


My Sony cameras regularly take a blank frame that I believe is to map hot pixels. It's when you shut the camera off and it pauses to take a picture before shutting off.

So then using a median filter seems unnecessary.

jhinkey wrote:
So, do you want all the stuck/hot pixels in your RAW file or where do you draw the line?




May 10, 2017 at 05:24 PM
snapsy
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


WestTexas Sky wrote:
My Sony cameras regularly take a blank frame that I believe is to map hot pixels. It's when you shut the camera off and it pauses to take a picture before shutting off.

So then using a median filter seems unnecessary.



Sony's periodic mapping (it happens once per month btw) is to map out hot pixels that occur for normal exposures. The median processing Sony added is to map out hot pixels that occur from thermal noise during long exposures (in the absence of LENR black frames).



May 10, 2017 at 05:29 PM
navmannz
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


snapsy wrote:
Sony's periodic mapping (it happens once per month btw) is to map out hot pixels that occur for normal exposures. The median processing Sony added is to map out hot pixels that occur from thermal noise during long exposures (in the absence of LENR black frames).


So LENR is a safe option here to deal to the hot pixels - what about dark frames?

-John



May 10, 2017 at 06:16 PM
Gary Clennan
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


navmannz wrote:
So LENR is a safe option here to deal to the hot pixels - what about dark frames?

-John


But then with LENR you drop to 12bit file precision....




May 11, 2017 at 09:45 AM
MJKoski
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


Yea so, there should be on/off switches for all potential minefields. Including 12/14bit precision in Nikon style with lossless compressed as an option. Activating 12bit mode you gain what you gain, be it speed or something else weird side-effect. In 14-bit mode it stays 14-bit no matter what exposure time is.

I do not get how hard that is for Sony to realize. We are talking of multi-$$$$ bodies here. It is not acceptable to include $$$ level "optimizations" for A7/A9 series.



May 11, 2017 at 09:51 AM
snapsy
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


Gary Clennan wrote:
But then with LENR you drop to 12bit file precision....

Keep in mind 14-bit doesn't yield any benefit beyond base ISO. It's just oversampling noise at that point.



May 11, 2017 at 10:07 AM
Gary Clennan
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


snapsy wrote:
Keep in mind 14-bit doesn't yield any benefit beyond base ISO. It's just oversampling noise at that point.


Interesting. So a 20s exposure at ISO3200 (12bit) when compared to 14bit wouldn't make much difference wrt noise level? I will have to go back and look but I am pretty sure there was some penalty in image quality when dropping to 12bit in my longer exposures at high ISO.



May 11, 2017 at 10:29 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


Gary Clennan wrote:
Interesting. So a 20s exposure at ISO3200 (12bit) when compared to 14bit wouldn't make much difference wrt noise level? I will have to go back and look but I am pretty sure there was some penalty in image quality when dropping to 12bit in my longer exposures at high ISO.


It does not make any difference above ISO 200 from a test I did a while back. As snapsy wrote, the drop in precision should only be a concern at base ISO.



May 11, 2017 at 10:32 AM
snapsy
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


Gary Clennan wrote:
Interesting. So a 20s exposure at ISO3200 (12bit) when compared to 14bit wouldn't make much difference wrt noise level? I will have to go back and look but I am pretty sure there was some penalty in image quality when dropping to 12bit in my longer exposures at high ISO.

There are two issues at play here - 12 bit vs 14 bit encoding and whether Sony's 12 bit encoding is also accompanied by a change to how it runs the ADC. For the former, 12-bits is sufficient to encode an image beyond base ISO without loss of tonal range (and naturally no additional noise). For the latter I don't recall the specifics of what Sony is doing for its "12-bit mode"; if it does alter the ADC beyond just encoding to 12-bits then it may be what's causing the additional noise you see.



May 11, 2017 at 11:05 AM
Gary Clennan
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Star Eater Algorithm and getting in contact with Sony


snapsy wrote:
There are two issues at play here - 12 bit vs 14 bit encoding and whether Sony's 12 bit encoding is also accompanied by a change to how it runs the ADC. For the former, 12-bits is sufficient to encode an image beyond base ISO without loss of tonal range (and naturally no additional noise). For the latter I don't recall the specifics of what Sony is doing for its "12-bit mode"; if it does alter the ADC beyond just encoding to 12-bits then it may be what's causing the additional noise you see.


Thanks to you both! I will need to do some more testing I guess - maybe I have misunderstood the negative effects of the drop to 12bit. I thought I saw some degradation on high contrast margins and also the DR in my landscape images with 12bit. To be clear, you are saying I should only see this if working at base ISO? Thanks so much for the education - I appreciate it.



May 11, 2017 at 11:42 AM
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